“As I puttered around my parent’s house for a couple of hours bouncing around an idea in my head, I couldn’t help but laugh, then cringe, and also want to cry and vomit at the same time. Here I am, a 33-year-old woman, terrified to tell my mom that I am dating. I mean, c’mon?! I am a grown woman with my own thoughts and feelings and life. So, as I sat down on the couch across from my mom, I looked at her and said, ‘Mom. I have something I need to talk about with you.’ She looked at me with a little concern, worry, intrigue. ‘What’s wrong? Did I do something to upset you?’ She asked. I said, ‘No, not at all, Mom. It’s something good I promise…I kind of may have met someone.’ She looked at me and seemed a little surprised and then asked, ‘How? And when?’ I told her I had signed up for a few dating apps and that my friends had been keeping tabs on me while I was out. That I was being safe, and I had been waiting for the right time to tell her.
I had hesitated to talk with her about it because dating is personal. It is a scary venture in your 30s, especially after the loss of a spouse. Deciding to date as a widow is such a huge step. And sometimes you just want to stay in your own little bubble until you absolutely feel the need to tell people. And to top it off, I live in my parent’s house and those feelings of that 16-year-old girl came back. Keeping secrets, sneaking out to see boys and saying I’m going to see friends. But, really…it was me being in my own head about it. My own judgment put upon myself and the fear I felt opening up to my mom. I think when it comes to your parents, you always want that approval. You don’t want to disappoint them. And even at 33, that is no different.
As I sat there and let her digest what I had just told her, she seemed calm. She said it was sooner than she had expected, but I should have not been so afraid to confide in her, that I am a grown woman who needs to live her own life. I gave her some information on this new guy and some on a previous guy. I told her I had been on several dates with different men. And that I was on different dating apps and the age range I was looking for. I even busted out my Tinder app and showed her how swiping worked and all the matches I had. We laughed hysterically at some of the pictures, particularly one guy who was lifting a heavyweight and had this constipated look on his face. I told her the story of the tinder catfish and how I sometimes receive very inappropriate unsolicited messages and pictures. She even encouraged me to date, multiple people. Something I did not expect from her! This truly was a bonding experience for us and I feel much closer to her now. I know she wished I would’ve told her sooner, but I think she understands why I didn’t.
So, something I’ve come to realize, is that sometimes I can severely underestimate people. Especially my own mom. You grow up with these very narrow thoughts on your parents and see them in only one way. It can be hard to remember that they are just people too and that they lived a thousand lives before you ever existed. So, here I am eating my words and feelings when it comes to my mom. She deeply surprised me and I feel so incredibly lucky to have her support. I know that many widows don’t have the support I have and I am very aware of that.
I know the road ahead is still long. I know there are people out there judging me for my choices, judging me for moving forward. I also know that some people may be hurt by this decision to move forward. They may take it personally. For all those who have a widow in your life. Be kind. Be gentle. It is not easy making this decision to date. It is so confusing and scary. It is overwhelming. All we want is support, love, and understanding on this journey. Someone we can confide in and open up to about this new journey we are embarking on. And to the widows out there. Maybe confiding in someone is scary, I know it was for me. But, just know that you got this. Your heart is stronger than you think it is. It is capable of so much happiness and love, and you deserve that. But also, guard your heart against those that talk behind your back or are constantly questioning your judgment. You are the only one who knows when you are ready to date. There is no timeline. It is solely up to you. You are the holder of your heart and mind. And what a beautiful thing that is.”
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This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Brianna Simpson of Fredericksburg, Virginia. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
Read Brianna’s powerful backstory of losing her husband:
‘What does DTF mean? You swipe which way? Woah, you just sent me a pic of your privates.’ Dating life as a widow is terrifying.’: Young widow recalls first heartbreak post-loss of husband, ‘It stings like hell’
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