The obsession of starting a new relationship
My post is not to challenge/criticize anyone but to try and understand the need for many surviving spouses to focus so very quickly (within 2-3 years) on finding someone. I don't subscribe to "Life must go on" scenario since that sounds like more of an excuse to validate ones behavior.
Personally, I don't see myself in another relationship...ever. But that is because I am a bit of an introvert and that Janet said she would haunt me if I brought another women into the house. Now I know she was kidding but I understand by her comment that she wanted me to honor her respectfully.
Wow! Great story, Doug!
I will relate to you my thoughts.
My whole world crashed not long ago. In real time it crashed the day the doctors told us there was little to no hope, other than time. We went from being the happiest people in the world to spending all of our time talking about pills doctors appointments and many other issues we dealt with to get that extra time. She was till the very end the wonderful lady and gave me everything that is important in life. Friendship, companionship, warmth, counsel and someone to care about more than I could ever care about myself. One word about how I feel about my late wife - "worshiped" her completely as the goddess I feel she was. She will forever be my heart and my soul.
I wake up everyday feeling dead!
I go to bed every night feeling dead!
I shake which I never ever did before.
Worst times are at 5:30 am and 5:30 pm. The time we woke in the morning and the time she walked in the door in the afternoon.
Well guess what Rich, talking to another person about what I was going through and the times of day that hurt the most something so nice happened.
Another widow who lost her husband texted me at 5:30 the other morning - "Good morning hope you have a good day". Well let me tell you I did have a good day it was so nice for someone in this world to think about me. We do not live close by, it is not a relationship, it is a friendship that is nice. It makes the pain go away for brief moments.
Should something ever happen, which another lady enters my life, that would be wonderful. She will be a very special person, just like Sharon, as she will have to share my heart with another forever.
For me honoring my lady also means I will feel the joy and happiness that we shared for almost 40 years going forward. Talking to her picture and crying because she isn't coming in the door at 5:30 is not honor it is self pity in my mind. I can only speak for myself but I want to feel again I want to live life with love of another.
My father-in-law three times married, twice a widower. When Mom died he married within 4 months. When his second wife died he married again within a year. He just went through the same nightmare with me losing his daughter. I had dinner with them the other night and what I see is two of the happiest people in the world sharing life's good times and bad times. We talked about Sharon, Mom and if they can do anything to help me. Well they are and did by showing me how we never forget and having love and happiness in your life it the most important part of life.
So to twist your words, I subscribe "Life will go on" is an excuse to love deeply again. My wife told me she did not want me to go through live alone but could not stand the idea of me ever touching another. She was not kidding! But my friend unless she comes in the door at 5:30 one of these days I am not sure I will be able to live up to her wishes for the rest of my life. I do know she is not coming in the door @5:30.
Food for thought!
I had an interesting encounter with one of the guys I met on Match.com- a sweet, smart man whose wife had died only a couple of months earlier after a long fight with cancer. SHE had told him to find happiness again. So had his friends. He was about to go off on a 2-week motorcycle trip a few days after our date. I sent him a nice note afterwards and never heard from him again. I suspect he decided he just wasn't ready to date again- they'd been HS sweethearts, so probably married close to 50 years. I understood that. I hope that our date at least showed him there are decent women out there when he's ready.
I'm always impressed at the fortitude of people like your FIL. I watched someone I loved for along time get sick and die and I'm very grateful I was there to take care of him; it was only the last couple of months that were really hard. I don't want to do that again even though it also means I might not have that support when I need it. The ones who impress me are the ones who care for a spouse during years of a long, degenerative disease and then remarry- and I know two very happy marriages that started after that type of loss. I don't think I'd be able to do it.
Funny thing is both of my FIL wives died of diseases. He was not really part of their day to day care but he was there. He is very religious and completely believes God has a plan and just keeps marching forward. Second wife was maybe not a great marriage but he never complains. Third wife is a wonderful lady who has helped him become a much better father. He was there for his Daughter in the last year which he never was before. They are almost 80 and married 3 years ago.
