What You Need to Know if You Choose to Date

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After the initial shock of loosing my husband had lessened, and I was somewhat able to function again in my life, I began to realize that I was left with feelings of intense loneness.  I wanted to do anything to fill that hole so that the pain would just stop. I wanted to do anything to fill that hole so that the pain would just stop.  I remember saying to another widow friend, “If I could just get someone to kiss me really hard, I would feel so much better!”  I remember saying to another widow friend, “If I could just get someone to kiss me really hard, I would feel so much better!”  She laughed and admitted that she felt the same.  Fortunately, there was no such person, because I can look back and see that in my vulnerable state, I was not thinking clearly or making sound long-term decisions. 

For many people these feelings hit between 3-12 months, and they can be the incentive to drive people to pursue relationships. However, the desire to escape pain is not a sound and healthy reason to begin a relationship. Those kind of relationships often lead to additional pain.  It may temporarily mask the symptoms, but it will not heal them.  The pain from grief takes time to heal and relationships are better started when we are emotionally healthy and can think and process more clearly.

Grief counsel Kent Allen quoted these statistics about remarriage:

·      73% get divorced if they marry within the first year of their loss.

·      30% get divorced if they marry after the first year.

These statistics teach us that, “Time is our Friend.”

If we try to rush the process, we are not the only collateral damage.  Children and grandchildren can also get hurt.  These family members have also suffered loss and need to heal.  Time also allows us to identify and avoid perpetrators.  The scary thing out there is that they are men and women who prey on people who are emotionally vulnerable. Fortunately, these same people are normally unable to keep up the charade over an extendend period of time, so if you are patient and move slowly their true colors will shine through.  

When you are ready to go out in the dating world do so with your eyes wide open.

Here are some of the Red Flags for dating that Kent Allen shared with us in addition to a few of my own.

Know the common warning signs of predators

  • Their goal is to isolate and control you and to gain something from you.  They are self-centered at heart.
  • They will consume your time.  They will shower you with attention, which you are literally starving for, but they know and take advantage of this.  They will call you every night, but normally late because they what to know if you are dating.  They want to date you 3 or 4 times a week. 
  • They push for quick physical involvement, so the commitment level increases.
  •  They will begin to isolate you so that they do not have to be around the other people in their lives.  After a few weeks, you will find that your children, friends and family will begin to complain that you are never around.  They will make you choose between them and your family.
  • They try to control your opinions by convincing you that your concerns are not legitimate and that you are viewing things abnormally.

Some specialized examples of predators:

1. THE SWINDLER:

They have the appearance of being well off and well established.  They may have a nice car, clothes, or a condo for the appearance of success.   The first kind doesn’t make commitments. After a few dates they want to hang out at your house, eat your food, and then they begin to ask you to do things to take care of them.  The second kind will want to commit and rather quickly, they are in the relationship to take your money.

Advice:

DO NOT DISCLOSE YOUR FINANCIAL INFORMATION UNTIL AFTER YOUR ARE ENGAGED.

a.     Get a good financial advisor that is trusted in the community

b.     Get a prenuptial agreement before you get married

2. THE MOOCH:

They don’t have anything, and they use people to provide for them. You will feel sorry for them and you will think that your can take care of them, help them or fix them. These people also do not make commitments.  In truth, you cannot fix someone else’s problems.  They need to learn to be independent and self-reliant to be a contributor not a drain in the relationship.  This is not a healthy relationship.

3. THE PARTIER:

They are addicted to thrills.  They invite you to go boating, skiing, rock climbing, and other activities, but they also do not make commitments.  Their ‘things’ and ‘hobbies’ are their most important priorities and they will put those over you and their children any day.  They will pressure you for intimacy as well, showing up late at night for a “movie”/make out session even after being ‘too busy’ to do something you wanted to do. They are in the relationship for the ‘fun’ they can get out of it.

4. THE DECIEVING EGOTIST:

They only want to text you or communicate on-line. You may feel that they are exclusively interested in you, but they have multiple ‘online’ relationships because they either do not want to commit and get emotionally involved or because they are married or dating someone else.  If they do date you, they don’t want to do it in public or introduce you to their friends and family.  They may ask you to send pictures of yourself that at first can be innocent but can escalate.  Beware because these people can have serious addictions to pornography.

Despite the loneliness, the hole, and the pain, remember that

“Time is your Friend.”

The more time that goes by, the better you will be able to deal with the challenges of a second marriage and blending families.  There are things to learn in being single, so be patient, be smart and be wise in your dating.

Other Resources:

Dating Emotional Predators: Signs to Look Out For | Self-Care Haven.