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Advice on dating after widowhood

Part of me wanted to shake him when he complained of routine problems, to make him put things in perspective.

Yet when I started dating, widowhood became the woolly mammoth in the room--guys would try to avoid the subject completely.

The first man I dated after Frank, a sports fanatic from Brooklyn whom I saw for two months, would tense his jaw and say, "I'm sorry," before changing the subject to football. But I felt sorry enough for myself; after a point, I could hardly bear having anyone else feel sorry for me.

But I felt torn between feeling very attached to his memory and also taking tentative steps toward a future without him.

Widowhood also has had a strange sanctifying effect on how men perceive me.

And this, the only appropriate designation, felt hard-earned.

When his cancer briefly disappeared, I rejoiced with him; when it reappeared, we despaired together.I rode beside him in ambulances to emergency rooms late at night.

I've been dating for almost two years now--some guys lasted just one date, others for months at a time.ONE MARCH AFTERNOON IN 2010, I logged on to Facebook and glanced at my relationship status.My 42-year-old husband, Frank, had been dead for a month, but it still said "Married." Then, in a surreal, only-in-the-21st-century moment, I changed it to "Widowed." I hesitated, but I had to do it: No word but So, at age 39, after seven years of marriage, I was no longer married; I was a widow.They hadn't, but I still felt comfortable discussing it with him.Perhaps because it didn't feel like a real date, only a hastily scheduled get-together, I felt none of the pressure that goes along with courtship." One recent date loved to vent about his everyday stresses--the grueling hours he logged as a music producer, the intensely competitive nature of his work--but would stop himself by saying, "I know this is nothing compared to what you've been through." Maybe he was trying to be sympathetic, but it seemed as though, in some bizarre way, he resented my situation, that in terms of our life experience, the playing field wasn't even and his problems couldn't possibly bear any weight.