Archive for March, 2012
For those who missed it, the final Marrying a Widower cover can be viewed here. The book will be available next month. I hope to have an exact release date soon.
Over the last couple weeks I’ve been emailing back and forth with a woman who’s been dating a widower for nearly two years. For the last six months she’s realized that the widower isn’t ready to give her the kind of relationship that she wants. Even though she knows he’s not ready to make her number one, she’s still having a hard time leaving him. With her permission, I quote from one of her emails the reason why she won’t end it:
I know that in some ways I’m settling but I don’t know if I can ever find someone else who will even treat me halfway decently. The widower’s may not make me number one but he’s not abusive nor does he have any bad habits. I dated off and on for years after my first marriage ended in divorce and most of the available men had serious problems I didn’t want to deal with. I feel like if I leave him and start over that I either won’t be able to find someone or end up with someone who won’t treat me right. Plus, I do love this man with all my heart. I don’t know if I have the strength to go through another relationship.
Some of you may be familiar with the scarcity vs. abundance mentality. It was coined by Stephen Covey in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. For those who haven’t heard of it before, Covey defines those terms as follows:
Most people are deeply scripted in what I call the Scarcity Mentality. They see life as having only so much, as though there were only one pie out there. And if someone were to get a big piece of the pie, it would mean less for everybody else. The Scarcity Mentality is the zero-sum paradigm of life.
The Abundance Mentality, on the other hand, flow out of a deep inner sense of personal worth and security. It is the paradigm that there is plenty out there and enough to spare for everybody. It results in sharing of prestige, of recognition, of profits, of decision making. It opens possibilities, options, alternatives, and creativity.
So what does this have to do with Dating a Widower?
I often read emails from women who are willing to settle for unsatisfactory or unrewarding relationships but hesitant to leave them. There are lots of reasons for this but they usually express sentiments similar to the concerns the email sent me. They’d rather settle for half a loaf then patiently look for someone that can make them truly happy. These attitudes are the relationship version of the scarcity mentality. It’s a mentally I know very well.
When I started dating again after Krista’s death, I felt like damaged goods. I didn’t think there was anyone out there who would want to marry a young widower. One of the reasons I got into a relationship with someone I really didn’t love was because I thought I my widower status made me less than desirable to women. I figured that settling for half a loaf was better than getting nothing. Thankfully, I met Marathon Girl and realized that I had been selling myself short.
Granted, a mental paradigm shift won’t fix a relationship or guide you to someone who will treat you like a queen. However, it’s how you mentally approach a problem that helps you decide what action, if any, to take. If you’re unhappy with the person you’re dating but don’t think you can do any better, odds are you’re not going to take the necessary steps to improve your situation. Conversely, if you believe that there’s someone who will treat you like a queen, there’s little incentive to stay in a less than fulfilling relationship
So if you find yourself in a relationship with a widower who’s not ready to move on, marry you, or otherwise give you the relationship you want, don’t think so little of yourself that you end up settling for someone who doesn’t really love you. It’s a big, big world out there with endless possibilities. In the end if you stay with someone who won’t make you number one, you’ve got no one to blame but yourself.
March 28th, 2012
Thanks to everyone who voted for their favorite Marring a Widower cover. You can see the results of the poll here.
Below you’ll see the final Marrying a Widower cover. It’s cover #1 with some alterations to the shading. Thanks again for voting. The book will available for purchase April 2012.
March 27th, 2012
I hoped to post the final Marrying a Widower cover up on my blog by now. However, I requested some changes to the winning cover and haven’t seen them yet. Even though I don’t have the cover yet, I am willing to post the final results. (If you don’t know what the covers look like, you can view all three of them here.)
Thanks to everyone who voted. I’ll post the final cover–a slightly modified version of cover #1– as soon as I get it back from the graphic designer.
March 23rd, 2012
Thanks to everyone who voted for their favorite Marrying a Widower cover. Depending on how fast the graphic designer can turn the cover around, I’m hoping to post the final cover on the website sometime tomorrow.
Also, I need to get the final Marring a Widower manuscript off to the second editor tonight. As a result, I’m posting a previous Widower Wednesday column below. A new column will appear next Wednesday.
