I have not made a decision yet as to whether to delete this blog yet, but in the mean time I had some things that have weighed on me and I wanted to get them out.

I decided back in February that I was ready…or as ready as I will ever be…to start slowly the process of meeting new people.  I am not sure I had characterized this decision with remarriage in mind, although that is a logical destination – but just meeting people was important.  It was a decision fraught with peril and pitfalls for me and I spent a lot of time mulling it and shedding tears over it.  Then I decided to move forward.

The long and short of it is that it has been an unmitigated disaster for me emotionally.  

It is important to point out that from that time until now I have met some wonderful, career-minded, intellectual and super women.  Many having come through their own version of hell to get where they are today.  I have nothing but respect for them.  For these women the reasons why a connection did not spark were as varied as they themselves were:  Some were so caught up in their careers that I saw no space for me in their lives.  Some did not want children and my having a son put an end to the discussion.  For some the connection was friendly and wonderful, but while I gained a great new friend there was just nothing else there, the “spark” did not happen.  

But in one case I was driven to despair and beyond.  It literally broke me and from that day to now has caused me to reevaluate whether I even want to do this further.  Perhaps in a world where someone can treat you so cruelly, maybe I am better staying by myself.  This relationship only lasted a short while, but it is like a horror movie in that no matter how much I tried to avoid it details of it popped up again and again.  I was told when she ended it that we were incompatible, a rather all-encompassing term that tends to be meaningless.  But then later I was accused by her of “using” her and of treating her as a “rebound”.  I buried my wife 15 months earlier, rebounding was not something I was thinking of ever.  This hurt me a great deal, but it was over.  Except that it was not; as information trickled in from mutual acquaintances.  Weeks later I learned that she had met someone new – and a short time after that they were married.  So who was “used” and who was the “rebound”?  As a widower it was disturbingly similar to experiencing a 2nd loss.  It is important to point out that the above happened months ago now, and that it is only the negative effects that have lingered.  

I set down a very strict policy when I started in February that if I progressed to a certain place with someone I was talking to over email or the phone that I would focus all of my attention on that one person.  It is a matter of respect.  I think if you have an interest in someone it is proper to show them by not talking or being with anyone else.  In the initial email or talking on the phone period perhaps you can talk to a couple of people at once, but once you’ve established a connection with one you owe it to them and to yourself to give them your undivided attention.  A lot of my male friends told me this was crazy, but I stand by it.  But a lot of my other core principles have been shaken over this year.  I believe in being open and honest.  And by being this way it makes me vulnerable.  And thus when something negative happens I find myself “hardening” and “guarding” more….and I worry about losing something that is very specific to me.  If I harden myself too much, if I protect myself too much then I lose that vulnerability….I lose that piece of me that I have held on to for so long.  I lose something that is intrinsically me.

Another thing that makes this hard for me as a widower is that while my late wife and I are relatively young, she was 40 when she passed and I was 39….but we married young.  We were married for 18 years and thus a lot of time has passed since I was single and a lot has changed.  It is important to point out that I was also very young when we got married so I also didn’t experience much of the dating scene – such as it was – even when I was younger.

So here I am, disappointed and dispirited.  I have take a step back from everything and am really not sure where the path leads me.  I will keep moving forward because I am not the the type to give up and sit down in the mud – but a part of me has been damaged by this experience.  My heart already was hurting, now it just feels empty.  I do not know what the future holds…but I greet it with a little less enthusiasm then I did before.


About Alan Howard

Alan Howard is a 40 year old IT Operations Manager working in the greater Atlanta area.
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