Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief


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Warning to Widows and Other Single Women

I published a blog called “Just One Text” a couple of months ago. This is a continuation of that topic. Apparently, there must be a book out there like, “Scamming Widows for Dummies” because I am getting quicker at spotting them. This time, the culprit was on Match but the similarities were unbelievable. There must be some sort of research that supports what kind of things women who have been through loss will fall for. So beware if you “talk” to a man who has this type of story.

Born in another country. (I’m not sure what the point of this is, except that initially you might tend to excuse any oddities that might pop up due to cultural differences.)

Raised without a dad, either because they died or left their family. (I’m not sure of this either, except that perhaps those of us who are compassionate immediately think, “Oh, how sad for him to grow up without a father.” Fosters the empathy you feel toward him.)

Has a spouse that died of cancer two to three years ago. This is the obvious connection they have to another widow. When you meet someone who has lost a spouse, you recognize them as a member of the club that no one wants to belong to. There is an instant bond with them, whether they are the same or the opposite sex.

You are the first person they have “talked” to since their spouse died. They are usually just trying to get back in the game and they were lucky enough to find you. It makes you feel special, and perhaps it is Kismet or Fate that has brought you together.

They are financially well off. That way, when they ask you for money eventually, you know it’s just some weird circumstantial thing and they are certainly capable of paying you back.

They have one big job left until retirement. (I’m not sure about this, but perhaps it is so when they reveal they are not in your locale, you will be patient because you know they are coming home “for good.”)

Then the kicker. They are off somewhere for the big job so they can’t meet with you in person. They probably can’t even talk with you either. The first scammer was in Turkey. This Match guy was in Cairo.

Seriously? I could’ve died when I started watching the story unfold. I turned him into Match and within two days, he was back on. A slightly different user name was created, but the pictures and profile information were exactly the same. The only difference was this time he claimed to be divorced rather than widowed. I turned him in again.

What’s a widow to do? Lie on her profile so she isn’t targeted? Then any decent guy you meet will not be interested in you because so many women lie on their profiles. You can’t lie, so you just remain a target. Lovely.

For all you ladies that are single but don’t have the advantage of being a widow, don’t worry. Never fear. There are plenty of dating gems out there for you to discover.

Scenario one: The guy who works out-of-town a lot. I had one I saw on average 40-60 minutes every other month or so. In a six month period, I talked on the phone to him three times total, averaging about 15 minutes a conversation. Texts were infrequent, most days were one text or none. He eventually told me, “You want more than I do” which wasn’t going to work. Shame on me. I really am needy with outrageous expectations, aren’t I?

Scenario two: A couple of seemingly great high-end dates that ends with the text, “You’re a wonderful woman but…”.  Dumping you prematurely isn’t enough though. Then they add, “I want to man up though and have coffee in person so we can talk.” This initially makes you think he really does get kudos because most guys now-a-days don’t even tell you they are dropping you, so saying goodbye in person is a pretty classy move. Until, of course, they don’t follow through and decide to ghost you instead. (For those of you that are unfamiliar with that term, ghosting someone is when you completely disappear. You could email, talk, or text a person for any amount of time ranging from once to several months, and suddenly the person completely stops responding with no warning or explanation. This is when the only good excuse for such poor behavior is that you died or are in a coma.) I just scratch my head. Dropping you isn’t enough of a thrill. They go to all the trouble of saying they want to meet and talk and then just rub salt in the wound. So much for class.

My head is too tired to add any more scenarios just now. I am counting down the hours until I get to see my grand kids for Christmas. They are much more worthy or my love, attention and excitement.


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Day Late, Dollar Short

I know, I’m a day late blogging. Sorry. I was trying to get camping for a night, but really the reason was that my mind was blank. I promised those of you that called me out that I would blog today. Only problem is, my mind is still blank. When I have things to write about, I am usually writing about them in my head for a while. When I sit down, it is just a matter of how fast I can type. When I don’t have something on my heart, I stare at the screen.

It’s all about broken records. Every time someone asks me (sincerely) how I am doing, I never know what to say. I’m the same. It’s always the same. I guess I’m fine. I mean, I am healthy. I get up every day and function. My family is healthy. There is rarely anything new. The same topics are there with a slight update, but overall, nothing is new. I’m fine.

Except if you know me, you know I’m anything but fine.

I guess the only slightly new paragraph to add to a very old chapter, is that I’m taking a break from dating. I had session with Scott last week and talked about it. He said it’s a big paradox for me. I have everything to offer a relationship, and I am clearly wired to interact and be with others. But he had to agree, that dating- or attempting to- has brought far more misery than it has brought happiness. So why even bother?

