Dating is hard. Dating in your late 30s and early 40s is hard. Dating as a widow is hard. And trying to do all three at once is a massive challenge! (I imagine that had I been blessed with children, dating would be nearly impossible!)
[Note: I know that dating as a never-married or divorced person in their late 30s and early 40s is hard, too. But I’ve never done it so can’t speak to those challenges, so will stick to the widowhood stuff. This blog is, after all, about me. But I digress…]
Regular readers may know that the idea of re-entering the dating world was a bit scary and confusing for me, even though I knew Paul would want me to find a new love to share my life with. They’ll also know that I had a frustrating start that led to lots of hurt feelings. But never one to let disappointment hold me back, I tried my hand at online dating again last year. It was an interesting adventure that led me to believe that online dating isn’t for me.
Luckily, towards the end of my online dating experience, I met a real, live man. We went out on a few dates and I started to think that maybe I had found someone I could have a proper relationship with. Sadly, I was wrong. (He’s a great guy, but we’re not a match for whatever reason. It happens. Especially when you’re me.)
But that real-life meeting reminded me of a few important things. Like meeting someone in real-life is way, way better than meeting someone online. After all, when you’re trying to find out if someone is a good match for you based on computer algorithms, you miss out on the all-important chemistry of someone who might be outside of your “ideal” criteria—but you also end up wasting your time meeting with people who might have the “right” look on paper, but there’s absolutely no spark what-so-ever.
And so I’ve decided that I do want to look for someone special—but not by actively looking online. But what does that actually mean?
(Sorry, that was a longer set-up than I expected. I hope you’re still with me …)
Here’s where the really hard part comes in. I am 41 years old. I don’t have an active social life. The limited social I do have involves spending time with married couples who don’t have single friends. I am not the kind of person who just chats up strangers. (Well, I did chat up my late husband. So…) And, of course, I am a widow.
These things all combine to create an impossible a challenging dating situation.
OK, that’s the challenge. Now, what am I going to do about it? Well, I guess I need to get out of the house more to meet more people. And I need to actually talk to people when I’m out.
In my simplistic daydream of the situation, I will simply put on a pretty dress and take myself to a classy cocktail bar on a Friday evening. There, I’ll order a RyanCentric Martini at the bar—and maybe I’ll even enjoy a light dinner, too.
As I sit there, perched on a bar stool, some nice man will glance at me and smile… and we’ll strike up a conversation. We’ll laugh; we’ll flirt; he’ll ask for my phone number. And before you know it, he’s courting me and we’re falling in love.
Aw… isn’t that a lovely idea?
The reality, I’m sure, will be something very different.
But being realistic, the odds of that happening will be higher if I actually put on the dress and leave the house than if I stay home watching television in my pyjamas.
So throughout the rest of March, I am going work on getting out a bit more. I will identify some good places that I can go on my own. I will check out event listings for public talks and seminars where I might meet new people whilst learning new things. And I will remember to smile at, or otherwise acknowledge, any good-looking men I might see when I’m shopping at Waitrose.
And by the time the weather warms up in April and May, I hope to have a little more confidence… which will maybe help me to carry on with the plan to meet someone. Of course, if I don’t meet anyone, at least I’ll have given my confidence a boost. (Hopefully.)
I’m happy to take any tips for how best to chat up a guy at a cocktail lounge (without seeming desperate or “on the clock”) or any other great ideas.
Wish me luck!