This week a casting agent contacted SpouseBuzz for a new reality dating show on CBS. They are looking for military widows. Adam Sheldon explains, “I understand that the topic of military widows is a very somber and serious issue that I, as well as my company, take into serious consideration. We have the upmost respect and regard for these women, hence our interest in them.”
That did not reassure me. That freaked me out. For one, I don’t trust television to lead anyone to true love. For two, I don’t think of military widows as people who date. I deleted the request.
Then I woke up thinking of Joanne Steen and Regina Asaro who wrote the definitive Military Widow: A Survival Guide. Over lunch one day, Joanne told me that when you are a military widow everyone sends you mixed messages about dating. On one hand, people remind you that you are young and you will fall in love again. They want to fix your grief. They want it fixed right now. And what could fix you better than finding someone new? On the other hand, the same people will probably be offended if you go out on a date—as if you are supposed to live sacred to the memory of your beloved for the rest of your life. Even the guys you date get a little nutsy. In Military Widow, the authors note:
“Your first relationship will likely be tumultuous. It will include you, the new man in your life, and the memory of your late husband. It can get a bit crowded.”
And that is part of the problem. When you are a military widow, your new love relationship is crowded. It’s crowded by people who knew and loved your first husband. It’s crowded by memory. It’s crowded by a national audience curious about war widows. I don’t want to be part of that crowd telling military widows how to live. I want to take a big respectful step backwards. I want to repeat and repeat and repeat the good advice from Joanne and Regina: The only answers you can live with are the ones you arrive at yourself.
So if you are a military widow and reality TV is an option you want to try, I am not standing in your way. Here is the link. You go, girl.
Navy wife Jacey Eckhart is Editor of SpouseBuzz and author of I Married a Spartan?? The Care and Feeding of Your Military Marriage available on iTunes, Amazon, and on www.jaceyeckhart.com.