Nearly three years after losing her husband, the style editor is putting herself out there again — and it's "so exciting"
Bobbie Thomas is feeling feeling "mixed emotions" as she opens herself up to love again.
Almost three years after her husband Michael Marion died after a bacterial infection led to organ failure in December 2020, the Today show style editor is back in the dating game. On Tuesday, she gave Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager an update on how her dating life is going as she revealed that she had gone through her first breakup as a widow.
“I had met someone who was also a widower with a child and it was fun,” Thomas, 48, told the co-hosts. “I mean, it was so exciting. To get dressed up, to go out.”
She and her partner “made plans in July to spend a week together with the kids,” which was both “exciting and nerve-racking,” she said, but it ended up being too much.
“It was great to finally be together — but as the week wore on, so did the stress of managing two kids and our own respective responsibilities. Even though we were in the same place, it was still difficult to find one-on-one time,” she wrote in a blog post Tuesday, shared as part of “Bobbie’s Dating Diary.”
After a busy summer and difficulty juggling each other’s commitments while finding time to spend together, Thomas took a step back “to break things off,” she told Kotb, 59, and Bush Hager, 41.
“At first it was really – it hurt. And I was shocked. Because it’s not like, ‘Oh my God, I’m so in love.’ I think it hurts because as an adult when you date, you kind of push aside the B.S. and you’re more mature, you put yourself out there. And so you don’t expect it to sort of come back around, because you’re really hoping for something to unfold.”
She wrote of the split, “The 2-hour drive home after making the decision to step back from one another was a deeply charged experience,” adding that “grief took over.”
She told the Today show hosts that, in a confusing turn of events, she found herself craving the company of the one person she couldn’t see.
“Of course, the first thing I missed, it was so surreal – I just wanted my husband to comfort me,” she said.
Upon reflection, Thomas wrote of the brief relationship, “I cherish the sparks he created that brought happiness and hope into my life — something I’d sorely missed. Whether our waves of grief aren’t in sync or something else is meant to be, I’m thankful for the moments we shared.”
She also shared her surprise and excitement at how she handled the new romance.
“This connection helped me realize that I can feel ... and that I’m ready to be open,” she wrote in the blog post, and told Kotb and Guthrie that she’s hopeful the fellow widow will remain part of her life.
“He’s like a unicorn that I found, he has a child the same age, and he’s gone through the same thing and so I really hope that we can lean on each other as friends.”
In the months following her husband’s sudden death — which was preceded by an ischemic stroke in 2019 that impacted his ability to walk — Thomas took time off from Today. She returned to the program in March 2022, which she told PEOPLE was a “really scary” undertaking — but a necessary one.
"To be honest, there's a real anxiety and sadness about going on the show because, in a lot of ways, it's like having to really accept that life is officially moved on," she said at the time. "He's not coming back and in a weird way, when somebody takes that time to step back, I could be in that bubble and protect it."
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Despite her anxiety, she was eager to channel her feelings of loss into new projects as she returned to Today.
"I do feel blessed for understanding this new sort of layer in my life, this new experience," she said, adding, "For me, what pushes me is knowing that I'm not alone. And I think the outpouring of love that I was really lucky to have and grateful for because of this platform has just pushed me to find purpose for my pain.”
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