03 April 2012

Grievances of Dating

I guess I'll start this post out by saying that Z and I decided to split. After a year together, it was time to take a break from one another to really evaluate what we each want out of life. I'm obviously not going too far into it because it's a personal matter but I will say we remain friends and he was a very important part of my life for a year and I will never forget the time we shared even though I've decided we should go our separate ways.

Our split happened about a month or so ago and I decided I really want to see what is out there in the world. Or better yet - who. I never really dated like an adult. You know, went on dates, that sort of thing. I had a long term boyfriend from high school to college, then Jonny and I met shortly after I graduated college and fell in love - it was so easy for us, I was and am so lucky - and then got married.  I tried dating for a while (a little known fact that I don't discuss because I don't really like hearing people's opinions on my personal life) and then I met Z and settled in with him for a year. I know I'm getting pretty personal and I know I'm going to get all kinds of comments on this and I'll just put it out right now mean/hurtful ones will not be tolerated, they will be deleted and you'll be wasting your time and energy typing it out.

So anyway, I've decided I want to try to date. Not to get serious, not to get the booty from every guy in town (I'm actually on a strictly no-booty-for-a-long-while program, if you need to know) but to date. If anything, make some new friends. Since I don't really have many single friends anymore, I did what more people than you think might do, and I joined Match.

Here's where the grievance sets in. So on match, you can put what you're looking for. You fill out an "ideal match" section so to speak. Then every day, you're sent profiles of people you might get along with. So I check them out, see if anyone sparks an interest and go from there. One of the first things I look at is what they're looking for. Specifically the part where it says about kids and relationship status.

The issue I'm having is these guys will check off "never married, divorced, separated" etc. etc. They'll check off every box but widowed. Basically saying, I'm willing to date any kind of person, even one not even all the way broken up, as long as they aren't widowed. Honestly, it kind of gets to me.

Being a widowed person is challenging, oh hell yes it is, and being friends with a widowed person, even more being in a relationship with one, I'm sure is beyond strenuous. You can ask Z, it ain't no walk in the park. But to be completely closed off to dating a widowed person? Well, you might just be missing the best thing you could ever get.

I get it. "Baggage" is a word that comes to mind. For me though, I'm not going to hide my widowed-ness. I won't change it to "divorced" because I'm not. I still love my husband with all my heart, but I'm open to loving someone new, as well. I'm not even looking to love someone new right now to be honest, just to see what is out there, but the idea of loving someone again is not something that I am opposed to (obviously, because I was in a just-shy-of-a-year long relationship). Do I have my "baggage"? Well, I suppose you could call it that. I've got a husband that I love dearly who is no longer with me and a daughter that he created with me who I love with all my heart. In my mind, that's not baggage - but I know to others it may be. But I also have a husband who wanted, above all things, to see me happy, and I know that even though he is not with me, that is still his wish for me. I won't settle for less than happiness.

There's a stigma that widows don't or shouldn't date. To me that's complete hogwash. Why do we deserve less than others? Why should we have to be alone? Why don't we deserve to share our lives with someone? It is perfectly possible and acceptable to love someone new while still loving and honoring your spouse in Heaven. Is it awkward? Yup, it's awkward for both the dating persons and the friends of them. I know that friends of my husband have felt weird about me dating, but it's not their life. That's the long and short of it. It's my life and I know I deserve happiness. I want someone to share my life with, to share joy and sorrow with, to share responsibilities with, the whole nine; and it is not fair for someone who has never walked in these shoes to tell me that looking for someone to love (or even just spend time with) is wrong. It's also not fair that anyone would be opposed to meeting me because I'm widowed. Do you have to love me and spend your life with me? Nope, if it turns into something you can't handle or you don't want to handle, that's fine. But to be completely opposed to the idea? Ouch. I'm still a woman. I'm still hilarious (or at least, I think so). I still like having fun. Do I have bad days? Oh definitely. Do I miss my husband every single stinkin' day? Yup. Do I still incorporate him in my daughter and my life? You betcha! But I'm still just a person! A person who's been through a lot, sure, but a person who is funny and life loving and moderately attractive, too!

So there. There are my grievances on dating. I'm going to repeat this because I know you little anonymous turds out there - mean/hurtful will not be tolerated. I deserve happiness, and if you think I don't, your words are meaningless. I hope this might help a fellow widowed person out there who may want to pursue dating or is dating and dealing with the obstacles of widowed dating. Besides everyone having some sort of input on what we're doing, dating as a widow is a challenge. It's really putting yourself out there. There are about 243180571 emotions involved in it and it is certainly not easy. To my widowed friends - do what makes you happy. To my non-widowed friends, please don't judge when you have no idea what it is like in these shoes. And to the singles out there and looking, don't write us off because we're widowed, I know so many awesome widows out there you are going to be sadly missing! Life is about taking chances. Take the chance to put yourself out there, take a chance on something new, take a chance to hear a person's story before making a judgement.

