Some days your emotions range from patiently waiting on the right guy to anger and frustration. You’ve spent countless hours online scrolling through dating sites and each time ultimately ends with your swearing you’re done for good. Done with lies. Done with the scammers. Done with the dick pics. Done with the games.
It shouldn’t be this hard to find a great man. What’s happened to the dating world since you first met your husband? It seems everyone needs instant gratification…going from “Hi” to “Send me a picture of your breasts” within the first 10 minutes. That’s just not you.
You want someone to get to know you for the person you’ve become. A man who takes the time to learn about your interests and goals. A partner who tries to understand the heavy burden of grief that rears its ugly head from time to time. A man strong enough to understand that you’re capable of loving him with all your heart while simultaneously holding your late spouse close.
You watch as other widows get another chance at love. You read about instant connections, the fun first dates, the whirlwind romance and the subsequent engagement. You’re happy for them because you know the loneliness that comes with widowhood. You understand the need for adult conversation…the desire for someone to call just to say he was thinking about you. But, you also feel a hint of jealousy. Why isn’t this your story? Where is your happily ever? Haven’t you been through enough? Don’t you get a break?
I know you may want to compromise your list of must-haves. You’ll question if you’re being too picky. But, don’t. You don’t have to settle in order to meet the man of your dreams. A pastor once told me that just because it’s our turn, doesn’t mean it’s our time. Yes, you’re tired of waiting and I won’t pretend to tell you that he’s out there somewhere. I just want you to know you don’t have to be with the wrong guy just to say there’s a man in your life.
There is compromise in every relationship. Maybe it’s your letting go of the man you’d envisioned being 6’0 to accept a date from someone who is only 5’8. It could be dating a guy who has been divorced when your preference is one who has lost a spouse. Those are things worth being open to.
Settling for a potential date who sees you an option rather than a priority, who takes much more than he gives and is threatened by the mere mention of your late husband’s name isn’t worth the sacrifice. As Dr. Phil so eloquently said, “If it costs all of you to be half of a couple, then the price is too high. If it costs you your dignity, your self-respect, your peace of mind…if it costs you all of those things, the price is too high. He or she may be a great person, but isn’t the admission ticket into their world awfully high?”
I’d be lying if I said being widowed meant we get to ride off into the proverbial sunset with our knight in shining armor. The reality is that not all of us will have that experience. In the meantime, love on yourself, explore your interests and hobbies, live your passion and travel. Don’t allow the dating world to further complicate your grief and make you cold and jaded. Yes, keep your heart and options open, but in the meantime, keep living. If he’s out there, you’ll find each other. If he never arrives, you can be comforted by the fact that you continue to live your life on your own terms – boldly and unapologetically!
Mom to a feisty preschooler, Kerry Phillips became widowed at age 32. She runs an online support group for young widows and widowers venturing back into the world of dating and is a blogger for The Huffington Post.