I bring certain things with me to the table that others do not. Please do not call this “baggage” – that is insulting. My husband, my life story, and my heartache are cheapened by that kind of crass terminology. Everyone has a history, a story, some things to be proud of, some things to regret, and some things they bring to the table through no fault or action of their own. I am just like everyone else in this way.
My history is unique, so dating me will be different the dating most women, I suppose. However, shouldn’t it be different with every person, every individual? One unique result of my history is the degree to which you will still see evidence of my past relationship in my day-to-day life. I didn’t go through a divorce, so I haven’t cut ties with anyone from the past, including those I know through my past marriage. I will still have good and active relationships with my in-laws, friends of my late husband, and others who knew me as Brian’s wife. I met my husband while we were in grade school, and have many of the same friends. These people have been an invaluable part of my life for over twenty years. Some of them are my best friends, some I consider my own family. I will not cast these people aside for someone because he might be “the one,” and “the one” would never ask me to do that.
The fact that we made it “’til death do us part” means I loved him and I will miss him in a way that most don’t about an ex. Thus, when I speak of him, it will be with fondness, and sometimes you might hear the sadness in my voice that we are no longer together. This might be new to you. I also have many fond memories with my husband and shared the majority of my life’s experiences with him, so when I tell stories about things I have done and places I have been, he will frequently be a character in those stories. If I can’t talk about the things we experienced together, I’m blocked from sharing my history, my story, my memories – in short, you would not be seeing the whole me. Because of the time we spent together and the good memories I have, he will be in some of the pictures on my walls. Please don’t ask me to take down photographs of happy times in my life. I shared too many memories and experiences with him to simply erase all evidence of the time we enjoyed together.
I might need more patience and understanding in a relationship than the average person because both dating is new to me. The situations and emotions I am facing are unfamiliar and that can be scary. I probably second-guess myself more because of this. I might not always know what I want or how to act in a relationship (or even how to discuss these things, lest you decide I’m too much trouble after all). Simply put, I haven’t been traveling these roads very long and I don’t know the lay of the land or how to best navigate the terrain. Please show me some grace and compassion as I find my way.
None of this means that I can’t enjoy a healthy, loving relationship with you. It simply tells you who I am, not what I am capable of or what I want. I want to love again, to share my life, my happiness, my experiences and my home with someone special. I want to find someone to share a life with. My story shows you that I am capable of being an equal partner in creating a happy, loving, and successful live – one alight with the love of family and friends. You know what I am capable of being, and I believe I will be a better person and partner now for having gone through the trials and tribulations that life brought my way.
I want to love someone wholly, and I want to be loved for the whole of who I am. I need to be able to share the whole of my life – wedded bliss and widowhood included – for that to be possible.