As an addendum: Being more focused on what I'm doing with my own life, I forgot to add this in until just now (scatterbrained, what can I say?). There are also widows who choose not to date. Young and old alike. That's cool, too. If you are in a position where you don't want to date, then don't date. There are people who have their opinions on that as well (You're young, you'll find love again. What haven't you started dating your husband's been gone xxx years, etc. etc.) If you're happy not dating then be happy. And if your widowed friend is happy not dating, leave her (or him) alone. I spoke about dating because that's where I am in my life and the issues I'm facing, but there are others who choose the opposite and still face issues of opinions and judgers. The choice to date or not date is a personal one that can only be decided by the person. In the end the only answer is to be true to yourself and do what brings you happiness.

84 comments:

  1. I for one think it's WONDERFUL that you've decided to date. I see absolutely no reason you should spend the rest of your life alone. Like you said, you can still honor Jonny and his memory while moving on with part of your life. It doesn't mean you're replacing him or forgetting him. It means you're an adult who is trying to be HAPPY with life.

    I'm sorry some people are judging you so harshly for your personal choices, when in reality, they're none of their business.

    As long as you're true to yourself (and Ariana!), that's what really matters. ♥

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  2. Kudos to you. I'm also a young widow and it is soooo rough dating. You meet a guy and he says he's ok with the widow thing but then they complain becuse I still have love for my late husband...What that was supposed to die with him or I should hide it..ah no!! I've lost contact with some of his friends because they were pissed at me dating but I'm not gonna be alone. So I say have some fun girl you deserve it!!!

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  3. Don't give up on Match, just yet. :) I met my fiancee on Match, and we have 4 other couples in our lives that have met/married from there.

    I get what you are saying and honestly, Rachel, I would think you have LESS baggage than someone who is divorced. Both have their challenges, but I don't think it should be a deal breaker.

    Maybe people are afraid of what they don't know?

    Regardless, you deserve to be happy and to find someone who wants to spend time with you. You didn't ask to be a widow. Jonny didn't up and leave you and Ariana. He was killed serving his country.

    If anything, you should be loved, cared about and cherished by whomever wants to be in your life.

    DON'T SETTLE FOR LESS!!

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  4. Good for you! Enjoy your time dating and meeting new people- that's all you can do! You can only do so much :) Good luck and have fun!

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  5. Wow. Probably like most people who haven't walked in your shoes, I've never thought about or noticed that most places don't offer "widowed" as a relationship option. But now that you mention it, it seems obvious! I hope you write Match and other places and ask them to get with the program. And kudos to you for getting back out there. SoldierMan jokes that if he dies, I have to become a nun, but geez, the thought of dating freaks me out. Above all, be happy! :)

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  6. It is your life, and you must do what makes you happy. You are still young, have a long life ahead of you, and you deserve to live your life to the fullest.

    My parents were together for almost 40 years when my mom passed away. My dad started dating again, and I am glad he did. He loves my mom, but he still deserves to be happy in his life. The same goes for you. Good luck in the dating world! I met my husband on match many years ago. I hope you have the same luck as me!

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  7. Thank you for this! I am newly widowed. 6 months out to be exact. He was medically retired, passed away in my arms at home. Anyhow, Thank you thank you thank you.. It's nice to know that there are people out there who understand how I feel.. After reading this I think I will make baby steps towards maybe going out with someone..
    much love and appreciation to you :)
    Carrie " Sgt R's Wife"

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  8. Rachel,
    You are smart, you are amazing and you will always know what is best for you...go for it girl!

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  9. Wow, what an open and honest post. Although I do not know you personally, I have been reading your blog for years and I must say that when I read that you are trying to see what else is out there I felt proud of you. You deserve everything that you want. You deserve to not feel like you have to be in a relationship after all you have been through. You are not baggage, you are a beautiful package that any guy would be lucky to have. I'm am sure that Z was a great guy but it is ok to feel like right now you just need to date. I hope that you find away to feel happy and at peace.

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  10. Just to play devils advocate here; maybe these guys that are on matches associate "widow" with someone older. I know that seems shallow but in all reality the percentage of widowed spouses finder 40 is pretty small. I highly doubt they're all opposed to dating a widow, I'm guessing they just associate it with someone older. Keep your head up girl :)

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  11. Girl I say do what makes you happy. I'm sure he would want you to be happy. I will be praying that God will guide you to the right person for you and your little girl.

