" One recent date loved to vent about his everyday stresses--the grueling hours he logged as a music producer, the intensely competitive nature of his work--but would stop himself by saying, "I know this is nothing compared to what you've been through." Maybe he was trying to be sympathetic, but it seemed as though, in some bizarre way, he resented my situation, that in terms of our life experience, the playing field wasn't even and his problems couldn't possibly bear any weight.Part of me wanted to shake him when he complained of routine problems, to make him put things in perspective.They hadn't, but I still felt comfortable discussing it with him.
Frank's sickness and death belonged to him, but they had changed my life, too, making demands and requiring sacrifices.
Yet when I started dating, widowhood became the woolly mammoth in the room--guys would try to avoid the subject completely.
The first man I dated after Frank, a sports fanatic from Brooklyn whom I saw for two months, would tense his jaw and say, "I'm sorry," before changing the subject to football. But I felt sorry enough for myself; after a point, I could hardly bear having anyone else feel sorry for me.
Although I decided to wear my wedding ring for a year after his death (as a respectful gesture to Frank and to keep unwanted male attention at bay), six months in, I felt ready to date.
I had started to miss companionship, the everyday pleasures of having a man in my life.