For YEARS I wondered if I married Tom primarily because he was there when I was finishing college and ready to move on to "the next step". He was a senior when we met, I was a junior. He graduated and went back to his home state to start law school. He was 5 hours away, and we saw each other 3 weekends out of 4 each month my senior year. Graduation was coming up for me and at that point, it was, fish or cut bait. He proposed, and I still wonder if I accepted because the timing was right. I loved his family, their warmth, support and stability; I loved his extended family, I loved that he had ambitions and a plan, I loved that he had principles and a strong sense of right and wrong; I loved that he was loyal to friends, intelligent and thoughtful. I loved it that he accepted me as I was and didn't want to change me. I hated that I didn't have that romantic head over heels feeling and worried that I was doing him a grave disservice.
It was some comfrot when a friend confided to me recently that she knew that she didn't love her husband when they married, but that she chose to marry him because he was a good man, would be a good father and provider, and she trusted that she would grow to love him. And I thought I was the only one. Sounds like Fiddler on the Roof.
I guess it's a choice between Darwin and Danielle Steele. I've lived Darwin, but always thought that everyone else lived Danielle Steele. (The grass is always greener...) But - I was truly happy with him later on - when I knew that I loved him, knew that I was lucky to have married him, and when I knew I would do anything for him. The first years were okay, but the last 20 or so were great.
Search for the slow burning fire that'll keep coals hot all night, or wait for the flaring fire that burns brightly only as long as you keep feeding it? Thinking through your problem has helped me deal with my own.
Your therapist is right - physical attraction is a hormonal thing - BUT your head has to get out of the way.
(On the other hand, I can think of a LOT of cases where a person made some serious mistakes because hormones got in the way of common sense. Do you really want to fall for the gold digger and become a caricature?)
I understand the dilemma - fought with it for a long time. I am turning 60 this year and am probably going to live another 30 years. OMG! Thirty years? Alone? At times, I'd think I can do alone, in fact sometimes I like alone. But 30 years? Tom's family had an Aunt Mary in the last generation whose husband had passed long before I married into the family. She lived with her one daughter and SIL, and her favorite pastime was bowling tournamets which she entered into all around the country, driving herself. So I'm sitting here, husband deceased, my daughter and SIL live with me, a lot of years ahead of me. I thought, if I take up bowling, I can be the next generation's eccentric Aunt Mary. Or getting about 10 more cats and a few more dogs would accomplish the same thing.
And I thought of my MIL, widowed at 58, she turns 88 this November. She had a steady beau for probably 20 years, but she refused to take it past dinner, dancing and the movies. Thinking about them makes me a bit sad. They always held a part of themselves back. I don't think she was in love with him; she's got such a gentle soul that I wouldn't be surprised to find that she kept going out with him because she didn't want to hurt his feelings. That sounds naive I know, but if you knew her you would see it. (I know that she refused his marriage proposal, giving financial complications as the reason.) She didn't grieve when he died, just was sad that another of her contemporaries was gone. She showed more grief when her sister-in-law passed away a couple of weeks later.
I am coming up on 4 years soon, and its really only in this last year that I've felt okay to take this step. Don't know what it is, maybe just the passage of time and the WE that was has fully become the ME that is. Whatever it is, I now have no guilt or regrets about moving ahead with my life. Grief? Yes, still, every now and then. But I have discovered that I am happy, just really happy with my life. And I know that I will not love any man the way I loved Tom - I can't. They're not Tom, and I'm not the girl I was when I got married way back when. I have been tested by fire and I am different. But saying that it's different doesn't mean it's not worthwhile. I had two children, and when I was pregnant for the second, I imagined that they'd be the same as my first, just younger. Wrong!!! So different that I always said that if the second child had really been my first, she'd have been my last! Into everything, had ADD, was very bright, was too young for kindergarten, too smart to hold her back. Oy! But I love her and love the person she's become. Am I sorry she's not like her older brother? No. Do I love her any less than him? No. But I do love them differently.
My online dating profile made it clear that I didn't know whether I wanted a dating relationship or marriage. I said that it would depend on the man. I find that as I have opened myself up to dating, I have opened my mind as to whether or not I would dare to have sex again (yes that is really scary) and whether I would want to marry again. I know that marriage is work, but dating is too. I decided that I really want full commitment and acceptance, and the comfort of an "old fit". Marriage seems to fit me better than dating.
