Widowed, single and dating

Love sign in lights

Love sign in lights

You may have guessed (well it’s pretty obvious as I write about being widowed) but I’m single. I’ve dated a bit but so far nothing serious has happened and I think I’m ok with that.

I’m in a period of major change and adjustment and I’m often left feeling like I have no direction or purpose, apart from the obvious fact that I have two little ones to bring up.

I once thought that was enough. That being a mum would be my life now, I wouldn’t have another meaningful relationship or be allowed to fall in love. Of course, I wasn’t ready to think about that or maybe even admit that that’s what I needed. Now, more than two years down the line, things have changed.

I’ve started to accept that I’m in a new chapter, and no matter how much I long for the life I had before, the future I had with my husband, my best mate, that’s gone and I can’t have it.

That is a massive thing to come to terms with and I’m not saying I’m happy with it, just that I can admit that that’s the way it is.

So left on my own, a single parent whose life was recently compared by my friend Paul to having the logistical problems of a major supermarket, I’ve realised I want more.

I miss being part of a couple, I love male company and feeling like I’m attractive, wanted and loved.

Should I apologise for that? Should I stay single and be defined by widowhood? Well I don’t think so.

Light love and a clutch bag

This situation is one that doesn’t have a rule book and although I have a few friends in the same position – widowed and ready to date again – it’s a total minefield of guilt, fun, new ground, feeling judged and the biggest one of all, childcare problems!

Dating when you’re younger and child-free seems a breeze compared to this military operation needed to actually get out there.

Add to that the fact that as a blogger I’m online a lot, my life is anything but private and although of course I don’t share everything I’m very easy to google, face-stalk or research by anyone thinking of going out with me. I put myself out there and I can’t take it away now – and nor do I want to.

With that comes the issue of how open I should be about being single and dating. I’ve said a few things about it on social media and yes, I’ve found I am judged by it.

The number of unsolicited messages I’ve had from men I can’t tell you – and I certainly can’t tell you the content of some!

Does this mean what I’m doing is wrong?

Or that I’m advertising the fact and look like a target for weirdos?

Perfume on dressing table

That’s certainly what another male friend told me last week. I quote: “If you are too open about being single then you’ll attract all the sleaze that thinks you’re easy.”

I mean really? Is this the way it is in 2017? I wonder if I were man I would be judged in quite the same way.

And anyway, all this stuff about being judged, do I really care?

When you’ve lost someone so close to you the absolute worst has happened. After that, what else could go wrong?

When you’ve already lost big in life, you suddenly have a lot less to lose. Nothing that can happen now can be worse than what’s gone before, so you become fearless, maybe reckless, and you worry less about what people think.

Dating – in your 40s, as a widow, with kids – it’s an absolute minefield and sometimes it does not look at attractive one to cross!

Advice that I’ve already had is the obvious stuff like go online, start a new hobby or join some sort of sports club, all the cringe stuff that you wouldn’t really want to have to do if you were single.

I’ve been online and I can tell you, there is a whole other blog post about the soul destroying nature of that!

I’m sure this like everything in life is a phase, but it’s a tough part of losing someone you love, losing your future, that I think I just have to work through before I start to feel better.

In the meantime, any practical or constructive advice you may have on this subject, please do let me hear it.

Julia x

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  • Reply
    October 26, 2017 at 10:02 am

    Great post Jules. I hate to think anyone would judge you for wanting to do something as normal as go on a few dates! People are weird though so who knows! x

    • Reply
      October 26, 2017 at 10:11 am

      Thanks Em! I think unfortunately they do but as I say I am trying to not let it bother me 🙂 I need a date with you lovely lady! x

  • Reply
    October 26, 2017 at 6:46 pm

    Oh Julia. I don’t envy you this. You are right to want someone in your life, to date and to look for company but the whole dating process… eugh. I hope you have fun, enjoy yourself and that the judgement subsides. No-one has the right to judge – and in this situation there really is nothing to judge! x

  • Reply
    October 26, 2017 at 7:49 pm

    An article which spells out what being a widow really means. Loss of your husband but also loss of the future you thought you had, the path were you thought you were heading. Not wanting to be permanently alone is how it is loneliness can be unbearable especially one the children grow up. The desire to meet someone can be less than the fear or meeting the wrong person. There seems to be no easy answer.

