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Young, widowed and dating

Updated: May 13, 2023

Dating is something that was very hard for me to be open to for a very long time. Even when flirting with men I felt guilty. Like I was cheating. And let’s not get started on the whole taking my ring off thing. It took over 2 years for me to stop wearing my wedding ring. I realized that although I would meet guys who I was interested in, since I had a wedding ring on, I was sending signals that I was unavailable. Sometimes I would find a man staring at the rings and I would let them know that I was a widow, but other times men would see the ring and immediately change the way that they were engaging with me. I realized that if I wanted to truly begin my dating journey, that I was going to have to take my ring off.

As a widow, dating is a very awkward experience. Especially for people like me, who have not been on a first date in 17 years! About 8 months ago, I realized that I was able to feel again! I met someone that I was interested in and he literally checked off the top 4 attributes on my "dating list"! But our connection quickly fizzled out. He told me that he was VERY interested when we met and offered to take me out for lunch the following week. I was excited and thought wow, maybe this dating thing isn’t too bad. I quickly realized that it’s much harder than I ever thought it would be and quite frustrating to be honest. Disappointed is the perfect word to use for how I felt about how things went between us. I was hopeful, and he verbalized being very interested. The energy between us was amazing. It felt good. It felt right. But the follow up and lack of engagement showed me that maybe he thought he wanted something that he wasn’t really prepared for. I am grateful for the experience because it showed me that I am definitely ready to date. The mere fact that I was able to be excited about someone and feel emotions toward him that I had not felt in such a long time was very reassuring to me.

There have been a few guys since him, and with each new person that I meet, I learn more about myself. Entering the dating scene in your 30s after not dating since you were a teenager is definitely challenging. Wondering if you appear “thirsty” or “pressed” is one of the most common thoughts that I have. When men approach me and engage, it is easy to share in flirting. But when it comes to communicating via telephone it's a whole different world. "Should I send another text if I was the last person who texted?" “Should I call if he has never called me?" It’s difficult to stay out of your head and do what feels “right” if you really like him because you don’t want to do something that turns them off or makes them think twice about you. This journey is going to be a journey….but I am excited to see how I grow with each new interaction. Stay tuned for these dating chronicles because yea, this should be interesting 💙

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