Sunday, October 12, 2008

Alone

I confess I have been having trouble following Snickollet's foray into dating. Of course, I am thrilled that she is having fun with it, and envious of her resilience. I trust her to be smart, and careful, and to make good decisions for her own future happiness and those of her beautiful offspring.

I wish I could try it.

The fact is, that I was horrible at dating before, and I deeply, deeply resent having to do it again, when I am more than a decade older than when I met my husband. I feel ugly, stressed out, drained, and tired, and I can't even imagine adding another person's needs and desires into the mix. Of course, a "real" relationship would provide comfort, and support, and some desperately needed fun. But I still don't feel like I am ready to get to know someone--let alone make the foray into online contact. My friends are surprisingly useless in terms of making matches for me; one friend tried, but it was abundantly clear that even if there had been sparks (there weren't), the guy was too hung up on his 8-year-past-ex-wife to even consider dating. Whew--at least I wasn't the problem.

I'm not, at heart, a very friendly person. I can be gregarious, in certain situations, but only when I feel completely in control of the level of contact (a friend and I joke that this is why teaching is so perfect--the illusion of great intimacy and affection with a bunch of students who go away after 4 months). I have a hard time "getting to know" people in any setting that is not entirely directed toward something other than getting to know them--work, say. And that is not going to happen at my current job. I know it's hard for everyone, and that it takes effort, but the real problem is that I rarely like anyone that well on first impression--especially if he is male and a potential date (however remote that potential may be). I realize it's some sort of immature self-protective device, but it's pretty firmly instilled by now, and I am not in much of a position to work on changing it!

So after finally braving Snick's blog, and cheering for her (she actually had SEX!), I'm feeling really, really bad. Because it's been almost three years now. And I'm pathetic. And I still miss him, and he's never coming back.

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11 Comments:

At 3:31 PM , Blogger Rose Connors said...

Delurking to say that I deeply identify with your social self-description. I hope I'm never on the dating scene in a way, because I would have those same fears. I am pulling for you to find someone you can be with again, though. Best wishes.

 
At 5:47 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was wondering how you would feel abou this - being a reader of both of your blogs. Try not to compare everyone is different. Why not try to do a little something for yourself? You said you feel ugly, give yourself a mini makeover, meet some new people not necessarily to date, but to get to know. I realize that finding time and $ is tough - but I am sure you are worth it. Hang in there! Michelle

 
At 6:14 PM , Blogger Sue said...

Also de-lurking (I think) to say that I think this was a very brave post. It's hard to realize those things and even harder to say them.

I cannot even imagine living in your experience; in my relatively newly discovered land of babylost mamas, I feel like I'm behind, too. I want to feel brave and courageous, venturing out into dangerous waters of trying again.

And yet I am just not ready. And I resent it. Both the fact that I am not ready, and the fact that I (if I want to have a biological child) have to try again. We were so close, and lucky enough to conceive twins so there wouldn't be the worry of trying again.

And then they were gone. Along with the life I planned. And it's never coming back. And that really pisses me off.

Sorry to ramble on. I've been following Snick, too, and am amazed by her experience, in the very best way.

I'd like to think that when the time comes that you're ready, you will know it. And you will seize that opportunity.

 
At 3:02 PM , Anonymous Cobblestone said...

I am nearly 7 years out from my first husband's death {I was 28 when he died}. Dating comes at different times for different people. I've been following Snick and enjoying her enjoyment of the process. Some day it will come to you too, and the people you'll be dating will be older too and everyone will have their own bagage and it can work out fine.

 
At 4:46 PM , Blogger Jennifer said...

I'm not a widow, but I haven't had a date since the ex-fiance, four years ago. I don't know how Snick does it. Dating sucks and I want to barf at the idea of meeting men online (but there seems to be no other option BUT match.com/JDate/Craigslist any more).

It's kind of sad that I don't even have an excuse that I miss my husband or anything not to. It just...dating sucks.

And yet, I egg my widowed mom on to date again. But then again, she Cannot Deal With Alone, and I don't like being her husband, so. I am just afraid she'll scare them all off with needy (and so far, this is the case).

 
At 8:11 AM , Anonymous bostongirl said...

Each person is different in their grief. I've been told that a lot in the wake of my husband's terminal illness diagnosis. In grieving the diagnosis and life we planned, I've found it's true. Some people are able to attack our situation in a beat-it, all out manner, and some are pragmatic and some are in denial. We struggle to live and plan, while others in our situation can go on an have additional children knowing that one parent might be gone sooner rather than later. I guess everyone really is different.

