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Posts Tagged ‘dating widows’

Well, it’s over.

My first relationship since the death of my husband lasted three months and ended with an exchange of emails. It’s been pretty obvious from the change in your behavior that this is not the right time for us, I said. He agreed. He said he was “sorry it’s going down like this” and that he’s not happy with himself at all for the way he handled it. That makes two of us.

Compared to the pain of my husband’s suicide, this hurt was like stubbing a toe. The sudden startling pain made me cry and I hopped around swearing for a little while, and then I limped for a little while longer… and I’m gonna have a little bruise there… But I’m OK.  Better than OK, even.

Last weekend I went to hear some live music, a solo performance by a talented guitarist and composer in a small, intimate venue. At the end of the first set he did a cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” which is one of my all time favorite songs (though I prefer Rufus Wainwright’s version). It moved me to tears, especially when the audience was singing a softly echoing chorus of hallelujahs back to him. There’s a line in that song that always reminds me of my late husband:

“Remember when I moved in you, the holy dark was moving too, and every breath we drew was hallelujah…”

Yes. Making love with my beloved husband was like that… every time, every breath was hallelujah. With New Guy it was… well, it was fine but the earth didn’t move, let’s put it that way. Now I know that it takes time with a new partner to get to know each other’s bodies and really understand how to please each other, and I think we could have gotten the physical stuff right if we’d kept at it. But there was something missing — passion, intensity, depth — that was there the very first time my late husband kissed me all those years ago. And sitting in a dark room, softly singing hallelujah, I understood that anything less than that would be settling. And I’m not ready to settle.  I’m not willing to accept that I only get one chance at that kind of passion, that kind of connection. I’m going to keep looking until I find it again.

It’s time to ramble on.

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This Dating Thing

I was reading this novel recently that begins with one of the characters (female, late 30s) getting divorced and calling up all her single girlfriends, wanting to go out and party and meet guys. The single girlfriends have a hard time sharing her enthusiasm because they’ve been going out trying to meet guys for years now and they’re kinda over it. When I read that, I identified with the divorcee, newly single through no choice of her own (her husband left her) and trying to make the best of it. Just a few weeks later, I find I can relate to the other characters too. I’ve only been doing this online dating thing for a couple of months, and already I’m kinda over it.

Now, I realize that I haven’t given it a fair shake yet, and I’m not saying I’m giving up on dating or even on this particular dating website. But the bloom has gone off the rose.

I went on two dates this past weekend. Friday night was a second date with a gentleman I’d met for drinks a couple weeks earlier. The only thing I could fault him for on that first meeting was that he talked about himself a lot (and I didn’t feel like he was really listening to me when I talked), but I thought that might have been due to first date nervousness. I’ve certainly been known to babble on a bit when I’m nervous. So when he emailed asking if I’d like to go to Art Night with him, I said yes.

He was a perfect date — picked me up at my house, opened the car door for me (every time), got ahead of me to open doors when we went into the art galleries, perfect manners — except he still did talk about himself a bit too much. When we couldn’t find the promised food trucks, he suggested dinner at a nice Italian restaurant and he picked up the tab. Overall it was an enjoyable evening. But at dinner, enjoying a plate of delicious pasta and sipping a very good pinot noir, I caught myself looking around the restaurant at all the other men… and when he dropped me off at the end of the evening, I was relieved that he didn’t try to kiss me goodnight.

Sunday I had a first meeting with another man from the dating website. This one is ten years older than me, which is a bigger age difference than I would have considered, but he sounded like such an interesting guy — a former professional chef, a painter, making a transition from a lucrative career to something he feels passionately about: teaching art to young people. So I agreed to meet him for brunch. The eggs benedict were fabulous, the conversation was very good, and I would have enjoyed myself tremendously if it was just a meal with a friend. But he was making it clear that he was attracted to me, touching my arm frequently as he talked and gazing into my eyes, while I felt absolutely zero attraction for him.

