Dating After Loss- A Mystery

There is no secret that life is hard and often unfair. I share a lot of my feelings either on this blog, within the safe zone of the widow groups, and Facebook. Don’t mistake my honesty for drama. I speak my truth for my therapy, for those who suffer in silence, and for those who we wish felt brave enough to. Dating after loss is hard. We have no clue how to navigate apps, games, and toxicity. There is no secret that it is hard to be alone and often that means filling your day to not experience the lonely.  (Grabbing drinks with friends, dancing, dinners out, yoga nights and weekends, and anything that does not require me to sit alone thinking. I date myself a lot. I am doing ok. I would love to find myself w someone else to share time and interests with. Life is so short so I try to let people in and try to live every moment.

I think I am doing a bad job of dating though. I am ill-equipped and exhausted by the small talk and time-wasting it requires. I am not the type of person who can simply play games waiting to reply to texts, date 10 guys at once, or act cold-hearted when I have interest. I am either in or out. I am honest and loyal even when people do not deserve my best.

Here are the things I tend to run into:

  1. The majority of the guys I encounter seem to have an interest in me only physically.
  2. Online dating most often means a bunch of wasted time texting people you will never meet.
  3. There is no respect people ghost/ditch/reject and harm you without regard for your feelings.
  4. Once you show interest back most guys freak out.
  5. The men who pursue me recently are aggressive and seemingly jealous, resulting in me wanting to run away.
  6. Guys send mix signals and it makes it very difficult to know what people want.
  7. Finding a valuable person seems to make men completely distance themselves.

As a confident female people probably assume dating is not even a concern for me. The fact is though I have had to figure out life alone. Deal with intense feelings of rejection from my late husband’s suicide. Have a guard up over the vultures that are only after one thing or see me as a target. I am like a fish out of water in the new world of dating.

It is not easy to pick back up and try again. I consider deleting the dating apps often and sometimes I do. Single people in their 30’s and 40’s including myself all have baggage or issues they come with. That is not the problem. It is finding two people who can get along despite those issues. Some days it is difficult to stay positive in the dating world. I am told daily how in order to date you need to play games. The longer I am alone the more I realize this is true. Being myself with a big heart has no place in the dating world. I am doing my best to not let down my guard again at least not for a very long time of knowing someone.

Here are some of the things I am looking if I meet someone special.

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Year 2 in Grief Waves

It is so true when they say year 2 is harder in grief. It is so lonely some days with no one to talk to. Tonight I cooked a nice meal and I would have loved to share it with someone. I am grateful for my friends who have been there for me. It def helps. It feels like I take one step forward and 3 back some days. I hope that I can find a partner in crime again. Dating is so hit and miss. I have been through a lot between the sociopath, the ghoster, and the date ditcher lol. I am trying to learn how to date, what to say and not say, how to play the game that guys require. I know there are some good guys left though. I think I have a lot to share with someone. I am more patient, more understanding, and more calm than before loss. I am a more balanced person. Yoga is outstanding. I just have to keep on keeping on but it is not always easy. It is hard to see friends change or to lose people but I know that it happens as I have changed too. I try hard to be a good friend but sometimes I mess up to and I am sorry for that. And when I apologize I mean it. Thank you to those who have and continue to be there. I am thankful for you. Bauer is getting a bit older and that has been really hard for me as I see him struggling w stairs. Work is going well, and seems to be going in a good direction. I recently got some help for my ADHD. I am happy to say it has made a huge impact on me. I try to share my life struggles so that others feel ok to talk about theres. There is always someone there to listen. #erasethestigma #griefwaves

Life of a Widow: When times are tough

I have not been writing as much as I should. I am back to that familiar unfocused feeling, I am also in a mode where I feel like I want to talk to someone and tell them how I am but there is no someone is there? I could probably write for hours tonight. to catch up on the last 6 weeks. Instead I am going to focus on today 1-29-18.

One of my dear friends is fighting a battle with cancer. She has fought with vigor, bravery, and strength. She is unfortunately towards the end of her journey. We threw her  a Celebration of Life Party that was so deserved a couple of weeks ago. She looked beautiful and it truly boosted her spirits. She got to see everyone and enjoy a fancy night. Her husband posted today to let us know that things are not going well. I am home sick with the flu taking meds, hopeless because I cannot even go over there to offer any support. She is a symbol of grace, beauty, and strength. I just want to kick this illness and be able to go see her this week. Since truly there is nothing I can do, I know this is selfishly a visit for me.

Also today, I had to go to the doctor and be treated for the flu. When you are sick you want to be taken care of, to be catered to, to have soup and tea delivered. When you are a widow there is no one under obligation to do that for you anymore. I am so blessed to have amazing friends who brought me soup and coffee or called to check on me.

