Daisy, 58, lost her husband at a young age and struggled to come to terms with dating again. She tells her story of how she learnt to love again through mature online dating.
Ian died in a car crash just 2 months after our wedding. We were both 26. Left widowed so suddenly was a massive shock and I didn’t cope very well. Instead of allowing myself to grieve fully, I threw myself into work and bottled my emotions up.
Years rolled by and I had still barely shed a tear for my beautiful Ian. I watched friends around me get married and have babies, I congratulated them; but on the inside I was bitter. Why couldn’t that be me? I should be making a family with Ian.
It was like my friends had read my mind, “You should start dating again, Daisy, it will be good for you to get back out there”. I was furious. How dare they? How could I? It wasn’t like my husband had cheated on me, or abused me, or divorced me. He’d been taken away from me. As far as I was concerned, we were still married. Dating somebody else wasn’t even an option, despite how long it had been.
Birthday after birthday came and went and slowly but surely my close-knit circle of girlfriends became preoccupied with their own families and their ‘other’ friends, mummy friends. I found myself suddenly totally alone. People had stopped encouraging me to go out on dates or set me up with their friend. I’d finally got what I wanted, to be left alone. But now that I had that, I realised I didn’t want it!
Ian had been gone for twenty-eight years. At the time that felt like nothing, looking back it was more than half my life that I’d been without love. I finally decided it was time to go on a date. Embarrassed to ask anyone I knew to set me up after all the times I declined their offers, I joined a dating website. Sure enough within 48 hours I had a suitable match, we’d exchanged a couple of emails and I decided to go for it, so we arranged a first date.
It was a nightmare. He was 45 minutes late, and because I was so nervous I used that time to drink ¾ of a bottle wine by the time he arrived. I was more than a little tipsy and quite upset that the first date I had agreed to go on was so late, so I scolded him – loudly – in front of the whole restaurant. Despite my wild outburst, he sat down regardless and I began to shamelessly pour my heart out to him.
It is so cringe-worthy looking back on it, the poor guy, but to his credit, he listened quietly and allowed me my free therapy session. He didn’t deserve that though. That awkward experience showed me that I wasn’t ready to date again; I needed to grieve for my deceased husband and let go. So, that’s exactly what I did. I saw a grief counsellor and took the time to rediscover myself.
I found an art class and joined a yoga group. I treat myself to a pamper weekend, re-styled my hair, spiced up my wardrobe. I started going to social events that I was invited to and started to accept Ian’s death, as well as learn how to be single and happy.
Nine months later, I decided to give online dating another go. This time, I had no guilt about cheating on Ian. I had spent the time needed to get my head around my loss and allowed myself to say a proper goodbye; I knew deep down that he’d want me to find happiness again, just as I would for him.
In the beginning, it was a little trying; I couldn’t help but compare the men I dated to Ian, but this is only natural. Over time I started to meet each new date with a curious sense of the unknown and accepted my dates for who they were. By the time I met Pedro on online dating, I was 55 and he was 50. He had lost a child to cancer and although they tried, he and his wife could not grow past their loss together and had amicably decided to divorce.
Pedro is the gentlest, most sincere and kind-hearted man I could have met. We understand each other’s losses and can support each other, but most importantly, our tragedies have taught us to live in the moment and enjoy every moment of life; which we do.
We’ve been together for three years, have a beautiful home together and have learnt that grief shouldn’t stop us from allowing love back into our hearts.
I’m so glad that I took the time to let go of Ian and allowed myself to move on. He would never have wanted me to be alone and depressed. We all deserve to love a second time around.
To take the first steps towards loving yourself, visit www.maturitydating.co.uk