Categories
Dating/Relationships Moving Forward

TWO BEERS AND A PUPPY

LArry Ahrens

WSN: Coffee and Conversation with Larry Ahrens

This week’s Coffee & Conversation is a little different. I cannot write about grief right now. Eight months in and lately I’ve been feeling more loss for my wife – not less. The COVID thing drags on. So, let us talk about something else. Here is something you can apply in your life right now.

I ran across this interesting book by Esquire senior editor Ross McCammon. The book is “Works Well with Others: An Outsider’s Guide to Shaking Hands, Shutting Up, Handling Jerks, and Other Crucial Skills in Business That No One Ever Teaches You.” Great title, huh?

In the book McCammon came up with a simple, easy test to help you evaluate how you feel about someone. Do I trust this person? Maybe this person is fun and interesting in some situations but not all. This test can apply in business or personal relationships. It works for both. You give them the “Two Beers and a Puppy” test.

When you encounter people McCammon recommends a simple test in which you ask yourself two questions: “Would I have two beers with this person?” and “Would I allow this person to look after my puppy over a weekend?”

“Some people are yes and yes, and those are the best people in your life,” McCammon said. “Hopefully, you were raised by people like that. Hopefully, those are your friends. And then there’s the no and no people — those are the assholes.” Yes-beer, no-puppy people “are to be cautiously trusted,” he writes in the book, while no-beer, yes-puppy people “are no fun but they make the world a better place — for puppies, especially.”

He says about the yes and yes people: “These people are wonderful people, and your life and work are better for having them in your life. Seek them out. Collaborate with them. Enjoy their company.”

I have a couple of take-away’s from this test. The answers you get from this test are guaranteed to be revealing. It might even lead you to seeing a relationship in a different way. Secondly, if someone isn’t hitting high marks, it doesn’t necessarily mean you stop investing in the relationship. Maybe an investment is exactly what the relationship needs. It is a step toward increasing the number of people in your life and work who you like and trust. That is certainly worthwhile.

Find as many “two beers and a puppy” friends as you can, and better yet, strive to be one yourself.

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Larry Ahrens is a radio (KDAZ 96.9 FM) and television (KCHF-TV) personality in Albuquerque, New Mexico where his show, “Coffee and Conversation” is broadcast-ed. Larry’s articles appears every other Thursday, right here, on WSN-MO. You can send private messages to him on Facebook.

Categories
Dating/Relationships Family Financial/Estate Planning Grief/Dispair

Accepting Choices

Jeff

WSN: Widowers, Wounded, Warrior, Waling and Walking

by Jeff Ziegler

In the last two years, I have made some life-altering tough choices. Initially, I was going to call this post “Bad Decisions”… But “Accepting Choices” seems more appropriate.

Dating

Especially for my fellow widowers, I want to start with dating. It was one of the first things I decided to do after Suzi died. Within three months of her death, I was active on dating websites. In less than 5-months, I was “in a relationship.”

The first woman with whom I had a relationship bore the brunt of my fears, anxieties, and frustrations. She became the object of an obsessive need to “fill the Suzanne sized hole” in my life. I vehemently denied this to her, but it was true.

At that moment, I was too much for someone going through a divorce, who had three children of her own, and who needed her own time and space regularly. The pressure she must have felt from me must have been both suffocating and oppressive. To her, I say, “I’m sorry.”

The second relationship (which only recently ended) “should” have worked. It was, for all those who saw us together, supposedly a perfect union. But it was not. No, I cannot put my finger on why I felt like I could not be with her any longer. It was not cut and dry. What I did know was that something inside of me was out of alignment. It was not her that caused the relationship to end. It was me.

She’s beautiful, kind, caring, loving, understanding, and accepting. She is an amazing and resilient person. I recognized that she is all the things I could want in a new person. She is all the things most men could want in a person. But I guess it came down to the fact that she was not Suzanne. It felt like I did not deserve her love. So, like in the first relationship, I came to realize that I still had to work on myself before I could fully give myself up to anyone else. To her, I have to say, “I am sorry. Forgive me. Thank you. I love you.”

Relationships have not been the only area of my life where I made some “difficult” and (probably) not very wise choices.

“Investments”

After I received a life insurance payout, I started to explore investments. Initially, I wanted to buy a business (outright) and several rental homes to generate income, but things did not quite happen that way. With some “bad choices,” the money flowed out like water—I spent too much on lavish gifts for others. I allowed my kids to spend money freely (thinking it was okay to spoil them).

