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We're friends, not doctors, financial or legal professionals, and we're not "grief experts." But we are here, and we've been "there."

 I'm not much good at this dating game.  I haven't really dated much at all.  I have had a few lunches out with men, I suppose I would call one or two of them dates as I think that was the reason I was asked out, as a sort of first step in what might have lead to dating. A couple of the people I went out with belonged to an organisation I am in, one was disabled and I think was looking for a carer more than a companion or wife. I seem to go on one date and immediately think "not for me".  I wonder sometimes if there is anyone out there for me. People tell me he is "just around the corner", well this is a long straight road so far.

What sort of man would like a woman like me? I am 68, busy in church affairs, pastoral care, kids ministry.  I am probably doing something for the church part of five days a week.  I am not keen on housework but love the garden so the garden looks good and the housework is often on the back burner. So a person who likes an organized household would not like me.  I have a friend like that, he came to my house and said:  "So this is the way you live is it?" and never came back. We still talk on the phone but he never mentions coming over nor invites me to his house. I am prepared to change, I know I would have to change to fit someone into my life.  Just as I did in my teen years I would put aside anything that was only peripheral to my life for the current boyfriend.

I want companionship but the people I have met so far have all had something going on that makes me uneasy. Two told me they had already made a will leaving what they had to nieces and nephews.  I wonder what you actually say to that?  I just said;  "Sounds a good idea." as I figure they are going to end up alone anyway. Maybe going on alone is the way it is going to be for me too. Some of my friends have told me: "It happens when you least expect it." I wonder if sitting in public places with my eyes shut until someone yells:  "Surprise!!" would help? At least it would save all that waiting time.

Another man who hasn't asked me out but lingers to talk a lot told me he had put an ad in one of the men seeking women columns and asked would I like a copy of it?  No, probably not as I know he has a bad temper.  Have heard him yelling at his grandchildren.  So not for me.  If he yells at them he will one day yell at me. I think in a different way now to what I did as a teen, I am more wary and more aware. I know there is no money back guarantees with life and I have to settle for someone who is comfortable to be around rather than the man of my dreams,  But I don't want someone who is a nightmare either.

In the middle of all of this I remember what courting was like as a young woman, the passion, the longing, the waiting, the loving and I know it is not going to be like that now.  No-one will measure up to that awakening of flaming youth.  How can they?  Because I certainly can't reach any of those heights now. I am not sure how I will feel if I fall in love again. I have fallen in :"like" a couple of times, you know, all warm and fuzzy and glad to be with someone.  One is an old friend from my school days and another a man who has recently left his wife but the warning bells for him are ringing in my ears and I know I would be foolish to even think about him at all as a lot of things will have to happen before he is free. The friend from my school days told me he is never marrying again.  Ho hum. Singing the same song.

I still miss Ray.  I understand some men thinking it is no use dating a widow as we all miss our husbands, That is certainly right in my case. You can't forget 44 years of memories that quickly.  But I could maybe stop talking about that now.  Keep memories more to myself, get interested in what he does, what he wants out of life. I am interested in people anyway so it would be sincere. And it is interesting getting to know someone at a deeper level and I am prepared for that, and for getting to know his set of friends and his family. And maybe this man in my life may be interested in getting to know mine.

I am a small town girl, I like where I live, so it would be good if I could find someone local to date. I know people do date someone from hundreds of miles away but that would be a problem to me. I wonder how limiting that is? But is it better to shop locally so to speak, find a friend who maybe likes to go the same places I do? Or someone who has a fascinating hobby or a lifestyle plan I agree with or any number of variations on that theme. If I go on alone there will be a sameness about life that I can fall into the trap of liking because it is the quiet uncontroversial life.

I am just trying to see how I can get out and do different things, been thinking about that for a while, adding some new ingredients to my life.  A rut is the same as a grave, only the depth varies. So no early grave for me.  I have some living to do yet, alone or accompanied by a friend. It is finding that friend that is the problem at the moment.  i was hoping that would just happen naturally, meeting someone new and having a conversation about what we would like to do together.  And I think that way because it is a couple's world.

Some times my life is boring and I would like to shake it up a bit. Wish it was like when we were kids and just going to the beach was enough to keep us busy all Saturday.  Obviously I am in a mood to speculate on what life could be like. And as yet I have no answers.  That too may be just around the corner.

*NFM = Not For Me.

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Comment by Bobbysgirl on December 9, 2015 at 3:56am
Only1sue I felt that I lived in a nightmare when I was a caretaker. No matter how hard I tried I could not help Bob. When he died I had no desire to live. I didn't want to cause my sons anymore pain so I made every effort to climb out of that black hole. I know I could never survive a situation like that again. It is difficult living along at times, but it is important for us and our families to adjust. I wish you the best. Peace.
Comment by only1sue on December 8, 2015 at 7:27pm

Bobbysgirl, your words ring so true.  I looked after my husband for 12 years and he was a year in a nursing home.  I got quite close to a friend of his who unfortunately has Parkinson's.  He said:  "It would never work out, I don't want you to have to be a caregiver again."  He is right, i have been there and done that.  Now is time for me and it that is as a widow, so be it.

Comment by Bobbysgirl on December 4, 2015 at 5:34am
I have found the best way for me to make new friends is to join the Y or a club. I was married for 53 years. We shared a good life together until he became a victim of dementia. I was his sole caretaker for several years, and we both became very isolated. I have met nice people since I joined a Y. I live alone and sometimes I think it would be good to have someone to share my life with. I am 76 and I realize that most people my age do have problems. I would not chance being a caretaker again. I know it might sound selfish to some people but I could never live that life again. We are all on this very difficult journey and have to try to make the best life we can for ourselves. Peace to all.

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