by Kay Witherspoon
(Lost in Florida)
Gordon and I met on a vacation to Hawaii. We were both sitting at a bar right next to the beach when the waiter walking by with a tray full of glasses tripped and soaked us both with pina coladas and mai tais.
We laughed for about 20 minutes and agreed to meet right back there in an hour after freshening up. He was gorgeous and smart with a perfect smile and big, warm hands. We had both ended up there at the incessant urging of our friends to “go have some fun” after divorce. I never thought I could get back into the dating scene after what Steven did to me (but that’s a story for a different section).
Of course, I rushed back to my hotel room, got out of my frumpy shorts and a t-shirt and put on that one dress that I packed on a whim “just in case.”
Gordon was floored how beautiful I looked and never stopped telling me the entire time. We spent the rest of my time there together going everywhere. I remember kicking myself for only packing one dress and ended up putting a couple more on my credit card.
He was a contractor from Florida and I lived in Toronto so we ended up only seeing each other once a month. I’d fly down there. He’d come up here and we’d trade off. Sometimes we’d meet in Vegas or New York. It was the perfect romance!
When he asked me to marry him, I swear that another marriage was the last thing on my mind and I had no idea where we’d live or how we’d pull it off. I said yes without giving it another thought. I was impressed by how fearless it made me feel to enter into something that had so many unknowns (I tend to be a bit more pragmatic about things).
A year later, after putting most of my design business online, we got married in Toronto and I moved to Florida. I was scared at first, but he took care of everything including making sure I was completely welcome in his social circle. The whole thing couldn’t have been more seamless.
The next six years, I can honestly say were the best years of my life. And then Gordon got sick.
By the time we figured out he had prostate cancer, it was pretty much too late. Over the next six months, I watched a powerful and proud man turn into a withered, old, timid child, but I stood by him every single day until the day he passed away eight months ago.
In an especially vulnerable moment, he told me to move on and find another love when he’s gone. I had never even thought about it. In my mind, he was going to get better and we would spend the rest of our days together.
So here I am, in my fifties, sad, lonely, depressed and broken. I’m facing another foray into replacing a love that was shattered once and ripped away the second time. I know that this time it’s going to be painful. Finding Gordon was so effortless and so perfect. Now I’ve got my pick of the broken and unwanted.
I’m not completely ready to throw myself back to the wolves just yet, but I’m wondering if I ever will be.
Our Dating Advice to You
Starting over is hard
Your story is touching and very common. So many women find themselves divorced or widowed in their fifties with absolutely no strength to throw themselves back into the world of dating.
Moving on even after he made it clear that you should feels like cheating or dishonoring such a great man.
Although it’s difficult to hear this, but I’m sure your husband felt like he was failing you by getting sick and leaving your life. He was very sweet for knowing how lonely you’d be without him and giving you permission to continue on your quest for love.
But permission and gumption are two different things. You might feel OK with moving on and maybe a little excited about it, but you’re scared of getting your heart broken yet again.
There is a fantastic book you can read about this topic called Getting Naked Again: Dating, Romance, Sex, and Love When You’ve Been Divorced, Widowed, Dumped, or Distracted It’s geared toward women in their 40’s and beyond facing dating and relationships after years of marriage.
The best part about this book is that it pulls no punches and will really get you excited to get out and play again. It does warn that you should definitely wait until you feel ready before putting that sexy dress back on and flirting with hot guys.
I will warn you not to give up though. Take as much time as you need to grieve and rediscover yourself, BUT don’t take forever! Love is something that is very important to you and you can find it at ANY AGE.
You can honor your husband’s wish and move on and find another great man to make you happy. The first step is a smile…