The Sainted Late Wife Part I
A joke that was recently posted on the Dating a Widower Facebook Group goes something like this:
In a hurry, the man walked out into the street and managed to snag a taxi that was passing by.
What luck, he thought, as he slid into the cab.
“Perfect timing,” the cabbie said. “You’re just like Bill.”
“Who?” asked the man.
“Bill Smith,” said the cabbie. “There’s a guy who did everything right. Like my coming along when you needed a cab. It would have happened like that to Bill every time.”
“I don’t believe you,” the man said to the cabbie. “There are always a few clouds over everybody.”
“Not Bill,” said the cabbie. “He was a terrific athlete. He could have gone on the pro tour in tennis. He could golf with the pros. He sang like an opera baritone and danced like a Broadway star.”
“Bill was really something, huh?”
“Oh, yeah,” continued the cabbie. “Bill had a memory like a trap. Could remember everybody’s birthday. He knew all about wine, which fork to eat with. He could fix anything. Not like me. I change a fuse, and the whole neighborhood blacks out.”
“No wonder you remember him,” the man said.
“Well, I never actually met Bill,” said the cabbie.
“Then how in the world do you know so much about him?” the man asked.
“I married his widow,” the cabbie replied.
I think most people who are dating a widower can relate to the above joke. Often it seems like the late wife was the most perfect person who ever lived. Yet the late wife was just as human as everyone else and had her faults and bad moments too. The problem is that after someone dies those who are left behind usually remember only the good things about the deceased. This can make it hard for those who are dating a widower to feel like they can never be as good a wife or mother as the dead.
So what’s the best way to deal with it?
I’ve tried several times to come up with my thoughts on the topic but have been unable to come up with I consider helpful. Instead, I’ve asked readers to contribute stories about how they’ve dealt with it. I received so many good ones that I’m going to make this a two part essay. Look for another for or five essays on this topic next week. Hopefully you find their stories helpful. If you have a story you want to share, it’s not too late. Email it to me by Monday and I’ll include it in next week’s column.
I am fortunate that my soon-to-be husband has never, ever made comparisons between me and his late wife, nor has he laid down expectations that I do things the way she did them. (Ditto with his friends and family, who have been nothing but supportive of our relationship and welcoming toward me.) He has always loved me for who I am, and has told me so time and again. In fact, as much as he loved his late wife, he was thankful that widowhood gave him the opportunity to fill his life with new experiences and people.
So what do I have to add to the discussion of the sainted dead wife? Perhaps worse than the widower or his friends and family making comparisons is this: You making those comparisons and judgments on your own. I fell into that trap, and it took me a while to get out.
Deb seemed like super woman in my eyes. She kept horses, she quilted, she was a talented athlete and a loving mother, she was an amazing gardener, she worked the farm with her husband, she could drive a tractor with finesse and confidence, she endured 17 years of chemotherapy, surgeries, hospitalizations and pain/discomfort that accompanied her cancer, and she never complained or said “Why me?”
I used to wonder, how can this wonderful man put up with me after 23 years of living with a brave and intelligent woman like her? I am scared of horses, I have never driven a tractor (even now that I live on a farm), my gardening prowess is mediocre at best, I am terrible at sports, and I am grumpy as hell if I don’t get a good night’s sleep. I am also impatient, have no mechanical aptitude and sometimes feel as if I have no confidence in myself.
My fiancé is also the first to acknowledge that Deb could be a hard-ass, she had a cantankerous relationship with their son, she gave up early any attempts to have her own career in the field she had studied, and though she could grow flowers, she could not arrange them in a vase to save her life.
In essence, Deb was a human being, and so am I. She had strengths and weaknesses, accomplishments and failures. So do I.
I realized I was only taking inventory of my weaknesses when I compared myself to Deb. I overlooked my strengths. These include making a successful career doing what I love, being financially self-sufficient, making a wonderful life as a single person with good friendships and meaningful activities, and having the tenacity and discipline to be able to ride my bicycle 100 miles in a day. I think Deb would have admired these accomplishments, just as I admire and respect hers.
But more importantly, I learned that if my fiancé didn’t compare me to Deb, then I shouldn’t either, whether the comparisons are based on positive attributes or negative ones. Admiration and respect are good. Comparisons are crazy-making.