The latest disaster never even got to a first date. It was a match guy I spoke with in February. We never met but couldn’t remember why. He reached out to me again and asked if I would like to meet. He was kind of gruff on the phone, but my friend always tells me you have to have at least one face to face encounter. Some people are just different in person than they come across by text or phone. To be fair, you have to meet at least once.

Far be it from me to not give someone a chance. What I had was a week of aggravating phone calls and text messages that went something like this.

“Yeah, I’m off match. It was a waste. All the women on there want is attention. They don’t want relationships. And the women with kids don’t have time to date. If you don’t have time to date, then you should just get off match.” I give him the benefit of the doubt that maybe he met some real winners and is trying not to be too jaded. He immediately though, demands to know my schedule. I have plenty of time to date, but I need a little notice. When you juggle five jobs and are a full-time single parent, you have to schedule things in advance. I will be more than happy to make time for someone special, but in my mind you have to earn that kind of importance. I thought it incredulous that he expected to call me on Tuesday and be able to meet me within three days.

I offer to meet for breakfast on Sunday. “Well, what about Friday and Saturday?” I swallow the lump in my throat and explain sadly that one of my dear friends lost her son last week. The funeral arrangements were for Friday and Saturday. I committed my time to the family. I wasn’t sure if they would need me, but if they did, I would be there. If they didn’t need me, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be in the mood to go out and socialize after such a heart breaking service.

His response? “Oh, ok.” Hmmm. I know not all guys are sensitive and know what to say, but not even an I’m sorry to hear that? Or that’s too bad? Or anything at all that indicates you aren’t a total dick?

It only got better. As the day approached, it became clear that he didn’t have a vehicle. I refrained from saying what I was thinking: “Well, if a guy doesn’t even have a car to meet a woman on a date, then maybe he just shouldn’t be on match.” So he expected me to drive near his house to accommodate him. So the single guy with grown kids that live out-of-state, is being catered to by the busy single mom. Lovely.

It only got better.

He expected me to just come to his house. I politely and extremely firmly explained that as a woman, there was no way in hell I would ever ever ever meet a man for the first time anywhere but in a public place.

“That’s ok. We will sit in my backyard.”

Not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

Then he insisted I at least pick him up at his house and drive him to the public restaurant.

Forget it. Sorry my friend. I don’t care what your advice is. I’m not meeting this guy face to face. I text him and tell him I don’t want to meet. I got back a nasty text saying it was obvious I didn’t have time to date anyway.

Sigh. Confirmation. It’s time for a break.

I had a special someone for quite a while. We both knew we didn’t want a serious or permanent relationship. We were both very clear about that. And it worked for quite a while. Even though it was less than ideal, I have to admit that it made the dating scene much more tolerable. While I was regularly meeting guys like the winner I just described, at least he and I would enjoy some companionship once in a while. Now that has stopped too. It was inevitable. But it is still sad. It stopped working because he just couldn’t believe that I didn’t want more. He knew he didn’t, but he just couldn’t wrap around that I didn’t either. I love him to death, but he has a tremendously huge ego that cost us our friendship. It’s a shame because I miss him.

At any rate, like I said, it’s a broken record. This song has been playing for over four years now. I’m fine. I really am. And I’m anything but fine.


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Dating in 2015

You know, I’m an interesting specimen. I struggle with depression. I mean really, really struggle with it. And yet, most of the time I still have a sense of humor. I can make people laugh about things that you wouldn’t think could be laughed about. Thank God, that’s all I can say.

I thought I’d share a bunch of “dating” experiences, but I’m not sure how they will translate in this format. When I tell the stories, we all giggle. So I hope it translates on paper or you may just stop reading!

Whether you are on Match, meet someone out, or get set up by someone, dating these days requires a very healthy sense of humor.

Well, that or a straight jacket.

I have plenty of male friends who share whopper stories so let me just this isn’t really a male-bashing type thing. It’s just a “how the hell did we all get so lost when it comes to relationships?” type of thing.

SCENARIO ONE:
Match email from a 27-year-old to me (I’m almost 48). “Hey, are you a swinger?”
My response, “You’re a cutie, but uh, NO.”

SCENARIO TWO:
Match email from a 28-year-old: “But age is just a number!”
My response, “Uh, most of my kids are older than you are. You really don’t see a problem with that?”

SCENARIO THREE:
Match email from a thirty-something year old. Ok, we are getting warmer.
“What’s shaking, sexy?”
My response, “Uh, well that’s quite an introduction. Not much, and you?”
His response, “Just living the dream!”
Ok, now first of all, just think about that statement. How the heck do you even respond to something like that? There is no question, no let-me-get-to-know-you, just a declarative statement.
My response, “Then what the hell are you doing on Match?”
No, that’s mean. Delete.
My response, “Well, I don’t think we would be a good match ‘cuz there ain’t nobody living the dream here in my house!”
On second thought, I just hit the “block this person” button instead. I’ve just discovered that button on the computer and I really, really like it.

