dating after the death of a spouse

In the September issue of Oprah I found an interesting article by Suzy Welch on decision making. Everyone makes decisions, big, small, life-changing and life-threatening everyday. The author contends that her formula for working through the problem-solving process on the way to coming to a definite decision is one that could change a person’s life or at the very least help those of us who have over-analyzed our dilemmas to the point of inertia.

She calls her solution 10-10-10. And its implementation is simple. When faced with a difficult, or not, decision, ask yourself three questions: What are the consequences of my decision in 10 minutes? In 10 months? And in 10 years? The answers to these questions will usually give you enough information to proceed to a decision. Read Full Article

The first time I fell in love I was five years old. His name was Steve, and we were in Miss Smith’s morning kindergarten class together. A pixie of a boy, I can still picture him. He had these gorgeous brown eyes. The eyes have always had it in for me. Window to the soul perhaps, but my Achilles’ heel since day one. We played tag. He was the only boy I couldn’t catch. My other weak spot. A man who was unavailable.

I have long since stopped chasing men. If they don’t stop, it’s because they really aren’t that into you. But I haven’t yet managed to avoid being sucked in by a sexy set of peepers. And it’s not the color, the shape, or face they inhabit that make someone’s eyes so alluring.

The last pair of eyes to suck me in defied my ability to color code. The furtiveness of the glances made it difficult to catch them out. It was nice to be the object of a man’s interest again, but despite my best efforts since, it has gone nowhere, and I am disappointed. Read Full Article

Today the Chicago Tribune ran a front page story on online dating services that basically pointed out that the anonymity of the net provides a veritable playground for scammers and unsavory characters. In Florida now, rape crisis centers are required to ask victims if they met their rapists online. In California there is a legislator trying to force online dating sites to either provide background checks or clearly state that they do not – buyer beware. One Chicago woman told the reporter that she was letting her membership expire after an incident with a semi-stalker.

And all this gets me thinking – again – that perhaps there is more to be wary of than to be aware of when looking for companionship on line. I am not particularly concerned for myself. Hey, I blog, right? But I have a child now and her safety is primary. I have been online myself on various message boards for six, maybe seven, years. I “know” people who I consider friends even though I have never met them in person or even talked to them over the phone.

I approached dating again through eHarmony with much the same trust level that I started chatting with my now friends at the Dragon’s Realm (a soap opera board) or at BabyCenter. Now a week into it, I have more ambivalent feelings about it than I have ever had about posting on websites where I “knew” no one.

eHarmony purports to use a scientific process of assessing compatibility based on 29 essential personality attributes to select potential matches for their customers. They then guide (or force) you through a process of careful communications to determine interest levels and further compatibility before allowing the participants to email each other through there site to ensure anonymity until both partners are ready to strike out on their own and arrange a meeting.

It seems safe. Its seems plausible. Until I remember that I knew I would date my husband the very first time I saw him and we barely exchanged glances and let alone words at that first meeting (oh, and I was with my then boyfriend who was so annoyed by the way I stared at Will that he even asked me if I was going to dump him for Will).

I got to know Will through conversations and activity and watching him interact with shared acquaintances. I can’t do any of these things through eHarmony. I can’t even see what some of my potential matches look like until halfway through the “dating” process when they agree to release their photos to me (whether out of fear of my being a stalker or their having low self-esteem I don’t know).

Every time I open my email and see another eHarmony summons I feel more and more uneasy and it’s not because I haven’t dated in eight years either. It’s because this is just not natural. Mother Nature fully intended for us to be smitten at first glance (or whiff if you’re a pheromone believer) because we are visual, auditory and tactile creatures. One of my possible dates asked me if I prefer men long and lean, athletically built, proportionate or large. I chose all of the above and added that I really look for pretty eyes and facial hair and the rest just fall into place where they may.

Conversely I have taken to quizzing my possibles on their physical preferences just to see if they will lie to me. After all, what woman could ever believe a man (or two or three) who claim that it is the inner beauty of a woman that truly trips his trigger? I am waiting for the day I run across a personal add that says, “SWM looking for 5’5″ blonde with great legs, double D’s and little feet. If you look like I might want to have sex with you, maybe I will spring for Starbucks and get to know you.”

Since I am into eHarmony now for $60, I will play this check yes or no game a bit longer but seriously doubt now that I will ever consent to meet with any of these men (seventeen now and counting). What I am looking for can’t be measured or quantified or assessed. I want to see someone and feel my heart skip and my stomach flip over. Play that grown-up version of peek-a-boo across a crowded room, wonder what his voice sounds like before he summons up the courage to talk with me and be thrilled when it sends shivers up my spine. Sorry eHarmony.