Thursday, January 05, 2012

Flying Solo

Chocolate Pizza at Max Brenner NYC


The idea of dating again has crept into my consciousness possibly spurred on by a friend who lovingly said, “You’re not getting any younger you know.”
For decades, I was married and I defined myself that way.  Now, almost six years later I am seriously single and most of the time I like being free and breezy.  After my husband died I actually did have a bbbfriend for a year –and then – oh, who knows why, the pull to connect just evaporated.
Now it’s back and I’m afraid it may be a bad notion just like my judgement to polish off the above pictured chocolate pizza was several days ago.
I constantly talk about relationships without being in one.  Maybe I ought to either stop talking and start being.
I was a guest on a radio show recently with the brilliant Dr. Jane Greer and in response to “Did you feel guilty after your husband died?” I answered, “Why would I?  I didn’t kill him.” We laughed until she responsibly acknowledged that other widows do feel guilty.
Cornered, I confessed that what I did feel guilty about was that I might have been kinder to Jimmy throughout our marriage. I might have tried to control my PMS by electric shock, learned to make lasagna and I could have made him happy if I attempted to understand why football isn’t just a bunch of guys in a huddle and then before you know it they’re all in a pile.
As I said this on air, it occurred to me that a new relationship might require my full attention. Semi-attention is only semi-acceptable after the ring is a little scruffy.
Dr. Greer and I talked about how common it is to review our marriage after a loss of a spouse by death or divorce.  All the ‘what if’s’ waif through our heads until we convince ourselves that we were actually the perfect one.
Denial.  It’s the only way to live…especially when we are the last spouse standing with no body to contradict us with the facts.  Right Jane?
Jane wouldn’t confirm this, of course, although I think she was amused because she assumed that I was kidding. I was not.  In an effort to be a helpful and warm, she volunteered the professional equivocate of  “Don’t beat yourself up about it” by emphasizing how difficult intimate relationships are.
“Couples often hate each other sometimes 25 times a day” she said. “If it’s not one thing it’s another” she said sounding much like the wonderful Gilda Radner (“It’s Always Something”)
Dr. Greer confessed later that she low-balled with 25 not to scare anyone off.
I think she scared me, though.  I may continue to fly solo for a while.