I bought an investment property and rented it out. After a few months, repairs that the previous owner probably knew about (but never disclosed) but did not make started to require attention. It became a bit of a money pit.

Just to clarify, houses are usually a sound investment. The place I bought was a 45+-year-old house with a guest house at the back of the property, separated long before I bought it. I inherited a great set of tenants in the guest house, so I was already earning income. They paid rent and utilities every month, on time, every time.

Unfortunately, the people renting the main home (the larger house) were not as reliable and could not pay their rent every month. When I realized how much it had become a money pit, I started to lose interest. After increasing frustration, I sold the property this year. After considering all that I had invested in it, I sold it at a net loss of thousands.

Yes, I successfully made other investments. Today, I own a home, and (instead of owning a business), I am 10% shareholder of a larger company based in Scotland. Truthfully, it’s kind of fun and cool business to be a part of, so I am not unhappy about that choice at all.

I have also invested in my own coaching business. Recently, I decided to work primarily with other widowers to help them start to find new meaning and purpose in their lives after losing their person.

Hobson’s Choice

The things I have been doing, chasing a new partner, and investing money in something I think will bring me “happiness” and “wealth” have been “poor choices” (yes, I am judging myself). But, I know that I have created tremendous wealth for myself—yes, I created it—and it is something of a conundrum.

The story I have been telling myself is that “I would trade all the money and possessions in the world just to have Suzi back.” In some respects, the investing, the frivolous spending, the inability to commit to a new person, etc. all come from that story.

Everything I have done, the self-sabotage, the rushing into the first relationship, the ending of the second, the “good” and the “bad” investment choices, etc., has been based on this story. I keep telling myself that my identity as a person, as a man, a father, and a partner is based on my relationship with Suzanne and how I showed up in it.

I am still in the process of transformation. Over the last few weeks, since I ended the second relationship and “shed” the rental house, I have felt a weight lift off my shoulders. I am more relaxed and at ease with the decisions, I have made and have noticed something. The identity that I was clinging to has started to fall away, and a new one has begun to emerge.

In the last few weeks, I have started to create a new identity. Emerging is the coach, the helper, the man who changes the lives of other widowers. That is part of the new identity as is the solo father who maintains boundaries but still shows up for his kids (this has been a huge struggle for me, and it impacted both my previous relationships). All these choices I have made are part of my new identity. And my new identity continues to evolve—”something from nothing”—as I do… but that is also a choice I have made. And now, I choose to be a healthy, present, open, conscious, and helpful person for myself and others.

It is the choice I have been forced to make. It is the choice I have accepted.

____________________________________________

Jeff Ziegler can be seen every two weeks here on WSN-MO. You can write Jeff at jeff.ziegler@ymail.com

Categories
Dating/Relationships Family Grief/Dispair Healing Loneliness Moving Forward

God, Football, Sex & Gold-diggers

Fred-18

WSN: Widower to Widower with Fred Colby

Admit it! How often have even the most devout of us have chosen to attend a football game (or other favorite sport or activity) instead of attending church? Or instead of spending time with your family? Or instead of honoring a previous commitment to a friend?

If you are a churchgoer, you might be accused of violating the first commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” The non-believers among us might question on whether they have their priorities straight? Are you choosing to place immediate personal gratification before things with more real long-term worth?

Whether we are religious or not, most of us can all agree that during our marriages, we gradually developed a set of values that are important to our sense of self and well-being. These might include such beliefs as:

• Love is better than hate

• Truth is better than lies

• Honesty is better than deceit

• Compassion is better than indifference

• Helping others is better than self-indulgence

So often, we can easily be distracted from these core beliefs, which are essential to our well-being.

When we lose our faithfulness to these beliefs and values, and when we choose to adopt contrary values, we put ourselves at risk and endanger our relationships with those we love and have learned to depend.

Sex, in particular, can entice us away from those long-held beliefs which have served as our foundation for years. In the wrong hands, it can blind us and turn us to less ethical or honorable practices.

During our most vulnerable time (first year of grieving), an experienced gold digger can easily manipulate us and even get us to do things contrary to our beliefs. If our new friend is just feeding our fantasy or appealing to our weakest inclinations, rather than encouraging, supporting, and helping build us up… this is the time to stop and think about where this is all going. Is this really what you want?

