Saying the right things on a first date can be difficult.
You don't want to offend, bore or otherwise turn off this new person in your life. If you're attracted to him or her, you probably want a second date (and maybe even a relationship at some point in the future).
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Maybe you just met this person and you'd like to get to know him or her a little better. The same impulse to avoid what would push this person away from you applies.
So, how do you tell your date-- or person you'd like to date-- that you are a widow?
According to the last U.S. census, about 13.8 million adults were widows. Contrary to the stereotypical image of a very elderly widow who is perfectly content being alone, a large portion of this 13.8 million are probably either dating or want to date.
The need for companionship, affection and intimacy of all kinds are pretty much universal. For many who have gone through the grief of losing a spouse, the time comes when they are ready for a new relationship.
How best to attract the kind of relationship they want can be the challenge. It might be the situation that you're in too.
When you're at a party, office social or sitting across from one another at a coffee shop, what are the best ways to let your date (or potential date) know that you are widow without being a downer?
Use these 3 suggestions as a start and find words that feel authentic for you:
#1: “I'm a widow AND....”
Many people fear death. When the subject comes up, discomfort can arise pretty quickly. Let the interesting person you're talking with know that while you are widow, it is just ONE aspect of who you are.
You probably don't want to pretend that you haven't gone through the death of your spouse, but you can make it clear that there is a lot more to you than that. You don't have to spend a lot of time talking about how your spouse passed away or your grieving process (unless you want to). You can acknowledge that you are a widow and then share some of the many other aspects of who you are and what you enjoy doing.
This might be a chance for you to affirm to yourself that you are a widow AND you are a parent, birdwatcher, hiker, movie-lover, community activist, artist, teacher, baseball fan, computer programmer, amateur comedian and so much more.
Discover that many-faceted aspects of you and be willing to talk about those parts of you too.
#2: “I am glad for my past and I live in the present.”
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Our big reminder to you is to be honest and open about the fact that you're a widow and also let your date know that you don't live in the past. As you've probably learned through the healing you've done since your partner's passing, it doesn't serve you to live in the past.
You can appreciate the times you shared with your spouse. You may smile and laugh about a memory, but if the bulk of your attention is spent remembering or re-living the past, you're probably not ready for a new relationship.