“…sometimes I get tired. Sometimes I get bored. And sometimes all I want, more than anything else in the world, is to go on a freaking date.”
Kiersten White, Paranormalcy
A Keeping It Real Post
This post is part of a series from a special topic request. Not gonna lie, it makes my stomach hurt and my palms sweat a little to write about it, but here goes. Keep those requests coming. As always, thanks for reading. XO, L
As open as I’ve been about my grief and flailing attempts to figure out life in widowhood, dating is a topic I usually dance around. And while I do sometimes get pick-up lines so bad they need to be shared on Twitter or open mic night at the comedy club, I figure any guy brave enough to date a Widow deserves some privacy.
Before you start arguing that it doesn’t take a brave man to date a Widow, that we’re no different from any other women, shut your pie hole for a second and let me finish. Yeah, everyone has baggage of some kind. If you don’t have baggage, you haven’t been living life. But the baggage that comes with a W is a little different. You see, in addition to all the regular stuff, we have a ghost hanging around. And I don’t mean Casper.
That’s right, the ghosts of our dead husbands. And any guy who wants to date a W needs to be brave enough to not be threatened by that. Unlike in a divorce, our relationships never actually ended. We move forward. (For the love, stop saying moving on!) We deal with the abandonment issues related to their deaths. And we learn to reclaim our happiness. Some of us hope to find love again, and I’m told repeatedly that dating is usually the first step in that process.
But their ghosts will always be part of us. And we have these annoying markers like deathiversaries, birthdays, wedding anniversaries, and key events in our kids’ lives to remind us of that. Yeah, they can be emotional roller coasters, but we deal. You’ll have to as well, if you plan to date a W. The fact we have a ghost hanging around doesn’t mean we don’t have room in our hearts for you, too.
In my conversations with other Ws, one of the big frustrations after taking a chance on trusting someone, is their new guy’s inability to handle that ghost. In fact, a lot of guys choose to deal with it by ghosting themselves. Haha, see what I did there? I know, it’s lame. Just as lame as the Dudes who ghost a W because they can’t handle it. Man up, it’s called communication. Trust me, whatever you have to say isn’t nearly as bad as the $hit life has already thrown at us.
I choose to believe that it’s just because they don’t know what to say or do, and not because they are emotionally stunted. But I also believe in unicorns and magic and mermaids, so whatever. I acknowledge the possibility that the good guys are actually unicorns in disguise. (Looking at you, Peaches.)
And news flash, Dudes, if you want to date a W, we figure you’ll have questions. Be delicate, but don’t keep them to yourselves either. Want to know about the ghost? Please ask! Trust me, we’ve been told so many times not to mention him to you, that it’s exhausting trying to remember what we are and are not allowed to say.
I believe this is referred to in grown-up circles as communicating.
What You Can Learn From My Nephews
But what do my nephews have to do with any of that? Lemme tell you. First, they are perfect, and I’m not just saying that because I’m biased. They really are perfect human beings. They are also the most reliable guys in my life. That’s right, the bar was set high, and by dudes aged 2 – 16. They aren’t afraid of the grief and the Widow-ness that sometimes takes over. And the few times it does overwhelm them (i.e. the tears or meltdowns) they just hug me and tell me they love me. No judging. No ghosting. They try to make me laugh but never attempt to minimize the grief or the role Dan played in my life. They know that grief doesn’t need fixing.
And while I’m pretty sure no woman will ever be good enough for them, when a teenaged boy is the example for how to communicate with a W, he’s gonna be a catch. They love me for who I am, not who they think they can fix me to be.
So there you have it. It doesn’t seem so complicated when you write it out. Deal with a ghost, don’t ghost, and communicate when you date. (Damn, I love it when things rhyme.)
The Wandering Widow
Live Now. Dream Big. Love Fierce.
Special thanks to the W’s who shared their insight, experiences, and laugh-so-hard-you-snort stories for this post.
P.S. Someday my Bro Tips posts will be accompanied by the hilarious dating advice I get from the teenagers in my life.