This is straight from a widower's mouth. Check out what our special contributor, Andre Cox, has to say about this topic:
Tip 1) Don't be afraid not to know. Remember most of us have not dated for a long time so the dating scene is way different. If your date knows this, he or she should help you feel more comfortable.
Tip 2) Don't be afraid to put yourself out there. At this point, you've done a lot of things, good, bad or indifferent. Nothing should be embarrassing anymore so be honest about your past, your likes and dislikes. Expect the same from him or her.
Tip 3) Be mindful of your kids. Just because you're free to date doesn't necessarily means you parade various dates in front of the kids. When you realize that he or she is the one, then introductions should be made. Your date should understand that or move on.
Tip 4) Don't beat around the bush. If you like the person, let he or she know. If he calls, answer the phone. If he sends a text, text him back. You should be waaay past those games of waiting. What are you waiting for?
Tip 5) Yes, you still got game. You can be as sexy as you were when you were dating in your 20's. That doesn't mean dress like a 20-year-old but that also doesn't mean to dress like a 90-year-old. If you have it, let the person know.
Tip 6) Intimacy is more important than sex. You probably had enough sex to last a lifetime but intimacy is a way to show your mate he or she is the one. Intimacy is very underrated and should be the dominant physical action in your dating life.
Tip 7) Don't be afraid to show affection in public. Nothing shows love more than two people gazing into each other eyes while out and about. Again, you should be passed that embarrassment stage.
Tip 8) Be mindful of serial daters. If he thinks he is the Mack Daddy, Smooth Operator type, move on. Or if you think she is using you to get stuff and free dinners, bye Felecia!
Tip 9) Probe a little about the past. Find out how long the longest relationship and what happened. Be mindful of the "oh it was 100% the other person's fault." If he or she thinks their stuff don't stink, warning sign and proceed with caution.
Tip 10). Be open-minded. Don't just stick to the same routine. Be adventurous. How fun is it to date someone that the both of you can try new things?
- Andre Cox
Andre Cox is currently a Senior Underwriter with Seneca Insurance Company in Jersey City, NJ. Originally from Brooklyn, NY but grew up in Freeport, NY, he currently resides in Teaneck, NJ with his children. He attended Rutgers University on a full football scholarship where he majored in Recreation Management (BS). There he met his late wife Vikki, who was full of life and free-spirited, began dating years later, reunited in 1992 and was married on May 22, 1993. During their marriage, they had three children and decided to settle in Teaneck.
Vikki was an English major (BA) and was also an avid reader who wrote numerous songs and poems and one of her songs was eventually recorded. Vikki also explored writing and was in the process of writing a children's storybook based on her daughter. She loved to travel throughout her life and spent an entire summer on an archaeological dig while in high school.
Unfortunately, Vikki discovered she had breast cancer in October 2012, which did not stop her from living life to the fullest. She regularly stayed positive while dealing with her cancer and tried very hard to shield her kids from her suffering. Vikki chose to spend her remaining time quietly with her husband and kids at home. She routinely watched crime shows with her mother during the day. In the evenings, she wanted her husband and kids to be by her side so they all could watch movies together and have dinner. Vikki finally succumbed to complications of breast cancer on March 28th, 2014.
Andre’s prior volunteer work included volunteering as president and coach of both his township’s youth football and wrestling league for 13 years. He was also an NJ State wrestling referee and was heavily involved with his township’s proposed recreation planning for a new youth football field, which was finally built in 2013. Andre benefited greatly from recreational sports during his youth and as he became an adult, he wanted to give back by volunteering as much of his free time as possible to youth sports. Andre lives by, "hey, someone did it for me so it's my turn."
His hobbies include bike riding, weight training, cooking and trying new recipes, attending his son’s college football games and his daughter’s annual piano recitals. Additionally, he enjoys attending her arts and science events at her school. Andre also loves traveling and cruising. He has vacationed in various places such as Punta Cana, D.R.; Cancun, Mexico; Bahamas; Miami; Hoover Dam; Hawaii; Maryland’s Eastern Shore; Mardi Gras (New Orleans); and Walt Disney World many times. Andre also loves NYC and what it has to offer in culture, dining, entertainment and the diversity of people.
Andre’s mantra, “today will be a great day!” provides him the outlook he needs while living life to the fullest during his remaining journey without Vikki. Like others, Andre struggled with dealing with his wife passing but knew he needed to go on for the sake of his children and eventually himself. For almost eighteen months, he sought personal counseling and belonged to various bereavement groups.
Initially, he was reluctant to participate but came to realize that in order for him to get help, he needed to open up about his ordeal.
"I felt more comfortable dealing with my personal therapist. I was seeing two therapists at different days of the week. One hour a week with just one therapist wasn't good enough for me. I couldn't stop crying while home alone in my bedroom hiding from my children. I wanted that pain to end."
Andre, through various grief therapy and bereavement groups, learned in order to move on, he needed to be able to comfortably tell his story over and over; it just made it easier for him. Also, he discovered that it was acceptable to laugh and enjoy life. He recalls one of the counselors in the bereavement group stressing, "we all have permission to have fun." In time, Andre learned what that really meant.
He grief journey has been extensive. To his surprise, his strength was drawn from his children, who surprisingly dealt with their mother’s death better than he. As each day goes by, Andre is making new memories and becoming a "new Andre." He now knows that will require him living life without his late wife.
He feels he has come a long way from that horrible morning on March 28, 2014, and beyond. Andre stresses to others, especially men of color who are having issues dealing with their loss, to seek professional help or personal friends to talk to. Additionally, Andre is willing to make himself available through online access to those men who want to know more about how he dealt with his wife’s passing or who may need a listening ear.