Just Frances

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Wet toes

This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 11th, 2014 by Frances Ryan.
Tags: widowhood, silly, fear, faith, ego, dating, crazy, confession

I’ve never been a swimmer, but I’ve always loved the water. I tend to dip my toes in slowly to check the temperature then inch-by-inch I will wade further into the lake. I don’t jump in; I never dive in. No, that’s just not my style. (Partly because I don’t know how to swim; mostly because I am afraid.)

The same can be said about me and dating—if you think of meeting new people as dipping toes in to check the temperature and a relationship as full submersion. Unlike swimming, I actually know how to date. But much like swimming, I am afraid. I am very, very afraid.

I’m afraid of dating for many reasons. I’m afraid because I’ve only had two serious relationships in my life: One with an emotionally and mentally abusive bully and one with the first man I fully lovedwhich ended in heartache and grief.

I’m afraid because I don’t know if my heart and soul can handle another bully—or another “until death do us part” relationship that leaves me behind to grieve again.

I’m afraid of rejection. I’m afraid of falling for the wrong person. I’m afraid of ultimatums. I’m afraid of being hurt.

But I’m also afraid of being lonely and of spending the rest of my life without someone next to me. I’m afraid of not having someone to laugh with and plan a future with and cry with and even fight with.

So, I have to get my toes wet because I can’t submerge myself in the waters of love if I don’t take that first little step into the pool. (Though I suppose, in all honesty, I am a little afraid of falling in love again; of completely submersing my heart and soul in the vulnerability of love.)

I made the decision a while ago that I would finally make an actual effort on the dating front, but I wasn’t really sure how I would do that—or if I would share my stories about it here.

The “how” part is still in planning stages, but I’ve been in touch with a dear friend to help get me started, and I am going to get in touch with a few other people I know to let them know that I think I am ready to be introduced to new people.

As for if I’ll share stories about my adventures here or not, I have decided that I will share at least some stories. My decision to do that is based on the fact that my analytics software shows that “widows and dating” (or variations thereof) is in the top 5 search terms that people use to find Just Frances. So it seems to me that I might be able to help others by sharing my experiences.

What I won't do is share every single detail about every single date. And I will never name names here*—until or unless someone becomes my one-and-only and is happy to be named publicly. (I also won’t share this website with anyone until I’ve got to know them a bit. But if they find it on their own, I’ll just have to hope it doesn’t scare them off!)

And with that, I have to go dangle my toes near the water a bit. (And by that I mean I have to let a couple of people know I’m ready to date ...)

Wish me luck!

* I can't promise I won't name names or go into a bit of detail about good or bad dates to a trusted friend or two. But I promise I will try my best to keep people's identities safe and secure. 


oh, man! why do you have to decide to date when i live too far from you? you were always my dream girl and now that we’re both on the market we’re too far from each other for a successful shopping trip!

seriously, you know i love you and i always want what’s best for you. if you find a dude good enough to marry, i hope to be at the wedding. if you find a dude that hurts you, i’ll be on the next plane to teach him a lesson.

love always,
your m&ms; candy man

by mm at 11:14am (GMT) on March 12th, 2014

Oh, Candy Man. You know I could never date someone with an alliterative name and a nickname; we’d be doomed from the start ... But I will always love you :)

When/if I find a man worthy of me (or, rather, crazy enough to marry me!), I would be more than honoured to have you at my wedding. And should I find one who treats me badly, I’ll be sure to let you know.

Will reply to your email this evening. Love you! x

by Just Frances at 11:30am (GMT) on March 12th, 2014

I’m glad to hear that you are taking this step. I actually told my husband the other night, please don’t ever leave me. I can’t do the dating scene again. I was bad at it the first time. He just laughed at me.

Dating is challenging but you are strong, beautiful and talented. You have a lot to offer someone else and here is a challenge to men - rise to meet her. She’s worth the effort. I know your husband would want you to find someone who makes you happy.

Trust your gut when dating. Don’t let anyone bully you around. I’ll be happy to b-slap the guy who tries to do that to you. I too had to learn the hard way about men and I can tell you there are good ones out there . you will find one.

When I blog I don’t use real names (learned that trick from a friend who is a blogger). Can’t wait to hear about you adventures.

by Ashley at 11:38am (GMT) on March 12th, 2014

Thanks, Ashley! I know exactly what you mean about not wanting to re-enter the dating world. I honestly thought that it was something I’d never have to worry about again when I got married. But you’re right - Paul would want me to find someone new to make me happy. (He’s probably a bit miffed that I’ve not already sorted that out!)

I’ll be sure to let everyone know how I’m getting on - and I hope there’ll be no need to take people up on their offers to slap (or otherwise teach lessons to) “bad guys” on my behalf. But it does make me feel special knowing there are so many people willing to do so if needed!

by Just Frances at 12:09pm (GMT) on March 12th, 2014

As the saying goes:
‘Tis better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all.’

Yes, it is risky, but the rewards are immeasurable. I wish you well…

by Ant Elizabeth at 9:27pm (GMT) on March 16th, 2014

Thank you. I need all the luck (and courage!) I can get. Especially the courage!

by Just Frances at 9:09am (GMT) on March 17th, 2014

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