There also are many women (and men) who are just plain desperate because of finances, loneliness, or lousy living arrangements. They, too, can cling to you like a raft in rough seas and drag you down with them if you are not careful. So slow down and ask, are my priorities straight? Are her priorities straight?

When I started dating again, I sat down with my two daughters to explain why having women in my life also were important to me and to let them know that I would be careful. I was fortunate that they did not get angry or resent me for this; one suggested that her husband (a former Secret Service agent) would background check my new friends!

A good woman or new best friend will help us to continue our growth. They may even challenge us (without being overbearing) to be better! Remember when your wife did that? Maybe we resented it sometimes, but after a while, we often realized that they were just helping us to be our best selves.

If you find yourself in a new and healthy relationship, you will learn that it is a two-way street, just like your marriage was. That is, you will have opportunities to help each other grow, to support each other, and to encourage each other. This kind of relationship can make your later years wonderful and enjoyable, rather than destructive and painful.

So if you find yourself drawn like a moth to the flame of new relationships, please learn to pause (I know this is not easy during the early deep grieving phase) and think about what you want in a new relationship and what feels right. You could save yourself from much more pain down the road.

© Copyright 2020 Fred Colby

All rights reserved

_________________________________________________________________________________

Fred Colby is the author of Widower to Widower, which is available on Amazon.com. You can find Fred’s column appearing here on WSN-MO every other Tuesday. Widower to Widower is available through your local bookstore, my website, and Amazon.

Categories
Dating/Relationships Family

Maid, Cook, Concubine, or Wife?

Fred-18

WSN-MO: Widower to Widower with Fred Colby

In my last blog, we spoke about how alone and desperate, we often feel after our wife has passed. And we discussed how this could lead to horrible decisions that can pretty much ruin your life going forward. So, what happens when we meet a possible “new best friend”? How do we know that our new friend is the “right one”?

In our messed-up psycho-emotional state, it is easy to make a bad decision and have our feelings dictated by wrong motives. It is easy to think that we want to marry this wonderful new woman we just met. (I know this from personal experience.)

And for some of us, the drive for intimacy can be overpowering. The euphoria of a new relationship can wipe out all reason and lead us down a path without regard for the consequences.

So what can we do to avoid these traps when we meet someone who excites us and helps us forget our pain for a while? One thing you might want to do is think a little bit about what you are looking for in a relationship. For example, are you looking for a:

1. Maid: maybe you are one of those guys who leave his clothes all over the place, who never washes the dishes, who wears the same clothes again and again without washing them, and who never mows the lawn, much less pull the weeds. If this is the case, and you were used to your wife doing most of these things, you might just be looking for a maid. I can tell you that hiring a maid to come in once a month is a lot cheaper than remarrying.

2. Cook: Or maybe you have never had to fend for yourself in terms of shopping, cooking, and baking, and you quickly tire of eating out (especially now in pandemic times) or eating frozen meals. There are plenty of widowers who cannot fry an egg, much less cook vegetables, or even a crockpot meal. When a gal comes into our lives who unselfishly prepares tasty homecooked meals for us, we might think we have discovered “the one.” While I am one of those easily impressed by a good meal, I have found that this alone may not be an indicator of how well a marriage will work out. But I must admit that in a good relationship, each of you should bring something to the table and not just money or a home!

3. Concubine: As some of you know, after we lose our wives, we can often have deep cravings for intimacy with a woman just to feel close to someone again, to feel loved again, and to quiet the weird and intensely sexual, physical symptoms we may experience. Such feelings can drive us to distraction as our moral compass struggles with the demands of our body and psycho-emotional state of mind. Way too often, while in this state, we can mistake intimacy with love, leading to poorly informed decisions of the highest magnitude, including getting married. So, if you find yourself in this position, please commit to both yourself and your new friend to slow things down and take your time before making rash decisions. Make sure that what you want is a long-term, lasting relationship built upon love and mutual respect.

4. Wife: If you feel there is more to your new relationship than is outlined above, you have come to the crux of your decision-making. And when I say wife, I also mean long-term commitments that may or may not include living together. As a widower in today’s world, there are many reasons why you may not want to take the marriage route (e.g., social security benefits, family, legal restrictions in wills/trusts). If you feel that your relationship has matured past the euphoric stage to genuine love and respect for each other, then maybe you are ready for this big step. If you have close family or friends, this step needs to be taken with careful planning so you can hopefully retain those other relationships which are so crucial to your mental health and happiness going forward.

