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.