No one said that dating was going to be easy, but I didn’t expect it to be as difficult as it’s been. Part of that, I suppose, is because I had this naïve notion that I’d just meet someone, sparks would fly, and the rest would be a lovely little fairy-tale. After all, that’s how it happened last time.
After my first foray into dating, followed by my first attempts at online dating, I should have known that it would be a bit of a challenge. Yet when I decided I was finally ready to really try my hand at dating, I allowed that naïve hope to take over once again.
But here I am, still without someone to plan a holiday with. Not for want of trying.
So, what’s the problem? Well, I’ve run into a few issues.
Not the least of which were a couple of “helpful” friends who decided to try their hands at sorting out my dating life. Sadly, their actions actually made things worse because they took it upon themselves to communicate with people on my behalf – in ways that didn’t help me out in the slightest. (I’m trying to find the positive in it all but, to be honest, I’m very angry about their meddlesome ways.)
And on top of that, a few people I know(ish) thought they would share their views about how wrong it is for me to be dating in the first place because, as a widow, I am duty-bound to mourn my husband for the rest of my life. Yes, some people feel my desire to date is a betrayal to Paul, as well as to his family and friends. (Paul would disagree with that.)
But those dissenting voices really did shake me a bit and even caused me to question my desire to date. After all, if people I haven’t seen in many years feel that I’m a horrible person for trying to find happiness, I must be! (Don’t worry, I only spent a few days entertaining those ridiculous opinions before deleting the offenders from my Facebook account and moving on.)
Of course, it’s not been all bad.
I met a few nice people for coffee in the first few weeks of my return to dating. Of those, I made plans for second meetings with two of them – one of whom we mutually decided a third meeting wasn’t necessary; we just didn’t click.
The second of those men, however, I met with a handful of times. In between meetings, we exchanged emails and a few text messages. But something was missing. I don’t know what it was, I don’t know if it was him or me or a combination of the two. I just know that I didn’t feel the spark*.
But I received messages from even more men that I didn’t meet up with.
Some of those messages were highly inappropriate. Some were from men with who I just didn’t feel a connection. And some were just plain rude (for a variety of reasons).
Then there was the man I messaged back-and-forth with a bit – and whose path I cross offline on occasion – but nothing came of it. Frustratingly, that’s because he never actually manned up to ask me out, despite his willingness to continue emailing. My last message was clear: I don’t need a pen-pal so ask me out or go away. Sadly, he went away. (Still, I admit to kind of hoping he’ll get back in touch about meeting up. I don’t know why.)
The madness of it all has prompted me to deactivate my online dating account. I just don’t think it’s the right place for me.
So here I am, more than five years after my husband died, and I still haven’t had a new first kiss. I still haven’t held someone’s hand or snuggled with someone on the couch. Some days, I wonder if those things will ever happen for me again. But I try not to dwell on it too much. (Too much being a relative term!)
Again, it’s a bit hard to share this so publicly, but I know that several widow(er)s are following my journey and that they find comfort in knowing they’re not alone. Of course, I’m sure that non-widow(er)s may also find some comfort in knowing that dating drama happens to everyone – not just to them!
As for me, I don’t know what I’ll do. I don’t know if I’ll reactivate my account or if I’ll consider other match-making formats**.
But I do know that I’m not giving up on the idea of meeting someone new. Maybe it will happen when I’m actively seeking someone or maybe it will happen by pure chance or divine intervention. Time will tell.
I have to admit that I wish it would happen soon though. And not just because I want to go on a nice holiday without having to pay the dreaded single supplement!
Don’t worry though, I’m not alone. I have loads of friends to spend time with. In fact, I’m heading out to do that just now! (And who knows, maybe I’ll meet the man of my dreams when we’re out this afternoon!)
* I don’t believe you have to have an instant spark, but if it’s not there by a second or third date, that’s a problem. But isn’t it funny how you can have a sparkless friend for years then all of the sudden develop a spark? (It’s never happened to me, but I can see how it could.)
** I don’t fully buy into the “you won’t find him if you’re looking” camp, but am rather a member of the “you won’t find him until you’re ready” brigade. And by ready, I mean ready to share your life with someone else; ready to feel vulnerable with someone else; ready to love someone else. And I am ready. I really, really am. (And not just for the kissing; I’m ready for the fighting part, too!)