In all cases at minimum, please consider:

• Waiting at least one year after your wife’s passing before making such an important decision (if the new relationship is real, it can withstand a few months of waiting), and

• Meet with a grief therapist to talk everything over to ensure your decisions are made based upon a solid foundation that can see you through to a successful conclusion.

Best wishes to all my fellow widowers as we all navigate this strange and challenging period of widower-hood.

© Copyright 2020 Fred Colby

All rights reserved

______________________________________

Fred Colby is the author of Widower to Widower, which is available on Amazon.com. You can find Fred’s column appearing here on WSN-MO every other Tuesday. Widower to Widower is available through your local bookstore, my website, and Amazon.

© Copyright 2020 Fred ColbyAll rights reserved______________________________________Fred Colby is the author of Widower to Widower, which is available on Amazon.com. You can find Fred’s column appearing here on WSN-MO every other Tuesday. Widower to Widower is available through your local bookstore, my website, and Amazon.

22

Categories
Dating/Relationships Forgiveness Guilt/Shame Loneliness Mental/Emotional Health Moving Forward

Am I Cheating?

Chris Brandt

There is a feeling of fall in the air. Depending on where you live, you may have noticed the nights are feeling a little cooler, and the morning air is feeling a little brisker. Where I live, I have also seen the leaves on the trees are starting to lose their spring/summer green color. One thing is for sure, the last of the “Summer” holidays is upon us. That means different things to different people.

With fall approaching I have to do something I have been dreading, I have to take my son back to his apartment so he can continue college. I am ashamed to admit that a small part of me wanted his classes to be online rather than in person. I tried convincing myself that this hope stemmed solely from a concern for his safety. The truth is, I was only kidding myself. I wanted him home with me longer. I wanted someone home when I get back from work, I wanted someone home to eat with, and I wanted someone home to have conversations.

Recently, I accepted the fact that I will soon be alone. This made me think about a co-worker that I have been talking with at work. This friend has alluded to the fact that she is open to having dinner together sometime. I did not think about that as an option at the time because I had my son at home, and we had each other for company. Besides, I wanted to spend every minute I could live with him. Now, I face eating alone, which is why those passive hints from my co-worker resurfaced. It sounds like it would work out perfectly. She is alone after a break up in her relationship, I will be alone, and it is worth considering. Or is it?

After my thoughts started to get more serious about asking my friend to dinner, I became overwhelmed with emotion. What is the passion that is pouring over me? After concentrating on this feeling, I discovered its origin. What I am feeling is guilt. What I did not understand is why I was feeling this.

You may have experienced this feeling too. In my situation, I am just at the beginning of sorting out these feelings. The reason I wanted to mention this is that if you have felt this emotion, do not feel alone. It comes with the territory. I felt as though I would be cheating if I did ask this person to dinner. It is my opinion that after years of marriage, you will feel like you are cheating on your late spouse. In reality, I know it would not be cheating. I know she would want me to have company and companionship.

When the time is right, we all have to decide between being open to finding a new friend that may lead to a relationship. What we do need to remember is that there is not a set time for this scenario. It may even be that we decide we don’t want that type of companionship, and only you know if that’s your case. However, one thing we do know is that you need to be open to this, and it isn’t cheating. The only cheating that happens by hiding from others is you cheating yourself out of a possible friendship. Be strong, my brothers.

_______________________________________________

You can reach Chris at brandt5@hotmail.com

Categories
Dating/Relationships Grief/Dispair Guilt/Shame Healing Loneliness Moving Forward

Permission to Change

Nyle Kardatzke

My wife and I slept in a king-size bed in the final years of her life. After her death, I continued to sleep in that massive bed, but always on my side, not hers. It was a comfortable bed, but I found I was swimming all over it at night, and it was hard to make such a large bed by myself. Changing the sheets seemed to be more work than it was worth for me alone.

About four months after my wife died, I looked at that king-size bed one morning, and for the first time, it occurred to me that I didn’t have to keep using it. I could use one of our other beds. I winced at the thought, wondering what my wife would say if she came home and saw that I had changed things without her permission. Where would she sleep? It took me half a minute to realize she wouldn’t be coming back to catch me disturbing our bed. Emotionally I didn’t feel that I should be making a change without her permission even though mentally, I knew that it was okay. I went ahead that day with a major bed-moving operation that ultimately led me to the twin-size bed that now suits me best.

