Can a Widow Recognize a Casanova?

Luckily this true story has a happy ending, but what had happened until that point was somewhat unsettling.

I got married when I was 20 and lost my husband to cancer when I was 52. Shortly before he died my husband  told me that he hoped that afterwards I could find love again. So several months after his death, I decided that I was ready to go on with my life and started on-line dating. Although Israel is a small country and in theory the six degrees of separation could work perfectly, on-line dating felt awkward and risky. Also the last time when I was out on a date I was 19 and then I dated boys. Now, to my great surprise, the people whom I met were, like me, older. But soon afterwards I met, in real life, a colleague and we stated dating. I felt relieved not to go on blind dates anymore, and he looked like a suitable partner. We came from a similar background, and the fact that we were colleagues made me feel safe.

Here I must emphasize that in spite of my advanced age, I do not have much life experience. Thus I must have missed all the cues that would have been clear to any other woman. It transpired that my respectable colleague, PhD and all, was seeing, at the same time, several other women. That came as a complete surprise, coming from a happy and monogamous marriage, nothing prepared me for such eventuality.

Since all my life I have turned to books for guidance, I did the same here and found the answer in the book The Casanova Complex: Compulsive Lovers and Their Women by Peter Trachtenberg. The author, a recovering Casanova by his own account wrote this important book when he was only in his late 30s. His book was an eye-opener; I read it over and over (with a highlighter in hand) until the text was pink and I was ready to let go of my own Casanova. But I still wasn’t sure what to do next, should I share the important knowledge that I got from the book with my colleague in the hope that he would see the light and be saved?

I decided to ask Peter Trachtenberg for advice; I found his email address in Red Room. In order to write to him I had to join Red Room, which I did. I remember writing to him that I didn’t know much about men, but I did know about books, and that was the reason why I turned to his.

Trachtenberg wrote me back a kind reply, his answer was clear: he objected to the idea of sharing his book with that Casanova and told me, in no uncertain terms, to disengage; I followed his advice.

About the Author
I have a PhD in English literature from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and I usually write about issues concerning women, literature, culture and society. I lived in the US for 15 years (between 1979-1994). I am widow and in March 2016 started a support/growth Facebook group for widows: "Widows Move On." In October 2017 I started a Facebook group for Older and Experienced Feminists. I am also an active member of Women Wage Peace and believe that women can succeed where men have failed.
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