Both my fiancé and his late wife have taught me this valuable lesson, and have helped me appreciate my self-worth without making comparisons to anyone.
I feel as though I am the most fortunate wife of a former widower on the planet. My husband has not once verbalized a comparison between his LW and me. I have never even been given the impression that he was doing such. He has never said or done a single thing to make me feel anything less than number 1. So of course then, I never had problem with LW comparison, right? Wrong.
Instead of outward comparisons or contrasts from my widower or their friends, it happened internally. I did it to myself. I always wondered where I stood- how I measured up. I never knew the woman. I only had tiny snippets of her life that I collected from various conversations over time. Some of them include:
- Her laughter could light up a room
- She was always so kind
- You never saw her without a smile on her face
- While she battled cancer, her first thought was always about others
- She loved to help others less fortunate
How in the world could I compete with that? I figured my W thought, “Well, Nina’s all good and well. She’s a fine ol’ gal, but she’s no LW.”
I certainly couldn’t ask how I measured up. I had to deal with that demon on my own- in my own time- in my own way. I almost had to get to know her in my own way, grieve her loss in my own way, and then finally move on without her presence… in my own way. So, I had to lose her too. Now I no longer resent her for simply being here before me. She doesn’t constantly eat at my conscience. She just simply- was.
Practically growing up with his LW has been one of the toughest things to deal with while dating my W. I’m compared to her very often. She and I were best friends in High School and the years afterward and I was a bridesmaid in her wedding to my current boyfriend. We shared a lot (never thought it would be a love interest). We dated for the first time together, drove for the first time together, graduated together, found first loves around the same time, etc. She and I were close as friends that grow up together can be.
When she died, a part of me died. I was there for her family and friends, including her very young widower. When he and I started seeing one another in a different light, just six weeks after she passed away, no one was prepared or ready to deal with that. When people started to find out about us, many jumped to conclusions that W was replacing her with me, since we were similar in so many ways.
There is no way to sugar-coat the way I felt—it hurt. I am an individual, with thoughts and opinions, expressions and features that are all my own. Some things she thought were funny/silly/stupid/good/bad and I didn’t agree. There are still so many things that we did have in common. I did worry about where the W’s mind was when he took a liking to me so soon after she passed away. Was he out of his mind? Was he really into me or was he just needing that attention and affection? Did he like me because I knew her and knew how much he loved her a missed her? Did he pick me because I just happened to be available at that time? Did this happen because God has a plan for us? So many questions that I had no answer for.
Her family had and still has a hard time with us. At first, they felt like I was robbing Matt of his grief. They thought, “Well, Molly has a bubbly personality, and so did LW, so maybe she just temporarily fills that hole for him.” They loved her with everything they have, and are more traumatized by this because of her surprise death at the young age of 26. At her funeral, and most funerals, the clear message was how wonderful, sweet, kind, loving, joyful she was. Now, throw in that her husband, six weeks later, has a new lady in his life. She (me) can never be a perfect as this woman that hundreds of people are mourning. She doesn’t hold a candle to this icon that reigns with perfection of womanhood, marriage, loyalty, etc. She is the bad guy and has taken this precious dedication of life of the LW and smashed it into the ground. At least, that’s how they may have seen it.
I’ve coped with being compared to her and to not ever being able to match up to her for them. That is something I will never be able to be compared to, nor do I want to. However, when it comes to my boyfriend, he has ended comparing us. He has seen that I am me, individually me, with my quirks, passions, desires and dreams that are all mine and he loves me for that. Originally, I appealed to him because I was available, but over some time and deep thought on this situation, he began to love me as me, not because I was her friend.
I think many of the comparisons are all in our heads. For example, I would imagine he was thinking about her when I was helping him cook in her kitchen and judging me lesser cooking skills. I would imagine he was thinking about her when a love song would play. I would imagine he was thinking about her when he was intimate with me comparing our body differences. I would ask questions about her and then i wish i didn’t know because I would them have more ammunition to compare myself to her.
He is still very close with her family. When I attended their events I would imagine they were comparing me to her and thinking I wasn’t good enough for him. My W carried a picture of his LW in his wallet. It’s her picture from the year they met. She’s absolutely beautiful. This picture made me feel so inadequate. I was never that beautiful in my youth. Or at least I never felt I was. But who knows if she felt the same about herself. We are all pretty insecure and self conscious.
