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How old were you when your spouse died? How does your age affect your self-concept now that you're on your own?

I'm interested in hearing from widows and widowers of all ages to know what it's like to be a certain age when you have your loss. We have widows and widowers of all ages here on Widowed Village and we all must have some different viewpoints depending on our age.


So I was 44 when my husband died in '06. I felt surrounded by intact families with moms and dads..and I was out of place and out of sync with my friends who were no longer single but also had never experienced being widowed. I felt so different from everyone else. I felt like a lonely loser at times. I hated going to my children's school events alone or to social activities.


I also felt too young to want to be without a partner, so I wanted to date and to be part of a couple again. But I felt like being in my mid-40s was a terrible age to be single because there would be no one to date who wasn't either divorced after only being married briefly or a little old to still be single. Also, it was hard to talk to my friends about dating. They were mostly in mid-life marriages and didn't really want to hear about my that felt a little lonely too. No one to compare notes with. I felt like I wished I didn't have to date again, yet I think it made some of my friends a little jealous to think of me getting to do that again. Again, I felt very out of sync with my peers.


I also felt like it was terrible to lose my husband after we had done the hard work of raising young children and then they were just at an age where travelling and doing stuff with them would be so much easier now that they weren't really little anymore.


I felt like it was unlikely I would ever find someone else again.





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Hello Beans...I feel like I'll probably be the traveler too eventually...

I...fear I've got quite used to being alone...or so I tell myself...did that happen with you as well?

Timelord: Yes. It took me years to be able to be comfortable being alone, though really still not happy with it. It is not just being alone, it is how couples, especially family, can be uncomfortable around me. They may not say anything, but the differences in our lives say it all. I am still me, but without Norm. I think they liked being with me more when I was married. Even my son, who was 15 when his Dad died, expects me happily to join in all the things going on around the holidays. Norm loved Christmas more than anyone, but I can’t without him. I can’t fake it anymore, either. On Friday, I leave here to go to Cleveland to my aunt and uncles’ home. They are almost 90 and need help relocating to a care home. I am looking forward to going because they are the family who knew me before Norm, and they still treat me like they they always have. I cannot wait to get out of here. My daughter in law is a psychologist, and she cannot seem to understand how fragile life long have youbeen alone?  Beans

Hi Timelord. I am only 2-1/2 months late responding. I am sorry. I will send a message. beans

I was 60 when my hubby passed.  That was 18 mos ago.  I feel like I will probably be alone. I can't picture myself falling in love again.  The stress of being a caretaker for 10 mos and watching him slowly die definitely took its toll on me.  I feel old and tired.  I got married at 16, and have never lived alone.  It's a little frightening.  My energy level is 0, my self esteem is 0.  I have thought about it, I hate being alone, but the time and effort it takes to get to know someone....I just don't know.  Seems to take all my energy just to go thru the daily motions.  And then theres the trust thing.  There are a lot of weird people out there.

A Year of Grieving Publicly

i have been following this lady for a few months.  Someone’s written and article about her and her story.  I felt it was appropriate here.

Thanks for sharing that link, Lirvie. I've started following Anjali now, too.

 I have kept a diary sort of, mostly private. Its gets to be a lot of ups and downs. I shouldn't say ups because those moments are only the times I am not crying or feeling depressed. After 13 months I am maybe worse off than I was after 3 months. Lots of anger and still disbelief. I tried dating. One lady I really liked but she had the nerve to ask if I was over my wife just before she went back to an abusive drunk boyfriend. Another sort of threw herself at me and it bothered me to think she has likely done that with lots of guys. So I have not even bothered to date or socialize the last 6 months. I am not ready or even close to it.

Really not in the mood and no desire to deal with people like that. I stay home and work on my hobbies and keep to myself.

Its not simple as all of us know. One minute we are fine, the next we are balling like a child. I am still crying everyday. I can't force myself to take down all the pictures of her.

After a few months I went to the gym and lost some weight and was really feeling good. Physically anyway. Then I fell off the wagon and crawled into my hobbies and gained all the weight back and feel tired a lot. I am worn down. I am losing my enthusiasm for even getting up in the morning.

