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I recently began conversing (long distance, via email, text and phone) with a new female friend. Our situations are quite similar, both suffering very recent losses, close in age and lifestyles, seemingly at the same level of education/intelligence … it has been very nice and comforting to be able to interact with someone since, for me, that type of interaction is a big part of the loss I feel.

Even our recent losses followed similar paths … not sudden, not unexpected, and while still crushing and totally heart-wrenching, in the haze of it all we can both see a possible light way off in the distance. And I have found that being able to share these thoughts and feelings in a one-on-one setting has lifted some of the horrible weight from my soul … and I believe my new friend feels it as well.

But I can’t shake this feeling that, somehow, I’m cheating on my wife. Just for the record, there has been no physical contact, no sexting (I think that’s the phrase …), no expressions of love or lust, I really don’t even know what my new friend looks like beyond one nondescript photo (and I’m sure, likewise for her) and honestly, for me, appearance takes a definite back seat to spirit & soul.  However, this is the first time in 35 years I’ve been excited to speak with a female other than Bunny, to share a laugh or a tear with another woman, to have the beginnings of something more than a casual acquaintance with a woman that is not my wife.

Of course, I know that it is ridiculous to think it’s cheating in any manner. It is the beginning of a real friendship with someone who is also seeking a more personal interaction with a kindred soul. I think loneliness, for me, is a gigantic burden to overcome. Someone to care for, to worry about in small day-to-day events (did she get there safely?), to bitch to when my day has been crappy, to be happy with when good things happen, someone with whom I can talk about completely unimportant nonsense. I really have missed that over the past ½ year during Bunny’s decline and passing (Bunny & I talked a lot at the end, but it was always heavy and sad).

I also know that I am in no way ready for a new serious relationship, there is way too much unresolved junk in my noggin that needs to be sorted out yet. And I’m pretty sure my new friend feels the same way, too. But I am ready to enjoy the company of a smart, funny, interesting female, however long distance that company might be. For all I know, distance may well be exactly what is needed right now … if she were to meet me in person I could easily see this whole thing crash and burn. I can be a very long day for folks at times, and I’m having way too much fun (yes, it IS fun) right now to mess it up by being … well … by being me.

6 months or a year down the road? Who knows? Maybe a friendship and flirtation becomes something more serious, maybe not.  My new friend certainly seems to be the type of person I could easily become very attracted to as the clouds lift away. Over 35 years of being together, Bunny was my one & only, both physically and emotionally, so to be sharing an emotional bond with someone new is both exciting and terrifying. But, I don’t think it’s cheating, is it?

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Comment by Deana1950 on July 9, 2016 at 5:22am
Barbee, I am going to take your advice to Pointbass and begin taking some trips other than guilt trips!
Comment by barbee on July 8, 2016 at 2:27pm

No, you're not cheating. I was married over 48 years and after he passed I discovered I really missed and needed a male perspective. There is a widowed group that meets at our senior center and I joined. Hearing the men talk about handling grief and re-connecting to life was important. Where to get the car fixed, what to ask repairmen before hiring them, cleaning the gutters, and how to do the other things that my husband did were things I needed to learn. The men were asking questions about laundry and cooking and caring for a disabled adult daughter and wanted direction in what to do with their wife's treasures. Men and women are opposites and opposites attract and that is not always in a sexual way. Developing new friendships and learning to laugh are hugely important steps in accepting grief and our new normal. It means you are coming out of the shocked stage and starting to feel again. And that is very healthy. So...take a trip somewhere, just not another guilt trip!

Comment by Pointbass on July 8, 2016 at 2:20pm

Thanks, all, for the encouragement and kind words. I've always been a "1 woman" type of person, and its been a long time since I've met someone with whom I've wanted to be social. I know it's not cheating, but it is very unfamiliar ... and fun, too, a whole bunch of fun! I'll take the advice and just enjoy it all ,,,

Comment by Deana1950 on July 8, 2016 at 1:32pm
I don't think there is anyway this could be considered "cheating". Your wife would probably be pleased to know you have found a pleasant distraction. She is probably looking down on you and saying "Go for it!" I am in a similar situation with a gentleman I met in a bereavement group. We speak on the phone frequently and have gone out to dinner or lunch several times. For me there is certainly no physical attraction and I am in mo way ready for any kind of romantic relationship. However, it is nice to be in the company of a gentleman for stimulating conversation and to have someone open a door or pull a chair out for me. It is especially nice that he understands what I am feeling and is not offended or uncomfortable when I break into tears with no warning.

Good luck!
Comment by Dadof4inSF on July 8, 2016 at 1:12pm

It's not cheating.  Everyone needs friends.  It's perfectly fine to have women friends, especially those who understand your grief journey.  We are changing continuously during this journey.  The person you are today may not be the same person 6 months or a year down the road.  Don't have expectations; just enjoy the company and the friendship.

Comment by deaf widow on July 8, 2016 at 7:31am

In my opinion, this is NOT cheating.  You are lonely and reaching out for someone to share your deepest thoughts with.  I would give it time to see what happens.  Take the time to get to know this person before you make any major changes. Hope you find love and happiness.

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