This letter is written in response to this previous community contribution: The letter from a woman that every man over 60 should read
I’m so sorry to hear that the man you met was so disrespectful to you. He truly was a jerk. What he said was foul-mouthed, uncouth, coarse, rude, loutish, and completely out-of-line. I certainly understand why you were so hurt.
I understand the vulnerability of being a widow of seven years and meeting someone new (I’m a widow of almost 5 years). I was pleased to hear that, even though you were wary of what might unfold, you were brave enough to go on that blind date.
After a painful event like this, I find women respond in a variety of ways. Some jump right back on the bandwagon. Others take a short break from dating. Others decide it’s not for them, period. All are completely acceptable. There is no right or wrong here.
If you do decide to put your toe into the waters of dating again, here are some things my clients have tried (and I have, too).
When my heart has been wounded from a previous date, I make a pact with myself to keep the current new date at an “emotional zero” at first (no matter how lovely he seems). This protects me. Sometimes it’s annoying to do, but the good news is – I know I’m much less likely to get hurt. I can still be excited to meet someone new and learn about them. I just won’t let myself be emotionally invested on that first date.
There’s always the risk of getting hurt when you open your heart. Your heart is precious and should only be opened when the man has proven himself worthy. And for a man to prove himself worthy, women typically need to go out with him a few times. Let him prove that he’ll be kind, a gentleman, complimentary, warm, manly, funny, etc.
During my dating years, I used to think that being set up by someone who knew me was a great idea. They would pre-screen the men for me, right? Not so. Often I found myself asking, “Don’t they know me? Why would they introduce me to him?” More confirmation for keeping every first date at an emotional zero.
Our temptation after we get so hurt by an unworthy guy is to put up walls around our heart so it won’t happen again. The problem with walls is that they also keep out the good guys. I hope you won’t lose heart about finding love again. As I read through the responses to your article, I saw many good men wrote to confirm “they aren’t all like this” which I’m also very happy to confirm by the many men I’ve coached who are truly good guys and would never do what that man did to you.
I hope this is helpful.