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Short and Sweet Summary: Are you arguing with yourself about whether you should consider dating again? These dating excuses every widow should retire put those arguments into perspective by giving you permission to live a full and meaningful life with another love interest, if that is what you decide to do. One of the biggest dilemmas is how long a widow should wait before dating. Hint: there are no right or wrong answers.
Widows have two choices for dating after their spouse dies.
Either you date again or you don’t.
It seems simple enough, but we all know that deciding to date again brings a whole slew of complications with it. For starters, it’s hard to wrap your head around dating another man who isn’t your husband. And then there’s the “what will people think” conundrum. Followed by the “I’m not worthy” inner critic backtalk. If that’s not enough, one of the biggest dilemmas is how long a widow should wait before dating.
There are no right or wrong answers for how long you should wait because that’s a personal decision based on personal factors. I don’t know what’s best for you. And neither does anyone else. Except you.
But back to the alleged complications. Gee whiz. It seems like a lot of confusion and excess worry coated in tension, wrapped up in anxiety with an extra helping of dread on the side for good measure.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Let’s put to rest any idea that you aren’t entitled to live a full and meaningful life with another love interest, if that is what you decide to do.
The dating excuses every widow should retire are so common I’m writing a blog post about them! You’re not the first one who’s ever uttered the following phrases.
And you certainly won’t be the last.
I’M NOT READY
The decision of when to date again is different for every widow. Just like the way your spouse died differs from every other widow, no one can decide for you when you’re ready.
What does it really mean to be “ready” anyway?
If you waited until you were ready to do many things in life like have kids, switch jobs, or hike the Appalachian Trail you probably never would have done any of those things.
But when you finally took the plunge, I’d bet my life savings that you were better off for having those kiddos, making a career switch and taking off on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
The “I’m not ready” excuse is one of the first dating excuses every widow should retire because it’s really just a defense mechanism. Because it’s your brain’s job to protect you and prevent any threat to the status quo, it puts the brakes on anything related to risk. You’re learning how to live without your husband, and your brain is adapting to that.
Now, if you throw a wrench into the equation like hmmnn…maybe I should consider dating again, your brain is like, “Hey, hold up! I can’t take this on now, too. It’s hard enough keeping you out of harm’s way without introducing more risk. Thanks, but no thanks.”
So your brain challenges anything that changes the status quo. Hence the “I’m not ready” excuse it loves to throw at you any chance it gets. (My brain loves to argue with me about not taking risks. However, my gut is a better judge of what’s best).
How to remove this excuse
Tell your brain everything will be OK. Literally say it out loud. “Thank you for protecting me. I know you’re doing your job, but I’d like to give dating a chance. It’s going to be great. I promise!” It may seem silly to talk to yourself, but it works. Instead of letting ugly thoughts lurk in the back recesses of your mind, say the confident words upfront, “I’ve got this. It will be OK.”
I STILL LOVE MY HUSBAND
The question you should ask yourself is why is this a problem?
Every widow on this planet still loves her dead husband. And will forever. This is actually a non-issue.
Deciding to date again has nothing to do with the love you have, and will always have, for your deceased spouse. No one questions the depth of your love, except for you. It’s the classic dating excuse every widow uses, but should retire, because it puts the kibosh on any future romance by abdicating all responsibility for your own life and happiness.
My husband died and I will love him forever, so I guess I’m destined to be alone because he was my one and only.
The thing is, you’re not a better widow for staying sadder longer. And you’re not a better widow because you’ve convinced yourself that you love your deceased spouse more than widows who choose to date again.
You can love your deceased spouse AND find another partner who stirs your soul. Just because you’re widowed doesn’t mean you’re now relegated to a life void of love. It’s not like you picked the short straw and must live with an unwelcome fate for the rest of your life. You’re a human being with free will so you can decide that you love your deceased spouse AND make room for a new partner.
How do you do this? Believe it’s possible.
My husband died when I was 44 years old and even though I didn’t know at the time that I would ever find love again, I believed it was possible.
And guess what? I’ve been in a loving, stable relationship for the past few years with an amazing man. I never would have met him if I kept telling myself that I couldn’t meet anyone new because I still loved my dead husband.
Your husband died.
That means you get to go on living.
How to remove this excuse
Stop convincing yourself that loving your dead husband is a problem. You get to love whoever you want for as long as you want in any capacity that you want. Anyone who’s ever loved someone knows that love doesn’t die when a person dies. Loving your husband forever and ever isn’t a problem until you decide it’s a problem.
WHAT WILL PEOPLE THINK?
The one thing I know for sure about being a widow is that people don’t have a CLUE what it’s like to live without your soulmate. It’s torture. We know this. Other people don’t know this because they’ve never experienced it.
Deciding to date again and allow love into your life is not an easy decision for many reasons. However, the courage it takes to decide that you’re worthy of love and companionship and joy should not be underestimated. I know you’re not taking this decision lightly. And I know that your decision requires some major moxie. But that nagging question about what other people will think still lingers.
Why do we get caught up in what other people think about situations we find ourselves in that they’ve never had to experience?
If you decide to date again, it doesn’t matter what other people think about your choices. Other people’s thoughts or opinions about your dating life or lack thereof is not your concern. You know why? You can’t change anyone’s feeling about a particular topic anyway, so why bother worrying about it?
