As 11.3 million widows in the United States will tell you, losing your husband means more than just losing a life partner and coping with the emotional toll. It means finding, reconfiguring or replacing pieces to a critical puzzle, once known but now unfamiliar. The task can be so daunting, in fact, that it seems almost easier to throw the whole damn puzzle away and begin again. Only that’s not an option.
And so…we move forward, make a ton of mistakes, and finally find a comfortable footing, ultimately leading to “dating” again. Only this time we do so draped with a stigma.
“Beware of the widow as you can’t compete with a ghost!”
From one man to another, the trumpets blare or so many of us have experienced within the dating realm. If you think I am exaggerating, think again. I was once told by a gentleman whom I had decided not to see anymore that it was “unfortunate that my late husband had ruined me for every other man alive.” My actual reason couldn’t have been that this particular man was an insensitive a–hole, now could it? And yet he was…but still, the accusation stung.
So I wanted to help set the record straight when it comes to “dating a widow”. “Men, listen up, as I am about to share some valuable information regarding dating widows…points you want to hear.” There are countless more, mind you.
1. We CAN fall deeply in love again – because we knew it once and are grown-up enough to know what it could be again, including “different”;
2. We don’t compare – because we aren’t looking for someone to move backward with but forward alongside and we’ve changed;
3. We aren’t bitter – because we recognize that the circumstances that left us alone weren’t anyone’s fault;
4. We come to terms with the B.D. (Before Death) and A.D. (After Death) – because we realize the shame and meaninglessness of not doing so;
5. We enjoy a Renaissance period, making us interesting dates – because “life” demands that of us less we die also;
6. We are an enormous asset during bad times – because we have been through the worst of it and survived;
7. We “do” and “appreciate” the small stuff – because we know what it is like to give-up these moments;
8. We giggle when you miss the hamper– because we realize how menial little things like this are in the larger scheme of things;
9. We truly cherish love and those we fall in love with – because we know what it means to lose them;
10. And finally, you needn’t worry about your primary competition – because he is dead and know one knows that better than us.
There are exceptions to all of these, of course, but enormous truth in them as well. And since 75% of married women living in this nation will find themselves widowed by age 56, passing them by merely because you are scared that a ghost may still be lurking in the shadows seems pretty foolish to me.
Ghosts never hurt anyone, but lack of understanding? That’s hurt many and in this case, just might hurt you, in the cost of a great woman and possible wife.
Laura J. Wellington is the founder of threadmb.com as well as an award-winning children’s television creator, author TEDx speaker, and mother. Her recent book, “What To Do When Jane Knows DICK About Dating,” released in February 2018 through Post Hill Press. She has a new children’s book series, “Jasper’s Giant Imagination,” releasing through 4RV Publishing in Spring 2019.