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Old 04-10-2018, 12:35 AM
 
3,914 posts, read 5,194,120 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HomeIsWhere... View Post
This is the very most difficult (for me anyway) as I feel that all of my quirks, rebellious attitudes for outdated thinking were part and parcel and the center for who I am and it was not only accepted by my spouse but greatly appreciated as well. It would be nigh impossible to acquire that same devoted, loving and tolerated camaraderie at this stage of life, these things take time and 'blind' love.
I agree. I think that when you love someone, you love them for their shortcomings as much as their strengths. Sometimes I look at something I have accomplished and think to myself "you have that knack for doing that, and no one else sees it." But my husband knew that knack. And sometimes I look at how I have handled something and say to myself "I really am a good person, but I think no one knows that inner me." My husband did. Of course, there are times when I think "I hope no one noticed what a mess I made of that." My husband would have accepted what ever it was with humor and affection. My point in my earlier post is that friends and family see a part of you and perhaps respect or admire that part, but they don't think of you as much as a whole person because they don't live with you every day, and/or don't have all that history with you, or haven't made a life with you. So that person whose continued, loving, existence in your life is a testament to your worthiness, is gone.

So perhaps faith comes in here and says "you are loved," and if we feel that, it can give us strength. I have learned also that I have to affirm myself. When I am doing something I enjoy, I have to let myself do more of it. (But I still have to do some things I don't enjoy - that's life.) I am affirmed when friends call and when we do things together. We have to take those little pieces of affirmation where we can get them. But no, it seems not really possible to me that I should find, especially at my age (65), another spouse who is similarly loving, devoted, and tolerant and affirming. Seems too much to ask. That's why widows have to learn to be happy on their own.
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Old 04-10-2018, 08:53 AM
 
Location: SWFL
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Plus, there is nothing that says we widows HAVE TO find another spouse. We are entitled to be happy with ourselves. My husband made sure I didn't suffer any guilt if I should happen to find another love but I am doing just fine by myself. I don't want to start over with another man. I had the complete package. As nice as having a companion to snuggle with in bed, I consider it just not worth it, so I have forced myself to learn to sleep alone, go out to eat alone, take myself to the movies, etc. No big deal anymore.
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Old 04-10-2018, 12:24 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
16,702 posts, read 50,755,476 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G Grasshopper View Post
I agree. I think that when you love someone, you love them for their shortcomings as much as their strengths. Sometimes I look at something I have accomplished and think to myself "you have that knack for doing that, and no one else sees it." But my husband knew that knack. And sometimes I look at how I have handled something and say to myself "I really am a good person, but I think no one knows that inner me." My husband did. Of course, there are times when I think "I hope no one noticed what a mess I made of that." My husband would have accepted what ever it was with humor and affection. My point in my earlier post is that friends and family see a part of you and perhaps respect or admire that part, but they don't think of you as much as a whole person because they don't live with you every day, and/or don't have all that history with you, or haven't made a life with you. So that person whose continued, loving, existence in your life is a testament to your worthiness, is gone.

So perhaps faith comes in here and says "you are loved," and if we feel that, it can give us strength. I have learned also that I have to affirm myself. When I am doing something I enjoy, I have to let myself do more of it. (But I still have to do some things I don't enjoy - that's life.) I am affirmed when friends call and when we do things together. We have to take those little pieces of affirmation where we can get them. But no, it seems not really possible to me that I should find, especially at my age (65), another spouse who is similarly loving, devoted, and tolerant and affirming. Seems too much to ask. That's why widows have to learn to be happy on their own.
There are a lot of factors that enter into the lives of the surviving member of any couple, and each person has to figure out their own path.

The big lie in a loving couple is that part of a marriage ceremony that says "until death do us part." The essence of the marriage and couplehood survives the death of one of the partners. If indeed it were true, then the survivor would have a blank slate and be able to carry on with no residual emotions.

Some religions push the idea of one marriage or loving relationship per lifetime. Once a widow or widower, that is the definition of the person until death. Such an idea does eliminate some inner conflict, such as "Am I cheating on my dead spouse?" by simply avoiding the scenario altogether. In some ways, that is an easy out. In others, it is horribly debilitating.

I disagree with the part of your statement that I bolded. Those qualities in a mate that you state are not unique, nor are they unobtainable. The chances of finding someone with those qualities has little to do with age or widowhood, and much more with actively seeking friendships that can develop in that direction. It takes work and some dedication and it also means that you have to deal with some dissonance that is uncomfortable, but it is not "too much to ask."

There can be very valid reasons to want to avoid commitment, and there can be situations where the chances of finding a mate is slim due to circumstances, such as living miles from civilization, but exploring the ground is best done with an open mind. Reaching that state can be the greatest obstacle.