  • Reply
    Lisa Valentine
    October 26, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    This resonated with me more than you can know. My fiancé died very suddenly aged 39 from a virus and left me and two step-daughters behind. Our world imploded and the very idea of ‘moving on’ made me ill. For various reasons, I started dating again sox months later. Some were great, some were dreadful and others were downright hilarious. I unexpected met a guy who I fell in love with. I got judged, lost friends and family. Three years on, we’re married and happier than I ever dared to imagine. No advice, I just wanted to say that it is possible and always, always take it at your own pace. Much love xx

  • Reply
    Karen (Stopping At Two)
    October 26, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    I relate to so much of this. Online dating is a scary world – we should swap stories over a few g&ts sometime. I was always very open and honest about my status and although you do attract weirdos I always felt complete honesty was essential. And you know the rest of the story.
    I think the best advice I would say is the only opinion about dating that matters is yours x

  • Reply
    October 26, 2017 at 10:52 pm

    I can’t give you any advice as I’ve not been in your position, but I’d say go out, meet people and have some fun. Whatever happens next is up to you, just let the decisions be yours and not the doom mongers!!

  • Reply
    Caro | The Twinkle Diaries
    October 26, 2017 at 10:54 pm

    You know my thoughts on this. You DEFINITELY shouldn’t feel guilty about wanting to move on and be part of a couple. Hopefully you won’t have to kiss too many (weirdos) frogs before you find Mr Right. Hoping the stars align for you for a second time xx

  • Reply
    Kate | Five Little Stars
    October 26, 2017 at 11:31 pm

    Good for you for sharing, and for reaching a stage where you feel ready for the next step.

    I met my now husband and father to my 2 children, rock and best friend, online dating. My advice, try a site where you have to pay (weeds out the riff raff and people only after one thing), and sites where there is some match making criteria applied. We used eharmony. Granted I had to relax my criteria before my husband popped up on my feed as a potential match But generally in life – it’s a good thing to be more open minded.

  • Reply
    Hannah - Budding Smiles
    October 27, 2017 at 8:09 pm

    Oh Julia, I am so sorry that you’ve faced judgment and also sleaze – people baffle me in the worst ways sometimes. I don’t have any real advice with regard to dating in your circumstances, but I will just say that against my will, I was forced to try online dating after a disastrous first attempt. I am now married to the man I met on there, happily, so it can work. I guess like every place, there are the good, bad, and downright weird of society on there, which can make it a daunting prospect xx

  • Reply
    October 27, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    Yes, a minefield. 20 years on from finding myself in a position similar to yours, I’d advise getting clear in your own mind the characteristics of the chap you would like, set your intention and meditate on that intention, daily…..then let the universe do its work on your behalf. Works like a dream….just remember you and you alone are responsible for what you bring into your life, no one else. God bless and I wish you well in your search.

  • Reply
    Californian Mum in London
    October 27, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    It sounds like a minefield. But best wishes in finding someone who makes you feel wanted and loved. xx

  • Reply
    Steph Curtis
    October 27, 2017 at 10:46 pm

    Too many judgey people around – and they are totally wrong anyhow, nothing to judge here. I truly hope you will find someone who will appreciate you and make you happy. Am sure there must be a few out there, it’s just finding them is the tricky bit! Oh and then putting up with living with them… good luck! 😀
    Steph Curtis recently posted…Half term holiday successMy Profile

  • Reply
    Single Mum Speaks
    October 27, 2017 at 10:46 pm

    This post really resonated with me. It’s shocking that anyone would assume you are “easy” and that weirdos think it’s OK to contact you just because they know you are single and thinking about meeting someone. To be honest it’s that sort of stuff that puts me off dating! Best of luck and like commenters above have said, go at your own pace.

