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Dating And Relationships In The After-World

Dating And Relationships In The After-World

Posted by CentralAB on Sep 23, 2020 10:32 pm

OK. So a quick definition is in order first here

"After-World" for this topic means the world one is faced with living in after they have lost a loved one to cancer. I am pretty sure that most would agree that this is a dynamic subject, and is not the same for everyone. It can be a touchy subject for some. Scary even. Yet there are some who get right into it. This topic would be good for cancer patients too, who are perhaps wondering: "is there anything left for someone to date me and have a relationship with me?"

Suggested questions for your first post here:

Why do you or dont you want to date someone new?

If you have already started dating again:

how did you feel ready to date again? How do you know when you are ready?

As a caregiver who lost his wife to cancer earlier this year, I have started dating again a bit. I went through a lot of emotional gymnastics for the first little while over it, but have been blessed to finally be at peace with the idea. BEFORE I was ready to do this myself, I had discovered a book my late wife left me that was a Chicken Soup for the Soul volume that dealt with "new relationships" and new beginnings. But even though that book she left me, and a couple of other similar things in notes, cards, etc that "gave me permission," so to speak to date again, I didn't want to even think about it again. "Ever" I told myself at the time.

Well, one thing led to another, and what happened was I met someone at a church that I attended a few weeks ago, and at first I was so shocked to see her, I couldn't say a word to her. The reason I was so shocked is that I had a dream that I would meet a lady friend, and that dream included some very minute details, including her nationality and cultural background! So there's David, all shocked and speechless at that first "sighting" and I am usually NEVER speechless. lol She met everything I saw in my dream.

A couple of weeks later, I went to that church again, and she was there, so we got to talking a bit, and now we are in touch regularly, and we see each other about once a week now.

I told her the other day about my dream, and she chuckled about that, but I think the dream reflects on some conclusions I had reached for myself, about dating or having another partner in my life. I HAD to give myself permission, so to speak. Yet, once I did that, I felt like a ball and chain was removed. The new-found "wings" of faith were once again taking me into uncharted territory. (uncharted for me).

I know that some people cannot do things the way I am describing. They need more time. And thats totally OK Nothing "wrong" with that either.

I share this bit of my personal life with the prayer that it will help to generate important, meaningful conversation that many people struggle to deal with.

Can you share with us here, your thoughts and experiences with the "After-World?"

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________________ "there is always a little Light"

Re: Dating And Relationships In The After-World

Posted by Brighty on Sep 24, 2020 6:44 am

CentralAB‍  a very interesting  topic !!!! For me Dan was the love of my life. .. my one and only.     I have not gone on one single  date with anyone and it's been over 2 years for me.    I would just compare everyone to him which would be unfair.    I can't imagine  being with anyone  but him.    If i can't be with him, I'd rather be with no one.     I still.miss him every single day.       Maybe it's taking me too long to get past my grief? ???? Not sure.   
Help is out there. All you have to do is reach out.

Re: Dating And Relationships In The After-World

Posted by Trishfw on Sep 25, 2020 5:27 pm

Hi
Grief is a very personal experience.  I lost my husband 11 years ago.
We were young when he passed.  You would think after this amount of time I would have found someone to
partner with.  I have dated, been involved with steady guys, even got remarried and divorced. It was a bad decision.
i am currently involved with a gentleman and am quite happy with the friendship we have developed.
I’m not quite sure if it is my journey through cancer or it’s just my age.  I still look for character traits 
of my late husband.  I think of him often
Take one step at a time.  Your grief will resolve, let yourself go on the journey.
There are no timelines, no rules.  Your heart will guide you.  
Take care of yourself first.

There is a good book Ipicked up, it’s called Widow to Widow.  Good read to help figure things out.

Take care

Re: Dating And Relationships In The After-World

Posted by Laika57 on Sep 25, 2020 5:55 pm

My husband always said that he would "at least have the grace to die and leave me young enough to meet someone else". Not sure that was serious or in jest, but it is a realistic part of having a near 30 year age gap...
Now the mutt, he may be of a different opinion...
and no, no plans on moving on just yet. I may want to strangle him (husband) at times, but wouldn't cheat on him 🤷‍♀️
Have you hugged your dog today?