And this sums up my dating experiences thus far. I’ve met some interesting guys and spent some perfectly enjoyable evenings, but there’s been no chemistry. The only one I’ve felt ANY physical chemistry with is Mr. Polyamory. We’ve been on two dates now, a month apart, and though there was some hand holding and shoulder rubbing the last time, we still have yet to graduate even to tongue kissing. And considering that it takes us weeks just to arrange a date, at this rate I’ll be old before we get around to sex.

And I’m tired. I’m tired of rushing home from work to shower, wash my hair, redo my makeup and get all dressed up… to spend a few hours with someone to whom I feel no particular connection. I have a better time hanging out with my friends, and I don’t have to shave my legs for them. As I was telling my best friend over burgers and beer on Saturday, I don’t really need new friends. I already have a wonderful circle of friends and a full social calendar. The only reason I’m even interested in meeting new people, to be quite honest, is to find (a) someone that I’ll want to have sex with and who will want to have sex with me, and eventually (b) someone I can fall in love with and who will fall in love with me. And so far, neither of these things are happening via the dating website.

Maybe I just need a break. For the next couple of weeks, at least, I’m not making any more dates. I need some me time.

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This week has been a real emotional rollercoaster ride. Most of the time I feel like I’m doing pretty well, but I spent the entire hour of Wednesday’s therapy session crying. I’m sad because I don’t see my husband in my dreams anymore. The last time was in October, more than six months ago. I wonder if he’s staying away on purpose, trying to make it easier for me to move on without him. And I am moving forward with my life — working, making plans with friends, even starting to date — but I still need those dreams.  I miss him so much.

Last night I had sex. It was the first time in over fourteen months. It was the first time with any man who wasn’t my husband. He’s a friend of a friend, and we met at her birthday party. He made me laugh, bought me a drink, rubbed my shoulders. I felt comfortable with him. When he offered to drive me home, I accepted. We left the bar holding hands, which was kind-of weird and kind-of nice. He walked me to my door and kissed me goodnight, and he offered to come in and give me a massage. He was a good kisser, and I didn’t think about it too long before I said OK. It wasn’t great sex, but after fourteen months without being touched, ANY sex is good sex. It was good to feel desirable again and to realize that I’m not dead from the waist down after all. I’d been worried that my first time having sex with another man would trigger a lot of emotions, but it was just good, sweaty fun.

The emotions came today. Having someone to hold, to touch, even for a couple of hours… It made me realize how lonely I am. I have a lot of friends. When I don’t want to be alone, I can always find someone to hang out with. But hugs from friends can’t take the place of a physical relationship, and that’s what I miss. And I desperately miss the man who knew and loved every inch of my body, who knew exactly how to touch me to bring me to ecstasy. I miss the deep intimacy we shared, the way it felt like our souls merged when we made love. I wonder if I’ll ever feel anything close to that again.

I’d give anything to put my arms around him again, even in a dream.

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First Date

I had a date last night, a first date with a guy I’ve been communicating with on a dating website. It was my first date as a widow, a first step toward moving forward and finding someone new, as my love told me to do in his suicide note. Actually, I guess I took the first step when I signed up on the dating site a couple weeks ago. I don’t have very much experience dating, since most of my adult life has been spent in one of two long-term relationships. I signed up on the website with the intention of playing the field, meeting some interesting men, figuring out how this whole dating thing works and how it fits into my new life.  I’m not looking for anything serious right now. I know I’m far from ready to make a commitment to one man. I can’t even imagine saying the words “I love you” to anyone but my husband. (I still tell him every day that I love him, talking to the urn or to the photo of us that hangs on my wall.) But I am ready to go out on dates, to make new friends, to get a little of the physical affection I’ve been so starved for this past year.

I thought I’d be nervous, meeting someone new for the first time, but I was surprisingly relaxed. I knew from the long emails we’ve exchanged that we’d have plenty to talk about. Even if there was no physical chemistry, I figured we’d have a nice evening.