This is what I think- you're in love with your husband. that's clear and why shouldn't you be? Your husband sounds perfect for you. It's hard to loosen your grip when something was so precious, so sustaining. It seems like Snick's time to loosen a bit more is coming around now. My hope is that you'll know when the time is right and the moment becomes clear. My wish is for you to have happiness, however that comes. I keep you in my thoughts.

 
At 10:24 AM , Blogger Crash Course Widow said...

Hee hee--I like the "sour grapes" label on this post. Isn't that so true of things like this in widowhood? You're happy for someone, but it sure makes you feel sour about yourself.

I understand how you feel about dating. I hate all of it too, hate that I'm having to do it all over again. I remember thinking last year before I accidentally got into a relationship that I wasn't ready to date, couldn't fathom how to add another person into the mix. But you're right--you DO end up getting a lot of good that goes with the person too, not just the bad stressors.

I didn't date much before getting married. Or at least not casual dating. I've only dated friends, guys I already knew and liked as people, so having to do the casual dating after being married and LOVING being married sucked. I tried eHarmony for 3 months, went on about 3 dates, and I hated the whole darn thing. But after reading Snick's dating forays too, and after hearing how several of my widowed friends at my local support group were getting engaged, finally dating a man they really liked, etc., I sure felt worse about myself and my single status. Mostly it's just because I miss being married so much, miss having someone to share a LIFE and plans with. It's not specifically that I miss Charley so much anymore, but I miss what I *had*.

So what did I do? I signed up for eHarmony again. And I'm damned grumpy about the whole thing. But I'm at least trying. I may not actually choose to go on a single date, but if I do nothing at all then I *know* I won't be going on any.

I guess a part of me is still waiting for a wonderful, compatible, fun, loving guy to just fall in my lap without me doing anything at all. But the chances of that happening as a stay-at-home mom who lives in the boonies in a small town are slim to none. So online dating it is. Blech.

Best of luck to you!
Candice

 
At 1:30 PM , Blogger Dorcasina said...

Thank you all for the encouragement, commiseration, and just for making me feel less..well...alone. It's good to have other people to remind me that mine is not the only burden and that there are reasons to be optimistic.

 
At 8:04 PM , Blogger Yankee, Transferred said...

Oh, Dorcasina, I send my fondest thoughts and best wishes, along with a huge "I DON'T BLAME YOU" for resenting it and not feeling like you can do it. Go easy on yourself-if and when you feel the need, you'll get back out there.
I'm (still) sorry.

 
At 11:03 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also read both blogs (and Crash Course Widow's). While in some areas of my life I identify with Snick's ability to grieve, love her husband, and be resilient (not a slave to a marriage she never got to have, as she said so beautifully) -- in other areas of my life I identify more with your . . . hmm, I don't want to characterize you . . . anyway, I identify with you. Not being ready, I guess. Doing things in your own time. Doing the best you can. It is enough, I promise you. I predict you'll be ready someday. And if it is years down the road, well, that's just fine. Just don't feel bad about it. Everyone is different. Every journey different. OK, before I get too Pollyanna, I'll just say --I second the motion that you treat yourself to a mini makeover. Not in order to date, just for yourself. I find that just this much does wonders: A monthly manicure/pedicure in the summer; a brow wax; daily stretching; concealer and slightly tinted lipgloss only; and occasional shopping the women's sale racks at Target (you'll be in good company -- Michelle Obama, baby!). Take care! F

 
At 1:27 PM , Blogger Supa D. Fresh said...

I felt this way.
I never dated before, really, and I am an extreme extrovert. But I was not ready at all.
And I deeply resented that I HAD to do it, that my life had ended up in that place.
But online dating was different. I could ease into it -- like window shopping -- and it was fun to "market" myself. Each contact, e-mail, IM, or phone call was a chance to learn my own strengths and learn about men and that was fun and empowering.
I had mostly bad dates, but it was so wild. I mean, my first online relationship ended in phone sex! I was tickled that I could be outrageous, in demand, hot, and sometimes it was even me doing the rejecting.
So after a while, I started to think I was lucky... to identify as a stable married person, and still date! Women in my church were SO jealous!
When you're ready, you can try it too... but in the meantime, you can browse in a huge department store on Match.com any time... even if you're NOT ready.... ???
Enjoy, and take your time. It is YOUR time.

 

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