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May 13, 2021


Is it time to dance again? Did you lose your spouse? Your relationship? Family member? Pet? When you lose something big in your life it hurts big! It leaves a hole in your heart and the bigger the love, the bigger the hole. How long have you been mourning since your loss? When do you move on? In the late 1950s Pete Seeger wrote the song “To everything there is a season.” In 1965 the Folk Rock Group the Byrds recorded it with the title “Turn! Turn! Turn!” It quickly jumped to number one on the Billboard Charts. The song was based on the first 8 verses of the third chapter of the book of Ecclesiastes. The fourth verse is (There is) A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance. This was inspired by the Holy Spirit and written by King Solomon who is known as the wisest man who ever lived. In the structure of the verse, he said there is a time to weep and a time to mourn first but the next seasons are to laugh and dance. I interpret that the statement “To laugh” means be happy again and “to dance” infers moving on. After losing my wife I was in a confused place. She had been sick most of her life. I had been her caretaker for a solid 7 years before she passed. Because of her condition I had already lost a lot of my wife before she died. During that time I had to put my life on hold to care for and adjust to her needs. After she passed I was still healthy and energetic; I was in my 60s and not wanting to lose anymore living time. However, my heart was still broken. I was heartsick yet hungry for love and life at the same time. Confusing. It was hard on me, my family and the ladies I spent time with. I wasn’t really ready for a relationship but I sure wanted to get out and do things. I wanted to do them with someone from the opposite sex. I hadn’t been able to do things with my wife for years and I wanted fun and companionship with a woman. I ended up living a double life. In daily life I was Andy Willoughby boyfriend on Facebook I was “The Reluctant Bachelor”. This held me back from making a commitment in my daily life and suppressed my writing and mourning. Unfair to the lady in my life and unhealthy for me. It has been over 5 years since my wife passed and I am still single. The last couple of years I have dated often. In my experience dating widows I have found that it is dangerous to be the first person to date a new widow. Especially if they are dating before they are emotionally ready. What do I mean dangerous? Like I was, they are lonely and want companionship. Most are still in love with their late spouse. You are not that spouse. They face guilt, disappointment, grief and confusion. First impressions last and if you are the first date and it just reminds them that they miss their spouse they may never be able to give you a chance even if you two could have been good together. Different people are ready at different times. How do you know if you are ready? Here is what I have observed in my dating experiences. All widows & widowers are going to talk about their late spouses that is normal. However, if they spend more time talking about their late spouse than getting to know you they are not ready. From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. I have noticed some could hold a conversation together for 30 minutes even an hour but if it always leads back to the late wife or husband, they aren’t really moving on. We need to get to a point where we are so interested in Chapter Two that we think less and less about One. I know we never really get over it, but do we want to Dance or not? Here is something I hope all widows and widowers can get in their heads. The person you lost is not missing you! Hopefully they are in Heaven and if they are Heaven they are happy and don’t want to come back. After all Heaven is going to be Heaven. Who would want to come back? Time is different in Heaven and they know we will be with them in a blink. They won’t even have time to miss us. Sad to say, if they didn’t make it to Heaven they have bigger concerns than missing you. Also remember that your wedding vows expired the moment they left their human building. You were free to move about the moment they passed. Not ready yet of course but technically free to move on. In my journey I have found that as the pain of grieving lessens, the pain of loneliness grows. In my mind I am clearly not made to live alone. Not all feel that way. Some find that they are perfectly happy on their own. Some spend their time with Kids, grandkids, pets, friends, travel, church, whatever and it fills the gap for them and that is great. Others of us have found that “it is not good for man to be alone.” We need a helper. How do you know when it is time for you to move on? Well, what do you want to do? Are you tired of being alone? Do you crave the companionship of a relationship? Can you think about finding another person rather than just trying to find the person you lost? If you are just looking for someone like the person you lost you are out of luck because they are not making that model anymore. You are going to have to be open to someone different. You are going to have to fall in love with them not turn them into your lost. You have to make a decision to move on. The verse by Solomon clearly states there is” a time to laugh and a time to dance.” So do you want to be happy? Do you want a Chapter two? Then you have to go after Two the way you did One. Make a decision to move on! In the movie “Dances with Wolves” with Kevin Costner. Kevin’s character fell in love with a native widow. She was in mourning because her husband had died and another chief of the tribe who was like her adopted father was to make the decision how long she would mourn. When it was plain in the movie that there were sparks between her and Kevin the Chief’s wife pointed it out and the Chief went to the widow and simply said “You will mourn no more!” Don’t you wish it was that easy? Someone says to you “mourn no more’” and all is great you just move on and fall in love. We don’t really get that kind of luck usually. Here is what I do believe. I think you have to make a decision. You have to come to grips that your lost is gone, never coming back and if you need a partner to be happy you need prepare yourself. First get your stuff in order. Work on your appearance just like you did for Chapter One. Put yourself in position to meet people. Whether that be a dating site, business groups, church and church events. Join a dance club, get a part time job. Be out and be friendly. If you are looking for widows/widowers, the many Facebook Widow groups are an honest place to be. Some are for dating, some are not. Just don’t try to date in the ones that are not specifically for dating. Widow ladies I am sorry but you out number the men 10 to one online. If you are going to get noticed, you may need to make the first move. If you went to a large high school and you saw someone you liked you found a way to let them know you were alive. Today with so much online dating and social media you have find a way to know they actually see your profile. You are not chasing them to let them know you are there. I know you don’t like that but times have changed. You don’t listen to music on an 8 track tape and dating rules have changed. You don’t have to ask them out just let them know you are there! Men fear rejection just as much as you do so if you find someone you are interested in make it easy for them. Find ways to show them that they will not be rejected if they ask. I personally think it can be very appropriate for a woman to ask a man out. You must be able to deal with the rejection if it is not successful. That’s ok, it will smart a little but you won’t die. Men have dealt with that forever. That is probably why some men don’t ever marry again. We are just chicken. There is a lot more to write on this subject and I am just giving you my observations. I am no expert, or I would have found Chapter Two myself by now. This we can rely on because it comes from the Bible… “There is a time to weep, a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” I don’t know what you are going to do but I just found a Groupon for dance lessons. (Always feel free to share my posts. My book “The Reluctant Bachelor” can be found at andywilloughby.com or Amazon)

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