Saturday, October 16, 2010

Dating: Why ME?????

I’m going to admit something to you that may sound a little odd, but…when do I not???

The main reason I started dating after my husband died was just to see if I could do it.

I mean, the last time I was “out there” was when I was a freshman in college. Don’t even get me started on the things that had changed since I had been swimming in the dating pool. Now I had to worry about whether or not my date would wonder why I had to take an extra 20 minutes in the bathroom (thank you, Spanx). I had to meet a date in a luxury minivan instead of a cute little beater of a car (although, I did once hear that guys like girls who drive vans. But I think the guy who told me that was envisioning shag carpet and a lava lamp. Not Cheerio crumbs and carseats that would take 2 hours to remove before the party could get started).

And Gravity and I had had a falling out a few years ago when I yelled at her for what she did to me after nursing 3 kids. She can be a real bitch sometimes.

At the time that I started dating, I wasn’t really thinking long-term. I wasn’t thinking that I wanted to get remarried. I wasn’t even thinking about a…let us say…less “shallow” relationship (remember…my mom reads these).

I just wanted to see if this old girl had it in her to get a free drink every once in awhile.

I had no goals when I first started dating, which I actually think was a huge mistake. I hear from a lot of people that they’re unsure of when to start, if they should start, or if they’ll ever start. And the best advice I can give you is…if you think you’d like to start dating…know what you want first and then test the waters. You need ask yourself if you’re looking for something deeper than happy hour…or if you’re more on the “shallow” end.

I did not do that.

I can envision myself now…like Dorothy walking through that scary forest trying to get to the Emerald City, I tip-toed into the world of dating seeking a good conversation and someone who would be at least willing to go dutch. Instead of the Tin Man and Scarecrow by her side, I only had lipstick and a prayer. And instead of meeting up with the Cowardly Lion, I ended up sitting across from a series of finance geeks who never tired of talking about how horrible their ex was/is.

The body hair was about right, though.

By the end of the first year, I was done. No…I mean D-U-N…DONE. Really…once you’ve exhausted the “ex” topic and they’ve asked you enough insensitive questions about your situation…what’s left to talk about? And why are you making me buy my own wine?

This is when I hit a very bitter patch. Why am I doing this???? I am supposed to be happily married, in bed by 9, listening to my husband snore. Not sitting across from some stranger over cheese fries wondering why in the hell anyone would buy a shirt that looks like that.

But, never the quitter, I decided I wouldn’t join the convent just yet. I would just slow down and take my time.

After that, I noticed a pattern that I seemed to develop. I would not date for about a month, get my bearings, and then go out on ONE date. That was good enough for me for about a month. Then I’d get my bearings and go out on another one.

Not only that, but I decided that I would stop dating what seemed like the same guy, over and over again. I would try something new. If I met someone who had a hobby or profession I knew nothing about, I would agree to a date. My hope was that then we wouldn’t be short on conversation.

I once told a friend of mine that I was doing this, and she replied, “Well, it’s nice that you’re now treating your dating life like trading cards. I don’t have one of those so I guess I’ll go out with him.”

I hate to say it…but she was just about right.

The good news is…I loved it. I really didn’t go on any of these dates expecting anything more than conversation about something new and different. I’d got out, meet new people, and usually have a good time. Not only that…it was a good way to steer clear of the landmines that are the “previous relationships.” This meant that there was less of a chance of someone saying to me, “You are soooo lucky you don’t have an ex to deal with!”

I guess what I’m suggesting is…if you’re thinking about venturing into the wide world of dating…don’t take it too seriously. Look at it as the potential to meet someone new. Suggest a restaurant that you’ve never been to before and that way, if it’s a total bust, you’ll at least have tried something different. And…if it’s completely horrible…you’ll walk away with a funny story to tell your friends (nothing entertains my married friends more than when I start off a story with, “You will not believe the guy I went out with the other night!”).

Not every date has to have you thinking, “Could he be the one??” In my opinion, if you get through dinner and ask for the dessert menu, you’re doing pretty good.

And before I wrap this up, there is one more helpful tip that I’d like to leave you with.

If at any point during the date, you start feeling sorry for the other person’s ex-spouse, just walk away. That’s never a good sign.


  1. Great post! Such a weird topic once I was widowed. Everyone wanted to know if I was dating...from the very beginning. Before my husband I never had trouble finding men. I really didn't think dating would be that big a deal after him (except for my own baggage!). Now, five and a half years later I haven't dated yet...not one person has even approached me. So, my question...did you ask these men out or did someone ask you out the first time??