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  12. I lost my first husband by a drunk driver car accident, it took a long time for me to feel ok about dating anyone but when I was ready and started seeking out new friends I found that many guys had a problem with what they saw as competing with a ghost. A sainted ghost at that! Now 19 yrs after his death and 15 years with my Marine, I'll tell you, it takes a special guy to not see someone you loved and lost as competition. Part of why C says he fell in love with me was how much he knew I'd loved J. Don't give up happiness is waiting in the arms of a strong & confident man, he's out there somewhere. You deserve happiness and so does Ari!

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  13. No judging here! The shoes you must wear are a pair I would not to ever try on...or have my daughters ever know! My prayers are lifted daily for you and your little girl. It's not my place (or anyone else's place IMHO) to offer you any "you should" comments. Your road is yours to walk...we are here only to offer support and love.
    Hugs....
    ~AM

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  14. Rachel--- ahhhh tugs at my heart.....
    YOU DESERVE TO BE LOVED.... HELD... KISSED...TOLD YOU'RE BEAUTIFUL...
    I hope that you find a love like what you had with Jonny. (It wont be the same but you know what i' m talking about) Glad Z helped you through a lot. He seems like a good guy->some people just grow apart.
    For those that can't move forward and be happy for you, you don't need. You need to move forward --not forget but move forward.

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  15. Good for you!! I think putting yourself out there is one of the bravest things you can do. It is your life, explore, live your dreams, and never look back. Keep your heart open and you will always find peace in that.

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  16. I wonder if maybe people in a certain age bracket just don't even imagine there BEING that many widows to bother checking the box? Just another thought! I think it's great the message you are putting out there. Each person has to make choices for their happiness and while some widows may choose never to date again others should have the right to choose differently without being judged!

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  17. Theres nothing wrong with wanting happiness, but you have to also understand alot of people out there will not understand what your going through, they just see the word "widowed" and think the worst. It's unfortunatly peoples ingnorance that blinds them. We still live in a society that mostly only cares about whats on the outside, not the inside. They see widowed and probably think something crazy has happened or that you would be in your terms (and probably theirs) extra baggage. You have to find the one person who doesn't just see one small part of the picutre but the whole picture it's self. =]

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  18. You are a rockstar. Thank you for keeping it real. I admire your strength and your ability to be vulnerable. You are woman to be admired. Thank you!!!!

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  19. I appreciate you writing this. I have been following your blog for awhile now and the bulk of what you write I can definitely relate to. I was widowed 6 months after we got married. Widowed at 20 years old (and less than 2 weeks before my 21st bday). It has been just shy of 4 months that I've been going at this - and where I am in NO position to date right now, I know that eventually I WILL date again in the future. I think about it a lot and have a lot of questions about it - and I just really appreciate what you said! Thank you.

    I think it's very admirable that you are doing things for YOU - something I am trying to learn... that it's okay to ignore everyone else and focus on myself.

    Also one note - When most people think of widow/ers they think of the elderly - perhaps that's the reason they don't mark that they are interested in a widow? Either way it sucks. Wish more people were open minded. As you said, I know some incredible widows out there that I'm sure men are missing out on!

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  20. Great post! You are absolutely right about everything! Good for you and your honesty and confidence! Maybe they don't check off "widowed" because a lot of people don't realize how young widows can be these days; maybe they associate it with age? At any rate, if someone doesn't want the extra "baggage" they they are not strong and secure enough for you anyway!

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  21. GREAT Post Girl..I think its GREAT that your trying out new things.I have tons of friends that met on Eharmony its kinda crazy but it really works lol.. Good luck girl..

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  22. Good for you! You are so right, this is such a personal decision and no one should judge you for what you choose to do with your life. You definitely deserve to be happy and no one knows what is going to make you happy but you. You have to do what is right for you and your situation. Everyone has "baggage". You and your daughter and everything you have been through is life, not baggage. I'm sorry that this is something that is so difficult and at times painful. I truly hope you find someone who loves you for all that you are - a strong, loving, amazing woman, mother and wife!

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  23. Support to you in your dating journey! I dated a little during a split, before my husband and I decided to tie the knot, and I can totally sympathize (even as a non-widow) with how tough it is...hopefully you'll find what you're looking for! Everyone deserves a shot at happiness, just like you've mentioned.

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  24. If you don't mind my two cents, personally, I think when people think "widowed", they usually think of much older couples and don't really associate "widow" with people in our age group. I grew up with a widowed grandma and widowed elders so I guess I had a sub-concious idea that when you think "widow", you think of older folks that have reached their end mark. It wasn't until I stumbled upon AWP and met a new coworker who was a widow when I realized that widows/widowers can be at ANY age.

