Although I decided to wear my wedding ring for a year after his death (as a respectful gesture to Frank and to keep unwanted male attention at bay), six months in, I felt ready to date.
I had started to miss companionship, the everyday pleasures of having a man in my life.
One date was texting me regularly to make plans and tell me jokes, only to downgrade his correspondence to Facebook the more he learned about my past, then fade out completely.
Other men, once they learned of my history, avoided me altogether.
As soon as I'd get comfortable enough with them to talk about it, usually after a few dates, they'd pull away--no more e-mails or calls.
But he also helped me understand how alien and incomprehensible my situation must seem to someone who has not lived with such a loss.
I've been dating for almost two years now--some guys lasted just one date, others for months at a time.
But I felt torn between feeling very attached to his memory and also taking tentative steps toward a future without him.
Widowhood also has had a strange sanctifying effect on how men perceive me.At a young age, I concluded that widows were different from other women, set apart, other. Not long ago, I met a man with whom I instantly hit it off.A friend of a friend, he looked me up when he was traveling through New York from Europe.Well, yes, of course I loved him, but our marriage was like most: It had highs and lows.In the year before Frank got sick, we'd gone through marriage counseling and even a trial separation, but there was never any question that I'd be there during his illness.Maybe it's because so many guys have called me "courageous," but as soon as I utter the word "widow," I sense I'm being seen as a living saint and that my marriage was flawless, which of course isn't true.