The answer to this question is a resounding ‘no’. However, people who do make comments alluding to it being inappropriate somehow exist. Non-girlfriend (NGF), who I am dating and avoiding labeling as a girlfriend, and I encountered one of said idiots the other night. It was our first encounter, and I suspect it won’t be the last. I am astounded at the lack of emotional intelligence some people have.
It was a significant night as our début in a formal setting – the Christmas party for the Gay Women’s Network in London. This is a network that my late wife and I joined when we moved to London in 2008. Although the crowd has changed in the last seven years, there are people around still who know my wife. It is also a network for which NGF is on the committee, although we never encountered one another until this summer. I expressed my worry that people would judge but that I was simultaneously super excited about it and really pleased she felt safe going with me.
Needless to say, when the evening came, it felt absolutely comfortable, despite the slightly sticky Soho bar setting. I wore my new Black Friday purchased golden cashmere jumper and black leather trousers (it worked, honestly) and she had on an incredibly short dress. Big thumbs up. We matched like lame lesbians do and she put her wallet and phone in my handbag. Truly a couple now! She held my hand to make a clear signal to lecherous lesbians to back off. I want more of that feeling.
However, as we tipsily ubered home, NGF told me that something happened when I was in the loo. A mutual contact who knows all three of us – being me, my late wife and NGF – had made a comment about it being inappropriate being with me. I am angry – really fucking angry to the point that I cried as we went to sleep that night, after some loud sex, of course. I am angry that someone who has never walked in NGF’s shoes or my stilettos would even think it vaguely ok to say something aloud. Gossip behind our backs is expected but, the thing is, this idiot made the unsettling and unwelcoming comments to new girl’s face.
I am frustrated that NGF now feels guilty, that she has to manage an extra layer of emotions when those emotions are dense enough being in a (nearly but not quite) monogamous relationship with a woman who is older, bipolar and arguably at a different stage in life (own house, Botox, more money etc). I confess to being a bit angry at my wife for creating this situation. I am livid that idiots exacerbate it and plant ideas in her head.
Let me clarify, I am not angry in the slightest at NGF. In fact, I am really moved that she is even able to talk to me about things like this. It makes me incredibly sad though that she need ever doubt that enjoying my company is a great and permissible thing. She said of the other night, ‘maybe she’s right’, and has previously asked ‘what would [wife] think of me?’
I can never know what my late wife would have thought of NGF. The day before she killed herself, she told me ‘I want you to be happy because I love you so much.’ Well, I am happy. I’m thrilled. Ergo NGF needn’t feel bad at all. Wife would likely be jealous that she’s hot, she’s clever, she’s confident, she’s witty, she’s sexy, but wife would simultaneously think she’s impressive and give a big thumbs up.
I explained to NGF that I’ve had two years to accept that people will always judge – even those closest to me, including my own mother and father. I’m either stuck in the past, not moving forward and not living life because I’m sitting on my sofa eating family size tubs of hummus in my wife’s pyjamas at three o’clock in the afternoon, or moving on too fast, forgetting my wife and dancing on her grave by having sex, drinking mojitos on week-nights, having my hair highlighted and loving life again.
What am I supposed to do? Wear a black veil forevermore and sob in the corner?
I can’t control what other people think. NGF, on the other hand, has had one month of exclusivity with me and would never have expected to encounter dating a twenty-nine widow, two years after graduating, in her wildest dreams. Her worries and her guilt are natural – I reassured her of that – but in my head, I don’t know how to help her through it. Baby steps. Giving it time, I guess.
So dear lovely people and members of the public, here is why it is most definitely not inappropriate to date widows. Please spread the word.
- Widows have been to hell and back. After having their hearts ripped apart and life imploding, they deserve every ounce of happiness and to embrace it with no guilt or judgement
- If happiness involves being with a new love, then that is a thing to be celebrated
- You can’t help who you fall for and you should never feel guilty for it
- People who date widows deserve happiness too and can’t help who they fall for
- Falling in love together does not diminish the significance or love from the widow’s previous relationship
That’s it in a nutshell. I don’t get why anyone could dare say otherwise. Widows – don’t feel guilty please. People dating widows – I can’t imagine being in your shoes, but just know that you should never feel bad for being with a widow and to keep working through the emotions. People not dating widows – be nice.
I have love to give and NGF potentially has love to return (fingers crossed). That is beautiful. It will never, ever be inappropriate. So fuck right off if you think otherwise. Thanks.