    Regardless, I don't see how being a widow can be seen as "baggage" because let's face it, we all have baggage regardless of relationship status!

    Do what's right for you and anyone who says you don't deserve happiness can well....let's just say it's not very nice and probably would cause for censorship LOL

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  25. I have to wonder if the guys just do not think Widow applies to people their age. Know what I mean? I wonder if they do not intentionally not choose it- they just do not get that there are wonderful people like you out there that have been dealt that horrible blow.
    Regardless- good for you! Dating is scary no matter what your situation/past includes... good luck friend!

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  26. I think you a very strong and amazing women who wants/needs to get out there and see what the world has to offer.It in no way means that you don't love your husband because you always will it just means that you are willing to love someone else too.
    I met my husband online after a bad divorce. I had given up and decided that I would raise my kids as a single mom and that would be wonderful.A girlfriend signed me up for yahoo dating(now Match)she didn't tell me. He sent me a very simple message and it went from there. When we met for the first time I knew He was the one and we have been together 4 years and married 1 1/2.
    I believe that everyone has more than 1 soul mate and I hope that you find your other half again.Keep loving your husband and enjoy the challenges of dating.Good Luck and have FUN!!!!

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  27. Good for you! You deserve to be happy and live a fulfilled life! Good luck to you and your sweet baby girl. Don't ever stop chasing what will make you happy.

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  28. Good for you! I love that you have such a thirst for life and all it has to offer. Don't ever stop chasing what makes you happy. You and your sweet baby girl deserve nothing less!

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  29. Good for you! You can't live your life trying to please others, you have to do what's right for you. I also lost my husband when my son was 4 yrs old. Eventually, I found my current husband on eHarmony and we now have a blended family of 5 kids, including our 1 yr old daughter. I'm sure some didn't agree with what I did, but they aren't in our position and have no room to judge. We can't stop living for ourselves and our children, our husbands wouldn't have wanted that. Fortunately, I didn't run into the issues you have about dating sites and being widowed. I'm wondering if it's an age difference, I'm in my 30's. I'm also in Maryland and I met my husband a month after he relocated here for a job from Jacksonville after getting out of a 16 yr career in the Marines

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  30. I hate that you even have to defend your choices to people who have most likely never been in your shoes. My mom was widowed at 37 years old and it seemed like everyone judged her afterward. Why aren't you completely falling apart? How can you even think of dating? Why aren't you spending all your time with your kids? Why aren't you stronger for your kids? (You see the contradictions?) I know she would never, EVER judge any decision you made because you have to do what's best for you and your daughter, no matter what anyone else thinks.

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    Replies
    1. Interesting perspective to hear what our children may be feeling as well. Thank you Courtney. There are so many contradictions in the judgments so it's important we tune into our hearts and remain true to who we are and what we really want in life.

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  31. It does seem wrong for someone to be closed off to the idea of dating someone who is widowed...they could be missing out on someone great (YOU!) but then that just isn't the person for you. I truly believe there is someone wonderful out there for you!

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  32. I absolutely love all these comments, so ditto. You desereve to be happy!

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  33. Rachel, in the time that I've known you through college...I think that you have become more and more extraordinary. I read your blog pretty often, and a lot of times I can imagine you talking to me when I read it. Your post was so good...I think that everyone deserves happiness, and everyone's path to happiness is different. Z is an amazing guy for realizing that and not judging like many many people seem to do...and I know there will be many many more out there! I hope that you get everything you want from the dating experience!

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  34. I think it's bullshit that people expect you to never date. You can love your husband and still find happiness with someone else.

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  35. I love love love this! I wish I had enough balls to write about this! I thought about it constantly because dating has been such a complete mess! However, you have been courageous enough to go out there and talk about it, which is amazing! You'll definitely help others because I always thought I was the only one having a tough time. Love you bestest widow lady friend!

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  36. (apologies if this is a duplicate post)

    You're right in saying that these guys are the ones losing out, but I don't think you're losing much. No, it's not fair to you, but I suspect the problem is their insecurity in not being able to deal with the fact that you still love Jonny. I doubt you want or need the complications of that insecurity in your life or in your daughter's life.

    Stay strong, do what you believe is right, and don't settle for anyone who isn't smart and secure enough to see what you have to offer.

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  37. I don't think that guys are ruling out "widowed" they probably just don't think someone in the age parameters they have selected could possibly be a widow! I hope you find many friends, happy experiences, and find someone with whom you love with every ounce of your being as they do you. For me, I worry what will my in-laws think of "the guy" or his buddies even because I will never meet someone who had as many wonderful qualities as my late husband. I won't settle for a jackass but just don't think it's possible to find someone as remarkable. Best of luck to you on this adventure! Trish

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  38. You have every right to be happy!! Great post!

