I thought after some time on a dating site that I would put out there into the universe exactly how I feel about this experience thus far~ not just about dating but also about how difficult it is to start back and also the judgment that comes your way from those around you when you do. Life is very different in this regard compared to dating in your 20’s and being a widow makes it even more complicated. The rules change, everything about it is different. I’m adding my real life experience today to the blog because I want to share something important. Each person is different in their need for companionship, intimacy, and love and how important it is to them is only up to them, not you. The added complexity to this is the judgment from neighbors, friends, and family if they are not ready to see you with another person or if they are ready to see you move on and you are not. This is completely unfair, but so are many other things in life. Grief is complex and some people wait years to date and some people never date again. Others can’t stand the loneliness and void of companionship in their lives and they seek that out very soon. All of these answers are the right ones and none of them escape judgment. If it’s too soon~ the gossipy phone calls start amongst your connections, if it’s too long~ the brazen comments your way are “ you just need to move on and find a man.” None of this helps. And among those of you in this situation we all know we can’t win and please everyone. So just do what’s right for yourself and what works for you and your family. What needs to be given to us is acceptance and space to move at a pace that works individually for us. We will make mistakes. We will also do things right. Just allow us to figure it out for ourselves and stand with us. I can imagine this is difficult for you to do, especially if you are connected to our loved one that has passed away. What you would do in our circumstances should never enter your mind when considering someone else’s emotional, physical, and mental needs. Just love us. Support us. And be there. I promise you, you would want the same. It is the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Now, I write in analogy many times to express my experiences and beliefs. Here is my analogy of online dating. I have a sneaky suspicion that with many of you single people this will resonate. Many clichés exist and are overused, but there is truth behind many of them. The one that points directly to this experience is “There are many fish in the sea!” And from there I will begin.
Dating online had been a “less than centered” normal human interactive, aquatic experience. We all come to the pier freshly optimistic as to what swims below the surface. What will our catch for the day bring to our table tonight? What are we in the mood for? We stand hopeful casting our lines out with tasty bait. The bait symbolizes who we think we are as a person and we use that bait to bring in what we think we want and what will satisfy our hunger. The internal hunger we feel and the need for fresh air and fun drives us out to the pier. Most of us are all deep down good, honest souls (we believe) and we are deserving of that big, beautiful fish that is waiting in the seaweed and rocks of life below the surface of the water. Some folks out there are looking for the sunfish with all its sparkle and sleek outer fins. It jumps and preens and is beautiful. Some look for the sea bass with their richness in flavor. Others don’t really care and are just looking for a little action on the end of their hooks. All types are on the pier and all types are in the water so we must be cognizant of this fact of life.
Here’s the truth of it all. As the day wanes and sun begins to disappear into the horizon~ we grow weary of the casting and reeling in of the “not so perfect” fish we hadn’t envisioned at the start of the day. Our expectations of what we want and what is out there are clashing and we began to grow callus to the energy spent in the act of fishing and to the painful unhooking of those fish that don’t meet our expectations. We begin to see this experience as a vast sea and an endless draining source of possibility. The humanity of the act is lost~ we should all learn that no fish is perfect and neither is the person fishing. Some of us walk away dissatisfied, some of us see the beauty of the endeavor. The fish that are caught and thrown back swim to hide near quiet rocks to nurse their hooked wounds. A few today caught their prized dinner plates, others walk away with empty pails contemplating whether they want to invest in more bait. This is how it goes in life and with online dating.
My hopes to share this is to remind us all that we are all humans with feelings and histories and are all worthy of someone. It would be nice if collectively we don’t lose that sense of understanding of the human element to our endeavors on this pier and to be more respectful of one another in this sea of humanity.