Several other times, I have wanted to make a change in the house or my schedule and have felt I had her permission to do so. Fortunately, my wife was quite practical, so it’s easy for me to picture her approving and endorsing some of the changes I have made. But there are still things I leave as they were, out of respect for space she still occupies in my mind. She liked things this way, and I can still enjoy them for that reason.

Many widow-men probably need to feel their wives’ permission to make changes, especially in the first few weeks or months. Of course, we know that it is we who must grant the permission, but we are more comfortable with those decisions when we feel our wives invisibly agreeing, may be smiling and nodding from where they are. My wife’s name was Darlene, so I sometimes ask myself, “WWDD” (what would Darlene do)? I often receive assurance about an action by asking that question, and I have been diverted from disasters in the same way.

Small household changes are one thing; new relationships, especially with women, are another. Some men never feel they have permission to see other women, to say nothing of remarrying. Others make this transition smoothly. Still, others can do so because their wife told them she wanted them to remarry. You will have to listen to your mind as well as your heart in these matters, and you may need to listen for your wife’s voice for her counsel.

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Look for Dr. Kardatzke’s insights to appear in his column named after his book, “WIDOW-MAN,” every other Wednesday. You can write Dr. Kardatzke at thewidowman@gmail.com

Categories
Dating/Relationships Mental/Emotional Health

How to get over a breakup

Christine-14

Navigating Painful Breakups without losing yourself

You found him! You’re so happy! Everything in life feels brighter and better.  

You talk for hours. There’s a huge connection and chemistry between you. You feel like a teenager again! You start to think there might be a future with this relationship.

And then… it ends.

This article isn’t about why the relationship ended. Instead, let’s talk about how to get through the loss of breaking up without losing yourself.

*A side note: This article is written from a woman’s perspective (because I’m a woman and it was easier that way). I know men can have the same experience and I hope my suggestions are helpful for you as well.

Surviving the breakup

After the breakup, your task becomes how to live with that unbearable ache for him in your mind, bod, and soul. You miss his voice, his touch, his presence. Sometimes the pain becomes so large you wonder if you’ll get through the next hour.

It doesn’t matter whether you ended the relationship, or he did. Either way, it’s tempting to reach out to him. You want him back in your life. You want things to go back to how they were (especially the good times). You want to text. You want to call.

He’s on your mind all day, distracting you. You cry at the drop of a hat. Your energy is low. It feels unending.

Using imagery

Because I’m a visual person, I use images to help manage big life challenges and emotions. For example, I often use the image of ocean waves to represent my overwhelming feelings.  

I have found that – just like the ocean – intense feelings come in like powerful waves, knocking me off my feet and tumbling me over and over with no air to breathe. With huge feelings (just like the waves), I feel like I can’t breathe, that I’m drowning, and I’ll never surface again.

And then just like the ocean, the wave finally goes back out, and I can breathe again, stop crying, and maybe even muster a smile.

A lesson from widowhood

My widowhood journey has taught me that the horrible ache of loss and sadness eventually becomes “less awful,” a bit at a time.  

In the meantime, the best thing for me to do is to feel all my feelings when they show up (even though that’s the last thing I want to do).

Then, as time goes on (days/weeks/months), I start to notice moments when I actually feel better. Even if the good feeling is only one or two minutes out of 60 minutes, I consider that a win because those good moments will eventually come more often and last longer. 

Finding the teenager within

Another image that helps me… I picture the hurt, sad, mad, disappointed part of me as a crazed teenager. I remember how passionately I felt things as a teen. 

My feelings of wanting a life situation to go back to what it was (when I know it can’t or shouldn’t) belong to the teenager – and they’re very real feelings inside of me (even though in reality they are unreasonable and irrational).

It helps me to realize that idea of taking immediate action belongs to a teenager. And that it’s time to put my adult head in charge instead of my teenage heart – for that’s what keeps me safe from re-entering a situation or relationship that is wrong for me.

Taking this image a step further, I think about the inner teenager and my car. It’s dangerous to have a crazed teenager in the driver’s seat (because that’s definitely how it feels inside me). She could crush me into a wall!