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  39. hopefully no meanie turds comment on this because until they've walked in your shoes how can they say a darn thing. I think its wonderful. I've been following your blog for awhile now and I just think its wonderful and I hope you find amazing happiness in that department someday! I wonder if guys associate widow like old or something? that's weird. I think all of us military wives think about us being in this situation and I can only hope that I would handle it with as much grace and awesomeness as you have. There's someone out there that could only hope to deserve someone as amazing as you and your daughter

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  40. I'm sorry you are facing a challenge that makes your next part of your life all the *more* challenging. Sometimes people just don't think. I hope that the right doors open for you, and that the person who will complete you, but not replace the irreplaceable, comes into your life soon.

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  41. My husband and I have had those "If/when the day comes that I leave you..." conversations, and I would assume that most military wives, given that the likely hood of our husbands death is more so than that of civilian wives due to the potential hazards, have also had that conversation. (Or is this not typical?)

    I would think that anyone wouldn't be so selfish (may not be the best word, but I can't think of a better one at the moment) as to tell their spouse "If I die, you can never find happiness with anyone else ever again." And I've read your words about Jonny and you've described him in such a loving thoughtful way all this time, I can only imagine he'd want you to be happy.

    I'm so glad that you've chosen to pursue that. You're a wonderful girl and you deserve to smile in the company of someone who cares for you, too!

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  42. I'm sorry about your split with Z. I hope you have a positive experience dating and meet people who look past the "widow" status they see on your dating profile and appreciate you for you. I'm glad you are confident and sure of yourself- stay that way and don't give up even if some dates don't work out. Have fun and be confident that you will eventually find someone great, because you are a great catch!

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  43. You deserve Happiness! Go for it!!! Match and eharmony are so set on getting you "good" matches the ask so many questions... I wish you luck and happiness darling.

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  44. I think you are doing right. It is probably too soon to get attached just yet; only you can be the judge of that. As for mean comments, no, nobody who has not been widowed knows what it is like. As far as the match-thing, since it is for younger people (I assume), whoever thought up the site was probably not even thinking "widow." You think of old people when you think "widow" or "widower," but that frequently is not the case. Many people become widowed at a young age due to war, sickness, accidents, or even suicide. You should write to the site and ask tell them that and ask them to include "widowed." It may just have been an oversight. P.S. I think you are fighting to heal and are very brave.

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  45. Wow.. You are so speaking my mind on everything.. I lost my husband in a plane crash one and a half year back and I have a son who came two months after his death. You are lucky to live in a society who is open minded to dating and having time to cope with your grief. In my part of the world.. Dating is taboo.. People expect me to get married to the first person who shows interest! I'm a doctor and 26 years old. You think I'd get some respect but no. And to top it off.. Men in our society they won't accept you with your child! It's horrendous! Pray that we get through this difficult time. I follow your blog. It's amazing! God bless you!

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  46. Rachel, you know what is best for you. Follow your heart and you will find happiness. Pay no attention to the jerks who are negative. Love ya, girl, {{{Hugs}}}

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  47. Just going out on a limb, but I think that many young men might leave the "widow" box unchecked because they picture widows as being older women. It is really hard for many early-20-somethings to wrap their brains around young, fun, exciting young women being "old enough" to be a widow. I would venture to guess that the idea of baggage is you projecting (and I'm not trying to hurt your feelings, just that I think it is probably more innocent) ;).

    You have every right in the world to date. You have every right in the world to be as happy as you can be. I hope that you can find some great men who will spoil you and show you a great time. And then one day, when you are ready, I hope you find someone to hold your hand through life.

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  48. You and your daughter deserve nothing but the best in life!!!! Internet dating is truly an adventure...been there done that and actually lucked out.

    God Bless You two!!!!! Go have a blast!!!

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  49. You are awesome, Rachel, and you deserve all the happiness in the world! I'm impressed that you have managed to move forward in your life, despite the sadness over your husband's passing. Good for you!

