Thursday, April 29, 2010

All the Single Ladies...Do We WANT To Put A Ring On It?

Ahhh…dating. Sooner or later this becomes every widow’s favorite topic with other widows. And there is a very good reason for this: Because we feel like it’s unacceptable to talk about it outside of the herd.

But I can guarantee you that, for most widows, it’s one of the first things we think about after our husbands die. I don’t mean that in a bad way. It’s human nature to wonder what comes next. And for those of us who suddenly find ourselves involuntarily single, we want to know: Am I supposed to start dating? When is it too soon to start dating? What will people say if I start dating? What will they say if I don’t?

It’s very natural to find a mate, settle down, and have kids in our twenties. That’s why hormones were invented and why birth control is not 100% effective. I often say that I miss the stupidity of my twenties when I really didn’t know what marriage meant. I just thought it would be fun to use one of those price guns at Target. I really didn’t think the whole thing through and it didn’t occur to me that by marrying my husband when I turned 20, there was a good chance that I would be with him for 70 years.

But fate is a tricky bitch and things didn’t quite turn out that way.

Now, in my 30s and having taken the vows once before, I know full well what it means to be married and smell the same gas, watch the same do-it-yourself shows, and wake up to the same morning breath (which means that he didn’t get up with the kids so that you could sleep in) every day for the rest of my life. So, forgive me if I pause before making that leap once again.

And dating isn’t as easy as it was in my twenties. I know I’m hitting the age where 49% of all the males I know will start to get divorced thereby flooding the market, but it’s still no picnic. They all come with kids, mortgages, and potentially crazy in-laws to deal with.

Now, funny enough to the male population, I seem to come with more baggage than they do. I’ve never quite understood that. Sure, I’m dealing with a loss, but I think widows and divorcees are pretty much tied in the bitterness and “it’s not fair” department. Believe me, it’s just as hard for me to accept you with your 3 children from 3 different wives as it is you to deal with me and my deceased husband. Let it go.

And now that I’m older, I’m pickier. I mean, in my twenties I was looking for a nice rear and a decent car. Now I’m grilling my potential dates on their benefits packages and the state of their health. ‘Cause let’s face it…I don’t want to lose another one.

And finally and most importantly…after you’ve been single for awhile and you start to understand that you can handle most things on your own, you start asking yourself, “Do I want to get married again?”

Don’t get me wrong. Marriage is great. But once you get used to sleeping right smack in the middle of your bed with no one to poke because he’s snoring so loud, it’s hard to go back. It would be nice to have someone to bounce the big decisions off of, but on the flip side, you don’t have to ask anyone their opinion on anything. You don’t have to shave. You don’t have to wonder when he’s going to notice that huge-ass dent in your car. If you gain 500 lbs. no one else is going to be irritated about that other than you.

Now, I know this sounds cynical and I really don’t mean for it to. But for those of us who got married in our twenties and had only the slightest taste of independence…well, that’s pretty hard to give up now. And the problem is that we’d be giving it up to start all over again. I mean, it took me 11 years to mold my husband into the man I knew he would want to be. And now, when I go out on a date, I can say within the first 20 minutes, “Nope. I don’t have the energy to train that one.” And then I go home and flop myself right smack in the middle of my bed with hairy legs and a box of chocolate.

Hey…it’s not perfect. But in my experience, Russell Stover has never snored.

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© Catherine Tidd 2010


  1. I enjoyed reading this. All true, my friend. I love the cynicism in this.

  2. i had the conversation with my mother recently where i said "next time, i'm asking how their health is!" so crazy that someone (and i'm sure many others) feels the same way.

  3. love it - it took me 11 years, too, to mold my husband into the man he wanted to be. lol

  4. Thanks for your candor! I think marriage makes a lot of sense for baby-making people. Otherwise I wonder about it as a construct. I am a spiritual person, but it seems to be more of a legal construct here in the US than a soul-covenant. Anyway, I do not feel the need to be married again as much as to be well partnered and in a caring community that is life giving.

  5. Widow Chick, I am a widow, a therapist, and a relationship coach. I did get remarried after my late husband died. It occurred to me that my long-time focus on couples was far more difficult after he died, so I began working with singles.

    I was at a conference last week when it hit me that I should combine my work and my life story. I know there are other widows and widowers out there who want to find love again, but who worry, as you said, about starting over.

    I did it, and yes, there are adjustments and comparisons. The grief doesn't go away just because I found a new love. I still love my late husband. I have a loving husband who told me, "I would have liked to have met Al (my late husband). I think I would like him." How wonderful that I can talk about Al without fear, sharing him and his memory with my new husband.

    I appreciate you and your post!
    Michelle E. Vasquez, MS, LPC

  6. You make my laugh so hard! It's great to read your stuff. Good luck with the book. Michelle clued me into your site.

    The other Power Virginia.

    And your hair is awesome thanks to the drier climate!

  7. Love your humour and why I find it funny is because it is so true...exactly how I felt and still do three years later....would take a very special man before I would even think about worrying about taking on the responsibility of considering another persons needs other than my son and mine....I love having the whole bed to myself....

  8. Wow, this post is so true, sitting here feeling sorry for myself and wondering why I am so crazy and then I read this and laugh. Thank you so much