Friday, May 8, 2009

Widows and Dating (Only for those who are ready to think about it...)

Dear Wonderful Widows,

Last night was the first evening of this months ‘Widows Dating Again Class’. It was fun and I know we all learned a lot.

What struck me after the class was how truly vulnerable widows are. I don’t mean that we are vulnerable to unscrupulous men.

We are vulnerable to our own need to connect, to touch, to be touched, and to our desire to rid ourselves of the devastating loneliness of loss.

It we expected our husband to die or if he died suddenly, the loneliness of loss is always sudden. There is no way to prepare for being alone and no way to anticipate and prepare for the unremitting loneliness that follows. It is this loneliness that makes widowhood so long and so arduous. And it is this loneliness that has us make mistakes.

Eight years ago, this loneliness hit me like it hits all widows, like a tsunami. It was an emotional, physical and spiritual loneliness.

Emotionally, I craved connection with someone who could hear me; I craved understanding and I craved loving someone and being loved.

Spiritually, I temporarily lost my sense of connection with God, making day-to-day life even more rigorous. No matter what I tried, I could not MAKE that connection happen. I was lonely for God.

Physically I craved skin-to-skin contact. Touch. The touch of a man. Sex! I yearned for the connection that happened when Mike and I made love, and I (ridiculously) thought that I could have it with someone I did not love.

Can I admit here that I made mistakes without going into detail? I hope so. Let me just say that in my drive to rid myself of loneliness, I met a wonderful man who was just not for me.

Many of you will make similar mistakes. A great deal of the discussion last night was about safety. It was about emotional safety as well as physical and spiritual safety. (Spiritual safety I define as making decisions in your life that will not mess with your own connection with your Higher Power.)

Widowhood is the time to include others in your decisions, especially decisions around relationships. Include girlfriends in your life. Tell all to those women who will not judge, but rather will give their honest and compassionate opinion when asked. Ask for help.

We need our friends who are our allies to know what we are up to so that we don’t make mistakes that are too big. I appreciate the people in my life who, when I ask them, tell me exactly what they think, even if I might not like it. I need these people, even if sometimes I get mad at them. You need them too.

Much Love, Mie Elmhirst Widows Breathe Coaching


  1. I am in this situation now (dating again), and I have some close friends and a sister that I can and do confide in. You are so right in saying that we are lonely, we crave that relationship that we had. I don't know if that will ever be the case for me again... but I am taking the first steps to get out there again. It's so much harder when you have all these years of experience behind you, and I had hoped it might be easier. Sigh... The men are widows, or divorced. And some of those are hung up on their late or ex-spouses. I do NOT think I would be interested in one who never had the courage to "take the plunge", however. I could definitely see myself in some of what you wrote.

  2. Mie, I just lost my husband in December, so this topic seems so far off for me. I do appreciate reading this though. I have so many mixed emotions on this subject. I do know that my loss is way too soon for me to worry about any of this, but my mind runs wild most times and this subject has entered. I had the very best, so finding someone even slightly close will be almost impossible, and then when I think of finding someone else, it makes me feel like I am betraying Johnny. I want a relationship, I loved being married, the sharing and experiencing life with someone else, and the closeness, boy do I miss his touch, BUT, I want all of this with John, not someone else. What a long and lonely life this is. I so want him back. Now I understand when they say one of the phases you go through is bargaining. I would give almost anything to have him here with me. You are so right when you mention the lonliness, not only with losing your spouse, but the relationship with the higher power. I am so lost now, I can't even find comfort through God. Hugs to everyone, Lorry

  3. its just over three years for me and i am an orphan as well as a widow my my children are all living away now you give so much to them when you are widowed young you try to cope for them but when you loose the half of your whole no matter how hard you try men in their 40's dont want to settle they want a thrill a younger model men dont need the physical closeness the way we do i miss my man so much it hurts and hurts more as time goes by i ve tried so start dating but it has not worked ite very lonely

  4. I am at three and a half years now and I think I am going a bit mad. I am spending too much, but that's another story I know I do that because I am unhappy, and shopping gets me through the lonely nights. A few months ago I thought I was so much better and ready to move on, I fell for a work collegue, he was having marriage problems had moved back to live with his father, at first I was sorry for him, I thought he was the answer, I was naive, but I began to believe he cared for me too, I was so stupid, when I look in the mirror I see my mother! What happens, where do I go from here, I see the future so bleak. A friend of mine said that what she missed when she was widowed was the smell of aftershave, I now know what she means, its like a physical ache. What do I do? Am I going mad?

  5. I am 2 yrs now after 35 yrs togther and 41 yrs knowing each other my wife died in bed next to me not even ill one morning on fathers day !! the emptyness and lonelyness just drives me insane... i have tried dateing and at first its like having an affair !! and each person i meet wants to much of me right away !! I now realise more and more i was driven by NEED I recently met someone of a differnt culture and she was very needy to after a recent divorce we had lots of good times but just kept hurting each other all the time with two differnt expectations !! I sometimes think if any thing new is watered down then do i really want it ?? My wife and i where so close as sole mates i miss her so much my life is so empty even tho i have three grown up children and a two year old baby boy grandchild !!! she used to say if i was ever left on my own i would be useless and hey she was damed right !!!

  6. I did have a very brief relation with a man over a year after my husband's passing. I had wanted that touch and to feel warmth. It was far from what I hoped or expected and there was no sexual enjoyment. I now prefer to be alone. It did feel like I was having an affair because I will never get over my husband's death or stop loving him. What I miss the most when it comes to touch is my back or feet being massaged and just being in a man's arms. I am not willing to settle, though, and I see many widows in my age group settle for anyone to not be alone. Not all that glitters is gold.

  7. I also am a vulnerable widow who without realising went into a new relationship with a family friend whom I'd know for approx 20 years only 6 months after my loving husband passed.... Thinking this was perfect timing and a totally perfect relationship I poured my heart and soul into this new partner and even went as far as wanting to marry him. Needless to say within one year he had everything he wanted from me and left me broken and distraught. He tore out my heart and left me shattered and broke. Let this be a serious lesson to all recently widowed ladies, don't take the want for love and hugs as a relationship - it only prolongs the grieving period and leaves you feeling totally empty.

    1. Dear Anonymous,
      I am a widow who's going through the same thing! Just know YOU ARE NOT ALONE! I just hope we can both find the strength to move on and find someone who is truley worthy of all the love we have to give.

  8. Its 5 years for me. I am so lonely. I miss the hugs, his touch, his smell, his laugh - i even miss a good row! I had the best. Sometimes I think I would like to go out for a meal with someone else but then guilt kicks in and I pick up yet another book. I only want Terry, but know this will not happen.