Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Baggage

Hey there-

When Mike and I first met many of his friends expressed concern about him dating a widow.

I was insulted, of course. It isn't like I killed the guy. I didn't ask to be a widow or anything.

I understand it was their concern for him regarding the sainted dead spouse syndrome. People worry about the comparison to the dead spouse. Because anyone who has lost anyone they care about knows that you only remember the good stuff. Even the not so good stuff seems SO much better in the remembering.

........remember when we were lost in the woods for hours that one time because Bob insisted we didn't need a flashlight.........man, that was the best!...........

or

......remember how Bob would cut his fingernails and then leave them in a pile on the arm of the couch...... I loved that, I really miss that.........

It can be difficult being in a relationship with a widow, I admit. Anniversaries, birthdays, holidays, school conferences, dentist appointments, movies, vacations, dinner........any event seems to hold a memory and a possibility of bittersweet sadness, disappointment, unfulfilled dreams or regret. Even in the middle of true joy and elation these moments can rear their ugly head with no warning.

These moments can last for minutes, hours, or days, there is no predicting grief.

I would still highly recommend a relationship with a widow. We are awesome! We have faced our worst fears and have survived, maybe even thrived. We are independent and creative and insightful. We are wise and thoughtful.

So we might cry randomly, would you prefer we weren't sad about losing our spouse? (that would be totally different baggage to have to deal with) Wouldn't you like to know that if/when something happens to you we will keep your memory alive for those that knew you and for those that never had the chance? Who doesn't want a few pictures of themselves kept around the house after they are gone?

Our spouse died, but our relationship didn't end.

I realize it is hard to understand if you haven't lived it. But wishing someone was still here does not mean wishing someone else wasn't. Nobody is a second choice, just a different choice for a different time.

I believe the key to a successful relationship with a widow is honesty and self confidence, for both parties.

Comparisons are odious a friend once told me (actually told me numerous times....). This saying is true for so many situations. Other peoples relationships, other peoples children, other peoples jobs, houses, parents, yard, car........ Comparing your situation to another persons can be a dangerous game. Comparison can take on a whole new level when you are involved with a widow.

Comparisons are going to happen, you can't stop them, it is human nature, people are different. The key is what you do with them. My general rule is to keep most of them to myself unless they are completely objective;

"Bob's eyes were blue." or "Bob enjoyed biking."

or if they make my live husband look really good;

"I have never had anyone serve me breakfast in bed." or "I love that you cut your fingernails in the bathroom over a garbage can, instead of leaving them in a pile around the house like Bob always used to do."

OK, of course, in a perfect world no one would date anyone who was widowed or divorced or who had any relationship baggage whatsoever and no one would have to hear the name of a former spouse spoken out loud. Since we don't live in a perfect world I am here to tell you that dating a widow isn't all that bad, even if the dead spouse is sainted. The dead spouse never calls during dinner and they have few opinions that differ from those of the live parent.

Pick your poison.


Thanks for checking in -


Irene

5 comments:

  1. This is a very insightful and informative post. In my experience, people think you should just pack away the memories of your dead spouse once you are in another relationship. As if that can be actually accomplished!

    Your line about people not being a second choice but another one for a different time really impacted me. I will remember these words.

    I also liked your observations about "baggage." Interestingly enough, my relationship with a never-married man with no kids after my husband's death was more full of baggage than not. His lack of baggage actually ended up becoming the baggage. It has been far easier for me to now be involved with a man who was married and has a son.

    Thank you for inspiring a post filled with lots of food for thought.

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  2. Just found you...like your perspective...it's real...

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  3. Your line "Because anyone who has lost anyone they care about knows that you only remember the good stuff" upset me greatly. My husband took his own life, and I cannot get over the anger I have for him. I cannot think about the good times, all I see is the bad times we were currently having in our marriage. And just because I can't remember the good times right now doesn't mean I didn't care about him!

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  4. Hi Irene!! Love how you said to Mike "You are my 1st choice for this life." We can't go back and have our other choice. Yet, you love the choice you have now made for the future. I look forward to saying this :)Thank you!
    Jenn from Camp Widow :)

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