I would do drugs but the doctor won't give me any of the good ones and drinking makes me throw up so I am stuck with me and my world 24/7.

Stevie, all that you describe is called grieving. The ups and downs can make you feel a little crazy but this is very normal. It is scary that we have very little control over it or the tears that arrive whenever they wish. If only we had a way of knowing how long the grieving will last, maybe we could deal with it better, right? The bad news is that we can't. Everyone is different. Cut yourself some slack, allow your feelings to flow and remain patient. 

I'm not going to tell you that we get "over it", that's ridiculous. We do find peace eventually, but it's more of a "getting used to" situation. At least some of the sadness is replaced by happier memories. You will be well aware when this happens, it's like being able to breathe in and out again! I know how hard this is but you are moving closer towards healing each day. Keep in mind that as time passes, it becomes more bearable and a little less painful. That's when we are ready to move forward with our lives.

Hi. What you described is just how I feel.

its 3 years now since my sole mate of 44 yrs died, it was sudden and so unexpected, I was left traumatised 

i have tried so hard to fill that huge black empty hole, with family, friends, volunteer work. Anything I can think of.

but some days the effort is too much, my body feels too heavy to get out of bed, and my energy level is 0.

on those days I just shut myself away, and don’t bother, just wondering around in my dressing gown and drinking endless cups of tea.

Now the new year is apon us, and I so crave the peace, security and comfort I once had.

i tried the pills and councilling, I’d like to say it helped but it changes nothing.

so you are not alone, it happens to all of us at some point in our lives, it just never comes the way we think.

so we struggle on and try to live with it.

i just hope we will be reunited one day.

so my best wishes to you, and hope all of us on this sight will one day find peace

I was 66 when my husband died from brain cancer. Now I am almost 71. I am still lonely and still miss him everyday even though our marriage was a bit rocky in the final 3 or 4 years...long story. 

I moved to another state, share my home with my SIL who has her own life, have a few friends and keep fairly busy. I have no children. The holidays just brought it all back to me just how alone I really am. While we all tote having friends, volunteering, keeping busy for some with children and grandchildren, joining groups etc., it is just not the same as having a special intimate long term relationship with a partner, yet I want no one else. It all can seem so surface and empty...this life. 

I really have a difficult time being alone and that's why I share my home. But it's not the same. 

Im just in a mood I guess...feeling sad, still some guilt and regret and wondering if I'm more to blame than I thought...

Wow I can really relate to this thread. I was 37 when my husband of 12 years (16 total together) died of cancer. When you lose someone slowly over time, it can feel like you've been single the whole time they were sick. Being a full-time caregiver means spending the most possible time with the person you love, but it also makes you feel very alone. I'm sure that dating fairly soon after the loss raises some eyebrows, but the truth is, others don't know our circumstances. Where they may think a widow started dating only six months after her husband died, she may have felt without a partner for years. It's, of course, not your spouse's fault that they took that partnership away, but it is still an abandonment. I think in the long-term illness case, some of us did the bulk of our grieving before the loss of life, because we also had to grieve the loss of the relationship long before that.

Dating discussion aside, I think I was prepared for the fact that I would be forever changed, although I wasn't sure how or when that would happen. Now that it has been a good while, I feel like I have reinvented myself. I take better care of myself emotionally and physically, nurture my introverted self with plenty of alone time, and also push myself to go out and do more things that I think I would enjoy. I think that being widowed at a younger age is always a great tragedy, but also leaves us in a position to expand our horizons while looking ahead at the life we have left to live. Where we hold our spouses in our hearts but learn how we fit into this new life as well.

We can’t control what others think nor do we owe anyone an explanation. The only one you do “owe” is yourself—you owe it to yourself to try to find peace and happiness in your life. Let the busybodies raise their eyebrows, it is your life, your business. The only thing I would be cautious about is getting into a relationship and not giving yourself enough time to get to know the person before making commitments. Unclouded  judgement is important and even more so when children are involved. I would not put someone down for dating soon afterwards, like you say circumstances may be different, especially in those long term care- taking  situations. If someone has the nerve to say something to you, thank them for their concern and say not another word. Change the subject or walk away!


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