DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I was widowed early this year and am extremely lonely. I'm over 50. My late husband and I had become estranged -- much of his illness was due to his neglect of long-standing medical problems. I became angry and resentful of the illness, and him. It became clear years ago that he didn't love me or the kids anymore. So I've been emotionally widowed a lot longer than I have physically.
I decided to sign up for a couple of the popular dating sites. I'll admit I'm no super-catch -- I'm full-bodied, have kids under 18 and I have a full-time mid-management career. But I have a great sense of humour, intelligence, love of life, a sense of adventure and a positive outlook. I'm having no success on these sites -- the only men showing interest are ones looking for a bit of fun on the side, or for very casual encounters. I'm not ready to marry again, but it's an eventual goal. I'd like to find someone to love who will love me in return.
There's a stigma attached to being widowed so "young." Men are either afraid you'll be comparing them to your late spouse, or that you're too emotionally distraught to be happy again. Having younger kids at this generation seems to be another black mark against me. Am I imagining this stigma, or should I just be resigned to wear black the rest of my days? -- Empty-Hearted, St. Vital
Dear Empty-Hearted: If online dating isn't working, junk it. And only wear black if it flatters your figure. I like your honesty! You're not a suffering widow and you aren't pretending your husband deserved a pedestal. So it's time to be what my dad used to call a "merry widow." Free of a husband who wasn't kind, loving or even affectionate, they can treat themselves to jewelry and clothing and fun.
You might enjoy Adventures for Successful Singles (204-775-3484), a good place to find make a lot of friends, whether you find romance or not. They have many activities -- sports, arts, discussions, dinners. Nobody is trying to match you up, but it can happen naturally. Tip: Don't go to the dances until you've gone to the four get-togethers to get to know your start-up group. Most people in the club are in their 40s to 60s, so you'll fit in. Check out www.adventuresforsuccessfulsingles.com.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I'm writing in response to "IQ of 170." Please don't give up! I also have a high IQ, and I don't have much of a libido, unless I find the right woman. No. 1 on my checklist is whether she's bright enough to carry on a semi-intelligent conversation. There are guys out there who aren't sex fiends (even young ones; I'm 23), and yes, some of them are still even single and straight (I am, albeit a little shy). So you may be fed up, but don't give up. I never will -- love is too important. -- Sincerely, Slightly Lower IQ Than 170, Winnipeg
Dear Slightly Lower: Glad you will never give up, so let me help you a little: you only want a semi-intelligent conversation? Why aim so low? There are lots of very smart women out there who want a cerebral connection, and you need to go where love is for you. That means joining clubs and organizations where intelligent people go, continuing university courses in your area of interest and teaching some courses. Keep your eyes open for attractive brainiacs and make it known you're actively looking.
You don't say what your area is, but pursue it big-time and globally. Becoming the best there is at anything is a good way to get well-known and to attract similar people to you. Excellence is sexy. Founders of clubs or groups become the focal point and everyone gets to know them first. Intellectuals need intellectuals. Some just need them to turn on their brains, and some need them to turn on brains and bodies, as you do.