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We're friends, not doctors, financial or legal professionals, and we're not "grief experts." But we are here, and we've been "there."

I am writing this because of things I've read or chated about on this site. This is a women domanated site. Maybe men die sooner or women take better care of themselves but the fact remains this site has a low man percentage. I've heard the at the last Camp East there were 200 women and 3 men. Sorts says it all.I've been told that not may women here the other side so heres mine. First I DONT SPEAK FOR ALL MEN just me. Theres is a big difference between a man lossing his wife and a wife lossing her husband. Being a older man born in the 50's I was raised at a time when the fathers were WWII vets, a different breed. Do as I say period. Not like the fathers of today who want to reason with a child or buy them toys for their love. These guys had a different way, talk back you get smacked, do something wrong in school and the princable was the least of your problems and the dreaded "Wait till your father get home" that we all heard. I was raised that men do not cry and hold back pain no matter what. Every kid played tackle football without padding and if you got hurt you got back in the game to save honor. This is the basics of how it begains. In the neighborhood there is a widowed lady and the old guy who lives alone. The widowed lady gets help carrying her bags of food home and any yard work she needs done. Thats just how it was. The guy who lived alone "stay away from him" you dont know why and then the rumors start, He killed someone or he's a drunk who likes kids but later in life you find out he was just a guy who lost his wife and no one cared. Up until a couple years ago I never heard of the word widower. I knew what a widow was but widower never seen it on a job applaction wasnt there when I went into the military and didnt know any. Even in my family when a Aunt would pass the attention would be to the sisters not so much the uncles but when a Uncle passed it was different, we would go to my Aunts house on weekends bring her food and this would go on for months. Again I'm only writing this about myself not all men. This is a new age were men and women are equals but I dont see it. when a women losses her husband or loved one other women gather around. I believe it is because women are much more emotional and closer nitted then men. Men usually stand alone. Women or moms can cry for a birthday or a child being born and thats great but men or dads, well were like the piller of strenght for the family we dont cry we dont show emotions, at least not often and when we do we usually go off to be alone. This is where I see a big difference. When my wife died everyone looked to me for assurance. What are we going to do, what now dad? and so on.when a women losser her husband most are there to support her help her at least through the first couple days. The worst days. It seems to me that women get some help and guildance were men are suppose to no what to do like we lose a spouse often. We are lost not knowing how to show the emotions not knowing how to cry just hit and break things. Trying to learn overnight how to be the good guy and the bad guy at the same time. Women can start crying anytime anywhere and its OK men cant, I know most will say yes you can but most men cant. We need to go to our cars or some other secuded place. If you ever been to the chat on this site there are probable 4 maybe 5 guys online and on the sidelines reading. The chat is dominated by women. I just trying to bring to light some differences. My and most other guys on here have had our hearts ripped out our live crushed. The only real person on this earth that knew us,our emotions is gone. So while some may move on most of us will become the new "guy that lives alone" the one people tell their kid to stay from. So we cry in silence.

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Comment by North54 on May 29, 2013 at 8:12pm

It is true that womens friendships are more interpersonal.  Men will do things together but are less comfortable sharing personal feelings or emotions.  For me personally my friends have been there to give me a hug, listen to me pour out my soul and catch my tears.  In that respect I agree it is much harder for men because they don't have that outlet.  I know for my husband I was his one true confidante and am sure your wife was yours as well Dan. I am not so sure it was the era you grew up in but more how society expects males to behave.  Both of my sons were raised that it was okay to show emotion, hugs were expected in our house and they were taught that women are strong and capable of taking care of themselves.  When my husband died they both instinctively put aside their tears, grief and emotions to take care of the two females myself and their sister.  I really believe they felt it was expected of them.  Perhaps this is the reason again that widows get more help than widowers because again I agree with you but think it is more male/female than widow/widower.  Hard to believe in this day and age that it is still perceived that females can't haul in their own groceries or mow the lawn, etc.  Personally I find this rather insulting although I know people are only trying to be kind and helpful. Thanks for sharing a male perspective. If you do become that guy that lives alone I hope you live it in peace.  ((((Dan)))))

Comment by Tomsgirl on May 29, 2013 at 8:07pm

It sucks that it is like that. Dan, I was raised by a WWII vet and a housewife, I know EXACTLY what you are talking about, and, I also know, that to this day, men my age (40s) and younger are uncomfortable with tears. When I cry at work it must be because something horrible happened, that could be the only possible reason for the tears. My boss is in his 60s, I interviewed for a promotion after my loss and when it came around to talking about that, i cried, and it clearly made him uncomfortable, he doesn't show emotion, he doesn't like to see emotion (or so it seems). I am so sorry that the double standard exists, and I understand completely what you are saying, good for you speaking up

Comment by only1sue on May 29, 2013 at 4:10pm

 A lot of what you wote rang true for me but then I have lived in villages and small country towns and we looked after our own, men and women alike.  I help at an oldies group (Senior Fellowship) and we do have a lot of widowed women but two men as well and we all enjoy our outings together.  In that group you either join in or you don't so a couple of other men who could join us just haven't...who knows why?