  • Reply
    Hayley @hayleyfromhome
    October 28, 2017 at 10:39 am

    It makes me so sad that you have to face up to weirdos and judgement to do something so natural and normal, and no I don’t think you’d be judged the same as a man sadly! For some reason a widowed man comes across as more attractive in our society although I have no idea why. You certainly are a woman who deserves to be treated like the very best and hopefully you’ll cross the minefield and find someone special xxx

  • Reply
    Heledd _ Running in Lavender
    October 30, 2017 at 11:07 am

    Julia you are an amazing, beautiful, talented and strong woman and when the time is right you WILL find love again because quite simply you deserve it. You are with out doubt one of the kindest people I’ve ever met and despite all the dark times you’ve gone through, you always seem so positive and upbeat. Sending you a big hug xx
    Heledd _ Running in Lavender recently posted…Autumn Walks and Winter CoatsMy Profile

  • Reply
    October 30, 2017 at 11:25 pm

    You have a life to live..widowhood teaches you how fragile life really grab happiness and the good times when they roll in..those people who truly love you won’t judge of luck..stay positive X

  • Reply
    Juliet Evans
    November 1, 2017 at 7:26 pm

    I met my husband 2 years after he had been widowed, and just to give you some perspective from the other side – it’s not easy but the person who you meet needs to appreciate that they may have to share you …

    I love my husband but I do feel sometimes that he is ‘borrowed’ from his first wife, if that makes sense, it’s not been easy and I have really struggled with this at times, but, I know that my husband loves me and we have children of our own (his first wife couldn’t have children) and I feel sad for what she has lost and for the tragedy that happened to her (she was only 39 when she died from cancer). I had just lost my dad from cancer when we met and we came together through a shared grief, supported each other and have been lucky enough to find happiness with each other.

    I really hope for you that you are able to find somebody to share life with, it is possible and we have always said that we weren’t prepared for the cancer to take 2 peoples lives from them, you deserve a future, a happy one, for yourself and your children and there are good people out there,

    Wishing you every happiness,

    Juliet x

  • Reply
    Sarah Christie
    November 1, 2017 at 9:48 pm

    Ah Julia this made me feel so sad to read you are the most beautiful talented creative lady and no one has the right to judge you, life is mostly on life for most people these days not just bloggers and who is anyone else to judge. Never question your resolve you are doing amazing x

  • Reply
    Wave to Mummy
    November 1, 2017 at 11:59 pm

    Oh how horrible that you have had judgemental comments! It is totally natural to want to feel loved and be in love again. And that doesn’t mean that you would not love your husband any less, or that you have forgotten him. I wish you all the best, and I hope you’ll find a good man soon xx
    Wave to Mummy recently posted…What our family has been up to October 2017My Profile

    • Reply
      November 9, 2017 at 10:24 pm

      Thank you – that is exactly it! xxx

  • Reply
    November 7, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    Those who judge say more about themselves than they do about you. You shouldn’t be made to feel guilty about wanting to find a new relationship. As a single mum in my 40s I can relate, although my single status is not through bereavement – I’ve simply never found the right man (I used a sperm donor to have my daughter). For me the judgement is the opposite. I’m happy not to date (I spent 20 years of my life dating! and yes I agree online dating can be soul destroying) and many around me can’t understand that I’m happy on my own. Frankly, it’s none of anyone else’s business what you or I choose to do. My blog and social media pages also advertise me as ‘single’ and yes there’s a certain sleaze element that latch onto that. However it also sorts the wheat from the chaff. A friend recently tried to set me up with someone we both worked with years ago – he messaged me on FB but then I probably took one look at my blog and ran a mile! Less enlightened men find my situation and points of view challenging!

    • Reply
      November 9, 2017 at 10:24 pm

      Yes you are right here on lots of points – I think it’s important not to think about the judgement as what can you do about what other people think anyway? Writing a blog is a difficult one isn’t it as when you’re single if you ever meet anyone you are way too easy to google! x

  • Reply
    November 9, 2017 at 10:17 pm

    Thanks for writing this article, as unfortunately I’m in the same boat ! I wish you the best of luck! It would be great if you could write about loneliness and coping as a single parent, as 3 years down the line that is something I’m struggling with.. all the best x

    • Reply
      November 9, 2017 at 10:20 pm

      Aw thank you and I am sorry you are in the same position. Good luck to you too! I have a few posts in mind about singe parenting actually so watch this space, just need the energy to write them! 🙂 xxx

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