Dating a grieving man

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It was only recently, since I’d been living on my own and encountering my friends and colleagues as a single person, that I had begun to see how deeply loved and appreciated I was by the people in my life, love given to me as a grace, without merit. As long as I had chicken soup on the brain (and, I reasoned, the healing properties of this soup might keep me from getting the flu I had marginally been exposed to), I went to the store and bought the ingredients for the best chicken soup ever, along with a baguette of crusty sourdough. My kitchen filled with the aroma of love: love for myself.

I have cooked hundreds of pots of chicken soup in my life and yet this was the first time I made chicken soup expressly for me. I enjoyed the soup and then had to email my sick acquaintance and offer to bring some over.

Not a relationship per se—this business of being on my own and caring only for myself is intriguing and I’m learning too much to want to abandon it.

I wasn’t interested in Match.com, nor a friends-with-benefits setup. Or so I thought until I went on the one and only date I’ve had (outside that marriage) in the last quarter century.

A goodnight kiss so quick I hardly knew it occurred ended things and that was that. It had gone well; I had experienced my first post-marriage date and had walked through it with impunity. He posted a smiley face on my Facebook page an hour after the date; I went to sleep content. Every insecurity I’d ever even glancingly known began to holler like a banshee.Rule #3: The next time I’m tempted to go too far, I’ll try texting myself a photo of my glorious chicken soup.It may not help with fighting sickness or bolstering self-esteem, but honestly, it can’t hurt.Rule #2: When in doubt, I will remind myself of my assets.Even when I’ve done that, though, I still can’t stop checking email like an obsessed idiot, as if the concreteness of my assets requires someone else to confirm them.

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