Of course the CatholicMatch site doesn't directly ask if you're looking for dating or marriage, but you can cover that in your "About Me" section. The comments of the guy I've started dating wasn't specific about that. We're getting along well, and he seems very open to a long term relationship, but keeping in mind Jerry's experience, I may have to introduce the conversation sooner rather than later as to what he's comfortable with. I know I don't want to be alone the rest of my life. I also know that I don't deal well with casual sex or live-in relationships. Old fashioned I guess, but it works for me.
I'd always said that if something happpened to Tom, I would never remarry, just find a permanent boyfriend. It's early days yet, but if this goes on like it has, I may have to eat my words. This wouldn't have been right 2 years ago, maybe not even a year ago. I only know that it's okay now. You have to do what's right for you, remembering that what's right for you may change as you change. If you were happy in your relationship with your husband, keep an open mind about what the future might bring. A different man would definitely be a different relationship, different is not bad, different is just different.
hi Mary...just wanted to say, I like your style...your words show true wisdom from life experience. After my first husband died when I was 40 I never questioned that I would find someone else to share the rest of my life with (not replace my husband, he always has a special place in my heart). 6 years later I met and married my new love, 6 years my junior. He took his own life in March this year and even after 5 months I find myself believing that I will find someone else to share the rest of my life (yet again he will always hold a special place in my heart). I'm finding that the heart truly does multiply love - each one different and each one fully devoted to. Whether I marry again is a whole other question for me as my children all feel I should just get a 'friend' and not get married, but I'm open to all the future holds for me. If that means I will be alone then so be it...I will throw myself into my family, immediate and extended...not the same but I am not so scared of being without a permanent partner (definitely a step forward for me).
Thank you for your post...keep em coming...Chez
It will be one year next month that I lost my husband. When I first came on here and to this exact blog..I said I would never ever date again I dont see it down the road either. Well, I went back home to visit mom and dad..I started talking to someone ..we emailed..and Bam! out of nowhere I started having feelings again. The love I have for my husband will always remain with me in my heart. Nothing can change that or no one! But, Its time to move forward with life and enjoy what I have left of it. I know that if my husband would of picked a man for me it would of been the one I want to be with now. We live in different states right now and I am planning on buying a home back in Pittsburgh and I am going to rent this one in GA. I am taking my husbands ashes from one national cemetery to the one in Pittsburgh so my son and I can still visit his grave. My husband and I grew up in Pittsburgh and that is the place he needs to be.
It feels good to have feelings again.. that I thought were lost.
I know its only been a year for my husbands passing and I didnt think others in family would side with me about finding someone..but seems they are happy for me which makes it a lot easier for me!
I put my profile on an online dating site on Sunday and have had a few contacts. I'm basically looking for company and especially for someone to play music with.
Have heard from someone who plays in a casual band in the area so that could be an option. My husband was a drummer and we had a casual band going interstate for several years.
It is less than five months since his death. That may shock some people but I need company and John himself was a widower. He knew what I was going through as a carer and what I would face afterwards. I know he would not want me to be all alone.
My closest friend here has just left the area and another aquaintance moves before Christmas. We lived interstate for four years so I don't have many connections in the neighbourhood.
It would be good to have some male company over coffee or a drink or to see live bands.
I was surprised on joining the site to have so many requests from people overseas and from younger men but I just click the no thanks button. I have not phoned any men yet. Will probably contact the band guy first.
I always said I would never date. If I couldn't have my husband I didn't need or want anyone else. But I was wrong even though I didn't decide to start dating it just happened. I started talking to an old friend over the computer that found me on FB. He just moved back to Fl. from Hi. I live in Wi. but we became very close very fast. Then I went to see him and we got along so great together. Now he has moved to Wi. to be close to me and I'm not as sure about it now. I've started having dreams about my husband more and more, I started comparing him to my husband. I Know no one will ever measure up to him. I also feel guilty about about being with him, and on the other hand I feel guilty about him being here for me and I'm not as close to him as I was from long distance. Now just how crazy is all of that? I still have no idea what to do about any of it. Gary wants to Marry me and I keep turning him down, if I don't get it together I'm not sure how things will turn out. What to do?