By now, some might say I’m giving a little too much thought to this online dating stuff. I don’t want this to turn into a blog on dating; I think there is enough of those already. But at this stage of widowhood, I can’t help but explore it — mostly because it is there and where the hell else do you meet men at my age?
As is my nature, I’m investigating it — almost as an outsider. It is highly controllable and follows a routine. Maybe a guy emails a few times. He sends his phone number, and it is up to me to call. A telephone conversation reveals whether there is any connection, and it may or may not lead to a meeting. A meeting tells you both if you want it to go further.
One of my widow friends is in the same place. She had a five and a half year relationship that recently went south, which led her to the online world.
We talk about our experiences. We laugh and reassure each other that this is not easy and takes a surprising amount of energy. We compare notes; we wax about our good-guy husbands and how our former lives were so much better, richer.
We regret that the majority of these online prospects are divorced. Then we pose the question: which is the greater evil? Divorced – once, twice or three times – widowed — or never married? It is amusing fodder for our frivolous conversations. I seem to have run into twice-divorced more than I like. I try to be open-minded, but have engrained biases. We widows can be judgmental, thinking we are somehow better than the people who have botched marriages. We are not always nice.
I’ve gone out with a couple widowers, who, unfortunately, seem to have their own set of issues. However, even if there is zero chemistry, you feel more of a connection with a widower purely because you’ve been in a similar boat and can commiserate.
Finally, there’s the baffling world of the never marrieds. I’ve had a spate of interest from never marrieds. For some reason, I think online daters who have never married gravitate toward widows, though I have no Pew Center research to substantiate this. Frankly, if you had a long, fruitful marriage and raised kids, it is tough to relate to someone who has experienced neither.
Even though I have limited time talking to never marrieds, I think I’m done with that demographic. And the multiple-divorced guys recently have fallen a few notches on my ladder; they seem to hate the institution of marriage.
I know I shouldn’t make such pronouncements because you just never know what is going to work, and life just keeps surprising me.