My Husband Died and I’m Finding It Hard to Date Again


Dear E. Jean: I think back to when he asked me for a first date and flew me in his plane to the mountains for a romantic picnic. He was my rock, my confidant, the smartest person I knew. His support helped me rise quickly in my career. I felt I could achieve anything. We married. I was in a constant state of euphoria.

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One day, he didn’t come home. That morning, he got out of bed, kissed me, said he was getting the plane ready for a trip to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, for my birthday, and told me he would see me that afternoon at the gym. He didn’t show—totally unlike Mr. Dependable. With a huge weight on my chest, I went to the airport hangar. There was his car, parked out front, and as I noticed a commotion on the tarmac, I got an alert on my phone saying that a pilot had died in a plane crash. Minutes later, the emergency response team gave me the same news. It was my husband.

My happy existence ended. I’m tearing up just writing this.

Here is my question: Everyone tells me I need to move forward. Start dating again. I am a young widow; I get that. So I let my friends fix me up with two nice gentlemen, but they pale compared to my beloved. Will I always compare? Will I ever be with another man? Are there any spectacular men left? I would love to experience again the blissful life I once shared with the greatest man I’ve ever known. —Broken Hearts Club Member

PS: I did get grief counseling for two years, which helped me get to here.

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Club, My Dear, Dear Love: What do you mean, “two nice gentlemen”? Two? You enchanting widow! Good Lord! You are beautiful, clever, and rich; there are thousands of “spectacular” men who’d enjoy the honor of being in love with you.

And how will you meet these alluring specimens? By going to new places, enlarging your social circle, taking charge of the alumni dinner, joining a Sierra Club hike, hitting a bucket of golf balls at the driving range, volunteering with the Pacific Crest Trail Association, flying to Vegas to take ringside seats at a prizefight, wearing a hat three feet wide in the premium seats at Belmont (the final jewel in the Triple Crown of horse racing, where Auntie Eeee had a stall door chivalrously held open for her by a gentleman billionaire in the men’s room after the sixth race; Auntie’s rule: Never waste time standing in a long line for the women’s room). And I don’t need to mention the best apps—Bumble, Hinge, and Meetup—do I? Now let us turn to your other questions: Yes, you will “be with another man.” (Probably several.) Yes, of course you’ll “compare” and find the entire male race riddled with flaws. Yes, you will adjust. Yes, you will live a “blissful life”…but only on one condition: that you don’t make that life totally about men. You might be just as happy, or a great deal happier, being on your own, Miss Club. I’m pretty quick at picking up on the talents of my correspondents (particularly after I read newspaper accounts about them—thank you for the links), and I suggest you run for mayor.

My darling, every reader of ELLE is sad to hear about the death of your husband. Time will lighten your suffering—indeed, I see that it already has. And I admire you for your ardor, your loyalty, and your genius in foreseeing the possibility of a new and exciting life!

This article originally appeared in the May 2018 issue of ELLE.

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