Trampolines and Texts:  Dating as a Widow

“I want you to find love again,” Nick told me after we found out he was terminal.   

I couldn’t even let the thought settle into my brain.  I didn’t want anyone else.  I wanted him, until we were old and gray.  Very old.  Him.  Only him.   

“Grow old with me; the best is yet to be,” was the last line of my wedding vows to him.  And that is what I fully expected to happen.  

Now, a year and a half after my Nick left this earth, I find myself in a very unsettling situation – living alone and completely single.  Some people prefer living alone.  Some people would give anything to have just one week of coming in the door after work to an empty, silent home.   

That is so not me. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I enjoy alone time and peace and quiet once in awhile.  I need it, to read and pray and watch way too many animal TikToks.  But being alone most of the time in my little apartment is just not at all what I signed up for.  My two-bedroom apartment (a second bedroom for when my daughter is there) is THE homiest, coziest apartment in greater Outagamie County.  Folksy, country décor, lots of lamps, twinkle lights all year around because I can’t live without twinkle lights, candles, wax burners, stacks of thick blankets, fuzzy pillows, my little art desk, and of course my two kitties…. It is my haven and I am endlessly grateful for it.   

But it’s lonely, y’all.  There are times when I’m so lonely it’s almost unbearable.   

“But you’re never alone when you have God.” 

I know.   

I know. 

God and me – we talk a lot.  All day long, really.  I read my Bible.  I watch encouraging devotional videos that come to my email every morning.  I listen to Christian radio.  I am daily drawing closer to Him.  He is my Comforter, my Counselor, my very, very most important priority.   

But I can’t hug Him.  I can’t audibly hear Him talk to me.  I can’t reach out and touch Him.  How often I desperately wish I could do these things.  Sometimes when I’m alone I throw my open hands up in the air and just try to feel His presence.  Then I clench my hands into tight fists and press them against my chest to try to bring at least a tiny bit of Him down to me – right up against me.  I know He’s here.  I know He is with me always, every second of every day.  He has been so good and faithful despite some very terrible times.   

But I still get so.   



The simple fact is that God created me to be much more fulfilled and happy in a relationship than single.  This does not mean I “have to have a man to be happy.”  Believe me, I’ve been told that more times than I ever care to count.  What it does mean is that God created me to be much more fulfilled and happy in a relationship than single.  Do I make myself clear?  I hope you see the difference, my friend.  I’ve struggled hard with this part of who I am and have asked God to please take away this part of my emotional makeup, but He hasn’t.  So, as aggravating as it can be, I have come to accept it and ride the wave and trust that He made me this way for a reason.   

I have dated.  I’m on some dating sites.  So far, this journey has been like a roller coaster ride.  If I were to tell you about the frustrating, exciting, hopeful, devastating, disappointing, happy, angry experiences I’ve had to this point, you would stop reading and conclude that I’m nutty as a fruitcake for even attempting to meet someone on a dating site.  Well, I met Nick on and that gives me a wee bit of hope.  I like to equate online dating with going to a thrift store with a specific kind of sweater in mind, and combing through racks and racks of sweaters – even trying a few on – only to leave the store emptyhanded.  Friend, if you know you know.  Online dating is a confusing labyrinth of risk and uncertainty.  Peril and prospect and possibility.  It is not for the faint of heart.  So why do I do it? 

Because how does a single, Christian, widowed, 48-year-old woman meet a single, Christian, 40-something man without going to bars?   

“Church!” you say.   

Ah, you would think, right?  I regret to inform you that of all the wonderful churches in Appleton, Wisconsin that I have attended I have yet to meet someone.   

Let me tell you a timely little story about the one person I met organically (i.e. not on a dating site).   

A few weeks ago I saw a video of a lady bouncing gleefully on a fitness trampoline, also called a rebounder.  ‘Giddy up,’ I thought, ‘what a cool indoor workout during the winter!’  Ten minutes later I had one of those bad boys on its way to me from Amazon.  When I shared with a friend about my new purchase, she told me that if it arrived in a somewhat flat box, it would be difficult to assemble.   


