‘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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“As a young widow, there is nothing more scary or intimidating than deciding to put yourself out there again. To find love or a one-night-stand or just someone to have a drink with. Just to have someone look at you again in that light, to be touched, to be wanted.

But you sign up for all these new apps and wonder what the hell you are doing. For me, it had been over 10 years since I had been on the dating scene and these apps were absolutely terrifying. ‘You swipe which way? What does DTF mean? Woah, you just sent me a pic of your dick.’ To say I was overwhelmed is an understatement.

So, one night, my friends and I were having a typical girls’ night, where we gab and eat steak and potatoes. And then gorge on dessert. I whipped out my phone and got on Tinder and let them start swiping. Well, being that they’re all married, they hadn’t learned the finer points of the different swipes. We have our swipe left for ‘no thank you’, swipe right for ‘like’, and swipe up for the ‘super like.’

Courtesy of Brianna Simpson

One of the girls ‘super liked’ this guy whom I’ve aptly named him Mr. Heartbreak, because, at the age of 33, I experienced the first relationship heartbreak of my life. While most have these experiences in their twenties, I did not. I met Albert young and we were together for 10 years.

So here I am, being thrown to the wolves, or as a glorious meme states, ‘Dating in your thirties and forties is like trying to find the least damaged thing in the thrift store.’ And well, Mr. Heartbreak is a man who knows all the right things to say, and while he was damaged by his own trauma, he came off very genuine. And quite possibly, he was. People are allowed to change their minds. It doesn’t mean how he handled our relationship and the demise of it hurts any less. Because it stings like hell.

Oh, Mr. Heartbreak. We clicked immediately. We talked for hours on the phone. We seemingly had so much in common and could talk about anything. The first time we met in person I was so nervous. He had these intense eyes that looked right through me.

Courtesy of Brianna Simpson

After having a drink together, we made out in his car like teenagers. It was amazing. He pushed my hair back from my face and told me how beautiful I was. From that point, it was zero to one hundred for a few weeks. Then the cute messages and flirty comments and telling me how beautiful I was started to dwindle. All of a sudden, it ended as quickly as it had started.

Quote him, ‘This is not light and fun anymore.’ When he had told me to feel whatever I wanted to feel, and that he wanted something deep and connected, because what was the point otherwise? So, I let myself go there. I felt it all, even though I was scared. Something I have learned after the loss of Albert, is that there’s no point in living if I am not feeling everything and living a life that is full and intense.

I had told him that I felt like I was starting to fall for him. Two days before the implosion he said, ‘I am waiting for you to not be falling anymore.’ I saw the signs, but he kept saying the right things. Something I should’ve remembered is actions speak louder than words.

And his words were empty because his actions were not there. I was blinded by this bubble of wanting to be loved again. Of wanting a square peg to fit in a round hole. I only want what most people want, especially someone who has loved and lost. I wanted, and want, to find my person. My next chapter.

That day after the breakup I laid in bed for a long time. I didn’t want to do anything. I cried off and on and felt so heartsick. I got a text from my friend, Ashley, that said, ‘Don’t go anywhere at 5 pm. Don’t ask questions.’ At 5, she and another friend, named Ashley O., showed up. Ashley said, ‘Pizza is on the way, and Ashley O. has cider.’ She gave me the biggest hug. I seriously don’t know what I would do without these girls and all the amazing people who reached out in support of me.

Courtesy of Brianna Simpson

That night I recanted the events of the last 48 hours and sat in the comfort of women who truly love and support me. After they left, I danced around my room like a teenager. I felt 10 feet tall. There is truly nothing better than the love of your friends in times like these. And I have to say that I have some of the best friends anyone could ask for. After over twenty years of friendship, I would never let anyone come between us, especially after all they have done for me in these last 11 months.

I don’t blame Mr. Heartbreak. Hell, I’m not even overly mad at him. Probably more mad at myself for seeing the signs and not ending it sooner. Really, I’m just sad. Sad he didn’t even fight, he just let me go without so much as a whisper. I think that is what hurts the most, the feeling he just stopped caring so quickly.

I said to him, ‘I want you to know that it took so much for me to put myself out there like I did with you. I knew opening my heart again was a risk, and while I am pretty heartbroken right now, it was still worth it.’ His response was, ‘Well, I do apologize for all of it. It wasn’t my intent.’

Our final correspondence was him saying, ‘Good luck to you.’ I responded with, ‘Same to you. Mr. Heartbreak.’ A dear friend messaged me with this and it is spot on: ‘Even though this is hard, you’re not confused. Breakups suck because your feelings were real, even if the foundation for them turns out to be false. And you’re not confused about him making you feel momentarily confused, which was probably his goal. You’ve got complete clarity on this one. It’s just hurtful.’

Courtesy of Brianna Simpson

So here I am at 33, post-loss, with a hole in my heart. I was vulnerable in opening myself up. I was brave. I did something so many post-loss of a spouse are absolutely terrified to do. To even put myself out there, for any widow to put themselves out there after one of the most devastating losses one can experience, is a triumph. We know what true heartbreak is, yet we are wanting to find love again, and willing to risk the broken heart that can come with that endeavor.

We are warriors. I know that I am courageous for doing what I did. Matters of the heart are never easy and things can get messy. But, here I am still standing and choosing love all day, every day. I know I will find someone who has the emotional maturity and depth to hold me in their arms, along with my son, and Albert.

Albert will always be a part of us and he will understand and accept that. He will welcome it and hold me up high. The man that comes into our lives will get the deepest love that can only come from someone who has experienced the worst in life. Who knows how finite life is and how much it matters to hug just a bit tighter and let kisses linger a bit longer.

After considering a hiatus from the dating app scene until after the New Year, I am happy to report that I reconsidered (with the help of friends) and I am back at it. My phone is back to blowing up with likes and messages. And while overwhelming, it is the only way to go about this. And while I miss those ‘Good Morning’ messages, I know at some point I will have them again.

Courtesy of Brianna Simpson

Do I wish I could just give him a piece of my mind? Of course! But what would that accomplish? Most likely nothing. As I wake up and another day has gone by since we said goodbye, I am reminded heartache doesn’t last forever. Well, at least the type of heartache that comes with a breakup. The real heartache, the one that will last a lifetime, is the one brought on by the death of Albert.

If I can endure a life sentence of grief, I sure as hell can endure a few days, maybe weeks, of a sting from a guy who clearly was not equipped to truly go the distance with me. And yes, it hurts, and yes, I still get teary-eyed over it, but its barely been a week and my heart, while so strong after loss, has softened.

I currently have two dates lined up and look forward to seeing where they go. I am going for it. I am taking my battered, bruised, and broken heart, and living my life out loud. I will not let one man derail my efforts of finding someone wonderful.

He truly lost out and I know none of this was my fault. I know my worth and the love I am worthy of. I am sure Albert is watching all of this and laughing his ass off, while wanting to wipe the tears from my eyes, but also cheering me on. He was always my biggest cheerleader and this would be no different.

I am positive one day I will be writing the story of the man that changed my life post-loss and gave me hope in a world where true love is hard to find. Until then, a swiping I will go. Welcome to the roller coaster of a young widow in the dating world. I look forward to seeing what my next stop is on this wild ride.”

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:

‘I awoke with a voicemail from the doctor. ‘How did I miss this?’ I raced to the hospital. I got teary eyed, and said to him, ‘I love you, you are going to be ok.’

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