I realize now that was only my own insecurities coming out. Thinking back I can’t recall anyone ever actually comparing us, at least not to my face. It really was all in my imagination. i was really the only one comparing the two of us. It’s all that negative self talk that we GOW’s have to stop ourselves from dwelling on.
March 21st, 2012
Based on feedback received on the initial cover last week, I’ve had my graphic designer come up with two other designs.
What I’d like you to do is review the three covers (the initial one and the two new ones) below and leave a comment below to let me know your favorite. On Thursday I’ll announce what the final cover the book will look like.
Thanks for voting!
Update: Don’t worry about the different subtitles. “What You Need to Know Before Tying the Knot” is the official subtitle for the book. It’s the rings I’m looking for you to vote for.
March 18th, 2012
A Chinese restaurant near my home delivers all the way to West Africa. How awesome is that?
March 17th, 2012
I know that Hit Coffee and The Passive Voice are big fans of Amazon Prime. Now Amazon’s offering a one month free trial, I’m tempted to try it out. Anyone else out there had tried out Amazon Prime? If so, how do/did you like it?
Update: I’m going to give it a try!
March 15th, 2012
Instead of dishing out advice this Wednesday, I’m asking for your help. I’m working with a designer on the Marrying a Widower cover but seem to be hitting a brick wall. We’ve gone through several rounds of designs but I’m kind of stuck on how to make it better. The cover below is the latest design. Though I like the two rings, something about the angle of the woman’s ring isn’t quite right. But I guess I’ve looked at this an similar concepts so long, I can’t think straight.
So check out the cover below and ask yourself the following questions:
- If the woman’s ring has a better position, would that work?
- Is there another universal image that would signify marriage aside from wedding rings?
- Anything else that would make the cover more attractive?
Keep in mind that since this is a follow-up book to Dating a Widower
I’d like to keep some of the same branding elements in place so readers will know the two books are connected. Also I’m still working on a subtitle. The one on this cover isn’t final. Anyway, please send me your suggestions. I could use a good dose of insight and creativity now. Post your thoughts in a comments below or send me an email
March 14th, 2012
Spoons. They’re not just for eating.
March 9th, 2012
Marrying a Widower update: I’ve gone through and selected the stories I’m using for the book but haven’t sent out any notifications emails because I’m in the process of editing a few of them. So if you haven’t heard back from me, don’t worry. You should have the email about your story this weekend.
Also, I got the bloodied manuscript back from the editor on Monday. I’ll finish up rewriting the manuscript based on her suggestions tonight then send it off to a handful of beta readers (who are all married to widowers) for their input. The book is still on track for publication sometime in April.
The other day I got an email from a GOW whose widower just asked her to move in with him. Though she loved the man and wanted the relationship to move forward, she was hesitant to start living with him because of the way the widower made the request. He said living together would be a good test to see how compatible they really were. The fact that the widower felt the need to test out living together instead of using it as a stepping stone toward marriage made the GOW pause. She asked if his desire to test things out was a red flag she should be concerned about.
You can’t test a lifelong commitment or try out unconditional love. Either people know the relationship is going to work or they don’t. And it doesn’t take living together for months or years to figure it out if two people are compatible. I knew within a few weeks of dating Krista that I could be happy spending the rest of my life with her. With Marathon Girl I knew on the second or third date that she was the one for me. I never had the desire to “test” the relationships because I knew that I could be happy spending my life with either of them. Maybe others don’t know that fast, but a good chunk of my married friends (male and female) knew they could be happy with their eventual spouses within two or three months of dating. They may not have rushed to get married after that realization but there wasn’t any doubt in their minds that that had found someone they could be happy with for the rest of their lives. Of my friends who choose to live together before tying the knot did it more out of convenience or to spend more time together—not because they weren’t sure if things were going to work out.
Widowers who want to live together as some sort of test drive are expressing their true doubts and concerns about the long-term potential of the relationship. If you’re going to start living together there shouldn’t be any doubt in either of your minds that you can see yourself spending the rest of your lives together. Love and commitment don’t need to be tested. They’re either part of a relationship or they aren’t. So unless you have your own misgivings about the relationship, moving in with a widower as a test drive isn’t a good idea.
