Widowed & Lonely, Companionship Wanted - Relationship Advice
I am a widower. My wife passed away last year. We were married 30 years and I am now in my late 50s. I work in a large busy office so I have access to computers. I get invited to happy hour and nights out by workmates. I don't go because I feel they are younger than me and just feel sorry for me. I am feeling lonely. I don't want to get married again. I want someone to have dinner with and to the movies with. I want a friend that I can call up and hang out with. I admit I would like some physical companionship too. I read your article about the person that had the fake dating profile and I am afraid now to try to meet someone online. Veronica can you give me some advice on how I can find a companion and what to do? Thank you very much.
Thank you so much for emailing me. I'm so very sorry for your loss.
Yes, that article you referred to where that boy pretended to be a girl in a fake online dating profile was disturbing to me on so many levels. I can understand your not wanting to meet someone online.
In case it is something you decide to consider, let me just give you some fast pointers, and then we will move on. Free personals, like on craigslist, are the ones you should most worry about. Most fakers are not going to invest in some kind of pay service in order to just mess around. A dating service that requires payment to connect to others is the safer way to go. Since you are looking for companionship, only look at local services to you, or a company that has the ability to narrow down search options or results by city.
If you come across a profile of someone you think might be worth meeting, tell them right away you want to video chat. If they hesitate, move on. Seriously. You want to see that they are who they claim they are immediately, no exceptions. If you work in an office you have access to some kind of computer with a video camera. Skype is a free service you can download and use for Skype to Skype chatting. You are both safe to just turn your webcams on and have a chat so you can each see that the other is for real right away. There is no reason for someone who's honest to hesitate in having a quick video chat meet just so you can see each other.
But if you've made up your mind that the online thing is just not for you, that's ok.
I wrote a Hub about Dating Again, and much of it applies to you and your situation. I talk about your living space, what to talk about on a first date, and I make some suggestions on where to go to meet people. Your working in a big office gives you an advantage. Please don't turn down those invites to Happy Hour. Everyone is welcome at a Happy Hour. If they didn't invite you along before it was probably just because they assumed you preferred to go straight home to your wife. Now that your situation has changed, their invite statuses may have changed. If you try it and for whatever reason it's uncomfortable, you don't have to go again. But you'll never know until you try.
Here's something to think about. The way you described how you feel lonely, and you want someone to have dinner with and to do things with, you aren't the only person that feels that way. All it takes here is someone to go first. Did you ever see The Holiday with Kate Winslet and Eli Wallach? Sometimes different people are alone or lonely for different reasons. Maybe you have someone in your office whose partner is in the military and is stationed someplace else right now. Or maybe someone's recently single, or new to the company. Maybe they'd like to grab dinner and a movie one night as much as you would. You have to kind of put yourself out there and be open to different situations. Don't dismiss invites as pity. And even if something is extended to you because someone feels sorry for the situation you're in, so what? Is that really a bad thing? I feel sorry about it. It's human. It's good to feel for other people.
If you're someone that likes to grill, look into having a few of your neighbors over for a casual barbecue. If you have a dog, take the dog to a dog park and try to strike up a conversation with some of the people there.
Look at these opportunities as networking possibilities. Even if you and a neighbor have nothing in common, maybe that neighbor has an aunt or a godmother that would be someone you'd like to meet. You never know. So be open to it.
Since you specifically said "companion" consider trying to meet someone through activity based events. Try going to bingo, or a political get together, or a neighborhood watch group. Join a bowling league! Those are always fun for all ages. If there's a sport you like, maybe you could go around to your local schools or orgs and offer to be an umpire or an assistant coach. It's a great way to meet parents and grandparents.
Feeling like you want to have physical companionship again is healthy and normal. The funny thing is, it works similarly to how it worked when you were 19. If you get to know a person first as a friend, and you build a little trust, it may lead to that direction. Your note didn't give me the feeling that this is your primary goal. Maybe just seek out some new friendships and companions and see what comes your way. If you wind up meeting someone you're attracted to, if you just honestly let them know how you feel and ask them on a date instead of just a get together, you'll probably do just fine.
There is a cafe near me that does trivia nights, and there is another coffee house that does open mic nights. They are super friendly events and people are just drinking coffee and hanging out. Something like that may be really fun. I know it's hard to show up someplace alone, but you might be surprised at how easy it is in a casual setting to just start talking to someone. Sports events are often like that. You can do the sports bar thing, those are easy on a game night. Or you could attend a local game at a high school or college.
Of course you can always think with your heart and see if there's a charity in your area you could volunteer an hour or two with a week. A food pantry, a soup kitchen, an animal shelter, a meals on wheels, a big brother organization. Some clubs like The Elks or the VFW's have drives and fund raisers for various charities, and often they do other events that might be fun. Car and boat shows, fairs, horse shows, one of those 2 day tiling classes at Home Depot, a book signing, a Christmas play, try out some different events and see what happens.
One thing that happens is that your energy changes. When you are giving off that vibe that says I'm alone and lonely, that's only going to open so many doors. But when you put off that vibe that says you're free, you're looking for things to do, you'd like to meet people, you're up for anything, you're easy to talk to and you enjoy going out sometimes, you will attract like minded people.
Robert, again I am sorry for your loss. There is a lot that you can do to try to get out there and find some companionship again. I hope this helped and gave you some ideas. Best of luck to you.