The heart of our family had been ripped away from us, and as much as counselling helped me come to terms with the reality, the gaping hole remained.After a while, though, I realised that eventually I would have to try to fill the gaping hole and I began to think about another aspect of my situation – being single again after 14 years of marriage. One day, my daughter asked me if I was going to get a girlfriend. After a pause, she asked with a hint of excitement: "Will we get a baby brother or sister?The loss of the family unit, sense of abandonment, complications with how the kids deal with the situation – there was plenty of common ground.I met several single mothers, some of whom became friends, others brief, unsuccessful relationships, and I began to feel a bit like Hugh Grant in the film About a Boy – only I hadn't invented my children.And this is exactly what I didn't want, and indeed an issue my wife raised towards the end of her life."I want you to find someone else, but only if they are good for the children," she told me.
After all, it's a very crowded dating market out there – and grief is a long way from romance.
The paying sites such as Match, Zoosk and Soulmates seemed far better in terms of the quality of conversation and there was a greater level of trust, gained by the security of knowing everyone had entered credit card details.
However, the difficulties of online dating in my situation were apparent very quickly: marital status is very prominent on the sites.
Initially, I put "prefer not to say" and wondered why I got very little response.
Then a friend pointed out that it came across as cagey and a cover for cheating spouses, of which apparently there are many online.