March 7th, 2012
Due to a computer error, Widower Wednesday is running a little late today. It will still be posted today, it just might be rather late.
Thanks for understanding.
March 7th, 2012
Apparently I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be a kid.
This realization smacked me full in the face two weeks ago when the kids woke up and found two inches of fresh, white snow covering everything.
Normally two inches of snow isn’t something to get excited about—at least not in northern Utah. Yes, we have the greatest snow on earth but it’s usually we more that I want to deal with. But this winter snow storms have been few and far between and these two inches of snow was the biggest storm to date.
Being an adult, no snow is good news. No, wait, it’s great news. I don’t have to worry about whether or not I’ll die in some horrific accident caused by snow packed roads on the way to or from work. And it makes running outside in the winter more enjoyable and inviting. I have no complaints about the mild winter.
But for kids, no snow is one of the worst things that can happen. Without snow there are no snowball fights to be had, snowmen to create, or sledding to be done. In short, winter becomes cold, dark, and pointless.
Thankfully my kids haven’t forgotten what it’s like to be a kid. They saw those two inches of snow and went crazy. They practically had their hats and coats on as they ran into our bedroom.
Kids: It snowed! Can we go sledding?
Me: [Getting out of bed and looking out the window] Looks like only two inches on the ground. Probably not enough for sledding
Kids: We can sled on two inches of snow!
Me: [Looking out the window again] But I can see spots of grass on hill.
Kids: But we haven’t gone sledding all year!
Me: That’s because there hasn’t been any snow this year.
Marathon Girl: Dad will take you all outside as soon as he gets his coat on. He needs to shovel the walk, anyway.
Me: [gives Marathon Girl the “Whose Side Are You On?” look]
Marathon Girl: [gives me the “What Are You Complaining About? This is the First Real Snowfall of the Year. Go Outside and Shovel.” look]
Me: Okay. Okay. Let me get read and you can start sledding.
Fifteen minutes later I’m outside shoveling and the kids are running up the hill across the street, dragging their sleds behind them. I stopped shoveling long enough to watch them make the first few runs. Much to my surprise the two inches of snow seems to be just enough for sledding. The kids are screaming with delight each time they race down the hill.
I finish shoveling and head to the park to watch. Soon my kids are joined by other kids on our street and there’s a steady stream of sleds going up and down the hill. By the time they finish two hours later, there’s not a shred of snow left on the hill.
I take them inside to warm them up, dry them off, and give them some hot chocolate. Their clothes are soaked and they’re shivering with cold but have the biggest smiles on their faces I’ve ever seen. As they sip their hot chocolate they share sledding stories and how much fun the morning was.
Hopefully next time it snows, I won’t forget what it’s like to be a kid.
March 6th, 2012
For those who have read Room for Two, there’s an article in The Signpost (student newspaper of Weber State University) about the small farm I grew up on. Thought it might add some nice context to parts of the book.
Ogden’s 2nd Street is often associated with the Business Depot of Ogden. All the concrete and cars hardly reflect 2nd Street’s pioneer history, but amidst the clamor of commerce, a corner of pioneer heritage is still intact.
The Bingham/Stone Farm is the oldest working farm in Weber County. Anna Stone Keogh and her cousin, Dave Stone Montgomery, still maintain the historic property.
A working farm is a farm where crops are still planted and harvested. In past years, the Bingham/Stone farm has harvested hay, alfalfa, oats, wheat and pumpkin.
When [Anna] Keogh raised her children on the Bingham/Stone farm, she passed the family folklore on to them. She said she watched her daughter walk around the farm trying to imagine the community that used to be there, just like she used to.
Remnants of the pioneers can still be found occasionally. The pioneers used to throw broken china (dishware) into the irrigation ditches to keep silt down.
“All along 2nd Street in both ditches on both sides of the road, if you want to sift around, you can still find china chips from the pioneers,” Keogh said.
Keogh and [David] Montgomery reported other artifacts, including arrowheads, flint and bullet molds. A copper British penny from 1780 and a gold watch have both been found in the garden.
“You never know what’s gonna pop up,” Montgomery said.
Read the full article at The Signpost.
March 1st, 2012