As for me, eleven months ago I took the afternoon off work to go to the doctors with my wife and never went back to work except for a few weeks in the summer which she kind of made me go as she felt I needed a break. I wish I did not do that, we should have spent that time at the lake. I was at her side for every moment this past year. She passed with me holding her, a movie kind of ending to tell you the truth. I think I am the luckiest man in the whole world to have been loved and was able to love an incredible lady for all of my adult life. Looking after Sharon was the greatest thing I could ever have done in my life. It was the hardest, but I know in my heart I kept her comfortable. She never asked for anything in life but to stay home and not be in a hospital. I made that wish come true. She never spent one night during the illness in a hospital. Saying it was an honor doesn't come close to the way I feel. Looking into her eyes, she knew each and everyday I would do everything I could to protect her. Only thing I could not do was save her, but damn we tried! Do I have have bad memories of this last year - you bet I do, some stuff will haunt me, but I did the best I could and no one could have done better.
Would I do it again - YES Should I ever be lucky enough to love this deeply it would be easy.
I have no idea what the future looks like. Right now I am staring at a black (and I do mean black) canvas. I very much doubt I will ever marry again. Not sure anyone would want to hook up with someone that is completely in love with a ghost, for the rest of his life, but one never knows.
One thing I do know is I spent the last 12 hours in such a sad state it has to get better as I cannot imagine it worse. Never in my life have I cried so frigging hard and deeply.
Today at 7:48pm it will be one month but at times it feels like it has been forever since I held that sweet soul!
Sorry Rich - I think I kind of took your tread off topic!
Man oh man your narrative could be mine.
I went with Janet to the doctor and never went back to my job of 20 years. She was diagnosed with PC and we only had 43 days until she passed. Janet also spent a couple days at the hospital but wanted to come home, which we did despite the doctors recommendations. She passed with me next to her at home. All our time together, even during her short illness was the greatest blessing, honor and privilege of my life.
After almost four years your post brings tears to my eyes. No, this is something I will never "get over" nor want to.
The night before Janet passed I was telling her "I love you" and she would respond "I love you too". On the gravestone under ours names is engraved that last conversation.
I myself have no interest in dating. I lost my husband 11 months ago. I am 56 years old. We were a perfect match. Married almost 20 years.
In my humble opinion, I think the lonliness is deafening when you lose your spouse. I can understand why people choose to date after the loss of their spouse.
I guess it varies from person to person. I applaud anyone who can recover from their grief and look for love again.
I feel the same. I lost my soul mate of 20 years almost 8 months ago. I'm 57 years and even though I get out and do things, it's not the same without "my perfect match." Friends and family have been very supportive, but I try not to show how I feel inside around them too much.
Best wishes to you!
Geez, I feel a little bad about posting this topic.
The more I think about it the more I realize that widows/widowers need positive topics not ones that reaffirm the misery they are going through. While I am conscientiously committed to not "moving on" my hope is that others will.
Please don't feel bad at all about posting this topic. I for one and very happy that you did post it. I for one see my choice to not get involved in another relationship as something very positive. I thought I made that clear in my initial response. I have moments of sadness and I will always miss my husband but I don't equate my decision to remain unattached as being misery. One of the reasons I enjoy this site is it allows me and others to address a number of issues surrounding this new journey that we are on. So, I thank you Rich for posting this and hope you will continue posting. Take care.
I agree with DIVA70's replies, Rich, both above and below. We all do things and want to hear how others are handling being widowed--even those of us who are further out than many of the recent arrivals to this web site.
After a thirty-year marriage, I dug in my heels and said I would never date again. My own parents were after me to date a mere four months after Judith died. I was horrified with their attitude, but I also cut them slack because they were just being parents--even though I was 54 at the time and they were 77. I wasn't so kind to others who encouraged me to date back then, but eventually decided that it was the thing for me to do. I'm now approaching 63 and figure that the likelihood of me ever getting married again lies somewhere between "Slim" and "None". If something ever happens and you find yourself changing your mind about dating, try not to beat yourself up as I did several years ago. Life will continue to bring its own changes, whether we like it or not.
