Dear Stavroula: A Young Widow’s Dilemma

Dear Stavroula,

I am 30 years old and a widow for two years. My husband and I grew up in the same neighborhood, we went to the same high school, and there is no significant moment in my life that I did not share with him. But life was too hard for us. I lost him so unfairly in a traffic accident, in a moment. He was a wonderful person, polite, loving – he worshipped me, there was nothing he could and did not do for me. He was my soulmate, my other half, the love that everyone dreams about and few have the happiness to experience.

At first, I could not accept what had happened, I locked myself in, I mourned, I did not want to see anyone. Now, two years later, I’m a little better, I’m trying to start going out with friends, dating again, having fun, maybe even starting my life over. But every time I go out with a guy, I cannot move on, something stops me, and I give up all the time. Some of them are remarkable people, interesting – and I know that someone else in my position would be happy to go out with them. I cannot however, and end up comparing them to him. And worst of all, I feel I’m betraying him. I’m afraid I’ll end up alone and maybe I’ll never have a normal relationship with a man.

Demi

 

Dear Demi,

It is very difficult to lose your husband so young and to struggle to regain balance in your life after such a loss. But you should not stop your attempt to find yourself again, to return to your life. Your past is precious, it is your memories, it is the set of moments that shaped your character and your worldview, but it is not your whole life. Your life is each day that dawns and every moment that emerges, and you owe it yourself to enjoy it and not to lose it.

You have lived a great love and you are so lucky for it. Even now that you are not with him, you have so much that other people may never know. You know what you want from a relationship, you know the meaning of love for you. Do not fall into the trap of comparison. Every man has his own way of expressing his feelings, his interest. Do not try to find the love you lost in the face of those you go out with, it is unfair to them and painful for you. What you need to find out is whether these people share things in common with you, if they connect with you as a person, and if you enjoy being with them when you allow yourself to relax. Give yourself an opportunity to meet them at the beginning, but do not rush into a sexual relationship; let things proceed casually, and see if these men will win you over. There is no need to make long-term plans from the beginning, or to commit yourself to a relationship, as long as you do not feel good about the idea, but go out, have fun, make friends, and do not rule out the possibility of a more intimate relationship in the future.

If you still feel tied to the past and you cannot move on with your life, I would suggest that you talk to a specialist.

Surely, however, you are not betraying anyone by wanting to rebuild your life as a normal woman. And I’m sure your husband who really loved you would not want you to stay alone, without a companion. He would want you to be happy.

1 Comment

  1. Normal grieving usually lasts about 18 months. Once you get past that time and it’s ongoing you should seek counseling. And try to find a bereavement group, especially a group composed of widows. Your priest or doctor could know where to start, or call the NASW social work referral line in your state. Best wishes.

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