On top of wanting to feel well,  wanting to go see my friend, wanting to be out of this house and seeing people to avoid being alone right now, I want to be held. Since Matt died I have not really been held by the opposite sex. Let’s face it the online dating of today results in a lot of impersonal meet-ups or group dates, the “hookup” attitudes result in kisses not cuddles. The dates are primarily around drinking, so everyone can loosen up and be less nervous. Thus far none of my online dates went past date 6. The great guy I met organically we dated for two months until his ex won him back. It has been a lonely 15 months.

I want to let it all go away for a little while. Where is the guy I can let go in front of and just be? Does it even exist? When I feel myself get closer or open up I worry the guys back off. I truly have no clue what people want anymore. Quite honestly I am shocked anyone ever meets anyone to date…. more on this topic soon.

 

Life-of-a-Widow-When-you

The LIFE of a Widow(er)

The life of a widow(er) these are just some of the comments you see from the young folks in this predicament….

***I just want someone to care again
***I just want to cook for someone again
***I need a hug
***I am not a good enough single parent
***Why doesn’t he or she understand how long its been since I have dated…
***Why am I not enough
***Why did they go and leave me
***Why did that friend say they cared about me and walk away
***Why did someone just tell me to move on its only been x-months

********* I AM HAVING A BAD DAY AND I HAVE NO ONE TO TELL!!!!!!

(and for anyone who is about to say you have friends/family…. that is VERY different.

These are some awesome people stuck in an unfortunate club. Learn compassion. Watch what you say. They are doing the best they can, without the person they expected to love them forever.
Give some grace to the mistakes, brain farts, and emotions that come.

Imagine how lonely it is and how hard it is to get back into dating. How much courage it takes to even try. Imagine how it feels when people take advantage and use you for what they think a widow(er) is or has to offer.

Off my soap box now. This message was triggered by a man in our group who said “I am a good dad but even a good daddy makes a horrible mother.” THIS IS A REAL MAN!

Reflections on my birthday

So today is my 37th birthday. I typically celebrate on Dec 8th because my grandfather passed away on the 9th of Dec. As I sit here enjoying a day to relax, drink coffee, do some shopping, and prepare for a Christmas party tonight, I thought it would be a good time to do a blog entry. As I look outside the first snowflakes of the season are falling around my backyard.

Last night a few close friends got together at my house. We went for a few drinks at a local bar to listen to an acoustic set by Johnny Orr, a local talent. It was a very nice calm evening. Our original plans were to have a wild night out in downtown Raleigh at the 80’s and 90’s bar. The weather was cold rainy and unforgiving. We will postpone this part of the celebration until next Friday. This means an extra party for me!

I was never a big birthday party person. I am not the center of attention girl at all. I used to throw Matt some wonderful birthday celebrations (even surprise ones). I was just thinking about how I surprised him with his parents coming to our apartment once for a birthday party, he was in a foul mood but he did not know why I was all twitchy. I was trying to get them there without him knowing.  I did not usually have people over or go out specifically for my birthday. After losing Matt unexpectedly,  I realized that a birthday is one more excuse to see friends and live life joyfully. So I will take that extra party and do just that!

I am really blessed with amazing friends I have in my life. Moments like the holidays and birthdays are hard for the widow and single community. Both of which I am the unlucky member of. Friends truly help to support you in these tough times.

Last years birthday saw me going under contract for a house (the very one I am writing from right now). I recall buying it unceremoniously and then crying into my burger and beer at Gatehouse Tavern with my parents and friend Laura. I also went to therapy that day knowing I needed it. All I wanted last year was to survive the day without making a complete fool of myself and not get too many pity looks. I wanted to find a moment to stop crying. I wanted to be stronger. I did the best I could.

All I want on my birthday this year is to be hugged by someone special who cares about me. Someone who can look at me with a smile and say it’s getting better Dana, it is going to be ok.  It is not need, I do not need anything. It is a want. I want to share my time with someone, getting to know one another. I want to go on fun dates, sit home and watch tv after cooking together, talk about random things, and develop a friendship that turns into something special. I want someone to take care of me for the first time in my life. I want companionship. And of course on a day like my birthday I am going to assess and take stock of my life.

