I wonder, if we, as widows, set ourselves up, if and when the time comes that we step out into the dating world.
*I haven’t dated since my husband’s death, and don’t plan on it, so this is merely me, contemplating the concept*
Somewhere back in my second year of widowhood, I spoke about the concept of dating with my daughter, and how not interested in it I am, and she said that she thought that my husband would have a part in sending a man to me who would be just right for me.
It’s a pretty idea, maybe a comforting one, seeing how freaky dating always has been, and continues to be, but I do wonder if we set ourselves up by wanting to believe such a thing, or actually believing it. Believing that our dead husband or wife sends us a new one, I mean.
I want to believe that Chuck still plays a tangible part in my life. I really do. That he is as aware of me as I am of him. That he misses me as much as I miss him. That he is looking out for me, as he did when he was alive. That he knows the kind of man who would be perfect for me (someone just like him, please), and will absolutely, positively, put the right man in my path and I’ll fall in love with this man and it will be hunky dory and exactly the right thing to ease the funk of his absence.
It's a lovely concept to carry not only in my mind but in my heart. And how can any part of that ever possibly go wrong?
But then I think…wow, so much can go wrong with thinking like that…
I’m sad, I’m grieving, I’m missing Chuck so much I can’t bear it, and I want that feeling of being loved and being special again, with a man who is his own man but enough like Chuck to catch my interest and we hit it off initially…maybe have a few dates, the phone calls, texting…all seems to be going well. My hopes are high-this has to be real, right? I talk to my kids, I talk to my friends, I wonder aloud to them at the odds of meeting such a man who seemingly fits me so well…Chuck must have had a hand in it! Everyone agrees with me and they’re happy and relieved for me. I’m relieved for me, even though, as a widow, I’m fully aware of the cost of falling in love again (grief at the other end of it). But I’m willing to chance it because I finally feel something besides the grief and missingness. I contemplate that maybe possibly life can feel good again. It’s early on, but my feelings have wakened and I must rise to the challenge.
And then it goes south. He doesn’t call for a few days. Nothing. No texts. I start wondering, in a bad way, and tiny doubts seep into my brain and heart. What’s wrong? I thought everything was okay. It has to be okay. There must be some reason he hasn’t called or texted. I want to text him and ask straight out but that would be too intense and might scare him away. What should I do? More calls to my kids and friends to scrutinize every little bit of this under my own personal microscope.
And then I get a text from him, not even a phone call, telling me that he’s otherwise involved, or it’s too intense, or he can’t handle the widow thing or he’s just not that into me or… name your excuse here.
And I fall apart and I panic and question how it is that Chuck sent this man to me when he wasn’t THE man? How could he make me go through all of this while going through all of this? I don’t understand and I go into a downward spiral and feel even shittier than I did before, which was already bottom of the barrel. What the hell, Chuck?
Here’s the thing. Dating is impossible under the best of circumstances, isn’t it? All of these things happen when we date as young people. Add into the mix our widowhood and dating goes nuclear. I’m sure it does, even if I haven’t done it. How can it not? We can’t unknow what we know about life and death and grief and we bring that to the table this time ‘round. So when the same shitty shit happens, we take that and add our ingredients to the mix and, I’m fairly certain, end up with a cake heavy with expectations not met.
Also, let’s add to the mix the doubt that sets in about our husbands. Maybe he didn’t send that person to me? Or, I didn’t even want to date but that person showed up in my life and I just knew it had to be fate in the person of my dead person! How else could it have happened, right? But it didn’t work out and how do I explain that to myself? Now what do I do? I allowed another person into my heart; did I betray my marriage vows? I’m a horrible person. I’m not dating anymore, not taking another risk. I’ll just be alone the rest of my life…
Maybe we need to do this. Maybe the only way we can open our hearts for first-time dating is by believing that our husband/wife, sent us this person? Possibly it’s a necessary step for us.
I don’t know, honestly. Maybe you in my widowed community can add your views to this.
It just seems that we set ourselves up, in a hugely emotional way, believing that our loved person sent us a new person to love, to be loved by. And the other side of that is huge emotional pain, when it doesn’t work.
Dating as a widowed person. Dating squared and gone nuclear with hopes and expectations…
*contemplating being alone the rest of my life*