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  50. Dear Rachel,
    Like Caroline who posted above, I don't know you personally, but feel such pride when I read of decisions you are making in your life, such as buying your house and moving on after Z, as difficult as that must be. I'm wondering if the Match issue is because many people don't think of young, vivacious, fun-loving people when they think of widows. It makes me think of Taryn's interview when she talked about Googling the word "widow" and Google asked her if she meant "window". Those guys are probably envisioning someone old and tired. I hope and pray that things work out of you and your daughter. You make the rest of us military wives so proud. -Sara

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  51. I think that its great that you're dating and being open about it- you will not only be helping yourself through this whole process, but also other women (or men) in a similar situations! Not sure if anyone made this comment because I didn't read through what others wrote, but maybe the widow box isn't checked because guys in their 20's and 30's aren't thinking that women in their age range can be widows!?! I think you should sit back and see who contacts you first, you might be surprised! Maybe you will find a widower who understands the feelings and emotions that you deal with!? But, seriously I wish you the best of luck- I think it's great that you're getting out there and dating!

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  52. Good for you! You go, girl! This sounds like a perfect mixture for you, your daughter, and anyone else who comes into your life.

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  53. I'm the mother of a fallen Marine and he was married. While we don't keep in touch like I would like to (her choice) I will say that I hope and pray she starts (or is) dating again one day when she is ready. You are right, you deserve to be happy and find love again and I agree that you can find love again (when you are ready and it's right) and still honor your husband. Heck, you can marry again (and I hope one day you do and I do my daughter in law) and still honor your husband. I will say this (my opinion), if you meet someone who can't respect your honoring your husband and especially since you have a daughter together, they are not good enough for you. You deserve someone who can embrace your past with love and understading and if you don't feel that from this new person I would suggest keep looking. They are out there. I promise. My son was my only child and I love him more than words can express and I miss him even more, but I would never want his wife to not move on one day and find true love and happiness again and I know without a doubt my son would want the same for her. I'm sure your Johnny feels the same way. God bless you.

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  54. I am glad that you want to "look around" instead of settling (by all means I don't mean you were going to settle with Z). It's a good thing you want to see what your options are and venture into areas you've never gone before. You'll stumble before you walk...

    Online dating I did that for a bit and ugh :( I will tell you when looking at the area that isn't checked widow check the age group opened too. I left my age group open but did not click the widow part. That doesn't mean if a person who lost their spouse contacted me I wouldn't be up to talking. I would also take the time to type out "no service members" because I live in an area full of them. And they would still contact me (usually to say they aren't all bad). I actually met my husband through a friend. We became friends, talked, spent a lot of time with each other. It was other people around us that said we were dating.

    Sometimes the one for you isn't where you think it would be...

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  55. Just stopping by and was surprised by this wonderful post! You do what's write. Throughout my own grief with my wounded husband, I have found that it's a long, strange every-evolving beast and no one's going to be harder on me about my mistakes than myself, so the judgement I've received as not been well-received.

    I don't think people think about what "widowed" really means. It's just a word that describes your past just like "divorced" can. Hell, divorce has got to have more shit than being widowed, maybe! I hope you overcome this stigma stupid people place on you and meet some truly amazing people. I had some trash relationships before I got married, but I had some great ones too- all of which helped make me the wife I am. I value all I learned from them and am so glad I dated (maybe too much, but I wasn't into serious relationships too much) before I got married. You go get 'em, Mrs. P!

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  56. I am so happy for you. You are so sound,strong, and brave. My husband, a naval officer, left me after 19 years of marriage, which has been so devastating for me and our two daughters. I had been a stay at home mother and house wife moving around every two years with the navy all over the world. I do not want people to pitty me and I find it very hard to start over again and I just like you get those opinions from people about how I should spend my future life. Just follow your heart Allison, and expect there to be an abundance of happiness and love for you in the future. Best of luck. Kind´regards,

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  57. I wish you all the best. You are so sound, strong and brave. I understand what you are going through. Expect nothing but an abundance of love and happiness in the future. I am in a similar position but a bit different. My husband, a naval officer, left me after 19 years of marriage, so here I stand, 40 something, divorced, two daughters, and I have been a home maker/ stay at home mother/ navy wife for our entire marriage. Am I allowed to go forward with my life? Some people seem to expect me to stay in a miserable shape forever. I too get many opinions of how I should conduct my life. I do not want people to pity me, even though I an sad beyond words, I want to be able to move on in life, which I will do, with or without peoples' permission. Good luck to you!

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  58. I tried match a few years ago, and it was great to meet people and was helpful in figure out what I wanted in a partner. I didn't end up dating anyone long term, but I have since met someone who is a perfect match for me. Best of luck, you deserve happiness.

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  59. I think that you was more strength than you even know, I hope that one day you do find someone who is going to except you for you and all that you have to offer. Everyone does deserve to be happy...YOU deserve to be happy it's your life and you should live it any way that you see fit. I wish you nothing but the best.

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  60. Good luck with dating!

    You shouldn't be judged. You deserve to be happy.

