Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Widowhood Dating Pool

Approximately 115 people attend events at the senior hall and only about ten of them are men. I had the misfortune of sitting next to one of them at the last luncheon. He told me his whole life story and I thought to my self, who cares! Does that make me antisocial or a bad person? I don’t think so. I nodded my head, cooed and clicked my tongue at all the proper places all the time thinking, this guy needs a shrink! Who would have thought you’d still find damaged goods in the Septuagenarian set? It reminded me of my man-shopping days in the ‘60s only this time it came with envious looks from near and far in the room. I could have stood up and auctioned off my chair and made a fortune.

One of the other men who attends these events regularly comes with his wife and she never lets him get more than four feet away from her. I don’t know what he does when he has to pee. She amuses me to the end of the earth and back again. She dresses her husband up in tee-shirts that say things like: “I love my wife,” “I’m with her” and “Taken.” They’re probably special ordered from the Pussy-Whipped-and-I-Know-it Club. He looks bored most of the time and rather like he wishes he could be home working with wood in the basement. I’ve never talked to the guy. Oh, my, I value my eyes too much for that. I’ve never seen another woman talk to him, either, and so if figure there must be a back story to explain that. Or maybe those tee-shirts come with a secret widow repellant---one spray on your guy and he’s good to go for the day without you having to worry your pretty little head about poachers.

Do widows really poach in other women’s back yards or is it just an urban myth to explain why widows get cut from the guest lists of so many social events planned by their formerly two-by-two world? I can’t image putting designs on any of my friends’ mates. For one thing, I know all their flaws. For another it’s not in my DNA to lust after forbidden fruit even if it happens to be low hanging fruit---the occasional husband who make passes behind their wives’ backs. Who wants a guy like that? My dog has better morals and he’s been known to hump the throw pillow in the living room.

I have no interest in finding a man but my experience at the senior hall gives me some idea of what younger widows will go through when they are finally ready to put their toe back in pool. I hope it happens for them like it did for my older brother. He’d been widowed about two years when he found himself on a class reunion planning committee with a woman he’d known in high school. He was a football player and she was a cheerleader and both of them were dating people they ended up marrying. Now they are burning up the highways of America, traveling and having a good time. I can’t picture myself doing that. Been there, done that---the traveling part---but I’m happy for him. He had a rough few years of care giving to my sister-in-law who had full blown, early onset Alzheimer’s. After he and his lady-pal had been dating five-six months I told him, “If a year ago someone would have told me you are planning a trip to South America I would have told them they were crazy.” He replied: “I would have told them the same thing.” The moral of that story is, obviously, that anything is possible.

I don’t know if it’s because my first year of widowhood is coming to an end or if it’s because 2013 just began but I’ve gotten serious about planning a daily and monthly schedule so I don’t keep drifting my life away. Between the senior hall events, writing, keeping my antique booth stocked, and doing the mundane things one does just to keep up with the world I’ll be as busy as I want to be. And the dating pool? It’s filled with minnows with fin rot. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. ©

"Dating Pool" painting by Betty Key


  1. Your recent posts have gotten me thinking, about "sadiversaries", and terms like "widowbrain", and this post got me thinking about something I've been experiencing, that might need to be called "widow drift"...

    It probably falls into the whole "numbness" phase, where even though we are all acutely aware of our loss, days sometimes pass by in flashy blur, a weekend will come and go, and I won't remember a single thing I have done. And...though it's still several months off, as I approach the one 1-year anniversary, I feel complete panic that I did nothing during the first year of his death. At least it would appear to be nothing to the outside world.

    You have a wonderful sense of humor and attitude, even in the face of your loss. It helps me to see others who are doing things...making plans, getting out there. I don't want to continue drifting, so, I think I will also need to start making some plans. I think I am starting to feel ready. But dating? Not for a while ;)

  2. Loved it. Alas, my experience with dating was short-lived and perhaps that was for the best.

  3. Thank you both for the comments.

    Bedraggled: I started experiencing the "widow drift" around the 5th or 6th month out...after I had all the legal stuff done and things started slowing down. We probably need the drift or numbness to protect us until we're ready/strong enough to take on the rebuilding phase. Just surviving the first year IS doing something.

  4. Aah, yes, the dating pool is tiny. I think the best catches are off in the tributaries, living their lives with sanity and wit, just like you. I'm glad you're sharing your journey with us. It's great to know that humor can live alongside grief. Might not stomp that grief out, but it puts misery out of its business.

  5. Thanks gowithflow. If any young widows are reading this and want to read a feel good story about dating after widowhood, they should your "dating again" blog entry.