Widows And Widowers: Should We Just Date Each Other?
When I believed I was ready to start dating again following the death of my beloved Robert, I told a friend, “I think I could only date a widower — only someone who has gone through this could understand.”
In my online dating profile, I made it clear that I like widowers. Because it confined the possibilities too considerably, I later altered it, or at least softened it to “bonus points.” However, it is still my preference. This is why:
- When they are talking with animation and suddenly sink into silence and sadness, I understand.
- When they bring up anecdotes about their wives, I get it.
- When they slip into present tense talking about their spouse, then correct themselves, I remember how often I’ve done that.
- When they talk vulnerably about their grief, I know I can do that, too.
- When they laugh and talk about their future changes they want to make in their lives, I know what it took to get to that point.
When you’re ready to date, how long does it take you to get ready? I’m not sure. Each of us is unique. Don’t pass judgment on us if we believe we’re ready and then find out we aren’t. We don’t grieve for a while and then are abruptly free of it — it’s a spiral in which we cycle in and out of grief. We can feel like we’re ready to date, but then we’re hit by a wave of intense longing for our beloved.
And if you’re dating a widow or widower, don’t stress about competing with his or her ideal spouse. Don’t expect us to remove all of the photos or conceal the urn. (However, once you’ve reached bedroom status, I believe you have the right to request that the wedding photo be moved away from the bed.)
I’ve recently gone on a few dates with a couple of widowers. I enjoyed the chat because of how easily we switched between past and current tense, how we acknowledged our anxiety and hesitation to date again — and how we knew that learning how to do so is critical to our growth.
Maybe we should just start dating.
What are your thoughts? Your feedback is appreciated, particularly if you are widowed or dating a widow or widower.