  2. Life is a hoot. I was 59 years old when my hushand died and about a year later I discovered
    My Space...lots of fun posting the videos and other apps...I am creative! Talk about patterns,
    I was very cautious approaching strangers, the perils of online frightened me but the ones I did approach had familiar issues. The first man
    was in bad health...COPD, a widower and lived 1500 miles away from me. My husband had COPD...seeing the pattern? I was out to save the world or at least to help someone in perhaps a way that I was not able to help my soul mate. I learned quickly that I shared NOTHING in common with this man except we both loved cats. I met the first "other side of life." I learned just how naive I truely was and I placed some of the blame on a husband who had over protected the hell out of me. Enter the learning stage of grief. The pattern keeps getting better...better
    in the sense of curosity, being amazed, saying "Whut?" I met one guy who turned out to be a distance about comedic fodder.
    Told my friends all I could met on line was realatives! LOL. Let me add a note about feeling sorry for the ex-spouse ( dead or alive)...if you feel sorry for the guy....RUN.
    My husband knew my nature and told me often, you can't save the world." Wise man. I dated one man, briefly, OMG...I am grateful to him cause if that's all that is out there...I am alone for the remainder of my life and it makes me happy! Wise husband again " your expectations of people are hard to live up to." My husband
    made a valiant effort and he more than met
    my expectations. There in could be my problem
    but it is a problem that I can happily live with
    as opposed to "the other side." Oddly, I am not bitter but embrace the valuable lessons learned.
    So many funny stories...keeps my friends wanting
    more. My friends use to ask me what new craft I was working they ask if I have any new
    adventures in my life to share. LIFE IS A HOOT!
    My Space lasted abou 8 months...that's all I could stand! LOL Did make friends with one man
    and he became a positive experience as an e-mail friend. Living, Learning, and Seeking what makes me happy and I am finding happiness without a male companion. Firm believer in "everything happens for a reason." Always curious...I'll discover that reason...eventually.

  3. Dear Anonymous! I LOVE your response and boy does your husband sound a lot like mine! He said some of those exact same comments to me!!! I sure miss him and that's probably my dating problem too...he set the bar of expectations for me VERY high.

    So far, I have a bunch of funny stories too. And yes my married friends get a lot of chuckles out of them. At least I am happy my hundred thousand "first date" stories provide some entertainment value for others.

    I also like your saying "everything happens for a reason." That's how I try to see it too. Sometimes it takes years before you can look back and see the purpose of an experience. And I am always wondering what it is I am supposed to be learning today...

    Every now and then the dating scene and disappointment of it all does get me down...but I just keep moving forward and am reminded to cherish the memories of my dear sweet husband.

  4. I too have many interesting & funny stories to tell..when I first started dating, I thought, "i wonder if this is the one?". After several missteps & horrible experiences, I started to think, "Well, go out, have a good time, & if you are alone for the rest of your life, then at least you tried & maybe, met a dear friend" after crying myslef to sleep after the first horrible experiences, now, I just shrug it off & say, okay not this time, but maybe next time. I keep my fingers crossed & don't give up hope that there is someone out there for me..I don't give up, but I take critism & experiences with a grain of salt. Not their cup of tea or Thank God, I didn't end up with that loser..LOL..
    I did date someone briefly, very briefly , & I really think God & maybe, my late husband were looking out for me...he was a jerk, a male chauvanist pig & didn't even have the common decency to say, "hey, met someone else, sorry, we aren't going to work out...,just dumped me like a hot potato, no call, no email, nothing...broke my heart & hurt my feelings at the time, but then I started seeing things & signs that this guy really wasn't the guy for me..I am now talking to another nice gentleman, talking & taking things slow, but we are a lot alike & he is respectful & easy to talk to, not getting my hopes up, but for right now, he does seem pretty great & maybe that other guy dumping me, was so I could meet someone that was for me..who knows? take it with a grain of salt, chalk up that last guy dumping me, to experience on who & what I don't want in my life & go on, to maybe meeting someone special & if not, then I am happy with myself..

  5. @WidowIsland: The first person I dated was someone I had known for a long time (even before I met my husband). He got a divorce right when my husband died, so I naturally thought it was fate!!! NOT SO MUCH. :>) But I'm a big fan of internet dating. I know other people have mixed things to say about it, but, if you don't take it too seriously, it can be a lot of fun. :>)

    You guys crack me up. I don't think it's possible to do this without a sense of humor. I looove hearing the stories. It's the spice of life!! :>)

  6. Oh my dating stories are my most popular blog posts, still, even after I'm remarried. Widowed dating - the Google gold mine.

    Gold being like a quarter here and there, yanno...