Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Widows: Dating & Remarriage, Part 2

Welcome to our discussion today. We're picking up where we left off yesterday. Just scroll down to the  post below if you missed it.

How did you deal with the worries that you would might love this man and end up losing him too?
I did worry a bit about that. I never want to be widowed again, you know? As I said yesterday, I was praying for contentment and planning to remain widowed. But God gave me Tom instead. My outlook changed, and life and love became gifts that were too precious to push away because I didn't want to get hurt again. Plus, I told Tom he HAD TO stay married to me for at least forty years. If he died on me, I'd kill him. (a little widow humor there).

How did you tell Bruce's family and how did they respond?
My in-laws lived in Michigan, so I didn't see them very often and they weren't very familiar with my daily life. At my daughter Brooke's wedding, a month before Tom and I met online, I had a male friend attend and help me through it, so they met him at the wedding. I don't think they liked him. No one on my side of the family liked him either. Just me. And two months later when he sent me an email saying, "Guess what? I got married!" I was crushed. But maybe his presence at the wedding helped my in-laws, my own parents and my church wake up to the idea that I would date.
After that, when Tom was introduced, everyone was very pleased and impressed with him. Bruce's parents were back to their usual, loving and gracious selves. I'm very fortunate--Tom and I are accepted and loved as part of their family, even now.

How did your kids respond?
My kids were very accepting and happy for me. The youngest had turned 16, and we all had agreed that at that age, no one was going to replace their dad. We're "Mom & Tom." Tom's son refers to me as his mom, like "My mom's coming to pick me up," but he addresses me by my name. His choice.
I'm thankful the kids were very compliant and cooperative. We had it easy, it seemed at the time, but blending a family is not at all easy. It's not The Brady Bunch. The kids are all out of the house at the moment, but they struggle, and I wonder if we did enough.

What were some challenges you faced as a widow dating again?
1). Who to date? I remember listening to some Christian counsellors keep saying, "the people you choose," and I wanted to choke them! I didn't have men to choose from! But now, as I look back, I see that I did. Once my friend at the wedding broke the ice, one of my girlfriends set me up on a blind date, and I went out with two other men from the singles website before I met Tom.
2). I felt really weird dating again. But this, too, put a choice in front of me. I was flooded with old highschool awkwardness; I chose to tell myself to stop it, and grow up, and enjoy myself.
3). The world has changed a lot since my first dating days. It was bad back then, but it's a lot worse now. My daughters had to tell me that if I was ever at a party I should never put my drink down because someone could drug it. So there's a lot of safety savvy to be aware of. However, if you're careful about how you dress, avoid alchohol, and don't go home with the guy, I was delighted to discover men still know how to be gentlemen and treat you like a lady.
4). My own vulnerability was a huge challenge. After 22 years of marriage I was in the habit of loving a man. It was very easy for me to emotionally attach to anyone with testosterone. I came close to making some horrible decisions. I think it's important to listen to your family and friends' opinions of your dates and your behaviors. Sometimes they see things you can't see because your pain of widowhood is too thick.

We'll wrap up with the rest of the questions tomorrow, so be sure to check back for the following:
  • The romantic stuff: how did you know Tom was the one? How did he propose? What was your wedding like?
  • What has been most surprising about being married again? How are things different?
  • Have you discovered that what you wanted/needed in a husband the first time around is different from what you want/need now?
  • And, backing up, since you told me I could ask... was it hard to avoid sexual temptation as a widow dating again?
If you have other questions add them to the comment line, e-mail me or friend me on Facebook and I'll add you to our exclusive "Lifeboat" group where we can privately discuss this stuff.
ferree

3 comments:

  1. I have so many thoughts and questions about this subject. I still have not taken off my wedding ring, and I know that will turn off guys. I have been widowed for 21 months. I met my husband in 1974 when I was 16 and we were married for 33 years, the thought of "dating" is very scary. But, the thought of being alone forever is also scary. I'm hoping someone just appears in front of me - Mr. Right.

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  2. Bravo Ferree for being so transparent and vulnerable - wonderful qualities. You are not hiding behind a blog, you are out there and oh so honest. Look forward to chapter 3 tomorrow!!

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  3. Ferree, I echo the previous commenters sentiments. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

    One thing I know, if I ever remarry, I don't want to settle for anything but true love. Oh my, doesn't that sound highschool? LOL! I had the real thing, and nothing else would be acceptable.

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