We’ve been having some interesting conversations with my FIL lately. He’s been a widower for over four months and has been acting somewhat different than his usual way. He went away to Europe a few weeks after his wife’s passing. He visited is sister in Hungary. Before he left we told him not to bring back any “baggage” (meaning a new wife). When he came back, we were surprised by something he did while visiting his hometown village. He decided to find his “first love”, the girl he was seeing when he fled Hungary. He left Hungary during the revolution, and made his way to Canada. He was 19 at the times, and his girlfriend was 15. Somehow, through phone calls, he did manage to find her back, fifty years later. She had never left their village, had gotten married, had children and is even a grandmother. He did arrange to meet with her. They had coffee. When he told us about it, I was touched by how romantic it was, and yet I felt a little concerned. What motivated him to do such a thing? When asked, he simply answered that he wanted to know what she had become. I did manage to get out of him, that he still had some feelings for her, and was happy to see that she had a good life.
Since he’s been back, he’s been often saying that he needs to meet someone. He doesn’t like being alone. A few weeks ago, he came over for dinner and blurted out that he was meeting a lady for lunch the next day, on a date. We teased him a little about it, and at some point, I told him (me, not his son!) about protection, and how he should wear clean underwear, etc. It was awkward to say the least. My FIL is the sweetest man you want to meet, but at the same time, he’s not the sharpest tool in the shed. He had been married for over 45 years, so hasn’t been on many dates.
Last night, he came over for dinner. He was a bit disappointed that it didn’t work out with the lady he had met. They went on a few dates when she told him that she wasn’t ready to get involved with someone. At times, the things he says are heartbreaking. He sounds so desperate. And yet he is no naïve. He asked us, how should he approach a woman, how does he know if he’s making a good impression or not? How does he know if it will click with this person? How does he see her true character? Hubby and I spent the evening talking with him, coaching him so that he could go out and find himself a date.
It is a strange feeling to tell a 71 years old man, that women enjoy a clean man, with good looking teeth, who’s not too judgemental and you can make decision. I’ve often helped friends, or listened to friends who were single and looking about potential places to go to meet new people, but a 71 years old man? That was a first for me! We both tried. We tried to boost his ego a little, we reassured him as much as possible, and reminded him that there was no time limit. He had to take things as they come. Not to rush in anything, for the wrong reasons.
His wife was so controlling that she basically took away all his self-confidence. He has lost his bearings. She always told him how to behave, what not to say, etc. Without her he feels lost, and it’s only understandable. He doesn’t want to “date” he wants a companion, a “life partner” as he says. At times it’s so cute to hear him but you can’t help to feel compassion for him. I just hope he won’t settle or be taken for a ride…