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By the time I am done writing this, I am pretty sure that I will feel as though I am standing in front of the world naked. But this is an important one. Not only for me to have this chance to admit that I am interested in dating, but also to help other widows know that IT IS OK to want to do this. My husband died, I didn't. I have had a significant loss, but I still have a life to live, and I want to spend it with someone that makes me happy. I don't know who or where he is, but he is out there somewhere.....
Dating for me is like being in a foreign country and having no idea how to speak the language and no map to help get me where I want to go. It is foreign territory, no question. The last time I started a relationship I was 17, it wasn't a hard thing to do and it lasted for almost 25 years. The greatest gift Brian could have given me before he died was the knowledge that he wanted me to be happy. He wanted me to find someone who would love me and our kids like he did, and he gave me the permission to do it and not feel guilty about it. I don't know if I would be where I am if he hadn't done that.
So, in this day and age, the thing to do is to be on a dating site, and I have to tell you there are a lot of scary people out there.....no, DO NOT call me HOTTIE...eeeew! Anyway, a few weeks ago, the morning after I put up a profile on a dating site I had a message from someone who said: "Beautifully written, heart felt profile! You must be an amazing woman!" I looked at his profile and thought, "Wait, this guy is interested in ME?" He was really good looking..... We ended up messaging back and forth all day, and when I say all day, it was from 9:00 am to 11:30 pm and it was one of the best days I have had in a LONG time. HE couldn't WAIT to talk to me, to meet me, and that felt good. One of the things that he asked me in our conversation that day was how long I had been alone. He didn't say single, he didn't say widowed, he said alone. That question in itself made me feel as though he may actually have some understanding, and it impressed me. I gave him the simple answer. My husband died September 3, 2011. But the real answer to that question is not as simple.
Brian fell in our room July 13, 2011 and he never came home again. I just passed the one year mark of that day, and it was a hard day for me. For 7 weeks before his death I was alone, running around crazy making sure he was ok and our kids were taken care of. It was not an easy time. Then there is the deeper answer to that question. I have been emotionally alone for much longer. I can't put a time frame on that, but I can remember thinking a year before Brian died "Will I ever be happy again?" That is hard to admit. I was hoping at the time that we would be able to finally get rid of his cancer and I would be happy with him, but that was not to be. So much of our lives were spent dealing with his cancer and pain that we lost some of what we were. He did his best to be there for me, but I was often put last, behind everyone else, while at the same time I put everyone else first. I crave that communication and intimacy that I haven't had for so long. I miss those things the most.
When I finally met this guy, he was so much better looking in person than he was in his pictures that I was actually intimidated by that fact. Unfortunately, the story does not have a happy ending, at least not the ending I was hoping for, and I will likely never see him again. Like I said, dating is foreign to me and I made some mistakes. Some small, others not so small and one huge, ugly one. When I told my closest friends what I had done, they looked at me and said "You? Really? I don't see you doing that....." While I am sure you are all curious as to what this faux-pas was, I am not going to tell you. Suffice it to say it was NOT my shining hour.....but it was something that is so COMPLETELY out of my character that I can't believe I did it. The worst part about it is that I gave him the impression that I am someone I am not, and there is nothing I can do to fix it. I am a fixer, and it drives me crazy to know that he has this impression of who I am that is so completely not me.
I talked with another widow the other night about the whole situation and she had some very good points. First she pointed out that as widows this is all new to us. We will make mistakes and unfortunately we may not know it was a mistake until we have made it. Her view is that if we are with the right person, they will talk to us about those mistakes realizing that we are in uncharted territory, and not hold it against us. I guess I didn't have the right guy....
There was a spark, and I tried too hard to fan the flame and instead I put it out. My friends tell me that he isn't worth another thought, that he does not know the real me and that it is his loss. Friends are supposed to say those kinds of things, and I know they mean it, so why does it feel like I am losing? It feels like I am losing because there really did seem to be something genuine there. I am a strong woman, and I know what I want and I don't think he liked that. What he doesn't understand is that I HAVE to be strong. I have four kids to take care of by myself. I have to be strong every day otherwise I will get caught in the undertow and get whisked back to Widow Island before I know what happened. I am NOT going back to Widow Island, at least not for an extended stay. I don't know if the fact that I know what I want and I was willing to work for it scared him away or that he saw something in me that HE wanted and it scared him away, but either way he is gone. Maybe my friends are right, he isn't worth another thought, but it just isn't that easy. He was the first guy I went out with in over 25 years, and it felt like there was the potential for something real. That is what I can not get out of my head. Of course now I am left wondering if ANY of it was real. Ugggh! Dating! It is going to be a very twisty path, and I'm pretty sure I will lose my balance and fall more than once, I just hope I find that guy who is willing to pick me back up......