When I chose to create my first online dating profile, I was visiting a graveyard. I was visiting my husband’s grave nine months after he died, and I was thinking about how much time I had left. I pleaded to no one in particular, “Please tell me it’s acceptable to find someone.”
I didn’t know where to start when it came to dating. At the age of 38, I was widowed and still had plenty of dating years ahead of me. The difficulty was that I had no idea what I was up against in the modern dating environment. I’d been married to Shawn since shortly after graduating from college, so I had no idea how to meet single men who weren’t random on campus. My buddies informed me that the internet was the best method to meet people. But what did I know about the realm of online dating, from crafting a compelling bio to presenting myself as appealing in digital form?
My search for the top online dating sites for widows and widowers yielded disappointing results. I found sites like “Our Time” and “Silver Singles” with a quick search, but I was more than a decade too young for both of them. “Just Widower Dating” and “The Widow Dating Club,” the other two whose names made me believe they may be promising, both had cover photographs of couples who appeared to be at least 20 years older than me.
When the first photo we came up on one widow dating website was of a man plainly older than my father, my friends and I both laughed. I didn’t want to date a 70-year-old man, but unfortunately my options were restricted if I wanted to date other people who had experienced a loss similar to mine. What happened to the rest of the young widows and widowers? Perhaps there weren’t enough of us.
I looked at some of the most well-known dating sites. Yes, I could say on my profile that I was a widow. Would that, however, deter men? Worse, could it attract strange males, like as those who pretended to be widowers and stalked my Facebook page? Those individuals pretended to be “widowed military men” and bombarded me with messages until I blocked them. How could I be open and honest about who I was and what I wanted while still attracting the type of guy I’d like to meet?
I struggled for hours to figure out what to put in the online forms. But the bigger question remained unresolved while I considered whether or not to make my profile public.
Did I really want to do this?
My husband died. What was I supposed to tell my date?
It takes a lot of effort to date a widow. First and foremost, a new date requires knowledge of my current situation, which means I’m likely to tell a stranger about the worst thing that’s ever occurred to me within a few hours of meeting him. Even if I can explain that I am a widow before the first date, I still have a lot of baggage. Is it expected of him to inquire about my late husband? Is it possible for me to completely avoid my loss? When is it appropriate to bring up Shawn’s name?
I recently met a charming stranger with whom I struck up a conversation on religion and spirituality. “I believe in God, but not a God who intervenes here on Earth,” the man explained.