Dear Love FAQ,
My wife died in October of 2009. I'm still emotionally crushed, but I'm getting a lot of pressure to start dating again, both from my parents and my in-laws. I'm only 27, and they don't want me spending all my time alone.
When it comes to dating, however, I don't know if I'm emotionally ready yet. Anytime I get close to going on a date, I bail and cancel or I just don't show up. I'm afraid of going out and realizing I shouldn't be out yet, but of course, I won't know if I'm ready or not until I get on the date.
My friends say I shouldn't tell a girl that I was married before or that my wife died, because it would freak her out. But I'm wondering if I shouldn't just tell prospective dates where I'm coming from. That way, she knows that if I do bail or cancel, it's not because she did anything wrong; it's just that I'm not able to think about anyone else yet besides my wife.
So, I guess my question is if you met a guy and he mentioned to you that his wife died and he's not sure if he's ready to date, would you get weirded out?
Not Ready for Player 2
Dear Not Ready,
I wouldn't get weirded out, no. But I probably wouldn't ask for a second date, either.
You're clearly not ready to start dating again, and that's okay. Don't let anyone tell you when it's time to move on. Ever. You've been through a loss that few people your age ever experience, much less understand. So don't let anyone rush you, even if they are family.
When you are ready to test those waters again, take it slow. Don't expect to fall in love again on your first date. Hell, don't even expect to have fun. It'll probably be awkward, and weird, and feel a lot like belly-flopping into a pool of Jell-O. With sharks.
It takes time to relearn how to do these things properly. But with practice, you will. And it's worth it, I promise.
Don't, however, hide the fact you were married. It's a part of who you are, and it says a lot of positive things about you and your capacity for love and commitment. You don't need to launch into the entire sad saga on every first date, of course, but it's worth mentioning because you are worth understanding.
Besides, especially as you get older, a guy with one marriage under his belt isn't all that uncommon. And from the prospective lady's point-of-view, while you do have baggage, the fact you're a widower and not a divorcé means you offer all the experience of a first marriage, but without the stepchildren, alimony payments, custody battles or power struggles that ex-wives usually entail.
All in all, keep in mind that dating is not about replacing your wife. You could never do that. But across our lives we love many people, and loving someone new doesn't mean the ones who came before meant any less.
PS: Are you talking to a grief counselor? It's never too late, especially if you still struggle with the loss.
Dear Love FAQ,
When does it go from harmless to cheating? What defines the line?
- Is A Kiss is Just a Kiss?
Cheating is a nebulous thing. Some people consider flirting cheating. Others are perfectly okay with full-on fuckbuddies.
A good rule of thumb is this: Whether you're breaking out the fuzzy handcuffs or just a flirtatious smile, if you're doing something you wouldn't be comfortable with your significant other knowing about, then you probably shouldn't do it in the first place.
Disclaimer: LoveFAQ is written by Lara Crigger, who is by no means a trained psychiatrist or therapist or even a middle school guidance counselor - just a smart gal who wants to help out her fellow geek. LoveFAQ is meant for entertainment purposes only, so don't take it as a substitute for professional advice. If you have real problems, consult your physician.
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