Re: Dating And Relationships In The After-World

Posted by Brighty on Sep 26, 2020 8:02 pm

Thanks Trishfw‍ !! Glad you found someone  you could have a nice friendship with.    Dan and I weren't married. .  He was my fiance.     We had the wedding  planned and paid for then cancer hit and took him.    He was only 42 when he passed.    I'm still sort of young-ish .. turning 47 this November.     People  say I shouldn't spend the rest of my life alone but I'll be ok.    For some reason  today I decided  to torment  myself.   I was looking at the wedding folder and all email  exchanges with the vendors... the florist, the photographer,  the decorator, the DJ.... and then realized  how quick life can change.      I guess all we can do us live one day at a time.  Whatever happens  will happen.     
Help is out there. All you have to do is reach out.

Re: Dating And Relationships In The After-World

Posted by CentralAB on Sep 27, 2020 9:17 am

Thank you Brighty‍ for your openness and sharing here. I think You have had a very traumatic experience, I can't imagine how hard it would be to be young, in love, looking forward to the future, making wedding plans, and then having the whole thing taken so suddenly from you. I think that for you, "moving on" would quite naturally take on a whole new meaning, as compared to others who have not gone through something similar. I don't think there are any hard fast rules about dating in the "after world" or that anyone should worry about how much time they need to process their grief enough so that they can get out and be with other people.

For me; I have decided that the whole dating thing feels really weird. I suppose that for me, because I was cooped up so much for the last two years or so, I mostly wanted to just get out there and see if I could even be with other people! Its not something I feel a great pressure to do. But no matter the setting, I am finding that just being out in society, mixing with others, is a really strange world for me. I am just making friends right now with people, and not really stressing over any of the other stuff. lol Not sure if thats called "dating" or not.

I think that for caregivers who have experienced such deep passionate love, and loss, its a real process, rather than an event. I have recently been asked by some friends here in the small town where I live to be the photographer at their wedding. Later today, I am taking this young couple out to a couple of scenic spots for a practice run, and to discuss what they want to see happening with the photography for their big day! Its a really amazing opportunity to share with our young people the pearls of wisdom we have gained from our own situations. Helping them to have something that I lost, is such a lifting of the spirits! That could be called a "date" too IMHO

Brighty:
CentralAB‍  a very interesting  topic !!!! For me Dan was the love of my life. .. my one and only.     I have not gone on one single  date with anyone and it's been over 2 years for me.    I would just compare everyone to him which would be unfair.    I can't imagine  being with anyone  but him.    If i can't be with him, I'd rather be with no one.     I still.miss him every single day.       Maybe it's taking me too long to get past my grief? ???? Not sure.   

 
________________ "there is always a little Light"

Re: Dating And Relationships In The After-World

Posted by CentralAB on Sep 27, 2020 9:23 am

Laika57‍ thank you for sharing your experience with us. Your humour made me chuckle. Your husband sounds like maybe he was both joking and serious. That was awesome to hear how he was thinking of your future like that. You should continue to follow your heart, and if the phrase "moving on" is not in your vocabulary, thats OK. Did you ask the mutt yet what he/she thinks? lol

Laika57:
My husband always said that he would "at least have the grace to die and leave me young enough to meet someone else". Not sure that was serious or in jest, but it is a realistic part of having a near 30 year age gap...
Now the mutt, he may be of a different opinion...
and no, no plans on moving on just yet. I may want to strangle him (husband) at times, but wouldn't cheat on him 🤷‍♀️

 
________________ "there is always a little Light"

Re: Dating And Relationships In The After-World

Posted by CentralAB on Sep 27, 2020 9:28 am

Trishfw‍ Thank you for this reply and sharing your story here! I rejoice with you that you have found a friend with whom you can feel good about. That is so important, and I would imagine that is something we all need. I noticed you mentioned "looking for your husband's character traits." That sounds like something a lot of us would wrestle with. I know its happened a bit with me. IMO that is likely totally normal, and if you have someone that is able/willing to discuss without judging, then thats called a true friend. Seems to me thats where it all has to begin anyways!

