Widowed and Moving On to Online Dating

03/06/2015 03:16 pm ET | Updated May 06, 2015
Alistair Berg via Getty Images

I met Joseph at 22 years old, and he swept me off my feet. We were married four years later and shared so much in common. We would go to the theatre, enjoy fine dining, cooking together, entertain at home and he would always go fill my car up with gas every Sunday night because he knew I didn't like to do it. After a series of several strokes, many operations and Alzheimer's Disease, my husband Joseph of 30 years, passed away. He could not work for those last 10 years, and I took care of him as he progressively got worse along with more and more help in the house for him as time went on. The last two months of his life he was in a personal care home. That was the hardest decision I had to ever make in my life. At that point he needed 24-hour supervision and I just could not handle it anymore, along with taking care of my daughter, working and managing several personal rental properties. I went to the personal care home the day before with a close friend, as I could not bear to go alone. We decorated his room and set up his bed and TV, etc. The next day I had to pack his bags and drive him there knowing he would never come home again. Two months later I buried Joseph.

The following six months I pretty much just laid around the house and put on a good show for my daughter, friends and family. I would make sure I was dressed when my daughter came home from school and then carry on as usual. I had to be strong for her, in return it really made me strong for myself also. I would continue to go out with friends and family and be social, but never really thought of dating. They say it takes a year to really mourn the loss and I always thought, oh no it won't take me a year but in retrospect it took a good year and maybe more.

I never really tried too hard at dating and was really enjoying the single life and having no responsibilities of taking care of a very ill person. My daughter and I traveled, and I was very involved in her life, my extended family and my social life. I had a few dates here and there and they were OK but no fireworks from any of these guys. I had a list a mile long of what I wanted in a man and compared everyone of them to how wonderfully my husband had treated me. No one measured up to the prince charming of an idea I had in my head.

My daughter was 15 years old and a freshman in high school when her father died. When she graduated she chose to attend New York University, Tisch School of the Arts. After that decision was made and she was gone for a few months I started thinking about what I really wanted to do with the rest of my life. I had always wanted to live at the beach and specifically 30A in Seagrove Beach, FL, in the NW FL panhandle. We had vacationed there for many many years, and I knew it well and felt kind of like it was home away from home for me. I felt at peace there, loved the sun and beach and was just drawn to move there. My gut was telling me I had to do it now. I didn't want to wait until I retired. I had always taken care of my family and put them before myself, and now it was time for me to figure out what only I wanted. I had always wanted to live at the beach and I told myself either do something about it or shut up. The time was right so I made the decision to move from Atlanta where I had lived all my life and all my friends and family were and move to the beach where I knew on one. So at 56 years old I moved by myself, leaving everything behind. My daughter was not too happy about it, even though she was now living 900 miles
away from me. She was born and raised in Atlanta and wanted to be able to come home on school breaks and see her friends and family. Also I was very close to my mother who was 80 years old at the time and a lot of people gave me a hard time about leaving her too. I just could not live my life for other people anymore, and I had to live my life for me now. My daughter now loves coming to the beach to visit and many of her friends come visit when she is here with me. My mother, family and friends all come down to visit often also. So much so that the first year I was at the beach I rarely was alone in my home. I enjoyed that because I was not ever lonely and loved having them. Now as time goes on not as many are coming or as often to visit.

Five years have passed since I was married, and I am ready for a loving man in my life again. I joined a few dating sites and waited for the men to call me but not too many actually called. I thought "What is wrong with these guys, didn't they know how amazing I was?" No, they did not know. So I have decided to take a proactive attitude towards this dating thing and make things happen, not just sit back and wait as I had been doing. I saw an article on The Huffington Post about 15 Over 50 and that they were looking to chose 15 women over the age of 50 who wanted to achieve something in their life for 2015. I wrote that my 2015 goal in my life was to find a loving man. I really couldn't believe I did it, and they chose me!

So now the pressure is on because The Huffington Post is following up with me for a year to see how I am progressing. I joined three online single sites, Tinder and a three Meetup groups. I have been overwhelmed with responses. I am still being picky, but not as much as I use to be. I am not into the looks or money, I am into the feeling I have when with someone and the only way to tell that is to actually go out on a date. Tonight I am going on a first date and have two more planned for this week.