It was bound to happen.
People have begun asking me if I will ever consider dating again.
I tell them I’m not ready. I don’t know if I ever will be. As an artist I know that my various creative projects require as much time, love and attention as any new relationship would. Besides, Scott Morgan was the love of my life and that would be a tough act to follow. Being widowed is not the same as being divorced. We did not choose to leave each other. But we never actually said ’til death do us part, either and now that it has, well, it feels like we’re still together and he’s going to walk through that front door any day now after a long trip. I usually keep this thought to myself because other people who loved him have moved on (or want to… and being around me is a reminder that he is not here any more).
According to this well researched article by Elizabeth Bernstein in the Wall Street Journal, there is no time table for moving on however men are much more likely to do so than women. The statistics Ms. Bernstein quotes are staggering:
“Over the years, various studies have shown men are more likely to seek out a new relationship, and to do it sooner, than women, Dr. Wortman says. She offers findings from various studies: In the first year after a spouse’s death, 54% of men have a sexual relationship, compared with 7% of women. By 25 months after a spouse’s death, 61% of men had a new relationship, versus 19% of women, and 25% of men had remarried, versus 5% of women.”
The article offers reasons for this disparity. It also contains a poignant and practical sidebar on how to determine when you are ready to seek another relationship or not.
(By the way click here to read about statistics on the percentage variation between men and women who decide to leave spouses who are terminally ill.)
Would Scott be one of those 54% of men to move on in the first year if I’d died before he did? The odds are he probably would and that would have been okay with me. Did we ever discuss it? Indirectly, yes. Scott’s way of putting it was declaring that he knew I would have many new adventures and probably live another 30 years at least and to make the most of them and be happy. I know if the situation had been reversed I’d want my beloved to find solace in another’s embrace and grieve me Liam Neeson-style. Maybe I’ll be open to somebody new someday, too. After all, according to Scott I’ve got 30 more years to think about it. It’s just that right now I am very sure that I’m not ready to give my time and attention and energy to anyone but me. Now that I’ve already experienced true love I’m going to be one of those artists and writers who is married to their career. Unless of course Liam Neeson asks me out.