Musings & Threads. Oh Good Lord.
Oh Good Lord.
A Widow’s Guide to Dating
I made a New Year’s resolution to start dating, my goal this year was 1 date and then to double it each year…so within 3 years, I will go on…wait for it…8 dates. Ladies and gentlemen, it is painful.
For the last 2 weeks of my husband’s life we began each day reminiscing and saying our goodbyes. Each time, Jeff asked me to promise him that I would remarry. I told him that I couldn’t promise that, but I understood his desire that I be cared for. But more importantly, I told him that I would be fine because he had given me so much. Jeff often commented that he had the easier journey, I admired his courage so much that I didn’t realize that he might have been right.
So here I am, at least trying to honor one of his dying requests. Ladies, I am here to tell you that it is rough out there, so much rougher than when we were young. Simple statistics are against us. First, of course, men die younger so there are more single women of a certain age. Strike One. Secondly, widows and widowers treat their losses differently. Sixty percent of widowers yes that is not a typo, are in a serious relationship or remarried within the first year. Only 5% of widows are similarly engaged. Strike Two. Older men prefer significantly younger women, widowers do not want to go through the grief process again, I get that. For divorcees, well it is just because they can. Strike Three. First batter in the inning, retired before I could even take a swing.
If you are in your 60s (I was 62 when Jeff died) that means that men 15+ years older are the ones who are interested in you…do the math, not a promising statistic. One relentless pursuer was convinced that we were perfectly matched (he had also been a scientist) he declared that his age, which was 85, was only a number. I agree, and that number was 85. Batter 2, Strike 1. Like other widowers, I don’t want to go through this kind of grief again, I barely made it out of this one. So I am not interested in someone more than 10 years older than I. Batter 2, Strike 2. Recognizing the restricted pool of men my age who are interested in women my age, my competition is fierce; trolling the dating sites and aggressively asking for “fix-ups.” I am not wired that way, I never was, I met my husband on a blind date, orchestrated by my dearest friend, who feared that I would never marry. Batter 2, Strike 3.
Despite my odds (and I am a statistician), I joined a free dating site, which might give you an inkling as to my level of commitment. Batter 3 Strike 1. To “check off” my New Year’s resolution immediately, I joined the site while I was wintering in Key West and quickly discovered that the available pool of heterosexual men was very limited. Note to all of you single heterosexual women, you cannot expect to be successful in a place that has a large gay and lesbian population. Also 80% of the profiles that I encountered in Florida were fake, designed to scam lonely widows. Batter 3, Strike 2.
I also learned that there are many people who wish to live in Key West and a widow living in Key West was a good way for them to live their dream. Most of the messages that I received were from people living all over the US and Europe who had always wanted to live in Key West. Nice to know, but I am not their free ticket to Key West. Batter 3, Strike 3.
Just to close my chapter on dating in Key West, I did find a heterosexual male living in Key West who was interested in meeting for coffee (New Year’s Resolution, box checked). He was a lovely gentleman, but our coffee was akin to dating your elderly father. While he said that he was 70, based on his appearance and his behavior, I think that he was well over 80. During the 1 ½ hour coffee he was only able to describe his career up to the 1980s, frequently forgetting where he was in the story and unable to avoid meandering and unrelated tangents. It was excruciating, but after I was able to wrest myself from the situation I explained that I wasn’t yet ready to date. He sweetly paid for the coffee, gave me a hug, and wished me well. Within an hour, he texted me pictures of his pets and his Key West home. Every day, I was greeted with a wake-up text telling me how he was thinking about me and wishing me a happy morning. I regretted that I have given him my phone number, grateful I hadn’t given him my address. Fortunately, after a week, I received a very sweet text from him telling me that he had thought about it but didn’t think that I was a good match for him because I didn’t share his love for music. He wished me well and was sure that I would find someone else. Whew.
Convincing myself that coffee with your elderly father does not count as a date, I returned to Maryland for the summer and I changed my location on the site to see if I got any interesting messages. And I got one that appeared to be a more reasonable match, he was 70, reasonably attractive and we met for coffee. He claimed to have a Ph.D…well, not exactly, and was teaching at a very well regarded scientific institution…well, not exactly, he was teaching a Spanish class. But it was clear that we did not have the same agendas. He claimed that the reason for his divorce was that his wife didn’t have enough time for him, and subsequent girlfriends also didn’t enjoy cuddling as much as he did. I cautioned him that I was not a particularly affectionate person, being German (you can ask my daughter). Each time I introduced a possible barrier to our relationship, he was happy to overcome it. First, I told him that I spend ½ of my time in Key West…not to worry, at our coffee meeting, he suggested he could stop teaching and live with me in Key West. And, yes, he had always wanted to live in Key West. Throughout the coffee he tried to rub my arm, tried to hug me, didn’t listen to me (for example, when discussing that I didn’t have a good ear for language, he commented that it didn’t matter because I had such pretty blue eyes). It was clear that he had not even read my profile, just saw my appearance and that I lived in Key West and therefore I was the perfect match. I felt like I was back in High School battling a young testosterone-fueled suitor. While I originally agreed to a dinner, I called and told him that I didn’t want to pursue a relationship. Not to worry, I received an email that he was very attracted to me, and I can just take my time and he will wait until I am ready.
The saying is that men at our age are looking for either a nurse or a purse. So far, I have had one of each.
This morning, I got a message from someone close to my age. However, when I checked, the message was, “Hi beautiful” and he posted his picture. He was a bald, heavyset man with heavily tattooed arms that were folded as he was leaning against his Harley motorcycle. Oh, Good Lord.