We have the Men's Shed Movement here and that is filling a gap.  One of the men from a group I belong to is recently widowed and when asked what he would do he said he would get more involved in the Men's Shed and see if he could help others who are widowers too.  I guess that is one answer.  I know he wouldn't come onto a site like this as he is a "Born in the '40s" and as well as being taught not to cry was also taught as I was "don't air your dirty linen in public" (keep your troubles to yourself) as I was.  I just chose to ignore it.

 

Comment by AEDforever (Ali) on May 29, 2013 at 4:09pm

Dan,  I think a lot of what you say is true.  I know that my husband Paul was taught that. He would never have showed emotion in public (besides anger).  With me he would, but I sensed that even that wasn't comfortable for him.  Many men are taught that crying is not "manly" and that they should be tough, be strong, and all of that.  I do believe the grief thing is harder in this way for men, but I do know some women on here who have that same struggle.  I was told early on by several people to "be strong" - I chose to ignore that, because for me the only way to be make it through this ordeal has been to bare my soul and share my pain.  There's no other way for me, but that's just how I am made.  And for me, that is what is now making it possible for me to get strong.  Peace your way Dan, I hope you find a way to start getting some of that sadness out.

Comment by acmisblessed on May 29, 2013 at 3:18pm

Beautifully written and thanks for sharing your feelings. They are appreciated.

Comment by Morgana (Janet) on May 29, 2013 at 3:17pm

 @Jerry, you are right about the firends and ralatives fading away.

@Dan, I hear what you are saying.  Yes back in our day men were taught not to cry or show their emotions in public.  I taught my son that it is okay to cry and show your emotions in public.  It doesn't mean your not a man but that you have feelings.  Women who are widowed far out number the men men by about 10 to 1.  I do my grieving in private for the most part but it was the way I was brought up.  I am a very private person and don't share a lot about myself with others. 

I don't think you will be the "guy who lives alone" the one people tell their kids to stay away from.  You have a lot to offer and seem to be a very compassionate and caring person.  It takes time to work through grief and to begin to rebuild our life without our partner by our side.  We learn to adjust, find new ways of doing things and learn who we are now as half of what we were, no longer a part of the whole that we were. 

Even though we are women and we do not understand the males perspecdtive of dealing with grief know that we are here for you to help in anyway we can.  Hugs being sent your way.

Comment by Jerry on May 29, 2013 at 1:14pm
Dan,very well written. I come from the same era and understand about men not showing their feelings in public. I am a member of the men's group,wrote on it a few times.but as you see there is not much activity on it. As far as women getting more help then men after their spouse dies,it may be true at first,but from what I read on this and another similar site, friends and relatives tend to fade away after a short time.
Comment by missincin (Dan) on May 29, 2013 at 12:48pm

Paulie: I didnt say I want to be anything, What I was refering to was preception and how widowed men are seen. I hope that you walk out your door today and find this new love that your hunting for but remmeber shes not going to be Linda. Another women is not going to hold you the same way, do the same things that your wife did or replace her. It took me 30 years to create my relationship and 5 more to just enjoy it. I would never try to replace my wife, I couldnt. I dont have another 35 years in me that doesnt mean life doesnt go on but with the mental baggage of grief is that fair to any other woman. I look at it this way. After loss were all yearning for what we had, sorta like starving men on a island. We'd eat anything to feel satisfied but at what cost? I believe that until you can live with yourself and be happy its not worth taking a chance and hurting others but I hope you get your wish.


VOLUNTEER
Comment by Soaring Spirits on May 29, 2013 at 11:43am

Hi Dan, We have a group for men only here, with private discussions -- I encourage you to join it (will send you an invitation in a second). We want you to connect in any way you like.

For what it's worth, I do not believe that men do poorly in peer support -- once they show up and yes, they do have to get used to the statistical imbalance. I wonder if some of what you're feeling might be common among others in your age group. Please join "born in the 50s" to see if others are having trouble connecting too, or can provide tips.

I'd be curious to hear what you think we could do about the imbalances. Most of the feedback I've received from men has been very positive. In fact, most of the "widowed" groups online are for women ONLY and don't allow me in in at all. Camp Widow is the only retreat that allows men, as far as I know. About Camp Widow East, the ratio could not have been 200:3 -- that's not accurate (although I do not know the number -- but yes, men tend to die younger and first, at all ages, and from almost all causes. I think that sucks!).

Very interested in your suggestions.

Thank you.

Supa

site founder.

Comment by JPSwifeCathy on May 29, 2013 at 10:52am
Dan what you say is true @ I'm SO sorry you don't get/be allowed the same oppurtunities to grieve that women do;(. Thankyou for giving a man's perspective! Cathy

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