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.

You-asked-what-I-want-To

 

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

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!!

Friendsgiving with the Misfits

Matt asked that I start entertaining and being around people again in one of the medium readings. Since then I have used the smoker twice and had two parties.

The Friendsgiving was perfect. I had a lot of wonderful people here to spend the day. Each of us were without parts (or in my case all of) our families. We decided to eat together rather than be alone. We ate, drank, laughed, ate, drank, and played Cards Against Humanity.

Two days of cooking was well worth the joy we had spending the day together. A bunch of random misfits that I am happy to be a part of.

We went around the table telling what we were grateful for. I choked up a bit on a couple of areas of course when I said some of us are grateful for those here in spirit (Matt) and those we wish had come (a cute boy).

Almost everyone listed, family, friends, and pets as what they are most grateful for. Even the 3 teens put their smartphones down long enough to answer.

I could have laid in bed and wallowed in a pool of self-pity on the 2nd solo Thanksgiving, but instead I cooked, laughed, loved, and smiled.

Friendsgiving was a success!

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To Matt On His 40th Birthday in Heaven

I had not said his name on the blog before but lately I have been more public on the entire story and therefore I feel it is time to name him here. Matthew is my late husbands name. 11-6-2017, would have been his 40th birthday. Always the jokester, he used to say his birthday was the 7th! It took me forever to recall his actual birthday and not second guess myself.

I had an energy/medium session the day before his 40th. Matt came through and wanted to be sure I started to use the smoker and that I had people over for his milestone birthday. I went to the grocery store for tenderloin, wings, and beer. Our old neighbors, buddies, and even some new friends came over to spend time with me to remember Matt. We told stories, checked out some pictures, ate, and drank. At the end of the evening we sent a lantern up to the sky to honor Matt. I know he saw it. I know he was watching over us.

Matt was  surely happy to see all the people enjoying smoker food on his favorite gift ever, the Traeger. Drinking Crown, doing shots of fireball, and chugging beers together.

Matt, thank you for the many years we had together, the love we shared, the amount you cared for me. Thank you for sharing our home, my craziness, and enduring my persistence and passions. I know that you would have given anything to have enjoyed things more, gone more places, and be more present but the pain you were in was too deep. I know now that you wish things had ended differently. I know you are sorry that I am sad and hurting.  Thank you for checking in on me, for the signs, for being okay with me moving forward. Thank you for the advice to be patient. I am grateful for you guidance and positivity about my strengths after your passing.

I enjoy your signs, and knowing you are around me. I know I look ok but many days I am not. I am trying to make you proud. I am doing Yoga just like you suggested for me.

Happy Birthday Matt and thank you. I miss you.

Wifey.

 

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.

Patience and Balance

My current charter is to learn to be patient when I want to dive headfirst. To know that what is meant for me will come. To be thoughtful in my decisions. To realize I will have happiness again even if it takes time. To know there is a plan for me. I am grateful for my intuition which guides me. The stronger that grows the easier it is for me to learn to be patient. The more aware of myself I am the easier it is to practice this new charter. What is meant will be. What I want and need will come in time.

In my past life I have had to put myself out there first always, now I am learning to lean back and let it come my way more.

Patience in myself is difficult for me to give because I am harder on myself than anyone else. I want to walk side by side with those things that are right for me and not be ahead or behind of the situation.

My passion and excitement for living often comes off as impatience so I need to work on my messaging. I am not trying to rush through this world but instead find a balanced approach filled with light, love, peace, and mindfulness.

In all aspects of life, I am uninterested in having anything that isn’t 100% meant for me, that doesn’t improve me as a person, that isn’t clear to those around me that it is right. If someone doesn’t want me in their life or serves me as a negative energy; I would rather be free of their vines. I have already done this with a few people and it makes me stronger. I am no longer interested in chasing, or making things fit that should not. If you want me in your life you will let me know. If it is meant for me I will know.

 

I am finding patience, balance, peace, strength, growing passion, and living every moment. Be Here Now.