Q. I’ve tried online dating on a variety of websites, but have never been interested in continuing to see someone after a first meeting for coffee or lunch. There hasn’t been any chemistry. Any advice? I had a very good marriage and my friends say my standards are too high. But I’m not willing to just “settle.”
A couple of possibilities come to mind. First, unrealistic expectations are an issue for some widows. Are you setting yourself up for failure by using your late husband as a yardstick? He may be a hard act to follow – and impossible to live up to. Remember, it took many years for the two of you build a relationship. You faced problems together and found ways to work them out. You grew to know and understand each other over time. You resolved some differences and learned you had to live with others. A new relationship at this stage of your life doesn’t have a chance unless you accept that it takes a while to develop. It’s only human to want the same kind of connection with someone new, but it doesn’t happen overnight.
I also wonder whether you’ve thought through the qualities you want in a new man. They’re probably very different from what was important to you earlier in your life. For example, do you require that he follow the same religion you do? You may have cared about that when you were younger, but may not now--especially if your children are grown and out on their own. Does he have to share your politics? How about your interest in theater and ballet? Does he have to be financially well off? What are your deal breakers?
Realize it may take a very long time to figure out what you really want. One widow told me, “I want a smart, competent, take charge guy, who I can turn to and say, ‘What should I do about this?’ It would also be great if he’s handy with computers and can fix the smoke alarm.” Another woman wants a poet.
Be aware, too, that some widows don’t want another romantic relationship. They’ve built fulfilling lives for themselves, had a chance to gain independence, and see a new man as someone they will have to “give up a lot for.” We all have different definitions of happiness.
If you have a question for Florence, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Florence Isaacs is a freelance journalist, author — and a widow herself. Her books include My Deepest Sympathies, When the Man You Love Is Ill,What Do You Say When and Just a Note to Say...The Perfect Words for Every Occasion.
Image via Wikimedia Commons, 246-You