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  61. You need to do what's best for you and your precious girl, and only YOU can determine that. And for those negative commenters? Don't even give them the satisfaction of deleting them.....let the ugly speak for itself.
    Be happy.
    H

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  62. Great post! I just retired from the Army; if anything had happened to me, I would want my wife to have your attitude about this. My father died when I was 9 (cancer). After about three years, my mom married my second father. They have been together for 30+ years now. She still loved my dad, I'd say still does to this day. That does not mean she doesn't love WA (dad #2) also.
    Semper Fi does not mean Semper Alone!!!

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  63. Great post!! What's less baggage: someone who had a positive relationship but suffered a tragedy _or_ someone who suffered thru some type of dysfunctional relationship?!? I just retired from the Army, and if anything had happened to me, I'd hope my wife had the same attitude as you. Also, when I was 9, my dad died (cancer). After 3-odd years, she married my second father and they are still together 30+ years later. She still loves my dad just like she loves WA (my 2nd dad). You can say the same for me. If that is baggage

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  64. Hugs. I know how pissed I get when I'm on Match and guys I think would be great potential dates have "Never Married" in there preferences. You don't know what you could be missing out on and that's what gets me upset. BUT...I can honestly say that had I never been married and divorced, I would probably be inclined to do the same. As much as being with a man who has never been divorced is appealing to me, I almost would rather be with someone who has been so they know some of what I've gone through. Anytime I date someone who is not equally yoked, it is a disaster. I've got baggage...big time baggage, but I'm waiting for the right guy to come along and tell me it truly doesn't matter. That's when I'll know he's a keeper...the same goes for you. Hugs. xoxo

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  65. You and your daughter deserve to be happy! I believe that those who judge others are people who have never been in that situation. You are an amazingly strong and courageous woman and I look up to you. I wish you the best in life and I am very happy to have found your blog!

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  66. I had a friend who lost his wife to cancer, they were in their mid 20's with two daughters. I thought he was so brave! I was a single mom (never married) & seeing a single dad be courageous, really inspired me. When you're a single mom, single dads can be really attractive! Long story short, he found a sweet lady to marry a few years later, & they now have another (3rd) daughter. To this day, he still commemorates her every birthday & anniversary, even though he is happily married. Its awesome! I have another friend, a girl this time, who had been married only a few months, no children, when she & her husband were in a serious car accident & he passed away. She waited several years to date again & is still dating to this day. Dating is tough, no matter what your baggage, divorced, widowed, teen mom (me), or never married. I think you are brave for dating & deserve a big hug! Getting back in the saddle so to speak takes courage. God will open your eyes to the one He has for you...all the others will be obsolete. Johnny will be with you always but our hearts are big enough to love all kinds of people, even multiple husbands!! Wishing you luck!
    current wife of a former army seargent

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  67. I just stumbled across your blog and normally I wouldn't comment but I sit here in tears for you. Your story is powerful. I won't forget it. My husband is in the military serving in the M.E. right now and my heart just exploded reading your posts. I don't know you anymore than what I have read in the last 20 minutes, but I know you are strong. I just wanted to share that.

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  68. Enjoy dating! And tell everyone who tells you differently to suck it! I have a childhood friend who lost her husband as well overseas, and it has been heartaching for me to watch her recoup and attempt to heal. I am going to share your blog with her because you shine with hope! Bless you and good luck on your next journey!

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  69. Somehow I missed this a few weeks ago. Hang in there. Hope you are getting out and meeting people and having fun. You deserve that.

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  70. It's my hope for you that you find that special someone that fills as much of the void in your life as possible. I know there will never be a complete filling of that void, but when you are ready (and you will know), you will know the one that will be not only right for you, but for your little girl and will also allow you to continue honoring your husband and even expect you to and will help you honor him. Keep the faith that this will happen and know that a complete stranger prays for you, your daughter, and your heart.

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  71. Hi girl. My mother was widowed when she was young like you. You have to get out there a date. You're life can't stop and your friends need to accept that. I am sure you will find someone great eventually and he will respect what you and your husband had.

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  72. My parents are divorced and both have partners that they have been with for years. My sister and I were talking one day about someone our age (twenties) who was dating someone with a baby - I have to admit that we may have judged them at first but then my sister said something so simple and sweet that it changed my whole perspective. She said, if Hank (our stepdad) had decided he didn't want to date anyone with kids, he wouldn't be in our life. He wouldn't be around to laugh with my mom and make her happy. He wouldn't be around to take care of us. It's amazing how much of a blessing he is in our lives and I truly appreciate that he didn't NOT date my mom just because she had three kids. I know it's not the same as being widowed but your post really hit home for me. As you said, you deserve to be happy - everyone deserves to be happy - and to not give someone a shot just because they are widowed is so sad. You might be the best person for them and they might not have the pleasure of meeting you. I hope you find your happiness. : )

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  73. This post needs a "like" button. It's so frustrating to be dismissed because the path our lives took us on-that we most certainly didn't ask for-and the assumptions that come with it, though it seems no one ever thinks to ask us how we really feel.