Trishfw:
Hi
Grief is a very personal experience.  I lost my husband 11 years ago.
We were young when he passed.  You would think after this amount of time I would have found someone to
partner with.  I have dated, been involved with steady guys, even got remarried and divorced. It was a bad decision.
i am currently involved with a gentleman and am quite happy with the friendship we have developed.
I’m not quite sure if it is my journey through cancer or it’s just my age.  I still look for character traits 
of my late husband.  I think of him often
Take one step at a time.  Your grief will resolve, let yourself go on the journey.
There are no timelines, no rules.  Your heart will guide you.  
Take care of yourself first.

There is a good book Ipicked up, it’s called Widow to Widow.  Good read to help figure things out.

Take care

 
________________ "there is always a little Light"

Re: Dating And Relationships In The After-World

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Sep 28, 2020 9:20 am

CentralAB‍ , If I may suggest it, please ensure that you ask the couple about any grandparents. When I was married (back in the day), we hired an apprentice photographer, and he didn’t include my only surviving grandparent in any of our photos. Grandma’s feelings were hurt, and ever since then, I’ve made a point of asking (I did a bit of wedding photography over the years for family and friends).
“When the root is deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.” - Japanese saying

Re: Dating And Relationships In The After-World

Posted by WestCoastSailor on Sep 28, 2020 2:58 pm

Laughing. I was staying away from this thread because I thought it was indeed talking about "after life." And while I'm willing to tackle a lot of strange topics that was one that I was staying away from.

Why do you or dont you want to date someone new?

My situation as many of you know is complicated. I lost my spouse to cancer early in my own cancer journey. I missed her support terribly initially and felt like she was irreplaceable. And she is. We had had a brief conversation as she was dying and she encouraged me to look for someone else after she died. "You aren't someone who should be alone." Still I struggle with the fact that I have an expiry date. How can I ask someone to put themselves into caring for me, knowing what is coming?

I have a good friend that I call "the Jewish matchmaker." And yes I've called her that to her face. Her argument was that I needed to be open and honest about it but that I was depriving someone of the the great beauty and joy that I could bring into their life. So at the one year mark, I took my wedding band off and opened myself to the possibility. I don't actively look but I have had several lovely experiences that had I not been open I wouldn't have had. 

how did you feel ready to date again? How do you know when you are ready?

Still not sure that I'm ready. A couple of weeks ago another friend encouraged me to fill in an online dating profile. Filling it in made me reflect on what I was looking for. I think it was heavily colored by previous marriages. That to me seemed like a clue that maybe I'm not ready. I can't bring those old relationships into a new one. And I really wrestled with how do you share the fact that you have a terminal disease. Will it sending people running for the hills without even meeting you? And is that really a good filter because if someone isn't interested to look past that then maybe that is just as well.

And that brings a whole realm of intimacy questions that are simply general and associated with medication. Intimacy is challenging enough but throw chemo into the mix and you have a whole new set of questions. I wasn't on tamoxifen long enough to know how it would affect intimacy but conversation with another male breast cancer patient made me aware of the fact that there might be Viagra in my future. And though I taught high school biology not everyone has the knowledge or tools to talk about that.

Thanks CentralAB‍ for raising the topic and Brighty‍ , and Trishfw‍ for being bold enough to talk about this in an open forum.

Angus

My story: http://journey.anguspratt.ca

Re: Dating And Relationships In The After-World

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Sep 28, 2020 5:35 pm

WestCoastSailor‍ Wrote:
Her argument was that I needed to be open and honest about it but that I was depriving someone of the the great beauty and joy that I could bring into their life.

