I think there’s a misperception, when we start dating, that we have moved on.
Actually, let me start a little further back.
I hate the phrase “moved on.”
Moved on from what? Our lives? Our memories? Can anyone do that?
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to move on. Do I want to have a happy life? Yes. Do I think that it’s possible? Yes. Do I think I can have a happy life and carry the memories (both good and bad) of my husband with me?
So…I’m sorry for all of those people who have been patiently waiting for me to “move on” these last 3 years. It ain’t happening. Because wherever I’m moving to, my husband’s going right along with me. It’s just annoying that he’s not here to help me pack.
Okay. Back to my original topic. I’m feeling a little ADD today.
Depending on when you start dating, those around you are somewhat happy to see that you’re getting on with things. It makes them uncomfortable for awhile, but then most people start looking at you like you’re normal again. After all, you talking about the latest date you went on is a hell of a lot more normal than you talking about the urn you just bought. And if they haven’t been through a loss themselves, you dating looks like you’re starting from scratch. Like you’re ready to dump that old life and “move on.”
Yeah. Not so much.
I think that it’s the idea of “moving on” that has a lot of us nervous about dating again. We’re worried that if we find someone new, we’ll have to give up the person we loved. That to find love again means that we have to keep the grieving part of us to ourselves and not let a potentially new significant other see how we will carry this with us always. That in order to be ready to love again, we have to give up the relationship we had with our spouse, otherwise someone new might feel threatened.
Lemme ask you this: If you met a widow and you were interested in dating them, wouldn’t it worry you a little if they didn’t ever talk about their deceased spouse? I mean, I’d want someone who is honest with their feelings. I know that’s very girly, but what can I say? If I met someone who never really talked about how much he missed his deceased wife, I’d wonder about what kind of person he is.
And keep in mind…if you’re not honest about it from the beginning, all it takes is one well-timed glass of chardonnay before you start spilling your guts and you really shock the hell out of them.
Well…maybe that’s just me.
We need to stop thinking of the idea of dating as “replacing.” We need to start thinking of it as “adding.” We’re not trying to replace the person who’s gone. We are trying to add another person who can be comfortable with the idea that it is possible for us to love more than one person. We’re trying to find someone who doesn’t mind sharing our heart with someone who’s not here. It’s just up to us to tell our lost spouse to shove over and make a little room.
I like to think of it as a very spiritual 3-way.
There is no way that we can successfully “get rid of” the person we have lost. That would be like asking us to get rid of a part of us. And I hate to tell you this…but that’s just not possible. And it’s not necessary. There are people out there who can understand that just because you still love your spouse, doesn’t mean that you can’t love them.
It just means that they recognize that you are capable of more love than probably anyone else they know.
Those of us who are widowed do have a unique challenge when it comes to dating. It’s up to us to find someone who not only understands our struggle with the memories of who we’ve lost, but welcomes them into the relationship. To find someone who laughs at our happy memories with us. Who hugs us when we’re feeling blue. Who knows that the person we’ve lost, has helped shape us into the person they love.
The bonus is…when we find that person…we know beyond a shadow of a doubt…we’ve got the pick of the litter.
And so do they.
© Catherine Tidd 2010