It seems like every single woman is faced with this question from time to time: are you dating?
Widows are no exception, and people often want to know if I’m dating or will I be dating. Even my husband brought up the topic on occasion after his cancer became terminal. He thought there was no reason I shouldn’t date and, in fact, it would be for the best since our kids would need a father-figure after he was gone.
While it would be nice to have someone to curl up on the couch with to watch Netflix after the kids go to bed, I’ve decided that dating is not for me (it’s one of the reasons I still wear my wedding ring).
Here are five reasons that led me to decide I’m not dating.
Two words: emotional baggage
Oh, and also five kids and a senior mom living at my house. Three years of emotional eating haven’t done me any favors either.
I’m not naïve. I realize in the shallow dating pool that exists for those in their late 30s, I am not going to be a hot commodity. Maybe there is someone out there who would jump at the chance to help me work through the trauma of the past while taking five kids under his wing, but quite frankly, I don’t want to weed through everyone else to find him.
Does that make me a coward? Maybe. But I’d really rather not add dating rejection to the list of things that bum me out about life.
I’d be looking for a driver, not a soulmate.
And really, even if I did find this mythical man, it would be fair to date him. That’s because if I were dating, I wouldn’t actually be looking for a boyfriend. I’d be looking for a chauffeur, a child care provider and a cook.
When I think about having a relationship, I don’t fantasize about romantic dinners and long walks in the park. I think about how nice it would be to have someone else pick up the kids from band practice for a change. I imagine evenings in which I am told to put my feet up because someone else will be making dinner. And when I’m having a frustrating day with kids, I envision another adult in the house who can put the little ones to bed while I deal with the teenage drama.
All of that sounds wonderful to me, but it would be grossly unfair to whomever I might date. That person deserves a woman who will appreciate him for his innate qualities not his ability to entertain a 3-year old. Unfortunately, at this point in my life, I am not that woman.
When would I find the time to date?
Besides, even if I were looking for a boyfriend for all the right reasons, when would I have time to find him?
I already work full-time, have a house to maintain and spend anywhere from 2-6 hours per day during the school year carting kids to school and elderly relatives on errands. My to-do list is a mile long, and I have to get up at 5am if I want any time to myself. I’m sharing this for pity but to drive home the point: I simply don’t have time to date.
My kids already get the crumbs
Some single moms are able to wonderfully juggle parenting and dating. However, I don’t envision myself within that group of moms.
Already, I am gone most nights of the weeks. My 15-year old has taken to anxiously asking each day if my work is done and if I’ll be home in the evening so maybe, just maybe, we can eat dinner together or perhaps watch a movie. Even when I am physically present with the kids, I often find my mind is a million miles away. I am running through my to-do list, worried about my elderly aunt, thinking about the work I could be doing or wishing I was instead folding the pile of laundry that has been sitting in my room for a week.
Lest you think the worst of me, I am trying – and trying hard – to change this and focus more on the kids. Dating would simply add one more thing to my life that would distract me from the five people who need me most right now.
Burying one husband is enough for me
Even if all these other reasons didn’t exist, I still can’t imagine I would begin dating. Quite simply, I am terrified of going through another protracted illness and watching another man I love suffer and die.
I have a couple elderly relatives who I know will be leaving us sooner rather than later and once they are gone, my hope is to be done with death until it’s my turn. God forbid something should happen to the kids before me.
Are you dating or not dating? What led you to make that choice? Leave a comment below or head to The Mighty Widow Facebook page to join the conversation.