Thursday, April 3, 2014

Death Put The Brakes On The Divorce, Widow Now Wants To Date

Dear Tazi:

My marriage was positively miserable for all but a few years. Now that the last of my children is grown and has graduated college, I was planning on leaving their father – I even had the divorce papers drawn up and ready to be delivered – when he took a big, fat heart attack and died. I cannot say that I am saddened by his passing because I am saved the trouble of going through with a divorce and have gained the sympathy and respect of my community as a widow.

My problem is that now that I’m free I would like to start dating. I don’t have anyone in mind, but was considering one of those Internet dating sites or singles mingles. What is an appropriate time for me to wait before jumping back in to the dating world? I would hate to scandalize my children, who thought my marriage to their father was one for the ages, but at the same time I am ready to enjoy my freedom!

Just Call Me Scarlett

Dear Just Call me Scarlett:

Depending on where you live and the culture in which you were raised a person’s time of mourning can vary greatly. My community is heavy to the Italian culture, where it seems that a woman mourns her late husband for the rest of her life. In large urban areas, such as New York or Los Angeles, less weight is put upon propriety and more consideration is given for personal fulfillment, meaning a period of mourning lasts as long as you feel it should.

My personal view on an appropriate mourning period is a year and a day. This allows you to live through all of the days/dates that were important to your marriage at least once, and gives you the chance to experience them by yourself; the extra day is so you do not start dating on the anniversary of your spouse’s death. That’s just tacky. I realize your marriage was not the greatest, but often times we do not realize what we have until it is gone. Your first wedding anniversary without your husband; your first holiday season; your first family tradition without him present will be a time of adjustment for all – especially your children; out of respect for them and their need to mourn, allow for time to provide a healthy distance between their father’s passing and the introduction to Mom the Swinging Single.

I am not saying you need to live like a mourning dove for the next 366 days. By all means, get out there and enjoy life! Discover a new hobby or indulge in an old one; take lessons to learn a new skill; join a book discussion club through your local library or book store; take a class at the community college – in other words, live like you were dying. All of this will help you to rediscover your sense of self as you adjust to being a single/widowed woman, help you to meet new friends and cultivate relationships, and maybe even meet potential romantic partners. Nurturing your soul will not only help you heal from your years of misery, it will help your children adjust to the idea that Mom is a person in her own right, too.


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