Noted clinical psychologist Edward Zimmer, MA, from Savannah, Georgia, is a friend of mine. You may recognize his name as he was a contributor to my book, The Widower’s Journey, and has been a guest on my podcast, Widower’s Journey Podcast. Better said, he is a childhood friend I first met on a baseball diamond when I was only twelve years old.
Today, Ed sent me a link to an article written by Madeline Holcombe and published by CNN. The piece, “Why most men don’t have enough close friends,” struck me as what the research cites parallels what I have been experiencing since I founded the Widower’s Support Network.
I have previously noted and reported how my followers’ number one complaint is loneliness. Secondly, I have mentioned how very few widowed men have friends they can count on when they need a confidant. Most friends come from their pool of co-workers or clients, and they become diminished once the man retires. Fewer men have genuine friends dating back to their youth. And fewer still know how – or think it less manly – to seek out new friends. Widowed men, frequently turn away those who offer assistance following their wife’s death – thinking acceptance is less manly. Yet, they wonder why their few male friends stop coming around, causing widowed men to complain further about feeling abandoned.
I suggest widowers get off the sofa and volunteer for a worthy cause where they can interact with people or join a civic organization like the Knights of Columbus, Rotary, or Lions Club. The lack of friends or loneliness may contribute to widowed men’s eagerness to remarry the first or second girl they may date. This rush to the Justice of the Peace frequently ends in an expensive divorce. They become confused between “love” and “replacing what’s missing, their wife.”
Here is the link to Madeline’s insightful article. See if you don’t recognize a few similarities between Madeline’s discovery and your widower’s journey.