FYI | London Edition | October 2011 - p. 11 Real life
Dating after a death: How I knew I was ready
I was 39 years old when my husband died unexpectedly in his sleep. It was the shock of a lifetime. He was my love, my rock, a crucial part of my life and our children’s future, and in an instant, he was gone. A few weeks after his death, I received a letter
from my insurance company. The letter said that when you lose a spouse it is normal to want to date, usually sooner rather than later. I felt guilty even thinking about the possibility and could not fathom the idea of dating so soon after my husband had died. I buried this idea along with the letter knowing I would re-enter the dating scene in my own time.
That time came, shockingly to me, several months later. I was by myself at the grocery store and I looked up to fi nd a man watching me with an interested look in his eye. To my surprise, I found myself feeling attracted to him. I didn’t know what to do! This innocent exchange of glances made me uncomfortable, but only in a sense that I realized I was no longer a married woman but an available single one. That one look instilled in me a sense of freedom. Over the next few weeks I began to consider the idea of dating. I felt like there were a few things I needed to do before it would feel comfortable to date.
First, I needed to be willing to discuss dating with people who I was close to. I decided to talk to my father-in-law. He said genuinely that he wanted me to be happy and that he knew Mark would want me to be happy too. I also called my sister. I told her I’d been thinking about dating and was shocked when she didn’t say anything. Instead the line seemed to go dead. I said, “Are you there?” She replied, “Yes, I was crying. I was worried you would never want to date again after Mark. I’m so happy you are considering it.” From both her and my father-in-law’s answers I felt better about moving forward.
Second, I needed to know that I wouldn’t be dating to just fi ll a void. I could not put the
pressure on someone else to fi ll Mark’s place – if I did, neither one of us would ever be truly happy. Third, I needed to fully embrace the feeling of being attracted to another person. I decided to trust that my body was telling me, It’s OK! and gave in to the butterfl ies. When I was so wrapped up in the sadness of losing Mark, I had no space to let someone in. So when I felt an attraction to a man, I thought maybe it was time. But now what was I to do? I had met Mark online and thought it was a good place to start. I created a profi le and even programmed a
search. As I scanned through the results not many of the profi les interested me. After several pages I started to wonder if I was just being extremely critical because I wasn’t ready. But in that same moment, I stumbled upon a profi le of an attractive man whose profi le made me smile. He and I met a month later and spent seven hours together on our fi rst date. That was just the start – we wound up dating for 18 months. And after I’d fallen in love and spent countless hours with him, I decided to stop seeing him. Not because I wasn’t ready, but because he wasn’t ready. It was one of the hardest decisions of my life; it hurt me deeply and I’m sure it hurt him,. But it was the right decision.
By completely letting go and trusting the universe and jumping into intimacy with a man again I found my heart. I realized that I could be with a man and, furthermore, consider having a future with someone other than Mark. So, while my fi rst attempt at a relationship after my husband did not end up as I had wanted, it was an experience that greatly furthered my healing and growth.
Jennifer Hawkins has written a memoir, The Gift Giver – see thegiftgiverbook.com
Travel Insurance That Makes Sense www.primelinkinsurance.ca
* As in all insurance policies, conditions, limitations and exclusions apply
Manulife, Manulife Financial, the Manulife Financial For Your Future logo and the Block Design are trademarks of The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company and are used by it, and by its affiliates under license.
PrimeLink is a registered trademark of Primelink Management Ltd. TRAVELSENSE is a registered trademark of CanAm Special Risk Insurance Agency Limited. Used with permission.
Personalize your travel insurance with TRAVELSENSE™
Healthy travellers quaIify for discounted rates
Covers fully disclosed pre-existing conditions Covers fully disclosed changes in medications No stability clause
* Annual plans now available Underwritten by
Introductory Offer Expires Nov. 25, 2011
| Page 2
| Page 3
| Page 4
| Page 5
| Page 6
| Page 7
| Page 8
| Page 9
| Page 10
| Page 11
| Page 12
| Page 13
| Page 14
| Page 15
| Page 16