In this new life I am living, I am not sure if it is harder to love someone who is gone or like some who is right there but unavailable. I do know just writing that sentence has me filled with guilt (ask any widow who tries to move forward and they will say guilt is a step in this). You see when someone is gone you have no ability to change it you just scream, cry, punch, and grieve. You never stop loving your deceased husband. You do learn how large your heart is and how it has the capacity to let someone new in and start to beat again. When someone is physically available and emotionally not all you can do is offer compassion, space, distance and time. The difference is in the 2nd situation you have hope. A hope that someday your paths cross again, and a real attempt can be made to get to know each other with clearer minds. Sometimes the person you want around you the most has to be distanced from, because they do not care enough about you. The fact is if they felt the same they would be there on your birthday and taking you to the fancy party tonite.

I wanted this day to be much different. I wanted this life to look much different.

Just once in what has been a very hard time, I wanted to put a Win in my corner.

You should be here….

Most people who choose to give advice to Widows go home to someone everyday who is there to talk to them, hold them, and care for them. Believe me I appreciate the sentiment and know you are trying to help. Just realize you cannot really understand a young suicide widow unless you are one. I would not wish this on anyone. A few people have reminded me that being alone in this world is not the worst thing. That I do not need any man to complete me or show my worth. They say I have to love myself alone first. Over the past 13.5 months I have done that. I probably spend more time working on my mind, body, and improving myself than most people do. I have learned to love myself for who I am, faults and weaknesses and all. It happens really quickly when you have no other choice but to move forward, dig deep, and trust yourself. When you see your strength and ability to survive tragedy, you quickly know who you are and love yourself for it. The woman I am today is amazing, outstanding, loving, compassionate, passionate, thoughtful, and unbreakable. I am a suicide survivor and a widow warrior. I am a fierce friend and family member. I am a fur-baby mom. I am strong AF.

So tonight I am going to put on my fancy party dress, grab my fellow single widow friend Elizabeth, and go to my favorite bar. We will rock this Christmas party where I know very few people. We are two strong, single, independent, amazing ladies who support each other. We both value having a strong and good man in our lives we just haven’t found one to keep up with us yet and know they want to take us off the market! So cheers to me for making it through this year. I truly hope 37 is my best age.

The Holiday Season for Widow Warriors

This time of year is all parties, couples, and families. I have two parties on my birthday, Saturday. I will be going alone to them both. When you are alone it is a tough time. You reflect on your past relationships or in my case the loss of Matt. It does not mean make bad or desperate choices because you find yourself alone during the holiday season. It is the time of year to take stock of who you are and what you have.

Do your best to do you, love you, and the right person will take notice. They will be magnetically drawn to you for how much you respect and love who you are and how you live your life with passion and enjoyment. The right person wants nothing more than to be with you. The right person could not conceive of hurting you, leaving, or making you sad. The right person compliments all that you are and makes you shine even brighter. The right person cannot stand to be next to you without being affectionate, smiling at you, admiring you, and giving you a feeling of security and safety.

This actually applies to all people not just Widows. The holidays are emotional and filled with extra time away from jobs. Use this time to clean house (literally and figuratively), remove clutter, clear your mind, and finally tap into your needs, wants, desires, and goals for the future.

I consider this the time to reflect, think, ponder, evaluate, and shall we dare to even say… dream. Much like your performance review at work, I evaluate how I did against my goals for the year, and list new goals for the following year. I am not a resolution person. Most people abandon resolutions immediately after they write them down! I am very goal oriented.

Goals of 2017

  1. Survive the one year mark without Matt
    • (don’t give up/stay alive/keep job/maintain friendships)
  2. Get back to working out
  3. Get my body back and sexy
  4. Take better care of myself
  5. Learn Patience and Grace for myself in my new world as a Widow
  6. Walk the dogs more

I feel I have accomplished many of these goals.

Areas for Improvement:

  • Walk the dogs more
  • Have more grace and patience for myself this is a hard experience.

Current Goals for 2018 (work in process)

  1. Be more Assertive when it comes to personal relationships
    1. With men be clear on what I want and accept nothing less
    2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help/rely on people/or demand respect
    3. With friends that take advantage, are unkind, or create stress and anxiety cut them loose or talk to them about the behavior.
  2. Become Yoga Teacher Certified (already signed up)
  3. Formally work on my book proposal
  4. Walk the dogs more
  5. Consider public speaking about Grief, Loss, Widowhood, Suicide Survivorship
  6. Attract an emotionally available man into my life who wants nothing more than to be with me.

I would love to hear what your goals were/are and how you are doing on them.

 

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Note about this blog post this entry is inspired by the widow groups hearing all of our collective stories about the holiday season, putting up trees and putting away stockings of LH. It is inspired by them and the collective dating stories. Widows get treated horrible in the dating community from all I see.
This is really a part one because I think there is more to tell here. It is also inspired by them because of how much effort that the Widows put into GOALS and improvement of self. We are strong and mighty and supportive of each other!!