Taking time to find yourself is vital to the process of grieving, no matter whether you eventually find another mate or not. Certainly it is not fair to yourself or anyone else to not give yourself time for that part of the process before looking to the future. Widows and widowers DO have to learn to be happy on their own, but that is part and parcel to becoming whole, and does not need to be the end of the story.

One thing you may find, is that as an older and wiser individual, there are some things that you know are non-negotiable in any future relationship. The lack of flexibility that some of those demands may be limiting, more than any age issue. That is not bad, it simply means your are more selective and unwilling to put up with BS.

To get back to your list of "loving, devoted, and tolerant and affirming" the best thing that I can suggest is to read and really learn Marshall Rosenberg's "non-violent communication," and insist that your close friends have at least a passing knowledge of how it works. Having had a marriage where we knew how to communicate, how to be affirming and tolerant, and naturally grew increasingly loving and devoted, I say from experience that gentle communication not only is key, but grows love as surely as a flower grows with sun and water and food.
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Old 04-10-2018, 07:41 PM
 
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Well yes, Harry, I was probably being a bit too pessimistic about finding another love, but you have to admit that the odds are against women. One thing that I have learned is that life surprises you. You never know. Which is another way of saying "never say never." However, I use the negative example of my mother who, after being widowed twice, was NEVER happy as a single. She lived for over 30 years after the death of my father, and was always lonely and unhappy, always looking for that man to complete her. As her dementia deepened and her inhibitions dissolved, she was increasingly intent on finding a husband and we lost her often into fantasies of getting married. That is NOT the life I want. I want to be happy and fulfilled as I am, and if I meet someone else, great! But no waiting with bated breath for Mr. Right to walk in the door.

I also agree that "Until death us do part" is a legal concept, not an emotional one. True love is eternal. But I I don't think that continuing to love the lost spouse precludes loving another. Our hearts are big enough to love both the past and present person. I admit that it stretches my imagination to conceive of loving another (I can't quite do it). But I recognize that the failure of imagination is not a reason to cut off the possibility.

Perhaps I will have a look at the book you recommend. But I think my husband and I were adept at gentle communication, learned partly by early marriage counseling, partly through long experience with Marriage Encounter, but also just who we were together. I would add that careful listening is also a key.
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Old 04-11-2018, 10:12 AM
 
Location: Central Florida
2,992 posts, read 1,528,026 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tamiznluv View Post
Plus, there is nothing that says we widows HAVE TO find another spouse. We are entitled to be happy with ourselves. My husband made sure I didn't suffer any guilt if I should happen to find another love but I am doing just fine by myself. I don't want to start over with another man. I had the complete package. As nice as having a companion to snuggle with in bed, I consider it just not worth it, so I have forced myself to learn to sleep alone, go out to eat alone, take myself to the movies, etc. No big deal anymore.
I am so glad to read this post and your earlier one. I worry about my mother quite a bit. She lost my father 4 years ago to a horrific form of cancer. She was his caregiver for over 2 years. They were married over 50 years. I go over there every other weekend and spend time with her. I guess part of it is guilt and part of it is that I think she is lonely, which she says she isn't. I do all of her bills and repairs, etc, but I always leave there feeling guilty. Incidentally she lost a son and a daughter when they were quite young. I guess your posts make me feel better about her living alone. She seems happy and content and has me for support if she needs anything.

Anyway, thanks for your post. It helps me think she is content and can be happy living alone.
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Old 04-12-2018, 12:27 PM
 
Location: SWFL
21,062 posts, read 17,917,378 times
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Originally Posted by budlight View Post
I am so glad to read this post and your earlier one. I worry about my mother quite a bit. She lost my father 4 years ago to a horrific form of cancer. She was his caregiver for over 2 years. They were married over 50 years. I go over there every other weekend and spend time with her. I guess part of it is guilt and part of it is that I think she is lonely, which she says she isn't. I do all of her bills and repairs, etc, but I always leave there feeling guilty. Incidentally she lost a son and a daughter when they were quite young. I guess your posts make me feel better about her living alone. She seems happy and content and has me for support if she needs anything.

Anyway, thanks for your post. It helps me think she is content and can be happy living alone.
You are so welcome, budlight. Your post is the main reason I keep popping in. My grief may have been over 6 years ago but I think I have evolved pretty well over time and I like helping others that feel there is no hope like I did.

If Mom says she is not lonely and does not exhibit signs of deppresion, I would take her at her word. Sounds like Mom has had a lot of grief in her life and is coping. Yes, we were married but some widows do not NEED/WANT another man in their lives to be complete. That is what society tries to tell us.

