To the widow who feels aged, out-of-date or useless in the dating game:
You’re not alone and here are a few tips that I’ve developed specifically for you…
*Originally written for the Hope For Widows Blog
You’ve grieved long enough and cried enough tears to age yourself twenty years. You may be in your tenth year of widowhood or second year, yet you feel you’re ready to date. You miss him dearly but you desire a husband, a mate, your Chapter 2.
It’s been too long without a date and you’re getting older. You want the hand-holding, movie outing, and bear-hugging-type dates. You’re an empty nester and the house is just too big (or too small) for just one person.
You’re feeling lonely.
You’ve tried blind dates, online dating, speed dating, and even church. And nothing.
You’re feeling sexy.
You’ve tried yoga, Planet Fitness, Home Owners Association meetings and you’ve even stooped so far as to rejoining bereavement groups, just for the possibility of bumping into a potential mate – and nothing.
You’re now angry.
As a widow of five years, and a widow who has had my share of dating since his death, I feel I can share a thing or two about dating so I’ve developed these ten tips for the older widow to help you along the journey of dating.
Tip 1: Be honest about your age.
Please don’t feel that you have to pretend to be someone you’re not. Yes, you may look a certain age, but you’re not. Yes, lying about your age may give you a better chance of getting a date. Don’t do it. Yes, you may feel youthful, sexy and carefree but, you’re lying. What if the relationship thrives and you both fall in love? He will respect you more if you come clean. Remember, honesty in a relationship can make or break it.
Tip 2: Try dating a widower.
Widowers may ‘get it’ long before a non-widower will. He’s already familiar with the unwanted journey so if you cry for your husband, he can relate. If you leave up his pictures, more than likely, he does too. If it doesn’t work, don’t give up on dating. Keep in mind that widowers are human too and although he may not be THAT guy, at least you gave it a chance. If it doesn’t work, don’t be dismayed; it just wasn’t a match. I dated one, and it was a very good experience. He understood my cries, he understood my pain and he got me through very hard days. Would a non-widower have understood my grief? Maybe, maybe not, but I felt very comfortable around him. We were the ‘cute couple’ to some, but I enjoyed my independence too much. Would I give him another chance? I sure would …when I can come out of my selfish desires of enjoying company by myself, when I can finally admit to myself that I’m ready for a long-term relationship and more importantly, when I can stop giving excuses of running away because of the overall feelings of guilt of selecting someone other than my husband. But that’s not what my husband would have wanted. He would have wanted me to be happy. Before he died, he wanted me to remarry; he didn’t want me to live life alone without a partner. I’ve dated many non-widowers but to be honest, I’ve never had so much fun with the only widower that was interested in me. I could be myself, tears and all – and he understood every bit of it.
Would I date only widowers? No, but they would be my first preference. If it doesn’t work, would I be upset? Maybe, maybe not. But heck, I was upset when I was dating non-widowers, like the one who used me like a rubber band to the point where he introduced me to his married client who I befriended, only to find out he was having an affair with her (and the list goes on). Besides, I have a future podcast with a widow who married a widower so I’m excited to hear her love story.
Actually, I’ve been through it all and to be honest, the only one who made me truly smile, was-a-widower :-).
Tip 3: Don’t be afraid to step outside of the box.
Do something different than the norm. You’re grown and you’re not getting any younger…find a dog sitter, tell your ‘still-living-at-home’ adult children to find another place to mooch off of for the evening.
Tip 4: Don’t settle.
Instead of allowing yourself to settle, allow yourself to grow in learning new things. Don’t settle for a man who doesn’t do anything for your mind or spirit. Being able to identify with someone through an intelligent, funny, and adult conversation is the sexiest thing close to sex itself.
Tip 5: Date a younger guy.
If a younger guy hits on you, so what! If he’s old enough to purchase wine, he’s an adult. There is nothing wrong with enjoying the company of a youthful man. He could teach you a thing or two about the latest urban slang, the coolest emoji, and the newest Social Media app. And you may even be encouraged enough to change your wardrobe to something a bit more younger, not slutty, but try adding new accessories or even wearing dresses instead of jeans, yoga pants or slacks when meeting for a date. Try changing up your appearance and your makeup and try looking at life from a Millennial or Generation Xer’s point of view (not necessarily changing yours but be an ear to theirs). *Tip 5.1: Pull out your high school or college pictures to remind you of your youthfulness.
Tip 6: Don’t talk about your late husband on the first date – unless he asks.
Don’t be surprised if he suddenly falls ill after you’ve relayed a very lengthy conversation about how you have enjoyed your blissful marriage. Gather your emotions and write down a list of ‘what-nots’ prior to the date. If he’s a widower, remember his feelings. Your rekindled memories may spark certain feelings for his late wife – he may not want that. Certain impressions may also make or break the date.
Tip 7: Don’t be afraid to date someone shorter.
Your blessing can come in all shapes and sizes. It took me a year to accept the advances from a guy who was shorter than I. He was very mature for his age and a great singer, too! Some of the most famous celebrities are married to shorter men.
Tip 8: If he’s younger, don’t show him your Senior Discount card (or let him know you have one) 🙂
Let’s face it, you may have a medical, prescription, or even a rental discount card in your wallet. If he asks you if you own one (which would be a bit awkward), that’s another story, just go with the flow. But please, do not let him know that you’re a member of any senior discount card clubs – not yet anyway. I know several women who appreciate their discounts and benefits but the words: retirement, dentures, arthritis, etc. may turn him off so don’t give him a reason to think beyond what you can bring to the table.
Tip 9: Get some exercise or get busy!
When he calls and asks what you're doing and you’re always sitting on the sofa watching television, he may think he’s dating an old lady. Get active for heaven’s sake! However, if he does the same thing, then more power to you both! You both have something common.
Tip 10: Pray.
If you’re a woman of faith and are seeking to remarry, be specific in your prayers. Don’t ever feel that you have to settle.
*Tip 10.1: If you’re a spiritual person, ask him this question: “If I were on my deathbed, would you still be able to pray for me?” If he says yes, that’s wonderful, but watch his actions.
Tell me, which tip or tips would you use?