Monday, April 9, 2018

Why I Won't Date

This post kind of meandered a bit while I was writing it, so I'm not sure just how much sense it will make.  But it's where my thoughts took me tonight, so please bear with me.

When my wife left this life, it changed my life forever, and I joined a unique club of those who have lost their spouse at a relatively young age.  Teresa was 31 when she passed on, and we had been married for only 4 and a half years.  I was 34, a newly single father of an infant daughter, and trying to balance parenthood with a promising career.  Along with all of that, I was also contending with overwhelming grief, and I quickly sank into a deep depression.

It was several years before I felt like I could think about dating again.  I hated dating before I was married, and going back into the dating pool was not something I relished.  However, my marriage had been such a wonderful experience for me, and the loneliness I felt without a companion by my side was enough motivation for me to try online dating services, something that didn't really exist before I met Teresa.

With the support of my family, I jumped in.  I didn't have much luck.  I'm not sure I had any second dates.  I hated that I had to start over after I had already found the love of my life.  Being a widower was a huge part of my identity, too, and it became the elephant in the room with each date.  Being an introvert made it difficult to discuss my wife with these dates, but too often they wanted to know what happened to her, and that opened up the emotion associated with the grief, and that scared off several dates.  It was apparent that I really shouldn't be dating.  I just wasn't ready.

But friends saw me dating and assumed that I was "recovered" and "over" the loss of my wife, and while I was hurting inside, I didn't want anyone to know that you never "get over" something like that.  It actually becomes a part of who you are, one of your life experiences.  So I pretended to be fine, even while I avoided their efforts to set me up on dates.

But these friends couldn't understand why I didn't want to date.  The reality is that depression got worse and worse.  When I'm down, I'm really down, and I'm no good to anyone.  I recognize the signs of depression now, and while I can't prevent it from affecting me, I am better able to prepare for it.  And I'm getting treatment for it, too, which is important.  So I know that I shouldn't be dating, anyway.

Another complication with dating is that my daughter told me she didn't like it when I dated.  I think she believed that she would no longer be the center of my attention, and she didn't want to share her father with anyone.  She also doesn't know what it's like to have a mother, since Teresa died when daughter Melody was only five months old, so "normal" for her was just the two of us.  This bothered me a lot, and I hated that it bothered her.  So I finally made the decision not to date at all anymore, and I haven't for almost five years.

I'm not opposed to dating again, and I believe I'm capable of finding love again, but it isn't a priority in my life.  God has a plan for my life, so I won't say never.  But I don't need to have anyone in my life to be happy and content, and that's good enough for me.

Have a great evening, everyone.

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