Adventures in dating in your 50s during a pandemic

After I broke up with my fiancé three years ago after an almost seven-year relationship, I licked my wounds for a year or two, with no desire to date. I converted what had been his man-cave into my art studio and began to paint. At first, producing art was my Sunday activity because Sundays alone are hard. Soon, it morphed into my favorite Friday night and Saturday night activity as well.

Although I was alone, I told myself I was OK. I was still grieving the loss of my relationship and not in the right frame of mind for a…

Will ‘relationship rehab’ help me find true love?

Among the million other things I have on my plate at the moment, I am attempting to follow a seven-week course called “Calling in ‘The One’.”

I mention this sheepishly since the cynical part of me thinks the course sounds kind of hokey. Plus, the website is all pink and rosy with lots of swirly script-type fonts, which as a web designer, annoys the heck out of me. But I digress…

The course describes itself as “The step-by-step signature process to FINALLY attract your soulmate.”

Well OK then. I read on…

You feel exhausted, confused, powerless.

Maybe even a little…

Haha! So true, although my experience of writing my memoir was that it WAS my therapist. I had a strange post-partum depression after it was published!

How to find the deeper meaning in your story

A few years ago, I attended a memoir writing workshop with Anne Lamott — a dream come true. My friend and memoir teacher, Theo Nestor, the author of a wonderful book about Memoir Writing, Writing is My Drink, was also speaking, along with a few other notable writers, imparting their own nuggets of wisdom on the subject of memoir writing.

Here are a few of the memoir writing tips I came away with:

Ask the questions

When formulating the basis of a memoir—ie. determining the theme — it really comes down to a couple of pointed questions you need to ask yourself.


A single mom contemplates combining lives with her boyfriend

Sitting in a warm October sun at a picnic table at an outdoor bar in Portland, my words just sort of popped out.

“You could always just move into my house,” I said.

I’m pretty sure I blushed when I said it. He’d been talking about his house and the possibility of selling it and moving on, or renting it. My boyfriend and I had been dating for four years. …

It’s not always easy dating a widowed person, but the rewards can be great.

As my boyfriend of almost 7 years and I were breaking up, he socked me with the gut punch: “You could never fully love me because you’re still in love with your husband.”

He’s dead, I thought. All this time, you were jealous of a dead guy?

When I thought back on it, I had learned not to talk about my dead husband in the presence of my boyfriend, which made me sad, because often I was trying to feed my kids memories about their dead father. But I got it. …

When the truth of a relationship lurks just beneath the surface

We heard footsteps on the roof and the sound of the leaf blower. Huge chunks of debris flew past the window. I’d forgotten the gutters probably needed clearing out, my usual Thanksgiving chore, until I realized my boyfriend, without a word, was now completing the task.

“He’s amazing that he does that,” my friend, Deirdre said.

We were sitting side by side on the couch covered in blankets, surrounded by four snoring dogs as she wrote and I read. My boyfriend, Jim had already chopped wood and lit the fire for us to stay warm in our post-turkey haze.


Things I wish I’d known before swimming in the dating pool after being widowed.

I stood before a group of 30-40 widows and widowers in a brightly lit Toronto hotel conference room, my PowerPoint presentation on a large screen behind me — not exactly the atmosphere you might choose to talk about post-widowhood dating.

This was my first-ever dating workshop, and I was filling in for the woman who normally taught the dating workshops at Camp Widow. I wasn’t sure how it would be possible to encapsulate my own 10 or so years of dating after my husband’s death, but several weeks of thinking about it helped me narrow my focus. …

Coming to terms with mid-life in a ballet class with a bunch of pre-teen girls.

I sat on a wooden bench waiting as several young ballerinas sat nearby, yanking off their boots and pulling the familiar pink slippers out of their bags.

I noticed their slippers had two crisscrossed elastics instead of the single one I remembered carefully stitching on by hand when I was 10.

Inwardly, I groaned every time another 12-year-old girl took her place beside me and after putting on her slippers, bent her head over her phone. What am I doing here?

The woman from the studio told me the class was of mixed ages.

“Everything from 10-year-olds to 70-year-olds,” she’d…

How learning to ride a motorcycle with my 16-year-old son became a teaching moment in raising a feminist son.

I am ambivalent when my boyfriend suggests we join my son in taking a motorcycle safety course. Maybe ambivalent isn’t the right word. Terrified might come closer.

Bring on the bad-assery!

“What other way are you going to be able to spend a weekend with your sixteen-year-old son?” he argues.

It’s a sound argument. I try to set my terror aside. This will most certainly up my standing of mom bad-assery, if not with my 16-year-old, then certainly with my boyfriend.

Wait, scratch that.

With myself!

Driving a motorcycle is not on my bucket list, but now that the opportunity is presenting itself, I’m…

Abigail Carter

Writing about widowhood, life, grief, art, writing and publishing. #singlemom #author #memoirist #writer #widow #9/11widow #artist

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