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  74. This post needs a "like" button. It's so frustrating to be dismissed because the path our lives took us on-that we most certainly didn't ask for-and the assumptions that come with it, though it seems no one ever thinks to ask us how we really feel.

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  75. First of all, I have to say I have been reading your blog on and off for 2 years, and always find your posts to leave an impression with me. I think it is brave and courageous to want to date again, and seek your own happiness. To open yourself up like that takes guts. Kudos to you!

    Second, I wondered while reading this particular post if the people who are matched with you based on your information don't check "widowed" because there is the stigma of age with widowed, and not because they aren't open to the idea of dating a widow in their age bracket.

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  76. Remember the wise words of Dr. Seuss "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."

    You're not the first person I've met who has issues with "Widowed" not being a choice, but when reading about Match my first thought was, Widows are old, that's why they're not marking the box. Now, you're not old, it's just when I think of Widows I think of my grandmothers and their friends. Obviously, one can be widowed at any age (unfortunately) but young Widows are just too close to home. The way life is supposed play out is we out live our children. We get old and wrinkly with the loves of our lives, we spoil our grandchildren, and become OLD Widows. You have a lot to offer, and you're fun. Experience as much life, joy, and love you can squeeze in. Rock Widowhood and show those Match boys what they're missing out on!

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  77. And.... where did you go?

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  78. You deserve all the happiness in the world. I really hope that you find someone who you can grow old with. If I was in your position I would be the same way-meaning, I'd still love my husband, but I know he wouldn't want me to be alone and that he'd want me to be happy.

    If people give you shit for your decisions then they don't deserve your friendship. You are a strong woman and truly a great catch!

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  79. Someone who understands that your a widow, is the right person for you... if a man cannot handle that, well then they are just not worth it, and they do not deserve you. Stay strong.

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  80. I absolutely wish you the best of luck in life and in love!

    I am not widowed, but as someone who is going through a divorce, I can understand something. And that is that no matter how many people we know who have gone trough it before us, there is something very lonely and isolating about the experience, because no two experiences are the same. I am glad that you are able to see that! You ABSOLUTELY deserve to be happy! And you have to do what YOU feel is right for you. So when someone judges you, remember that it is only their opinion, and it isn't important.

    And I'm sorry that there seems to be an exclusion of widows in the dating world. I honestly had no idea. It seems such an odd criteria for someone to think of in the kind of mate they are looking for. But I know that when you do find someone worthy of your time, it will be someone who knows you are worthy of theirs, widow or not.

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  81. Maybe try not to look at it as "baggage". I'm technically not widowed, but my fiance died months before our wedding, i was 23 at the time. I think being in our 20's makes it extremely difficult. I am not saying it is not hard for older widows, AT ALL. I'm just saying that the men our age probably haven't dealt with death and may not even realize that someone their age could be widowed, which is why they don't mark that box. Before my fiance died, i seriously would think "old" when i thought about "widow". I'm sure there are insensitive assholes out there :) but maybe some just associate widow as being older and someone they wouldn't be interested in because they have no clue.

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  82. Rotfl! I just stumbled upon you and u are my kind of gal- straight shooting- tell it from the heart and you are absolutely right, only you know what's best for you in your journey and where you are today. Honor yourself and those who love and appreciate what you have to offer. You have every right to live a full and happy life. A man who will love you forever will take you and your baggage and help you carefully and lovingly unpack. He's out there- just check all the gates!

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  83. Hi Rachel,
    As always, I love your posts. :)
    Just a quick little note here. I met my husband on Match.com. He, too, did not have the box for widow checked and later told me that he almost didn't respond to my "wink" (yes, I made the first move, lol) because he had concerns with dating a widow. After much prodding he admitted that he was concerned that he would never be able to compare with my deceased husband...that he couldn't hold a candle to the man that passed away leaving me with 4 children. I'm happy to report that we have now been happily married for five years and all his concerns went down the drain. :)
    Have fun dating!!!
    Lynn
    www.bradybunchplus1.blogspot.com

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Hey guys, you must now have some sort of ID to comment. I'm sorry for any inconvenience but the spam was out of control! I still want to hear your thoughts, if you can't figure out the open ID thing, feel free to send me an email, Jewell.Rachel@gmail.com!