I’m pretty bad at assembling things (you can refer to the prologue of my book for another example of this).  I didn’t even want to open the box without someone nearby to help put the thing together.  So I posted a plea on a community app for someone to help me with assembly.  I contacted the first person who was kind enough to reply that he could help me out, a handyman by trade.  When he arrived I was a bit surprised, as I had been expecting a stout, older guy with a tool belt around his ample waist.  Instead, the handyman that arrived was tall, dark and handsome.  And not old.  In fact, he looked to be around my age.   

We got the trampoline assembled in about half an hour, after which we sat cross-legged on my living room floor for another good hour just chatting.  I learned that he was divorced, single, and a solid Christian.  Eureka!  The next day he texted to ask me if I’d like to do lunch.   

“Yes,” I texted back.  Yes.  Yes, I would! 

We had a terrific little lunch date.  Over beef burritos and chicken enchiladas, we talked for two and a half hours.  It really couldn’t have gone much better.  “Talk to you soon,” he said as we walked to our cars after lunch.   

Okay.  There wasn’t another date set up, but it sounded like he would keep in touch.   

We texted a bit the next couple of days.  Still no hint of another date.  Then a long text message popped up on my phone.  From him.  Eeee! 

My big, shiny balloon of excitement instantly deflated when I read that he really liked me, even that he thought I was “attractive,” but he felt that he owed his female best friend a chance at a relationship.   

“Wow,” I replied, “I’m so glad I was the one you went out with to help you decide you wanted to go for it with her!” 



I was so angry I picked up my little canvas sign that says “Laugh” and tossed it hard against my bedroom wall.  I had never thrown anything at a wall before.  I’ve had it.   

That is just one example of the treacherous world of dating in your 40s.  I know that dating at every age can be very challenging, especially in the world we live in now.  But bro (I call everyone bro; you’ll get used to it), it feels like I’m in an extra tough spot.  Before this oh-so-enlightening experience, I dated a guy who lives three hours away.  The connection was undeniable, he checked all my boxes and my darn hopeless romantic brain said that he was probably the one – my forever person.  Finally.   

He wasn’t. 

And so it goes.  I have no choice but to continue the plight of finding my person.  Please, please don’t comment “When you stop looking, he will appear!”  Please.   

I am praying morning, noon and night for God to bring me my person.  He knows the deepest desires of my heart.  He knows exactly how He intricately knit me together.  Unfortunately, it will probably take some more rifling through racks and racks of sweaters, but it is what it is – and one of these days, just the right sweater will appear.   

And I’ll try it on. 

And it will feel like it was made for me.  

2 Comments on “Trampolines and Texts:  Dating as a Widow”

  1. Bless you, Wendy. I hear your struggles. If I didn’t have so much on my plate with my two kids and my job, I’m sure I’d feel the same. I tried dating, but never found the right “fit” either. Praying for you.

  2. I’m so sorry for your loss. I became a widow at 66. Husband of 33 years was not feeling well after moving what I now know was a 200 # broken TV to the road for junk pickup. He looked unwell, but refused my intervention and went to rest (he was a doctor – I assumed he knew what he was doing). Later, as we watched TV, he dropped dead! I could not revive him, nor could the EMTs. ER doctor said there was probably nothing I could have done. We were about to retire to our dream home in the woods. I still regret that I didn’t force him to go to ER earlier. It was his heart. He might’ve never died if he had gotten immediate medical care. Wendy, I feel your pain. Don’t give up on finding a partner. Have faith in God and yourself . 40’s is pretty young . Just keep writing, follow what makes your heart sing, and share the Wonderful You with others . I’ve learned that when we’re happy and fulfilled with our own lives, we attract others. And keep your mind open to possibilities that you may have not considered.
    Sending Love & Healing to You.

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