I apologize that this column is a day late. I'm at a marketing and sales conference all week and have little time to do any personal writing.
When widowers start dating again, they generally start looking for someone that is similar to the late wife. They might pursue someone who looks like her, has similar interests, or a similar personality. For example, when I was dating the second time, I would generally go out with people who were creative and artistic or had similar interests as my late wife.
There's nothing wrong with this per se. It pretty normal and natural to pursue someone that has attributes or interests that we're already comfortable with. After all, it might make the transition to a new relationship easier. However, the problem I notice with this is that some widowers almost expect the women to do things just like the late wife did them and have a hard time dealing with the fact that these women come with their own personality and interests.
So if you're a widower in this position or out dating game, here are some things to think about before getting to serious with someone:
- No one is going to be exactly like your late wife. No one. No matter how many women you date, they're all going to be unique and different. They're all going to have things you love about them and things that drive you crazy. What you need to decide is why you're attracted to the woman. Is it because she's an amazing person in her own right or that she reminds you enough of the late wife that it eases your grief and the pain in your heart? If it’s the latter, you’re bound to be disappointed as you get to know her better.
- Don’t be afraid to date outside your comfort zone. It never hurts to go on one date with someone who may seem to be the polar opposite of the late wife. You may be surprised that you have more in common than you think.
- When you fall in love the second time, I mean REALLY fall in love with someone, a lot of that stuff you may think is important suddenly goes out the window. When I started dating the second time, I thought I needed to be with someone who was creative, artistic, and outgoing. I ended up marrying someone who was scientific, logical, and reserved. Yet I was head over heels crazy for her. I still am. What I learned from the experience is that when we meet the right person, we just know it and we're willing to love them for the person they are--faults, good things, and everything in between.
Dating the second time is quite an adventure. Don’t be afraid to see all the different options out there. You might be surprised at what you find.