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What is it with the world and widows/widowers are we under special surveillance or something?  In the past couple of weeks I have had some inquiries that have made me uncomfortable.  One "friend" asked me if there was something different about me , I said: "No, I don't think so" then he asked me: "Are you going out with a married man?" I answered:  "I don't know where you got that from but the answer is no."  Another supposed friend asked me:  "Is there something you want to tell me?" I replied: "No, why?" she replied:  "Oh nothing I've just heard some rumors that's all" when pressed further she didn't want to tell me what the rumors were.  Bless me, where does all of this stuff come from?

On 19th September it will be three years since Ray died.  I have been out on a few lunch dates but nothing serious.  I do now go out about once a month with an old school friend, he has been married a few times, he has no intention of having another wife to add to his problems.  We drive separate cars to the lunch and at the end of lunch go our separate ways.  So far as I know nothing is going to change there.  I have another older male friend I meet for morning tea occasionally, same set-up, finish the tea, finish the conversation, go our separate ways. Maybe there is a three year syndrome or something.  Maybe at the end of the third year Mr Right is supposed to come along on that white charger and off you ride into the sunset.

In a couple of the organisations I belong to I have recently detected a difference.  When couples are present the singles seem to be left out, this seems to apply to the men as well as to the women.  I can sit down and someone will move up one chair and say:  "I will leave that for whoever you choose to sit next to." I have had that happen twice now.  Be assured  I am no femme fatale and they have nothing to fear from me.  Both Clubs I have belonged to for many years and so known these people for many years also.  I wonder what changed?

So, I survived Father's Day with no husband or father present in my life.  My younger son rang mid-afternoon on Father's Day and told me about his day, he is separated and his daughter lives with his ex- wife but it was his weekend to have his daughter so she came on the phone and talked to her Granny.  I was pleased to hear the happiness in his voice.  I survived Ray's birthday (8th) kept myself busy all day and came home to find a message from my daughter telling me she was thinking of me and hoped I had managed to get through the day.  So two out of three of my children are mindful of the pain of loss I still feel.

And I do still feel the loss, especially around those special anniversary days. Those days are still very hard to get through alone.  With my children so scattered I am lucky to receive a message or a phone call but just the fact that they reach out is a blessing. Of course I am slowly rebuilding my life, doing new things, enjoying meeting up with old friends and hopefully making some new friends but it still feels like it is my old life slightly patched over, as yet there is no new life for me.  Maybe I will have to move from what has been my home for 46 years to be able to feel that life is new.

So I find as a widow I have to be very careful.  I know there will be people who think I am on a man hunt, some who will think I am after their husbands, some who will just wonder if they need to be wary of me but maybe that happens to all widows and widowers to a certain extent and not just to me.  Do some of your friends not invite you to special events now where once you would always have been included?  Yes, that is happening to me too.  Surely we don't need to invite just other couples so there will be an even number of people?  You would think not anyway.

So is it just Australia or are singles under surveillance all over the world to make sure they are not encroaching on a couples world?  Or is  just me and some form of paranoia?  I sincerely hope not.  This is supposed to be a year when I get back into mainstream life, put the past behind me and get over it, isn't it? This is my year to make a big comeback into society.  I wonder why no-one has thought of having special events for widows to celebrate this? The invitation would read "Mrs X is officially out of black now."  Not that widows wear black any more, maybe it would be better if we did, then at least we would look different as well as feel different. And widowers, does some of this apply to you too?

 

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Comment by Paula on September 20, 2015 at 4:33pm

I went to a wedding last night. I knew a lot of guests from my college days (40 years ago).  We were all out on the floor dancing and the mother of the brides brother was dancing with me. His wife jumped on him like a ferret on a cracker. I was not the only woman he danced with, but I was the only widow.

I wish I could have dressed in mourning like they used to by the way. It would have reflected what was going on inside.

Comment by Susan B on September 17, 2015 at 4:14pm

it has sure happened to me. Most of my female friends are married and are having their new grandkids take up their free time; the interest groups I've joined are mostly couples and at social events, they only sit with other couples, leaving the singles to sort it out. Sometimes I'm forward and ask to sit at a couples table if I've had a  welcoming vibe, but sometimes the wife shoots daggers at me "don't you dare". Sheesh. I wish they realized how starved for adult company I am and could care less about men or women, as long as they can carry on an intelligent conversation! 

 

I'm so sorry that your "friends" are so quick to latch onto anything they think is scandalous. They must be very bored. I'd say, cultivate a swift and sure way of dropping hem--and tell them why. You don't need others trying to make you miserable for sport! Chin UP, and take it day at a time. Every day is NEW and a chance for some small wonders. Follow your heart and do what YOU want, and leave the others BEHIND.