The world in Gray

I see things simply in black or white. I am a Water element you know. I am in or out. It is on or off. Together or not. Play hard or not at all. So why is the world casting gray on me?

Gray is the uncertain. It is potential energy, it is possible or it is impossible. Gray is rocky and not secure. Gray could ruin you if you let it. Gray could hold everything if you are a patient person.

I have started to learn patience and restraint. I am still trying to balance it with need, desire, and want. Where I fall off is how to be assertive and fulfill my needs while being patient with the gray areas in my life.

What do you do when inside that gray unknown there is something that you want? How much time and effort do you give to the unknown? How long do you sit in gray space afraid to speak out and ask for things?. How do you learn to be more assertive when you are trying to be patient?

I try to work on things to make myself better. My current list is

  1. Patience
  2. Assertiveness
  3. Asking for Help
  4. Knowing I am worth it
  5. Stop overthinking

 

When Matt died the entire world was gray. Where will I live? What will I do? How will I survive? I have been forced to change so much so fast. It has been a lot of work, effort, and grabbing at driftwood when the ocean swells occur. I survived and now I want to be happy again. How will I be happy again? What is happening next? So much unknown.

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Are you Strong Enough to Be My Man?

Who am I? What does it mean to date a widow?

I am built on a foundation of strength that I learned from my family, guarded by a fortress of walls due to a lifetime of being taken for granted, and a difficult life, combined with some very bad luck. There is a moat around me that is deep and open and that hole was made by the loss of my late husband. It represent grief, loss, uncertainty, blame, and insecurity. If you are so fortunate to climb over the walls or penetrate through them you will see that deep inside there is something softer like the batting that goes inside your softest quilt.

If you like me stay around. Put in the effort ask me how I am. Be open, honest, considerate. Talk to me about my late husband. Ask me what I have been through. If you respect me, care for me, consider me your friend, stay.  If not please make room for someone who could. If you are only here to use me or suck my energy please just go.

I truly believe Widows need more consistency, security, honesty, and understanding. We have been through a lot. It is really hard to be thrust into the dating pool (many yrs later and a little unsure) unless you find someone extremely special. We may come off a bit broken, a bit unsure/lacking confidence, but we do not mean to show that side. We truly try to go with the flow and date correctly. We want the same things that everyone wants fun dates, getting to know you slowly, and a great friendship. We will make mistakes

Widows are also distrusting because we are targets and sometimes used (see previous postings about the narcissist) for what we are perceived to have, or for our vulnerabilities that can be exposed. 

Widows are forgetful. We repeat things. We cannot think of the words sometimes. Our minds are a little like a bunch of knots we are trying to unravel into a new storyline. Be patient with me.

Are you strong enough to be my man? If not I certainly know I am strong enough on my own.

Lessons since becoming “CRINGE” a Widow

A good morning text is the best text you can get. It starts your day special when it is from a person who cares about you or that you care for (or ideally both). It is a simple gesture but it matters. It shows that you are on that person’s mind as they begin their day. It is those small things that make you smile and start the day with a positive… with time they hopefully develop into more texts to include goodnight.

I learned that in order for me to be ready to accept someone into my life I had to introduce myself to who I am now, a suicide surviving widow warrior. I am nothing like the girl I was on 10-20-2016 and she will NEVER exist again. Would you even want her to? NO! She walked blindly through life. Thinking things were just great all the time.

I learned that in order to choose and attract better people to be in my life, I had to be comfortable in my own skin, not settle, and not be so vulnerable in my new widow world.

I learned that pure evil does exist. I learned to forgive myself because I will falter and make mistakes on my journey. As long as I learned from the mistake and do not make it again then I think it is ok!

I was swiftly reminded that I have a strong intuition but it is only a useful tool if I listen to it! Still learning to always listen and when the volume is low listen even harder.

I am learning that things happen in their own time and there is no point to try to change the timeline, but try to roll with the waves and hold on tight.

I learned abruptly that life is short and you should always be kind, be honest, and be yourself with no apologies. Use the time you have wisely and around those that fill your heart with happiness. Do not settle for friends, family, or partners who do not bring you joy and compliment you. I see more people settling for things it is unfortunate.

I recall that there is nothing more amazing and joyful than laughing/dancing/drinking.celebrating/talking with someone who makes you enjoy life. Surround yourself with the best of the best.

When you have gone through so much it is best to find someone else who has also walked a journey of some kind (experienced heartbreak, loss, divorce) because they will understand you and you them. They will not give you the sad eyes but will look at you with amazement of your resiliency and strength. They will share their cuts and bruises with you too. I feel most comfortable when we share things with one another that not everyone is privy to.

