By Katie Couric
"Love is lovelier the second time around," Frank Sinatra once sang idealistically. (Never mind that second marriages have a higher divorce rate than first marriages-that's another column for another month.) My search for a second time around was born of tragedy. My husband, Jay, died in 1998 and I was a widow with two small children, trying to figure out the rest of our lives. Being without a partner was tough. I'm happiest in a relationship, and I don't love being alone. After Jay died, I'd fill his side of the bed with books and magazines and the sweater I wore that day so I would stay on my side. I not only missed him as my husband, but I missed our partnership and the things that came with being a nuclear family: watching him give Carrie a bottle at church as the sunlight streamed through the stained glass window, seeing him teach Ellie to ride her two-wheeler, sitting shotgun on a car trip with the girls in the back seat. Photo courtesy of Andrew Eccles.
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Finally, two years later, at 42, I thought, Well, you're not getting any younger! You need to have a social life. I told myself that I didn't have to see every person as a potential partner and that I'd learn something from everyone I met. But how do you actually go about meeting those people? The key for me is to be open and direct with my friends (and their friends), asking them if they know anyone who might be fun and has values similar to mine. It's like putting out an APB to the world. Yes, it's a little embarrassing, and often it seems as if I'm asking everyone, including the hot dog vendor near my office, but it allows me to meet so many new and interesting people.
That being said, I sometimes feel like I'm on a real-life Mystery Date, the popular game I'd played as a little girl. On one blind date, I was greeted by a man in a restaurant and said, "Hi! You must be Arnie, the anesthesiologist." "No," he said, "I'm David, the investment banker. Arnie couldn't make it and sent me instead." Needless to say, I didn't end up with either of them.
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But you have to keep trying. It's really a numbers game. If you get out there enough-even force yourself at times-chances are you will meet someone great. I do hope to be married again someday. I'd love to experience the deep stability that comes with a solid partnership. Until then, if I meet a man but don't feel it will work out between us, I think about my other single friends. Right now, I'm trying to set up a friend of mine with a great guy who just wasn't for me. And another friend with a friend of the man I'm seeing. Hey, it's paying it forward in a whole new way!
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So single women of the world, unite! Madeleine Albright once said, "There's a special place in hell for women who don't help other women." I think that applies to the dating world as much as other parts of our lives. Get out there...and even if you're not meeting your Mr. Right, you could be finding your best friend's!
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