The pitfalls of trying to find love after losing your spouse.
There’s a trap to being widowed. One that nobody tells you about.
It’s exceptionally easy to leave a relationship that just isn’t working well. Having lost a spouse you realize that EVERY relationship has an ending. We don’t normally enter into relationships with that in mind. Not really, despite the “till death do us part” phrase we utter on our wedding day. Human nature is such that we don’t actually take any of that seriously. Even if we mean it, that event is way off in the future. Or so most of us believe.
Once you’ve become widowed though, there’s just not much left to lose. Depending on how your spouse died, you may well have honestly fought for love once. To the death. And you’re most likely too tired to fight for anyone that hard again. Hell, the post widowhood battle you fought just to survive afterwards took all the strength you had left. The one year mortality statistics for widowed folk are positively frightening!
Couple that kind of exhaustion with some of the pie in the sky beliefs people carry around about what love is and you have a recipe for sleeping alone. If you had a successful marriage, and I would assume you did if you managed to outlive your spouse, you apparently figured out how to be in a long term relationship. The near fifty percent divorce rate is a sad testament to the fact that not everyone masters that skill!
Of course nobody wants to be compared to a dead spouse either. How could anyone begin to compete against someone way up on that pedestal? It’s a no-win situation but unfortunately it’s likely completely unavoidable. Even if the comparison is never made out loud. The most saintly widowed person is going to wonder how their spouse might have reacted in some certain situation. And the new love interest? Well, they’re always going to wonder “would he have picked me instead, if I had come first?”
Then there’s this: “The things you think are precious, I can’t understand.” Steely Dan — 1972
Otherwise known as the general “fuck this” attitude that comes with having actually seen a truly insurmountable problem. Little things like agonizing over which new car to buy or whether to paint the walls in your new house off white or gray seem like monumentally trite wastes of time. You don’t want to seem disinterested but it’s just plain unbelievable that someone would spend weeks or months in indecision over something that could literally be changed in a couple hours if it turned out that they didn’t like the first choice.
Whether you want to or not, you instantly become an “old soul” when you lose the love of your life. Time becomes precious and pissing it away on anything or anyone that doesn’t make your soul soar is anathema to this new you. You may truly love the person. And they may love you. But the two of you will never quite occupy the same emotional headspace. That fact alone is much more likely to break the relationship than it is to cement it together.