I don’t know you extremely well, but I’ll go out on a limb far enough to venture that she is correct. (And, ftr, you do that here and my life is the richer for it.)
“When the root is deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.” - Japanese saying

Re: Dating And Relationships In The After-World

Posted by CentralAB on Sep 28, 2020 5:41 pm

WestCoastSailor‍ Thank you for your reply here! I always enjoy your remarks and thoughts, usually with a chuckle or tow. So I appreciate that. I would like to suggest that "intimacy" can be a lot of different things to different people. It doesn't always have to center around having sex. (there, I said it). lol Hugs, affection, etc are always a welcome form of intimacy. Not too many ladies would turn that down, as long as it was a mutual thing. Establishing boundaries, expectations, fears, etc into the communications, right from the first date and on with anyone you want to be closer to is called  active listening, and respecting one another in all areas of life. I remember just before I met my wife having some online dating experiences, and I had a lot of trouble, to be honest, because I didnt want to do certain things on the first date! My wife and I chuckled about that more than a few times. (I guess not too many dudes think like me). So my point is, when it comes to intimacy and affections, that is usually something that is very solvable by open, honest communications. For cancer patients, and indeed for caregivers, intimacy in a relationship is always fraught with turmoil, guilt, and differences in beliefs and principles. There is no way to figure this stuff out without the communication being done first. And I would say that that is something you have down pat already, from what I know of you.

There IS the guilt trip thing in establishing new relationships. For anyone who has lost a spouse or partner. That kind of guilt can really hinder a proposed relationship, or potential one. Its nothing to be ashamed of, nor does it mean you are "not ready." (IMO). If you meet someone you are interested in, just make sure they are into talking first, for as long as it takes, until all the cards are on the table. That wont happen over night; it may take weeks or months. I have tried the online dating a bit again, but decided I cant do it now. Thats how I met my wife, and there is a definite block there in my mind. I did meet someone in person at a church I attended a few weeks back and am feeling very blessed to be able to talk about all these things with her.

I really miss the intimacy we had. I would like to have that again. But I know I cannot expect some one else to fill those shoes. A new partner will be a different mind. But my wife and I even in the last weeks had intimacy. It just changed then is all. I particularly remember moments in the hall way from the bathroom to the living room, she would be struggling with ambulation because she was blind the last year, and on a lot of meds, but I would always be right behind her, and she would often turn to me, and just give me the sweetest hug, and say "Oh hon, I just want to go home." That was always so precious, so much more intimate than anything I have EVER experienced, even in the beginning of our relationship. I doubt Ill ever find another hug like that anywhere. Now I am balling my head off like a fool because I reminded myself of those precious moments. But people shouldnt think that intimacy isnt possible when there is chemo and disease in progress. It certainly was with us.

I would encourage you to think of this one thing:

I knew my wife was "terminal" when I asked her to marry me. If it's love, there's not too much in this old world that can stop it.
________________ "there is always a little Light"

Re: Dating And Relationships In The After-World

Posted by CentralAB on Sep 28, 2020 5:48 pm

PS WestCoastSailor‍ I apologize for initially scaring you off with the term "After-World." lol I actually just invented that word myself for this topic! I dont think its even in the dictionary yet.
________________ "there is always a little Light"

Re: Dating And Relationships In The After-World

Posted by SpeedyStill on Sep 29, 2020 10:17 am

CentralAB‍ 
 Like WestCoastSailor‍ said you may have scared some people with your topic title.
Saying that, it is a topic which is not talked about enough or openly.
As humans we are all unique with our life experience and our feelings.
There is no correct answer here!!!!
People who move too quickly find that they are disappointed with there choice (not always).
Marraige is a sacred bond between two people. If we look at it as that then both should be connected with True Love.
After a death, a divorce or a separation we can still find another connection.
It will not be the same connection because your other connection was unique to the both of you.
Date if you can but wait until you make as sure as you can that the connection is real and lasting.
How do we sail the ship slow and easy. The destination if it is right  will always be there.
The goal in life is joy and happiness.
I will end with something CentralAB said in one of his posts.
This is not a quote so I hope I get it close
I liked to pray with my wife it was a chance to hold her hands.
A bond can be as simple as that.
This is what I would say
"Hold my my hand and look at me with love in your eyes"
Everything else is not that important
May the path that you follow find you the best life that you can have.
Always
Gerry