Don’t ask me exactly how I ended up in Costa Rica on a date (Bumble dating app) with a hot firefighter, drinking wine and watching the sunset and then skinny dipping and having sex on the beach on a blanket under the stars. I will get to navigating the dating app world another time. Surprisingly, the amazing sex I had is not the point of the story. Great sex is the outcome of the effort I made as a solo parent. A grieving, widowed, solo parent. Here we are... four years later!
Costa Rica.... I had a date lined up and watched the clock until I could dress up and go out. Details don't matter, just imagine whatever your type is and picture them standing there when you get to the hotel sign out front and find them sitting on a motorcycle. He was great and so refreshing after a year in a disappointing relationship that had ended, followed by three months of no sex. ...Except for a quick one-off rebound with a twenty three year old I met on a film set. More on that another time, too!
I could have sex on the beach because I was paying for childcare. I had my lovely babysitter back at the hotel with my son. Don’t forget, babysitting costs money. For a lot of us widows with kids – nothing is happening for free. What a guy doesn’t really realize when he goes out with me and maybe treats me to dinner, is that I haven’t had a free night out! It always costs me SOMETHING. I either feel guilt for someone doing me a favour or I’ve had to pay an hourly rate. I’m always clock watching on some level. If I was divorced, I would wait until I had nights off on the schedule. I won’t get into comparing Divorced to Widowed (Right now), but solo parenting is a different ballgame – as many of us know!
I know, it's rare, you give birth and your husband dies of cancer a few weeks later. I will always be able to romanticise my husband being alive and us putting our baby to bed and being in bed together, tired – but doing the parenting thing together. In my head, sex would be amazing and romantic and enriched by the fact we had a family and we were building our life together. I will never know otherwise. I’ve heard enough about the realities of co-parenting and how un-sexy it can be, but I don’t care. My husband and I live on in another dimension, still having great sex when we have kids. Taking turns getting up in the night, taking turns with mealtimes and bedtimes. There’s nothing anyone can say to take that away from me.
The hot firefighter and I kept seeing each other in the evenings when I had the babysitter. However, there was a night she wasn’t free and we wanted to see each other. We had an expiration date because we were both only visiting the same part of Costa Rica for a short time. I had a hotel room with two beds - and you know what? I had him stay over with me and my three year old son. He was amazing with my son and we waited until he was asleep in the other bed and then had incredible sex. Nothing wakes up my son once he’s asleep and I feel lucky about this because whenever I have the chance to have sex, and while he’s young enough, I choose to take the opportunities. Guess what else? I lean into the fantasy in my head that the guy I’m with completes my family unit. I pretend a lot of things. I had an orgasm just from imagining that I was married to the firefighter who was on top of me, and we were trying to get pregnant with a second child. These thoughts are somehow SO HOT to me. Lately, Widow’s Fire has intensified how sexy I actually find the idea of family life. This firefighter temporarily extinguished my Widow’s Fire. What a relief. But when I have sex, other people are ALWAYS involved. Either my son is in the room asleep, or I've hired a babysitter who sees me stumble in giggling and my hair all disheveled. Even worse, when living with my mother in law and later my own parents, I would have to walk in the door sometimes after I had JUST been pounded. Because of having a child, people have to know where I am. I never fully have my privacy. Someone is always staring me right in the face, asking me how the date went, how my night was... and while I keep to the basics in words, I'm seeing the images of the real event playing out in my mind's eye.
Being in your thirties and dating is hard. Being in your thirties and dating when you're widowed is hard. Being in your thirties and dating when you're widowed and have a kid is hard. Being in your thirties and dating when you're widowed and have a kid and living with parents is HARD. Being in your thirties and dating when you're widowed and have a kid and you get your own place but then you have to organise and pay for babysitters or drop your child off with your parents is HARD. It's always HARDER than if my husband was just alive and we could LIVE OUR OWN LIFE! QUIETLY! PEACEFULLY! PRIVATELY!!! So, my firefighter cost me money, energy, hope and determination that comes from my natural and deep love and appreciation of romance, connection, intimacy, and sex. I believe in making these aspects of life a priority even when there are so many disappointments along the way. Because... you never know.
I hope you all get the chance to indulge in your wildest fantasies. Never did I think I would literally play out this scenario of riding on the back of a motorcycle, drinking wine watching a sunset, skinny dipping and having passionate sex on a blanket while looking up at the stars near the warm waves on a beach in Costa Rica. I just had to type that out again.
WHATEVER you masturbate to, whoever you’re turned on by now, and whatever kind of sex you are able to enjoy, just go with it. Let it evolve. Let it be OK! I hope you’re discovering yourself sexually, freely. You don’t need to attach what you’re doing to the love you have for the one you lost. Not everything you do has to connect to an idea of right or wrong in relation to your dead spouse. You’re completely allowed to have fun and have sex in this lifetime.
I couldn’t be happier that I now have new memories and sexy material to refer to when I’m back to being home alone in the evenings, putting my son to bed on my own and getting into bed alone. We all need a little tummy flip of butterflies and some gooey, melty memories to feel proud of while we are here on this planet. Life is about lots of other things, too. But I will indulge in the heat the firefighter left behind. He did well - It's hard to tame a Widow's Fire.