Some of you will recall how in February 2016 I lost my partner John thanks to a pulmonary embolism? John and I had been together for 25+ years. Since then, I've been focussing on getting through life one day at a time and slowly - ever so slowly - getting to grips with John's loss.
Last August - with the encouragement and help of a couple of friends of mine - I felt that the time was right to see if I could meet someone else. So, I joined an Online dating forum! I took loads of safety precautions re my profile name, my profile and setting up a non-identifying email etc. And I got to work. I'd taken out 6 months' membership of this site and last October I connected with K. We initially were talking via the site's messaging service (as that's monitored) and then I switched to my non-identifying email.
After a while, we decided to meet up for a coffee in a local garden centre. Again, I had security measures in place - one of my friends knew where I was, with whom and I texted her to let her know I was safe.
K and I have been getting to know one another. He knows how I lost John and eerily enough K had known John through his work.
Things are progressing slowly but surely. K knows I need to take this slowly and respects that. He's aware that John's 2nd anniversary is coming up next month.
K has joint issues himself (spinal fusion), although is more mobile than me most days, so is understanding regarding my joints and mobility challenges.
I've told my family and friends in the last week. It came as a surprise to most of them (especially the online bit!) but the reaction has been positive from everyone, which is lovely. So it's now time that you, my Arthritis Care Forum family, know as well.
Introductions to family on both sides are about to begin which is rather daunting for us both. Poor K is aware he's likely to be interrogated by my family and friends, but he understands why they'll want to have a chat with him. We've joked we both need to get our interview garb out!
There'll never be another John and I'll never, ever forget him, but I felt the time was right for me to try and move on with my life. And I know it's what John would have wanted for me.
I still have my bad days - probably will for a while yet - but the future is looking brighter for me, I'm pleased to say.
Turn a negative into a positive!