My new friend is a scientist and a musician, a combination that reminds me of my late husband. His profile on the dating site intrigued me immediately. He’s polyamorous, meaning that he lives according to the belief that it’s possible to have loving, intimate and respectful relationships with more than one person at a time. He and his primary partner recently bought a house together. They both date (and even have long-term relationships with) other people, and this has worked for them for over five years. I recognize that this unique situation would be a deal killer for a lot of women, but it suits me right now. I have a history of getting too serious too quickly, and in each of my past long-term relationships I’ve taken on the role of caretaker and ended up feeling burdened by the responsibility to meet my partner’s every need. My husband, who suffered from major depression, used to tell me, “You’re the only reason I’m still alive.” That’s just way too much pressure and responsibility for any one person to bear. I feel comfortable knowing that there’s no chance of my new friend becoming needy and dependent on me, since he has a whole network of relationships to get his various needs met.

We met at an Indian restaurant with white tablecloths, dim lights and a romantic atmosphere. Mr. Polyamory was waiting outside when I arrived, and we hugged each other hello. In person, he’s a few years older and perhaps 15 lbs. heavier than in his profile photos, and I was slightly disappointed. His long curly hair, pulled back in a ponytail, had a little gray at the temples. He was nicely dressed for our date in jeans, a blazer over a pullover sweater, and dress shoes.

I ordered a curry and he ordered biryani, and we shared the dishes family style, along with an order of garlic naan. The food was delicious, though my “mild” curry was just about as spicy as I could stand. Over dinner we talked about our jobs, families and relationship history. For the most part, conversation flowed easily. We did have a few moments, in between topics, when we just sat there smiling at each other like goofy kids. He’s adorable when he smiles.

After dinner we walked up the street to Starbucks for hot beverages and talked some more, about everything from music to politics to favorite travel destinations. At 10:00 I excused myself to the restroom. When I came back, I touched his shoulder, smiled and suggested that we head out. When we got out on the sidewalk, he seemed reluctant to end our date and asked if I wanted to walk for a bit. I said sure, and we wandered the streets of downtown Burbank for another hour, talking non-stop. He’s intelligent and soft spoken, with a quick wit. Whenever I’m with someone like that, witty and highly educated (he has a Ph.D.), I tend to feel concerned that I won’t be able to keep up, conversationally. But I felt so comfortable talking to him, there was no hesitation – and I was pleased when he laughed at my jokes and especially when I was able to bring something he’d mentioned earlier in the evening into the conversation in a new context. We laughed a lot. My best laugh of the night was when we passed a record store that still sells vinyl LPs and got into a discussion of the relative sound quality of vinyl vs. CDs vs. MP3s and he asked, grinning, “What subtle nuances on Never Mind the Bollocks am I really missing?”

Finally, he admitted to running out of steam and offered to walk me to my car. I’d parked in the nearby mall’s parking structure, so we walked through the mall – deserted at such a late hour, but for a couple of security guards, who opened an “authorized personnel only” door for us and directed us to turn left and take the second door to the outside. We got lost and wandered the dank, empty back corridors for several minutes, the heels of my boots echoing loudly in the silence. It was a little eerie, especially after our Dawn of the Dead jokes in the deserted mall, and I was glad he was there with me. When we finally got to my car, he kissed me goodnight – just a gentle peck at first, followed by a few more soft, tentative kisses. He put his arms around my waist and I slid mine around his neck, and we kissed for a long couple of minutes, but they were the most chaste of romantic kisses. He didn’t try to put his tongue in my mouth, not even after I gingerly tasted his lips with my tongue to let him know it would be OK. When he finally let go, he said, “We should do this again,” and I said yes, we should.

I gave him a ride to his car, which was in a different structure several blocks away, and we kissed again before he got out of my car. “As I guess you can tell, I like to move slowly,” he said. I smiled. “Slow is fine,” I said. “I haven’t been with anybody since my husband died. Slowly is good for me.”

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