Dating after a spouse-loss is kind of like standing on a ledge with a bungee cord attached to you. You sweat, hoping that that bungee cord is gonna hold. You may be ready to take the plunge. Or you may take one look at the view (which looks just fine without the addition of our innards splattered below, thank you very much) and step away. Or, standing on the ledge, we may need a friendly push from a well-intentioned friend who we may be mad at while we’re swinging but once we’re on firm ground we’ll give them a big ol’ hug.
I don’t want anyone reading this to think that I am insensitive to the fact that some people just aren’t ready. I know that and I completely respect it. But sometimes I just think that many people don’t think there are any other good fish in the sea.
So, let’s think of it like this: If you’ve cast your line before–what are the chances you caught the only good fish?
I won’t deny that during the dating process, sometimes we just come up with that smelly boot. But every once in awhile, we hook on to a keeper. I understand that some people don’t want to put themselves out there, don’t want to invest themselves anymore. They don’t feel like there is anyone who will understand what they’ve been through and accept them for it. “Shoot,” I remember thinking, “What if I meet someone and we’re talking and I start crying???”
Well, given the number of people in the world, what’re the chances of you dating that one person who has led a perfect life?
Being where we are, it’s been hurtful. We’ve all been through transitions with relationships in our lives. Our friendships have changed, how we interact with our families has changed. But I’m betting that most of these changes really haven’t been so bad. Oh sure, the transition from who you thought your friends were to who you really bond with was excruciating.
But now that you’ve been through it, isn’t it better?
You’ve found the people you can most be yourself with. You can let your “freak flag fly” as they say in The Family Stone (I love that movie). And because of that, even if your friendships are fewer, they’re more meaningful. They’re deeper.
Those friends who have weathered the storm with you will always be there. Those friends who couldn’t, well, I hope you’ve come to the level of acceptance that that’s their problem, not your’s. And if (heaven forbid) anything catastrophic should happen in their lives, I’m sure they will think back and realize that they should’ve been more Oprah with you and less Jerry Springer.
And those new friends you have made, they know who you really are and accept you for all of it. And they love you even though you’re yourself .
So, what makes you think it would be different in a new romantic relationship? Who’s to say that the new you might find something even more meaningful and even deeper than what you had before? Because you’re there–that’s you now.
And if you hook something you don’t want, throw it back and cast again.
I hear so many people say that what they had was perfect. That they lost their soulmates and that they will never find that again. And you know what? I’m not going to argue with that. If that’s the relationship you had, you’re right. That’s rare. But it was rare before you found it. And you still found it.
Here’s a thought.
If that person was your soulmate then and now you’re a different person, who’s to say you won’t find the soulmate for the person you’ve become?
I think that’s the closest to algebra I’ll ever come in my adult life. The truth is, I’ve changed so much that even if my husband met me NOW, I don’t know if he’d even ask me out. I’m more independent. I’m more direct. And my sense of humor has taken a downward turn into the land of Sick and Wrong.
So, if I’m different, why would I expect to find the same relationship? Shouldn’t I expect to find someone who can handle the “new” me? Why would I want to find the exact same man, who was perfect for who I was, but may not fit the person I’ve become? And couldn’t that person just be floating out there, waiting for a hook?