Dating is hard enough at any stage of life. But should widowers and widows dating divorcees have to worry about their relationship? Should they only date other widows and widowers? And if divorced, should they only date other divorcees? What’s the combination that will give you the best chance for true companionship?
Divorcee + divorcee? Widow + widower? Divorcee + widow?
At Stitch, many of our members are either widowed or divorced, which brings new challenges to finding a partner later in life. It’s an unchosen label that both connects them to others that have experienced the same trauma, but also makes them feel as if a world made for couples has thrown them aside.
We’re always incredibly touched by the stories we hear and think it’s wonderful that both are taking steps to seek companionship. However, some bumps along the process could possibly be avoided by not “crossing the border” from widow to divorcee. As a result, the question has been asked: Should you be dating a widower as a divorcee, and visa-versa?
“I’ll never date a widow again.”
For one member who has recently come out of a relationship (we’ll call him “Howard” since he did not want his name to be shared), said that it’s not something that he would be willing to do again. As a recent divorcee, he had begun a new relationship with a widow and at the time they dated, thought that he had finally found “the one.” He felt like his ex-wife was never really his soul mate and that his soul mate was still out there, and it was Terry (also a fake name to protect identities). Unfortunately, as the months passed, Howard realized that Terry didn’t consider him her soul mate. To her, “the one” was her late husband. She even called out her late husband’s name during intimate moments with Howard.
The relationship was one-sided. Howard knew he would never live up to the memory of Terry’s late husband and didn’t feel he could continue when they didn’t both think they had found their soul mate. He said it was even more painful than his divorce, realizing that Terry would never truly be his. Heartbroken, Howard had to walk away and is now only dating fellow divorcees. He said, “I’ll never date a widow again.”
“We’re starting from zero.”
That’s just one story. For another couple who met on Stitch (she a divorcee named “Lynn” and he a widower named “Paul”) the question of whether they would be compatible because of their different losses never came up. Lynn said, “There will be obstacles to overcome in any relationship and ours is no different. Sometimes we fight. Sometimes we laugh, and sometimes we cry! Maybe we cry for different reasons, but having a shoulder to cry on, someone I love, it doesn’t matter about how we got there, just that we found each other now.”
Paul said, “Of course I miss my wife and yes she was my soul mate. But, I am able to think of that as my past, as Chapter 1 in my book of life. With Lynn, it’s Chapter 2. We’re starting from zero. She and I have built a new life together and every day I’m grateful to Stitch for leading me to her. Thirty years ago, we would never have worked. I’m so excited for the future. It’s been a long time since I felt this way.”
Forget about dating?
Another Stitch member, “Deborah,” who is both a divorcee and widow, shared with us that she has felt a gaping hole in her life for decades. Such a mix of different trauma and pain led her to feel that the only way to feel right again was to find another husband. She went on hundreds of dates, never able to commit to someone and never feeling better.
Then Deborah joined Stitch. She said, “It wasn’t until Stitch that I realized that what was missing from my life wasn’t a man. It was a RELATIONSHIP. Having these women in my life has magically brought me back to my youth. I have re-discovered what I loved most about being a girl and hanging out with my friends … only without the angst and self-esteem issues that haunted me then. Thanks to Stitch I’ve found FUN. I’ve reconnected with JOY and discovered Peace of Mind. What more could anyone want? “
Her advice is to forget about dating and focus on finding true friends. Use Stitch to meet different people with different backgrounds. Use the Stitch Forums to dig in deeper on these issues and connect with people who can understand what it’s like to be a Widow or Divorcee.
Even with these stories, the question still remains. You’re a recent widower. Who should you be dating? You’re a divorced single mom. Who should you be dating? Rather than answer this question ourselves, we want to turn it over to you.
What do you think? What’s been your experience moving forward from death or divorce?
Start by sharing your thoughts in the comments section below. If you’re a Stitch Member, you can also continue the discussion on Stitch by clicking here.