I was wondering, when this blog post was percolating somewhere above my neckline, just how many clichés I could include here, and there’s some I feel I just can’t avoid.
So, CLICHÉ ALERT.
How long is a piece of string?
Situation, circumstances and individuals are all different. For example I took 25 years to be in any sort of serious relationship, I was a prolific non-dater.
Then I met my wife.
And not long after, lost my wife.
I took some bereavement counselling in the almost immediate aftermath of entering widowhood in 2005, and I can distinctly remember being ‘warned’ about falling into a relationship.
In general the counselling was, and continues to be, a great help, but I found that advice really odd and irrelevant.
See at that stage, what little focus I could muster was focused on my baby, and the thought of being in a new relationship was not even a consideration. Britney Spears could have been naked in front of me, and it would probably have gone unnoticed.
Several weeks later and I moved onto the idea of a new relationship being repulsive. I knew I was disgusted at the idea when I reacted with anger when propositioned at a friend’s wedding reception.
I’d totally forgotten about that, until I revisited that time in my life as part of the process of writing Parenting with Balls.
That wasn’t a great experience, as I’m sure it wasn’t for my admirer, but it meant I’d moved on a little.
At least I’d noticed.
Over the next few months, and years, increasing awareness of isolation led to a somewhat dormant desire to be in a relationship to stew, fester and occasionally surface.
I didn’t do anything about it, but could have been convinced otherwise by the right, or more, the wrong person.
During this period the previous advice of my bereavement counsellor started to make sense. Perhaps, in the main, widowers are quicker to get to this stage of dangerous attachment.
What I mean by that is I felt I had the potential to develop attachments for the sake of them, and to people who showed me any sort of kindness or interest.
I’d have been in a relationship for all the wrong reasons, and one I wasn’t ready for.
Luckily for me – and for any unwitting suitors – I managed to avoid this.
My life was pretty full, and while I wasn’t happy on my own, I had accepted that was the best thing for me, and Max, for now.
However it’s flattering when someone finds you attractive. And I guess I had a couple of false starts, all starting from chance encounters.
It was a case of going along with something, agreeing to a coffee or a cinema trip. And on each and every occasion, I quickly realised that the women in question weren’t ones for me.
I’d perhaps let ego win out.
But ultimately, I still wasn’t ready.
Ready, steady, GO!
Ridiculous as it is, and CLICHÉ ALERT.
You have to be in love with yourself before you can truly love another.
This came five or six years after I became a widower.
I’ve long been accused of loving oneself a little too much, but the agonising and painful admission, is that most of that was probably the result of an act I was putting on.
I’d made a conscious effort to get my confidence back, not for the sole purposes of a new relationship, more so for myself, and my soul.
I was determined to be happy, regardless of any relationship.
Regularly exiting my comfort zone, and through each experience I gained belief in myself, and started to realise my potential and not care as much about my perception by others.
At times I’m sure I was unbearable, over the top and annoying. But the thing is, I had become the person I’d always perhaps part projected throughout my life.
I love being an arsehole, it really is who I am.
And the thing is, not everyone hates that, some actually quite like it.
Being ready for dating means being ready for just that. Rejection and rejecting.
It really isn’t pleasant playing either part. But being confident in your decisions and yourself, and not letting either get the better of you means your confidence remains unaffected, and the love for yourself remains.
So, what about that string you mentioned?
All I’ve really done here is written a brief recount of the stages I felt I went through, and roughly when I passed through them.
Perhaps others can identify with them, and I’d not be surprised at all to learn that others have genuinely gone through these stages in a much shorter time.
Which returns me to my original point.
When is a widower ready to date again?
I don’t know, I’m off to look for a piece of string.