Starting to date again at age 65 after being married for many years is intimidating for both widows and widowers. The reality can be very different than the cliché’s seen at the movies. For me, dating was a necessary step in my journey to redefine myself and regain my self-confidence.
Once I got past the first few dates (starting five months after my wife’s passing) and regained a modicum of self-confidence, I was fortunate enough to meet one woman who caused me to feel like I was sixteen years old again. Wow! I had no idea that I could possibly feel this way about any woman again. Prior to this, I expected to feel some level of mutual attraction, but not to have my pulse run faster, to have sleepless nights thinking about her, or having anxiety about our relationship. Literally, I felt as if I had regressed 50 years to my first high school infatuations.
We found ourselves carrying on long conversations, calling each other frequently, seeing each other often, and just enjoying each other’s company. There definitely was attraction, a sense of being able to be open with each other, and a feeling that we had been brought together for a reason.
The object of my affection and I both found we were going through a similar emotional rollercoaster. The fact that she also was recently widowed helped us to be more empathetic and supportive of each other as we went through this experience. I loved being able to feel this way again; but I was fearful that my emotions were being driven by my psychological-emotional state that arose from my continued deep grieving for my recently deceased wife.
I was fortunate in that my new-found friend and I were able to step back and slow the train down before we jumped into full-blown intimacy. I admit that she was better at this than I was, but I came to be grateful for our hesitancy as I believe neither of us was fully ready for that yet. I also believe that at this early stage, there would have been negative repercussions in the form of regrets and self-condemnation.
Eventually, after about three months, we broke it off knowing that we were not yet in an emotional and psychological place where we could take the next step in our relationship. We both realized that we were still going through some deep grieving that made it very difficult to establish a strong foundation for an ongoing relationship that might develop into something more permanent.
This led me to begin dating in a much more platonic mode going forward. I had come to realize that my first focus had to be on me, and my becoming a more secure, fulfilled, and strong individual before I could add someone else into my life. I recognized that I was still trying to redefine who I now was after losing my wife who had been such a large part of me. I did not yet know who I was without her. I could not just take another woman, no matter how wonderful she was, and put her in Theresa’s place.
In the end, this three-month whirlwind romance was good for me in that it:
- showed me that I could love again,
- built my self-confidence about myself and my ability to meet wonderful women again,
- allowed me to experience emotions that I did not know were still possible, and
- taught me how to better manage my newly unleashed emotions.
I hope that all of you who read this and decide to date again, are able to find a rewarding relationship that allows you to continue to grow and enjoy life again.
© Copyright 2021 Fred Colby
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