Over the past few months I’ve been on a couple of dates and it’s not been easy. I always hoped that when I felt ready to open my heart again, someone wonderful would cross my path, but so far it hasn’t happened like that
My circle of friends is full of couples and I don’t meet many people through work, so like many modern women I created an online dating profile. I met Dan online back in 2011, after a long and tedious period of going on some really bad dates. So I know it can work, it’s just a matter of finding the right guy.
But holy smokes it’s tough. I went on a ‘first date’ yesterday, after swapping emails and texts for around a week or so. The guy seemed nice and we had a lot of common interests, so I agreed to meet for a coffee to see if there was any connection in real life.
He knew I was a widow, because I’d mentioned it in my profile. He’d bought it up when we were texting and I’d told him it had been a little over two years, that I‘d started dating a few months ago and I was ‘in a good place’, excited for the future and ready to love again.
I also told him that while I was an open person and comfortable talking about my grief, I also didn’t want to make it a big focus when I’m first getting to know someone, because it’s only a part of who I am. He seemed happy with that and said he’d leave it until I was comfortable enough to share more…
Until ten minutes into our date yesterday when he said, ‘So, you’re a widow – I’m sorry to hear that. What happened? Was it sudden or was he sick?’ and here we go with the suicide conversation.
This can go one of many ways, depending on how sensitive and well educated on mental illness the guy is. I’ve only had to have this conversation with a date a couple of times so far, but I already know it’s always going to be awkward.
This guy was obviously curious (or maybe just nervous and REALLY bad at making conversation) so I gave him the abbreviated version about how Dan’s depression was only diagnosed four weeks before he died, and he took his life unexpectedly after having a bad reaction to the medication he was prescribed.
My date was obviously shocked to hear such a sad story and while he tried his best to be compassionate, he then did that thing where he tells me about all the people he knows who’ve taken their lives (including the details of how, which never really needs to be shared, particularly on a first date) and as he went on and on I just got sadder and sadder.
Death is just really shitty date conversation, particularly for a first date. It’s not romantic or sexy or fun. I respect a potential partner’s desire to know about me, and what makes me tick, but I really don’t want to talk at length about the most painful period of my life at time where I’m trying to focus on moving forward with someone new.
Suicide-chat aside, I knew by the end of the date that there was no potential for chemistry or connection with this man, so I won’t be seeing him again.
But what I did learn is that I need to get better at fielding the widow questions. I wish now my reply had of been ‘my husband’s death was unexpected however I would rather not go in to the details today, if you don’t mind, and instead focus on getting to know more about each other’.
I hate dating, it’s so painful – I’m not great at it and I’m not interested in meeting lots of people and having awkward experiences. I just want to be a wife again, I was really good at it, but unfortunately that’s not likely to happen if I don’t persevere.