Is it Wrong to Give Postmortem Dating Advice to Your Wife?
Knowing you are going to die presents an interesting question regarding your spouse: Do you provide postmortem dating guidance?
A terminal illness is different from the usual situations where a couple dissolves.
Most common of course is divorce. While you still may have feelings for each other, let’s face it, you’ve thrown that fish back in the lake and she’s fair game for the next guy,
Second is passing away at an advanced age. If I died at 90 and left Carol at 88, I’m not too concerned if she finds a nice old guy to watch Jeopardy with.
Third is that sudden heart attack, car crash or, on the cooler side, Grizzly attack. Anyway, no time to think about whether that guy in her yoga class is poised to make his move.
But when you’ve been given 8-12 months, you have some time to ponder this.
Full disclosure: Carol has said she has no desire to re-marry. I know that she is sincere about that and it’s touching but I have encouraged her to keep the possibility open in the future. She is beautiful, funny and talented. Carol's only 58 and she looks and acts 15 years younger…you should see her dance! Thirty years is a long time to fly solo.
So if I'm giving her the green light to at least date - after an appropriate period mourning what a great guy she lost - I feel like I have the right to offer a bit of advice.
Hmmm…where to start? Most importantly, our kids are grown and awesome young adults so I need not weigh the substitute father factor too heavily.
Easiest are the obvious “No”s:
- Is younger than our oldest son or older than your father
- Is reluctant to discuss what he does/did for a living
- Refers to himself in the third person
- Looks like he spends more time on his hair than you spend on yours
- Does not hold the door open for you
The next place my mind goes is wondering whether someone is waiting in the wings. Maybe that acquaintance who inquires just a bit too often for my health update? Or could it be someone I’d never expect…perhaps a man who appears happily married but is living a life of quiet desperation and will declare his love for my wife as soon as she comes on the market?
One thing is for certain, this will be a mystery when I pass. I can’t see Carol saying “I’ve reconsidered the dating thing, what do you think about this guy?” Nor do I see any of my friends looking for my deathbed “Go for it!” blessing as they call dibs on my wife.
As long as she picks someone who is good to her, yet is not universally acclaimed as a significant upgrade, I will rest easy.