Any dating hope for this widower?

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Hello Meredith,

I am a 56-year-old male widower. I have been widowed now for more than four years. I married later in life, at 42. (If I had a dollar for every time I was asked if it was my second marriage, I would have been a millionaire). My wife passed away suddenly and unexpectedly from complications from a very common surgery.

I had done the whole clearing out of her personal belongings and other estate related tasks over a nine-month period. Two years after her passing and reading some self-help book from Abel Keogh ("The Ultimate Dating Guide for Widowers"), I had decided to dip my toes into the dating waters. I've tried a couple of dating sites, and I would have to say that I have gone out and met 18 to 20 different women up to this point in time, but it seems to be all a flashback of when I was in my late 20s and 30s, with the same results of one of us not feeling like we were a good match for the other.

I am sure this whole COVID disaster has not helped matters, but I was hoping that I would at least be dating/seeing someone on a steady basis by now. Not that I am looking to rush marriage (although I am open to remarrying at some point, but it is not a mandatory thing). I am starting to feel like I am sucking water out of a stone and that there needs to be a point to snap the line and call it quits with this dating thing and accept the fact I will be a widower for the rest of my life. I really don't want to do that but I have days that this has really been bothering me and needs some sort of closure.

– Widowed and Confused

I'm sorry for your loss.

I'm also sorry you won't get closure when it comes to dating. Not from me, at least. It's very possible you'll meet someone you adore. It might take dates with 20 or more people to get there, though.

I wish there was a way to expedite the search process. The only upside of the quantity problem is that you get to meet a lot of people (which can be interesting), and that when you do meet a person who seems to be a match, you'll be that much more appreciative (one would think). Also remember that with dating apps, it's sort of like interacting with every single person at a party and evaluating them one at a time. That can take a while.

If you have major dating fatigue, try some of the apps that only give you a few options every day. Sometimes it's easier for brains to process two to three faces at a time – as opposed to swiping through 30.

COVID hasn’t helped any of this, of course. Not only because we can't see other people as easily – or at all – but because for some, it's brought up grief. Some people have required a break. Maybe you're one of them. But I do believe that as people begin to see flashes of light at the end of the tunnel, they'll be back looking and that much more interested in engaging with someone new.

Please don't create arbitrary "this will never happen again!" edicts so you can pretend like you have control over the unknown. Allow yourself to take a beat, recharge, and remember that anything – and everything – is possible.

– Meredith

Readers? Advice? Pep talk?