SCENARIO FOUR:
Match email from SOMEONE MY AGE! Well, now that already has potential. “We seem to have a lot in common but I should let you know that I’ve recently moved to London, England. Have you ever been there?”
Ok, really? England. Pretty damn hard to meet for that first cup of coffee.

SCENARIO FOUR:
Text message from someone who found me on LinkedIn. That’s a new one.
My question, “Where are you from?”
His response, “Pakistan.”
No comment needed.
I know how to “block this person” on my phone, too.

SCENARIO FIVE:
Match email from SOMEONE MY AGE AND SOMEONE IN MY COUNTRY. Much better. But they are still in Rochester, like an hour and a half away.
My email, “But my experience is, that this kind of distance is hard when you are first getting to know someone. I’m not trying to be close-minded, but I do like to learn from the experiences I’ve had.” (When it takes three to four weeks to even set up a date because it requires a three-hour round-trip drive, that just doesn’t work when you are a single mom with five jobs.)
His response, “Well honey, blah blah blah” with a bunch of crap about how if I would let a little thing like location get in the way of a relationship, I’m obviously not mature enough to realize that grown-up relationships take work.
My response, “Who you calling honey?” Blocked!

SCENARIO SIX:
Match email from SOMEONE MY AGE AND SOMEONE IN MY COUNTRY AND SOMEONE IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD! Oh my gosh, he’s even pretty handsome! Can this really be happening? We email. We text. We talk on the phone for a week. Then we make the plan to actually meet in person. Now, I’m actually a little nervous because I haven’t been on an actual “date” with any potential in months.
He stands me up two nights in a row.
My text to him, “There won’t be a third time.”
He wisely doesn’t call or text again.

That’s six for six.

I’m sure glad we got kittens for Christmas. They make me giggle, too (but not with the underlying profound sadness of how difficult of a task it is to not be alone if you don’t want to be). I bought them new toys today that look like slinkys, so that will be a better way for me to get my jollies tonight. 🙂


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Unexpected Answers

I was talking with my friend Gary and discussing the way that God/life/universe works things out in ways we don’t expect. He joined Match and has not met the love of his life. BUT… he met someone who inspired a novel that he wrote. Then he met me and was inspired to take the book to publication. Then he met someone else who ended up being a connection to his editor or publisher (or someone like that). So he joined Match for one purpose, but found other needs met that he hadn’t expected. (If you haven’t checked out his book, you should. It’s called “The Flockless Shepherd” and you can find it on Amazon.)

I have been talking with Brigette for over a year now about Baby Coop Publishing. We have been “successful,” but not profitable. Four books have been published, two of which I have authored. I have been on radio, TV, had several newspaper articles written, been published online, and had over 60 lectures across the area. But we still haven’t produced income.

And income is a tricky topic. I actually can only make x amount of dollars before I start losing Social Security. But in less than four years, I will be losing half of that anyway. In less than six years, it will all be gone. I have often thought about how I may have to go back to work at an agency to make ends meet. Not what I prefer, but I will have to do what I have to do.

So we swore 2015 is the year. We are going to make money. We are going to turn our “success” into financial reward as well.

I suddenly found myself taking a turn this week that I wasn’t really expecting to. I have added yet a FIFTH job to my plate. I am officially a college professor! I have been pleasantly surprised at how excited I am to be able to say those words. Teaching was not something I had aspired to do someday. But neither was writing a book. And neither was being a public speaker.

It’s perfect, really. I will be an internship supervisor at Medaille. It is only every other week in person, and the rest can be done via telephone and email. The structure is such that there is some guidelines, but it is mostly interactive with the students. That is right up my alley. Even when I lecture, I much prefer venues where there are questions from the audience.

It started to hit me that my prayers are being answered, just not in the ways I thought they would. This really is about the book. I made my connection at the college by doing lectures about the book there. One professor was especially impressed and passed my name along to the department head. If this goes well, when I need to make up the lost income, it may be in a venue like this rather than in the agency type I thought I would have to go to. It’s all very exciting and unexpected.

So the moral of the story is to keep your eyes peeled and your mind open. If you put yourself out there, it might pay off. It might be in a totally different direction than you expected, so be flexible enough to go where the winds of change might take you!

I wanted new life to be breathed into my home. It certainly is happening. We have two new, energetic kitties, a beautiful granddaughter that will be here once a week, and I have another new job (this one actually pays money. What a concept!)

I know lots of you are struggling. Hang tight. Your day is coming.