I learned that while they may be harder to find there are good men left out in the world. Just that is a comfort.

A good friend reminded me: you want someone who would be afraid to lose you, who sees your value, your worth, and your beauty and will shift whatever they need to in order to be able to be with you. I hope…

I learned you miss companionship, being held, and sharing your day/ideas/goals so very much when your spouse passes away. These qualities do not develop overnight with anyone and in many cases will require slowing down and being very choosy.

My brother reminds me to visualize positives, follow the laws of attraction, and keep reading The Secret.

A person who goes through shock, loss, and trauma needs consistency, stability, and honesty from the people she surrounds herself with. I learned that I can overthink, overreact, and be pessimistic sometimes and need to continue to work on that. I learned that most people are flimsy and cannot grasp this need. They are more concerned with their needs and do not realize the confusion they may cause you. Not because they mean but because life is not clear cut.

I am blessed with great and supportive family and friends. I learned that I must keep surrounding myself with good positive, people only and cut off the negatives.

The negatives/trauma I have overcome do not define me as a person but they make me who I am and make me stronger. I am tired of learning and being strong. I want to collapse into someone I trust and fall apart a little. I hope I can soon before I fall down alone into the corner of the room.

Matt wants to see me happy and living and especially dancing (medium reading 1). I promised him I would do my best to do those things.

Just a few of my random thoughts on lessons I learned in the last year and things I am working on too.

She grew calm

I am the calm in the storm:

I do not really think I feel anything anymore. I really just allow the hard moments to happen to me and I go along with the punches, waves, bends, and curves. I do not care what happens to me.

When the Narcissist happened I literally watched it unfolding doing nothing to protect myself from the danger and the signs. It took a persistent and unexpected friend to really get me to act on what I knew and walk out.

When the latest thing happened and I should have reacted in some fashion negatively, I did not. I sat calmly and waited. My date even asked me if I was in shock or ok. He looked at me with concern for how chill I was. Dead husband hanging in a rafter of my attic was my reply. I have not shouted, cried, or freaked out yet about it. I suspect I will not.

Old me would have been more crazy, more frantic, more enraged and cried and screamed. I think it would take a lot to get me to respond emotionally again to anything that happens. I hate shock and surprise but I also no longer allow these unlucky occurrences to shake me. I have no choice because the emotions just do not come.

I cannot hardly cry anymore. Maybe a brief 30 second outburst into the fur of my dogs. But beyond that this widow is growing colder, quieter, more worn down. She is reserved, beaten down, and expecting nothing but unfortunate events to continue to find her.

Luckless:

luck·less

adjective

  1. having bad luck; unfortunate. synonyms: unluckyunfortunateunsuccessfulhapless, out of luck, cursed, jinxed, doomedill-fated

I recall saying to my husband once how unlucky I was typically. How bad things seem to find me. I always felt I was a good person, striving to be my best self while being helpful to those around me. Honest, kind, considerate, and giving. He used to say I was selfish sometimes. Maybe I am a little bit. I do not think I am a bad person overall to warrant such circumstances, but that is hard to self judge. I had no idea all this could happen to one person/family. He and I are both luckless.

Brief encounters of Joy:

Things make me smile sometimes or laugh out loud. I try to surround myself with those things first and foremost. I have a couple of good friends that I swear take away the pain by lifting my spirits and making me giggle. It is during this laugh out loud comedy over google chat or Facebook messenger or a bottle of red that I feel like there is life still in me. I have some new friends that I love to visit at the coffee shop. We share our life with each other and those moments I think maybe I will be ok. I see their strength and try to grab hold and learn how to be stronger, wiser, and more assertive.

My joy however is muted by grief:

I wish I could just throw caution to the wind and truly enjoy moments more. I know I am probably damaging a potential relationship right now because of my inability to handle uncertainty, grey areas, and letting this evolve. I know that is because of grief.

This calm widow requires consistency, certainty, understanding, space. She craves joy, laughter, and passion. I think I do a good job hiding the cold side. Maybe you do not even know about it?

If you know me you may be wondering why I need to be more assertive, me the Type A, me the strong coworker. It is in my personal relationships with guys and friends that I allow myself to be walked all over, hurt, and used. I am of two minds it seems.

  • Work: Strong, firm, spirited and feisty
  • Emergencies and conflict: calm, balanced, unemotional
  • Dating and sometimes in Friendship: do not say no enough, not as assertive, sensitive, uncertain, people pleasing

I continue to take to the waves and when they knock me down I simply stay calm… almost debating if they should drown me or I should float with them. The old me would have swum them, ridden them to see where I would end up. The old me would thrash and fight if the waves started to swallow me.