I feel there is no one definitive or best scenario. I just hope people make their decisions based on the right reasons. Be careful about pursuing another relationship just because you are lonely or your faith forbids sex outside of marriage. Also be wary of friends who try to hook you up just because they don't see how you could possible be happy after having been married for so long. Another trap to avoid is thinking you must get remarried so your children will have a dad or mom. My mother was married to my dad for 43 years. Less than a year after my father passed away she started dating. I always thought it was because she was just lonely and missed the physical intimacy. She even considered marrying one guy. Fortunately, they both realized they were together for all the wrong reasons. They parted friends. She never remarried and she realized that dating was not for her. 16 years after my father passes away she joined him in heaven. Her last words to me were what a wonderful life she had had. On the flip side my best friend passed away at the age of 39. She left two young sons. Hers had been a happy marriage and I know she wanted her husband to experience that happiness again. Approximately two years after she passed away her husband called to inform me he was getting remarried. The person he was marrying was another good friend and former high school/college friend of his wife. I had met her in college and knew how much it hurt her when our friend passed away. She had never married and had no biological children. 25 years later they are still married and grandparents. I know of other widow/widowers both young and old who found love again. I also know of those who had happy marriages and have never remarried. Some have tried dating . Others have chosen not to pursue any personal relationships and are very content. I fall into the latter group. I am 71 years old and during the past 18 months I have been approached . But I know I will never remarry. I am not interested in dating. I found even the conversation on the phone with one gentleman was really tiring ( he is a widower , retired, well to do financially and a very nice guy) I had my knight in shining armor. I don't need anyone to take care of me. I do miss the intimacy and being someone's number one. But having being married for over 47 years I know it takes more than that to have a happy marriage. It takes work. So I am good. As I said in the beginning it's up to the individual. Just be sure your decision is for the right reason. Take care.
Rich....I'm an INFJ introvert with a need for a fair amount of socialization in my life but also a LOT of down time.
I have never been able to envision being with someone else, and it's been over six years already. There are a few reasons for this. One of them is that I was always quirky and odd, my husband was quirky and odd in the same way, and I can't imagine finding anyone who would elicit that "Yes, you are my tribe" feeling. And I haven't (not that I've been looking).
Another, at the risk of TMI, is that I lost all interest in sex when menopause hit. I hear women talk abut the contacts they get on dating sites, and I'm disgusted. Not morally disgusted, but at the assumption that women are sex-starved harpies who will jump into bed with anyone. (Disclaimer: If that is your cup of tea, ladies, have at it. It's just not for me.)
And then there's the question of not wanting to "go out there" to be judged as to my desirability in a world that worships youth, thinness, and beauty, none of which I have. Why put myself through that? I know what my worth is as a human being and partner, but the truth is that looks are what people see first, and many just can't get past that. (I've been guilty of this myself when I was young, but some of that was that my mother always said I couldn't expect to have someone tall and attractive because I wasn't pretty like my sister, so it was important to me to prove her wrong.)
Then there are financial considerations. I am financially independent and really don't want to risk my financial security on someone who might be looking for "a nurse and a purse." Which brings us to the health and time issue. At 64, men my age are interested in women in their 40s and 50s at most. So my dating pool would be men in their 70s and 80s. And quite frankly, I don't want to deal with the health problems of someone I haven't had time to build that strong bond with.
I've gone through the drill of "What would I be looking for in another person?" And it always comes back that the only one I want is the one I had.
So I'm at peace with the idea that the "loving and being loved" part of my life is over. It makes me sad sometimes, but I try to focus on the small miracle that I had 30 years with someone who was the perfect oddball for me. I only wish I'd remembered that during the bad times.
I think it is easier when you are older to just "hang it up." i was 58 when my husband died which is kind of on the bubble of being OK with that part being over. I think it's hard for women who are in their 40s and 50s, because they are bumping up against the youth and beauty fetish, whereas by the time I was two years into this journey, I was already 60 and it was "OK" to just say "Naah. I'm done."