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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Just One Text…

A few weekends ago, we passed the six-year marker of Tim’s death. Seven of my peeps and I went away for the weekend and the accommodations and weather were perfect. There are now three of us who are struggling with grief, so there is always a special bond between us. You know, that club no one really wants to belong to.

Friday started off with attitude in high gear. I was in swearing male-bashing mode. Probably half the women were right there with me. The other half were smart enough to play along with me. I’d had it with dating nightmares and other such problems. Nothing like some alcohol with girls weekend away to vent it all out.

Pathetic as it may sound, it takes just one text to change it all.

Early Saturday morning I was woken up by a text from my Tinder app. I hadn’t been on the app in a while but apparently it keeps all your swipe answers. (Swipe to the right means you are interested, swipe to the left and you are not. If you and the guy both swipe right, it’s a “match” and you can start texting.) He was a very nice looking guy but was from Toronto. Damn. But wait… He is staying at his mom’s house in Buffalo and works here as well. Says location isn’t a problem. This could be fun.

It was unusual circumstances because all of us girls were together so as the texts continued throughout the day, I kept everyone updated as the soap opera unfolded. He was an engineer and designer. (Hmmm… so was Tim.) Turned out his mom had died in January. He sent a sweet picture of him and his mom. Really cool. He has experienced loss. And that whole thing about you can tell a lot about a man by the way he treats his mother? I totally buy into that.

By Saturday evening, we were sitting around a fire when I got the text that made me stand up and say, “No way. You guys are NOT going to believe this.” I had gotten brave enough to tell him about Tim and the purpose of the weekend away. He said he understood that kind of loss because his wife had died three years ago from ovarian cancer. NO WAY. I couldn’t believe it. Not many people our age belong to that club, and you have an instant bond when you meet someone who does- whether they are male or female.

The next ten days consisted of texting and lengthy emails. His name was David. Figures. That’s my son’s and dad’s name. I learned he had guardianship of his niece after his sister’s untimely death. I learned that his positive attitude in spite of all his loss came from his faith and spiritual mindset. I learned he was quite financially stable and was even planning on retiring in the next few months.

I was very challenged by David and told him so. As we continued to correspond, I started realizing how I had lost my hopes and dreams. Thinking about what I actually wanted and wished for in a relationship, I had to admit I had pretty much given up on ever finding it. Yet he seemed to make it look easy to be so unselfish, kind, family-oriented, etc. etc. etc. I kept waiting for the shoe to drop.

One day it almost did. We decided to take the next step of talking on the phone. It had never occurred to me that English may not be his first language. He wrote/texted so clearly, that I never gave it a thought. But French was his first language. It was a bit of an obstacle at first, and I had to admit that I was a bit disappointed. Then I got really disgusted with myself. What has happened to me? I was the international ministries major. I used to crave other cultures and diversity. Now I saw it as an obstacle. When I did get so ethno and ego centric? This didn’t change his looks. It didn’t change his intelligence. And it didn’t change his heart and how he viewed family and relationships.

Then the shit started to hit the fan in my personal life. If you didn’t read last week’s blog, now would be the time to do so. My dad, son, and sister all had bouts in the hospital. I was exhausted and spent from running around trying to take care of everyone. I was also sick with worry. I was sitting in the waiting room while my dad was in his first procedure when David texted me and said he would try to come to the hospital so we could meet and so I wouldn’t be alone. He said I take care of everyone, and wondered who takes care of me?

I got tears in my eyes. The timing didn’t work out for him to come to the hospital, but it got me thinking. After six years, dare I allow myself the hope and vision that my life might be different moving forward? I finally have accepted being alone, as much as I don’t like it. Is it really possible that my future might hold someone sitting next to me? Caring about the people I care about? And… can I really say it? Will someone be there to take care of ME? Whoa. I felt things I hadn’t felt in ages.

And then that one text that can change everything again.

A couple of days after that, the text came. The one where David asked me to assist him with money. And I knew. I had my peeps do some investigating, which included a lengthy conversation with a detective. I gave them everything. The emails with his travel itineraries, the linked in accounts, Facebook, all of it. And the results were in. He was 99.9 percent sure I was part of a very elaborate, sophisticated scam. I shouldn’t feel bad because they are extremely clever.

Fuck. You’ve got to be kidding me. All of it was planned. Contacting me on the weekend of my husband’s death anniversary. Calling himself David. Knowing the depth of my loss and the lost-ness I feel and knowing how to touch me in those places. Emotional rape is the only thing I could think of to describe how violated I felt. Truth be told, I’ve been a little shocked by some of the people I know and how they have responded, like it’s just another dating disappointment. In a way, they are right, but in another way, this takes the cake. No one seems to understand the depth of betrayal I feel.

The bottom line is this. For whatever reason, relationships have not worked for me so far. I have zero patience for any clichés or platitudes. “If a guy this, or a guy that, then you know. If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.” Bullshit. The truth is, no one ever knows. I’m not stupid and I’m not naive. I couldn’t have seen it coming. I’ve dated handsome guys, not so handsome guys. I’ve texted them a lot, I’ve texted them hardly at all. I’ve met them right away, I’ve not met them for a long time. It doesn’t matter. There are no formulas. There may be some red flags, but for the most part dating is just difficult. When you think you have the answers, it is just hind sight, which frankly amounts to a pile of crap because the next time the opposite could happen with the same results.

Dad gets out of rehab today and is staying with me for a couple of days. He is my focus now. That should be safe, right?