Was your wife the first woman/girl you ever:
- Asked to become your girlfriend?
- Made love to?
Either directly (through my website or Facebook page) or indirectly (through Widowers Support Network), I frequently hear from others who experienced one of these “firsts” with their wives. And I have often wondered how that might impact the grief journey for these brothers in grief.
While that is not my story, I know this was the case for many of us. Many of you may never have experienced dating multiple women before you married, much less having made love to others.
So, how does this affect your grief journey? One reader (T. Kemp) recalls how he met his wife while serving in the Navy after meeting her at a dance in Long Beach, CA… and “got my first kiss” from her. It took four years of back and forth between California, North Dakota, and South Dakota before they could make it permanent by marrying and eventually ending up in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Both had great careers during their sixty-year marriage and raised three daughters before his wife suffered through eight years of “complications of Alzheimer’s eventually leading to her death on July 31, 2020.” Now Tom is navigating his new life without the woman who gave him his first kiss.
Others I have spoken with fell in love while still in high school and married shortly after, never having a serious relationship with another woman. And many more than you think never made love with anyone before meeting and marrying their wives.
Unless (like me) they had sisters or worked in a female-dominated industry (education, health care, etc.), these widowers have only their relationship with their wives as a foundation from which to understand other women. With that foundation now gone, who do they turn to?
If they turn first to women they meet online; chances are there will be some rough learning experiences while they expand that foundation. And unfortunately, they also may be more susceptible to scams or worse. So how do these widowers learn how to interact with women positively so they can have rewarding relationships in the future?
One option is to place yourself in circumstances where you can interact with many different women in ways that are not geared toward dating or intimacy. This might include co-ed grief groups or group activities such as hiking, biking, dancing, crafts, or even classes at your local community college or adult education schools. Each of these allows us to learn how to develop new relationships which are not fraught with such things as: What do I say? How do I dress? How do I act?
As I have mentioned in previous blogs, the women of today are very different from the girls or young women we knew 30 to 50 years ago. They are much more independent, self-assured, assertive, and self-aware. Many are genuinely NOT interested in a new romantic relationship but are open to new friendships.
These women can be exciting and fun to interact with while you develop your self-confidence in being with women. You may even find platonic relationships that are wonderful and rewarding.
Eventually, you may find new and more intimate relationships made possible by your growing comfort with single women. These more assertive and independent women will recognize and appreciate this about you and be more likely to make good friends and maybe even partners.
So don’t hide out in your house, depending only on online dating services to meet women. Get out there and be active in activities that allow you to interact with others in more diverse ways than just meeting over coffee or a glass of wine. These activities encourage a broader basis for getting to know a person. Good luck to you!
© Copyright 2022 Fred Colby
All rights reserved
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