For Widows: Love is Out There, But Are You?

Whether you’re widowed or not, love is a tricky business. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never been married, been messily married, or have gotten involuntarily unmarried (I think that’s a better term than “widowed,” don’t you?).

The big question is, do we ever know when it’s the right time to fall in love?

I personally think falling in love is like having a baby. There is no right time. You can wait until your career takes off. You can wait until you feel like you’ve finally sown your last oat. You can wait until that hideous color you dyed your hair last month finally washes out.

But Mr. Right could still come along while you’re working at Burger King, regretting your “oat” from the night before, and he just might find those purple streaks in your hair endearing.

The point is, you never know.

I hear a lot of people ask the question, “Is it possible for you to love someone else before you learn to love yourself?” But I think that question is more complicated than it seems. Because to truly love yourself, you have to know yourself. And that’s where we run into problems.

I think it’s a very rare thing for people to be able to really look at themselves, with all of their problems and quirks, and really love themselves for who they are. How many people do you know just sit around saying with a sigh, “I just love that nail-biting problem I have. I think it makes me so cute.”

For those of us who are widowed, or even those of us who have found and lost love, it’s a time-consuming task to figure out who we are. I think a lot of us know who we were. But a lot has changed since some of us said “I do” for the first time.

I’m not the same person I was before my husband died. In the last three years, I’ve dealt with loss, raising children, and running a family all on my own. I’ve figured out that I’m moody. I’ve figured out that even though 95% of the time I like to be around people, sometimes I like being alone. I’ve figured out that when I’m caught between a rock and hard place, I have the ability to dig my way out.

Three years ago, I didn’t know that.

I feel like I’ve been on a journey of self discovery that I didn’t sign up for but has not necessarily been a bad thing. And, ultimately, these discoveries will make me a better partner for someone. And until that someone comes along, they just make me a better person.

I think a lot of widows go through a time when we worry that we may not find anyone else. If you’ve made it through this transition knowing, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you will be able to meet Mr. Right, Round II, then I applaud you. Because most of us wonder if it’s possible to get struck by lightening twice in one life. And some of us wonder if we have the courage to get out there in the storm.

We wonder if we have what it takes to date, to meet a stranger, to invest ourselves again. And some of us wonder, after life has dealt us such a crippling blow, if we will ever make a good partner for someone else. We are plagued with self doubt and insecurities brought about by the past and lose confidence in what we might bring to the table in the future.

But I think that we’re looking at it backwards. We sit around and wonder who would want to take us on. We wonder who would want to date someone with kids and enough baggage to sink a ship. We wonder who would want to supplement the three-pedicure-a-week habit we sometimes have when things get rough (okay–I know that just applies to me, but you get my point).

In reality, we should be looking at it in a different way. Who is lucky enough to enter our lives and be a part of a great family? Who is fortunate enough to meet us, people who know what love is and how to work on a relationship even through the toughest times? Who wouldn’t appreciate a woman with stunning toes?

We should look at ourselves as people who really know who we are and what we want. What we are and our experiences are a gift to someone else. And instead of saying, “I’ve been in love before, it will never happen a second time,” we should know that because we recognized love when we saw it and were willing to take the risk before, there’s a very good chance it will happen again.

We just have to have enough courage to get out into the rain.

Catherine Tidd 2010

Catherine Tidd

More Articles Written by Catherine

Catherine Tidd is a widow and the Founder of www.theWiddahood.com, a free social support network dedicated to anyone who has lost a significant other. She is also a writer, public speaker, and mother to three young entertaining children. She received a degree in English from Rollins College in 1998 and has since worked as a writer, editor, Marketing Manager, and Event Planner. Originally from Louisiana, Ms. Tidd currently lives in Denver, CO. To read more of Catherine's work, visit http://widowchick.blogspot.com

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  • Mrs Hulya Santini says:

    Catherine, I agree with your pedicure every fortnight for me I do not think I really want to activlely look for someone as I do not want be buried with another man but you have a point not only about dating but how we changed because while being with pas… husbands we were (speacking about myself and some other ladies) spoilt like children so we became adults and more aware of what is lurkig outhere. The other thing is I do not trust another man like my Baby so it is even worse when I see a man starring at woman I look at his ring finger. Also I like talking to woman more before I talked to anyone but there is a distrust with in men now. Please, keep writing your funny entries I really enjoy your style and I like your nuttiness that makes the world more bearable.

    yours

    Hulya

  • Jay Cosnett says:

    So well said, Catherine! As daunting as it is, I think many of us are especially well-equipped to find a partner worthy of our love and commitment. Our marriages may not have been perfect (none are), but we were making them work, before something else came onto the scene and mucked it all up. We have a track record. We have learned to face and experience extremely strong feelings without becoming road kill. (Or, if we did, we gained confidence that, even as road kill, we are strong enough to scrape ourselves up off the pavement and walk away.) We have confidence from having survived the unimaginable. As a result we’re probably too much to handle for most people, but for the rare and remarkable, we’re quite a catch!

  • Cheryl says:

    Catherine,
    Thank you for your insight. I especially took pause at the following: “Who is lucky enough to enter our lives and be a part of our great family?” What a wonderful way to think of ourselves. I have a wonderful family,nuclear and extended, and everyday I take the time to say thank you to the universe that I’ve been blessed with so much love in my life. If I am fortunate enough to be struck twice while standing in the rain then the person who get me inherits a wonderful group of loving people who I call my family and friends. I, too, like you am clearly not the same person I was 14 months ago before losing my husband. I am proud of what I’ve managed to take on and accomplish. No doubt, my husband is proud of me and our kids. And, like Jay said, I’ve somehow managed not to become road kill.

    I thank you for the honesty of your writing and for offering what I will call the “turn around” perspective of being a widow who someday would like to fall in love again. Although, I’m not ready just yet to stand in the rain, I would be lying if I said I’m not looking forward to a couple of rainstorms.

    Peace,
    Cheryl

  • Kim Go says:

    My Brian used to say “Look for the people who are looking for you.” I think it works. I wanted an man with children and I met Brian. Of course I never specified the number of children… but that is all water under the bridge.

    There are people with space for you, and you have space for them. It can be friends, it can be romance. They may be older or younger. There are people who need love and we need love too.

    I personally don’t care if I marry again, as much as I want to find a place to give and receive intimacy and love. And, I think I will.