I mean, we all have opinions about things. Our opinions come from our thoughts about a thing. And feelings arise from those thoughts. My thoughts and feelings about a thing differ from your thoughts and feelings about a thing, because each of us attributes a unique value to our own thoughts. So you can see how forming opinions is an internal process that takes place in our individual minds. Why worry about what someone else thinks in addition to managing your own internal dialogue?
The classic “what will people think?” dating excuse every widow should retire is just a way to relinquish control of your own life. Being vulnerable and opening yourself up to love again is scary and risky. What if the person doesn’t return your feelings? Or what if they turn out to be dud? What if you actually find happiness again?
Worrying about what other people think if you date again takes the focus off the scary risk to your vulnerable heart and slaps it right down into the palm of someone else’s hand.
The thing is, other people don’t control your life. You do. If and when you decide to date again is no one else’s business.
How to remove this excuse
Don’t allow other people’s opinions to sway your decisions about anything. Everyone gives their opinions a unique value based on their OWN thoughts and feelings. Whatever someone thinks about your life or the decisions you make is based solely on their own interpretations, which have nothing to do with you.
I HAVE TOO MUCH EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE
Who doesn’t? Like, for real?!
If you think widows corner the market on emotional baggage, think again. Everyone is fighting battles we know nothing about, and no one gets through life unscathed.
Everyone has emotional baggage!
So, let’s chuck this dating excuse right out the window, OK?
Humans are social creatures who crave interaction and companionship. To deny yourself the basic human need of love and connection is the worst form of self-sabotage. Haven’t you gone through enough already without piling up more reasons why you should remain miserable?
I think this is one of the simplest dating excuses every widow should retire because it simply isn’t true. Oh, I know you believe it’s true because your thoughts keep reminding you of the reasons no one could ever possibly love you again. Reasons like, 1) I’m grieving 2) I’m broken 3) I still in love my husband 4) I have kids 5) I don’t have kids 6) I’m financially unstable 7) I’m a Sagittarius 8) I’m a left-handed redhead 9) I’m addicted to Words with Friends (maybe that’s just me)…um…should I go on?
If you think about it, your thoughts are covering up the real reason you think that emotional baggage is holding you back: you must put yourself in uncomfortable situations.
The uncomfortable unknown is a scary place to be! For sure! But what if you felt the fear and did it anyway? What’s the absolute worst thing that could happen? Probably nothing like what you’ve already experienced. You’ve already encountered uncomfortable situations in widowhood. And you’ll encounter many more. It’s when you attempt to feel uncomfortable on purpose that you reap the biggest benefits.
When you decide that it’s OK to feel discomfort because it’s part of the human experience, you give yourself permission to explore the amazing opportunities waiting for you on the other side of fear.
This is how you learn to save yourself.
How to remove this excuse
Encourage your brain to stop looking for evidence of why you have “emotional baggage.” Regurgitating negative loops in your brain aren’t productive. Look for evidence of why it’s a good idea to do uncomfortable things instead. Like, 1) you show up in your life 2) you accept that you’re open to try new things and 3) you grow and become more comfortable in your own skin.
I CAN’T RISK ANOTHER HEARTBREAK
Oh my sweet, defenseless widow peeps, I hear you.
How can you possibly risk allowing love back into your life when you already know that people die? They die and leave you, and you’re left to pick up the pieces. Why would you want to open yourself up to that kind of heartbreak again?
Because people die and leave you, and you’re left to pick up the pieces. There’s no getting around it. The common denominator we humans share is that we will all die at some point. And you have zero control over when that happens.
I’m willing to bet, though, if someone told you before you got married that your husband would die earlier than anyone expected, but you’d have X number of glorious years together and be happier than you ever thought possible, you’d still marry him.
Even knowing his death would cut your love life short, you’d still jump at the chance to spend time with an amazing human who makes your heart sing. Right? Who woudn’t be willing to experience that love and joy and emotional connection? Even if it’s short-lived?
So what about now? You know nothing lasts forever. The Universe has made that point abundantly clear. But what about allowing yourself the possibility to meet an amazing human who makes your heart sing because deep down you believe that love and joy and emotional connection are worth the risk?
Hey, no one’s judging you if you choose to never date again. I get it. You’re a grown-ass woman and you can do what you want. But, if you’re using the risk of another heartbreak as a reason not to date again, you’re missing out on a very real component of humanity.
The need to love and be loved.
How to remove this excuse
Life is risky. Love is risky. If you never take risks you never get hurt. But you also never experience the indescribable connections that come along when you least expect it. Give yourself permission to take a risk. Let yourself be someone who survived heartbreak and is still brave enough to seek a connection with someone who makes your heart sing. “If you dare nothing, then when the day is over, nothing is all you will have gained.” ― Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book
WIDOW WRAP UP
Well, I bet you weren’t expecting all these crazy feelings to come up after reading these excuses you and countless other widows (including me!) have used in the past.
I know it’s a lot to process. And I’m not advocating for you to date or not to date. No one can make that decision except for you.
What I am advocating is that you challenge the excuses if they are holding you back from doing something you want to do. Like setting up a dating profile. Or meeting someone for coffee.
These dating excuses every widow needs to retire are not uncommon. I think at some point we all go through the nagging questions about what our intentions look like to others or how we can reconcile dating while still loving our dead husbands.
You’re probably carrying around a load of unnecessary anxiety and worry about the subject. But I’d like you to give yourself a break and allow the possibility that it could happen if that’s what you want.
- 101 Inspiring Stories of Finding Love in Unlikely Places
- Widow Myths You Need to Ignore
- Think You’re Ready to Date Again? Ask Yourself These 5 Questions First