Just continue to be the kind and good child you seem to be and Mom will be happy/content.
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Old 04-12-2018, 06:44 PM
 
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Budlight: I appreciate your concern for your mom being lonely. My son is, I know, also concerned for me. I think he is actually a little over-protective. When my husband first died - like in the first days, weeks, and for a couple of months, my son was there, and believe me, I don't think I could have made it without him. But now it is 3.5 years later, and it concerns me more that he is not getting on with his own life, but worrying about me! Parents want their children to be happy and succeed in life (whatever that means for the individual,) and not be tied down with guilt or worry about their surviving parent. If you are supportive when your mom needs you, and if you keep in contact, that is all that is needed. Keep her in your life, but don't get lost in your worry about her; that will make her less happy, not more.
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Old 04-30-2018, 10:23 PM
 
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Certainly woman who have lost their spouse and who desire to be man-less is a very common and largely practiced status in our country today----especially in senior communities. While it is their right to do so I must say it seems a bit unnatural almost to the point of malfunction. I have noticed many of these woman seem to love themselves more than they have ever loved anyone else anyway. This is an opportunity.

I am glad there is still some normalacy left in our younger generation. Otherwise the master plan of continuing the human race would be in deep trouble.

I think widows with their social manner have it easier than the widowers. However when I notice the professional loners and grievers I applaud them because that is what they need to do---be a loner and a griever, nothing more. Some will do this forever.
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Old 05-01-2018, 09:25 PM
 
Location: Midvale, Idaho
1,423 posts, read 2,232,369 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluskyz View Post
Certainly woman who have lost their spouse and who desire to be man-less is a very common and largely practiced status in our country today----especially in senior communities. While it is their right to do so I must say it seems a bit unnatural almost to the point of malfunction. I have noticed many of these woman seem to love themselves more than they have ever loved anyone else anyway. This is an opportunity.

I am glad there is still some normalacy left in our younger generation. Otherwise the master plan of continuing the human race would be in deep trouble.

I think widows with their social manner have it easier than the widowers. However when I notice the professional loners and grievers I applaud them because that is what they need to do---be a loner and a griever, nothing more. Some will do this forever.
Ouch this hurts a bit blusky. I spent 47 years devoting myself to and loving three men. The two I married both got cancer and died and the middle man was a abusive jerk and I left him after 13 years before I found husband #2 of 31 years. Yes I am totally putting all the love and care I put into my husband into myself now. I need to heal from the loss of him. I miss him. I am still in love with him even though I am perfectly aware he is not coming back. And I totally understand the until death do us part. Tell this to my heart. I am almost 69 now. Any man that might come into my life now is likely to be older. Who knows how long we have left. My Moms side of the family has mostly been long lived. My fathers side of the family not so much. My logic in not even considering going into another relationship is not because I am selfish. It is because I just do not want to get hurt like this again I am still in too much pain. Twice widowed is enough for me. The pain is horrible. Watching them die is horrible. So ok maybe it is selfish to not want to lay my heart out there on the table again for another man. If this is so then I am selfish.

As far as coping I feel like I am doing quite well. I think it was very good for hubby and I to have had a lot of time to discuss my future plans and options. I LOVE my little house and it is paid for. Everything is set up here for me to age in place. I continue to make the yard lower maintenance so as I get older it will mostly just be a matter of keeping the lawns mowed and flower beds watered. Unless some weird weather thing kills off my flower bed plants the flower beds should be able to take care of themselves from now on with very little care. Mostly water. All is good this way. I know what is wrong with this house and it is only 10 years old. I am happy and comfortable here. So I have no plans to move. I do miss my hubby very much but I am not going to let that destroy me. I would say all in all I am doing well.I do not want to be grieving for the rest of my life. I want to be happy have fun enjoy life.
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Old 05-02-2018, 12:22 AM
 
3,914 posts, read 5,194,120 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluskyz View Post
Certainly woman who have lost their spouse and who desire to be man-less is a very common and largely practiced status in our country today----especially in senior communities. While it is their right to do so I must say it seems a bit unnatural almost to the point of malfunction. I have noticed many of these woman seem to love themselves more than they have ever loved anyone else anyway. This is an opportunity.

I am glad there is still some normalacy left in our younger generation. Otherwise the master plan of continuing the human race would be in deep trouble.

I think widows with their social manner have it easier than the widowers. However when I notice the professional loners and grievers I applaud them because that is what they need to do---be a loner and a griever, nothing more. Some will do this forever.
Wow. This sounds pretty bitter to me. As for being unnatural, I think it is quite natural, given that women live longer than men. For many, many centuries, I'm sure there have been unattached, widowed women because they are statistically destined to be so. I have read that there are 13.7 widowed persons in the US, 11 million of which are women. That doesn't leave a lot of men around. Is it any wonder that widows know they are most likely going to be alone, and therefore, need to adjust to that?

Have you been rejected by a widow? It makes me wonder, when you make a statement that seems quite angry (the part in bold, above.) And by the way, how do you know how much they have loved another who is now gone? I think there are people (of both sexes) who do become "professional grievers," and I have no statistics, but I bet it is a small percentage. Most of the widows and widowers I know have active, vital lives, and are often very giving, charitable, interesting people. Although I know many widows, I actually don't know one person who is a "loner and a griever, nothing more."
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