The thought of having to be in the dating world again after your spouse dies is terrifying. There are a lot of reasons for this, these are some of major ones…
- We still feel married first of all, so we battle the feeling that we may be doing something wrong and are betraying our spouse. (I still wore my wedding ring for several dates)
- Sometimes we are still processing our grief and will end up talking about our late spouse the entire date…or at least more than we should. We may or may not discuss in great detail how they died as well.
- We can be a ticking time bomb in a way and may have something happen to trigger our grief and emotions. Once while on a date to a movie with a guy, the beginning previews showed a movie about a coal mine. (Jake died in a coal mine) Then to make it worse, we saw ‘Just Like Heaven.’ It was about a girl trapped in a coma, but her spirit was trapped in her apartment…bottom line…she was basically dead, and then comes back to life for her happily ever after. (What most widows dream will happen to their spouse.) Anyway, that date was a trigger for me, and needless to say it was my last date with him. Just a little hint, when you find a guy that doesn’t run if you have a trigger on a date, you may have a keeper!
- Dating and being a single parent is difficult!!! You don’t have to worry about your parents staying up for you…it’s worse, you have kids waiting up for you. I also had an infant so the thought of breastfeeding and dating was a fun joke!
- Every time you go on a bad date it sends you back into your “this new life sucks, and I want my real life back” depression.
The list of reasons could go on and on…Please feel free to leave reasons you find the thought of dating as a widow terrifying, (or exciting) either way…this will be fun to see:)
The main topic I want to discuss is an issue for people in my faith, but I believe it has implications for every widow/widower who dates and remarries.
In my faith we are married and sealed for time and all eternity in our temples. We believe families are forever and this is the power that makes it possible. To learn more about my beliefs, Click Here. I know also, that despite the typical wedding ceremony that pronounces death as an ending to the marriage contract, many people inherently feel that they should be able to be with their spouse in heaven. Not, only that, but love does continue even after a spouse dies, so I would like to apply my specific situation to a more general situation. This is the questions that most potential spouses have to ask a widow or widower…
“How can it be possible for you to love someone else the same amount as you love your first husband?”
This was a slight variation to the standard question that most men have asked me, which was, “Why would I date you if I can’t be sealed to you?”.
The biggest issue that comes up with dating in the LDS faith is the fact that women while alive can only be sealed to 1 man. So if we are sealed to our first husband and we don’t cancel that sealing we cannot be sealed to our second husband. Most widows/widowers don’t have any intention to cancel their sealings. This is a very personal decision and I am not passing judgement on any one for their personal choices. This issue is hard for the widow and also hard for EVERY person she/he dates that belongs to our faith. So 9 times out of 10 this topic will come up on the FIRST date! In my experience it only came up on the second date once. Every other time it was the first date.
Curtis and I had an amazing first date, and it was complete DIVINE intervention that I even said yes;) But it didn’t allow for a lot of talking. So he waited for the 2nd date to drop the question…
I had been dating for about a year, so I had my answers ready. I responded by telling him that I have 4 kids and I have different relationships with all of them. I love them all for different reasons, and all the relationships have strengths and weaknesses. However, I don’t love any one of them more than the others. They are all different relationships, but the love is not less. Our hearts are capable of giving as much love as we are willing to allow. I am a very loving and loyal person and I knew I was capable of loving someone else as much as I loved Jake. I was very clear however, that I would never stop loving Jake. I wasn’t looking for a replacement for him. I was a package deal… me, my four kids, and my dead husband.
Curtis was really sweet how he handled the uncomfortable conversation. It was by far the best “your sealed to your dead spouse” conversation I had dealt with. That didn’t make it any easier though. Every time I went through the issues with people it was excruciating. I felt like I was being punished for having a dead husband. It wasn’t enough that I had to endure the greatest pain I could ever imagine and have my life destroyed in an instant, but I also was somehow doomed to living my life alone for the next 60 years. It felt like my options were slim and consisted of staying single and lonely. The idea of a man with my same belief having enough faith to marry a widow and trust in God seemed impossible. But wait…isn’t that one of the core beliefs in this gospel? We must live by faith…hmm
I left the date with Curtis completely defeated! I cried for a few hours after and had vowed to go back to the sad widow that would never find happiness. My Dad took me aside and told me that it wasn’t fair to give up on Curtis so easily. He encouraged me to give him another chance, and reminded me that even though I had been processing it for 2+ years it was new for him. He needed a chance to wrap his head around it too. Curtis knew that I was upset after the date so he had tried to call a few times. I never answered the phone.
My idea of giving him a second chance was to send him…what he calls a “nasty gram”. I wrote him a short email about my feelings including the phrase, “I don’t think I even like you and yet you want me to discuss spending eternity with you. I would just like to be able to go on a date with out having to try and solve the mysteries of the eternities!” I figured that Curtis would go running after that, but I could tell my dad that I had given him a second chance;).
Well, Curtis surprised me by calling and leaving a very sweet message about the fact that I was right and he apologized for upsetting me. He asked if he could make it up to me and take me out again. Our third date was much better, but he had planned it with a friend of his that had married a widow.
To be continued with a blog post from Curtis in the next few days!!!
Read Part 2 from Curtis here.
*I would love to hear your funny experiences, or the way people bring up the issue of still loving your former spouse Sometimes it helps to have a good laugh at all our problems to lighten the load just a little:)