Friday, April 25, 2014

Widows and widowers speak up‏

Last week we talked about Trudy, a widow, who dumped the widower she had dated for six months because he was dating other women, and wasn't treating her right. I asked for opinions. And many came in.
Some feel it was good that Trudy dumped him

Sherrie said, "This widow is relieved to hear that Trudy got that toxic boyfriend out of her life. She needs to relax her 'dating widowers-only rule.' Even through widowers understand what we widows have been through, they can still be jerks. This widower was."

Gale, "What surprises me is that it took her so long to make the break-away. She wasn't appreciated and he was just stringing her along maybe until something better [in his mind] came along. How sad she had to learn the hard way."

Pictures of the deceased spouse still on the wall

Denise said, "It's fine to have a picture somewhere, just not in the center of the room. Trudy's guy may be dating others, but he's not really ready to move on."

Stella, "I don't know why the 'new woman' always wants to erase the widower's spouse from having ever existed. Three years is not an eon, if he wants pictures in his home, where is the harm? Some people take longer to heal and adjust than others. Any new woman should be sensitive to that, and a six-month relationship is not strong enough yet to start dictating the terms and conditions."

Weltha, "When he asked her if the pictures of his dead wife made her uncomfortable, why did she say 'No?' It's hard to have people understand what you feel unless you say so. 'He should have known. What was I to say?' Trudy said, but that's mindreading. She could have said, 'Yes, actually, it does bother me.'"

Carlene said, "Why let go of the past? You still get lots of sympathy from friends and family. What's so intimidating about a few pictures? Trudy said the pictures didn't bother her. She needs to be true to herself and say what she feels. If he walks because of her honesty, good riddance.

Is dating a widower, or a divorced man better?

Nancy, "I became a widow at 56, and was simultaneously diagnosed with lung cancer. Not my best year, but here I am, 2 and a half years later. And smiling. I dipped my toe into the dating pool nine months after hubby's death. After a few sputters, I've been in a relationship for over a year with a divorced, kind and wonderful man.

"We all have ghosts; some are here, some are gone. We all have history; colorful, checkered, whatever. Either someone is ready to embrace life or they are not. I told myself, 'I was not done,' and on I go. If you find yourself spending time with someone, and you must convince yourself that it's working, maybe it's time to move on."

Mindy, "I'm not sure Trudy's situation had anything to do with the man being a widower; he sounds self-absorbed."

Sherrie added, "I've been with a widower for three years; he wants a long-term relationship. But he does talk about his wife a fair bit--dead for 10 years. I'm talking less and less about my husband after four years. Over time, I'm becoming annoyed by the occasional mentions of 'we,' that refer to her, and not to me. He and I have a pretty good relationship, but not perfect. He is faithful, thoughtful, and we have fun together."

Spending the night at his deceased wife's relatives

Stella added, "I'm not so sure his intentions were interpreted correctly. Let us suppose for a moment that he was so into her that he wanted to incorporate her into his circle of family and friends. It's clear that she did not mix well with these people. But is that his fault for introducing her? She may not have the interpersonal skills necessary to finesse interaction with the family of the decease."

Weltha added, "Did she not know she was going to stay with his dead wife's relatives? Even if he had said, "I have some friends you can stay with," and it turned out to be her relatives, she could have said, "Honestly, I would feel more comfortable staying at a hotel - if you know of one, I'll be glad to take a taxi and get myself a room."

Carlene added, "I would never have spent the night at his late wife's family home. This cheapo didn't spring for a hotel room. No privacy/respect. I would have said, 'No roll in the hay, take me home now!"

Communication skills. Did both lack?

Linda, "It can't all be blamed on the widower; she complained about his communication skills. However, she did not communicate her feelings well either. She said she thought he should know that the pictures bothered her. How should he know they did?

"I bet she didn't tell him she was uncomfortable about meeting his in-laws either. Had she, they may have done something else. Communication is the key in any relationship. If you don't make your feelings known, you cannot expect someone to read your mind."

Weltha added, "I agree - he treated her 'not so well' but it might have been avoided with some speaking up. We get what we 'take' - if you don't speak up (and it can be done graciously) then although the other person is very wrong in trying to treat us that way, we bear some responsibility for allowing it to happen.

"I realize that older people (and I'm starting to include myself at 60!) were trained to always be compliant and not make waves, but this is her life and her emotional happiness. She had several opportunities to speak up and she did not. I think it would have been wiser, and the hurt and wasted time less if she had."

Sage thoughts from a widower's perspective

Sid, "I am a widower of three years, losing my wife when she was only 62.  I am now 70 and beginning to enjoy the company of ladies. I shouldn't say enjoy as much as I need to have a lady to be with, talk with and just hang out. 

"I am the face of the new retired: one full-time job and three part-time jobs, all in the health and fitness field, so I have many opportunities to be with women. I have gone out with widows, divorcees and never married, with ages ranging from 48-72, and I have learned not to pre-judge any of those three types.  Every one of those ladies were extremely nice and pleasant to be with regardless of current or past situations. 

"I understand the widows better than the other two, bonding with the mutual sense of loss. One of the common themes with me and widows is we did not choose to be in this situation as opposed with the other two. Given our druthers we would still be married and we understand that. There is a certain sadness of being with a widow, expressing our grieving, whereas the divorcees and never-married are ready to 'rock and roll,' and that is appreciated because they are looking at the future, as we widowed can sometime feel our lives have come to an end. 

"Bottom line for me is to go for it as often as I can and take each day at a time. Do I ever hope to find a permanent lady?  Right now I don't think anyone will be able to take the place of my wife, but in talking with other widowed people, that have found another person, they tell me to expect the unexpected perhaps." 

To all Champs who contributed, thanks for your thoughts, opinions and for sharing your experiences. You are what keeps the newsletter fresh and moving along each week.

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