 

Comment by only1sue on September 15, 2015 at 11:27pm

I think I know how that started.  A friend of mine was on a cruise and i had coffee in the local shopping centre with her husband.  One coffee!!! There are too many busybodies in my life.  I think I need to back off from a couple of friendships that may be destructive.  Yes, no doubt about it people do enjoy gossip.And I don't want to do anything to disrupt the friendships I have managed to restart since Ray died.

Comment by Blue Snow on September 15, 2015 at 7:43am

It could be worse, Sue. A widowed friend of mine just found out the guy she's been dating for the past six months is a married man. She is rightly devastated. The signs were all there but that's another topic for another day. Seriously, though, I would be very hurt to find out people were spreading rumors that I was having an affair with a married. And just having lunch or tea with a guy and going your separate ways does not constitute an "affair" especially if you clear it with the spouse. I have a guy friend I meet for lunch sometimes when he's in town and his wife is fine with that. He's like a brother. I don't understand why some people think a widow is going to play around with another woman's spouse if that was not your nature while you were married. We don't change our values just because we are single again, for crying out loud.

Comment by Callie2 on September 12, 2015 at 6:00pm
Sue, I am sorry you are being treated that way. Can't imagine anyone asking a question like that unless they are just being newsy and were prodding for a little info. I have heard before that married women view widows as preditors. Maybe they don't trust their husbands? Why they feel a widow is more a threat than any other woman, I don't know. If anything, I think we are much less a threat! We valued our marriages. I wouldn't have interest in a cheating spouse, like I need more problems! It's no different here in the U.S., people are pretty much the same I believe. Try not to let it get you down. Whom ever said that to you about leaving a seat was presumptuous and I think, insensitive. I don't know what makes people say things like that but there is always a chance they didn't realize you were ther alone. Let's hope so!
Comment by Maggie on September 12, 2015 at 11:47am
I'm 68 and have been widowed for two plus years. I had a brief crush on a man at about a year. But I know it was because I was sooo lonely. It was very short lived...just someone I met briefly on a cruise. Now I no longer want to date or have an involved relationship. It's simply that I like not having to answer to anyone, not compromising , not cooking, doing as I please when I please etc. having a good relationship is work and I'm just too tired for it. And to be honest, my sex drive is greatly reduced and what man is going to put up with that! I now have a close female friend as a roommate and we each have plenty of space and we get along real well, so this works for me. It has solved my loneliness problem to a fairly good extent. The one thing I don't have is the ability to have someone to cuddle with, hug, hold hands and sleep in the same bed together. If I could find a nice, intelligent, decent looking, single, on the same income level as me and a man of high integrity AND with a diminished sex drive...well then maybe. So you tell me..how likely is that! So I'll just be content to be single and enjoy what I can in whatever time I have left and try to live a simple uncomplicated life...happy? No, but that went out the door even a few years before my husband died as there were issues. I did and do love him and miss him, but true happiness is very illusive and at best I can only hope for peace of mind at this stage in life. My friends here are mostly divorceed and two other widows. But I have found no shunning by couples although it's the women I see, not as couples. Bergen, I wish you luck and happiness in your move south. I think you'll like it.
Comment by NoLongerInBergenJC on September 12, 2015 at 7:15am

I don't know what to tell you.  Most of my friends now are divorced or widowed and the neighbor I'm friends with doesn't do this kind of crap at all.  Mostly I see her by herself rather than as the third wheel of a couple, and that's fine with me.  As I approach the end of Year Two, I'm starting to feel that there is something wrong with me because I don't want to date.  Some of the widows I've met have hooked up and are now in relationships, but I don't seem to feel any real lack there.

I am about to move to a new community where apparently it is mostly couples.  I've been invited to join the community book club, which I'm going to do.  I'll let you know then if I experience this.

Of course, my husband and I didn't have couple friends because he didn't like anyone he didn't meet first, so I didn't have to deal with much of this.  But I do think that there is sometimes -- not all the time, but sometimes -- an aversion to widows because either a) they think we're on a man-hunt; or b) they irrationally think there is something toxic about us that is contagious and they don't want to catch the "widow disease" and lose THEIR husbands.

My father right now is terminally ill (I am struggling a LOT with that) and he and his wife have a lot of couple friends.  I so hope that she doesn't run into this.  She has a good support system there but there are many couples and I hope they continue to support her and be her friend.

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