So my next visualization is to gently put her in the backseat and give her things to soothe her. I promise not to give her a hard time for her feelings. I give her permission to have all the feelings she wants for as long as she needs to. I promise to help her heal her broken heart.

I give her things she likes: a funny movie, time in the spa, a friend’s shoulders to cry on, comfort foods, exercise, permission to cry at any moment, and anything (sentimental commercials, Hallmark movies).

Then I put my adult self in the driver’s seat so I can navigate through my day. My adult self knows I need to eat and sleep. She knows I need to get work done. She knows how to prioritize tasks to best use my energy. And she knows to keep an eye on my teenage self and give her attention when she needs it.

Have you used images like these (or something else) to get through a hard breakup? If so, I’d love to hear from you. Send me an email.

Categories
Children Dating/Relationships

Dear Abby Style Article #1

Christine-14

PUBLISEHD 3-19-20 

WSN-MO: The Perfect Catch

A few minutes with Dating and Relationship Coach, Christine Baumgartner

Just about every day, I’m in communication with widowers. 

Not only is it what I do as a dating and relationship coach, it also comes from being involved in several widow Facebook groups. I’m so grateful for all these connections, for it has helped my own healing process. 

The many “gems” I’ve collected along the way have led me to think an occasional “Dear Abby” style article might be in order. So, I’m giving it a try. Below you’ll find three great questions I received, followed by my thoughts. 

Question: My wife passed almost two years ago, and I’m dating a woman who is also widowed. My wife had tons of new clothes, shoes, jewelry, perfume, etc. Is it tacky to give some items to my new friend? Everything is brand new, still boxed as my wife bought it – designer pocketbooks and all. Or should I ask her if she’d feel creepy taking stuff?

Answer: Such a great question… thanks for asking. Here’s my suggestion. You could ask the new lady in your life if she’s interested in any of your late wife’s clothes. Let her make the decision. There’s no “right” or “wrong” here; I’ve seen it go both ways.

  • I know a few couples (in the same circumstances – both widowed) who are happily wearing the late spouse’s clothes.
  • I also know a couple where the new partner thought it would be too creepy to wear the clothes of the late spouse. And a widower who thought it would be too startling and sad to see another person wearing his dead wife’s things.

As a side note – if your new lady isn’t interested in your late wife’s clothes, then make sure you ask your family members if they would like any of her clothes. Sometimes family members want something just as a memory and not to actually wear. So ask everyone, even if they’re not the right size.  

Question:  I’m 60 years old and was married for 36 years. In 2018, my wife passed away after a 3.5 year battle with inflammatory breast cancer. I grieved the entire 3.5 years of her illness, knowing I was going to lose her. My 33-year-old daughter, who lives with me, was infuriated when I started dating seven months after my wife passed. I’ve been dating a wonderful lady for six months now, and we’re falling in love. We have no plans for marriage at this time. My daughter has all the concerns and terrible anger I’ve read about. I’ve tried to reassure her that I’ll always love her, and we can still have a close relationship. I don’t think she will ever accept the new lady in my life. She has ruined relationships with my brother and his wife and my sister over this. They have also tried to let her know that I’m moving forward and will always love her. My 25-year-old son is happy for me. This has created a huge gap between him and his sister. She’s been to grief counseling only once. I’ve offered to go with her but never get an answer. 

Answer: This is a challenging situation. I’ll give you a few ideas, and I trust you’ll find what works for you.

It’s important to keep living your life amidst your daughter’s upset. It’s not your job (really) to make her happy every minute of every day – this may be a hard belief to carry when it involves a daughter you care about. However, she sounds pretty unreasonable. When someone has an attitude like this, it’s very difficult to make them happy. 

If things become unbearable, a time may come when you need to draw a line in the sand. Have a trusted friend or therapist help you come up with some well-thought-out boundaries. This isn’t an easy task, especially when the boundary is something like “she needs to treat you (and the lady in your life) courteously and with respect or she needs to move out (and give her a deadline).” With any boundary, make sure you’re really ready. Because, for it to work, you’ll truly have to “stick to your guns” and not back down. 

A few caveats:

  • I don’t know the circumstances behind your 33-year-old daughter needing to live with you. If it’s a physical or emotional reason (meaning she needs constant supervision and care, then you might need to eventually consider a facility where she could be cared for. 
  • If she’s capable of living on her own but has a financial issue (and she’s physically, mentally, and emotionally capable of supporting herself), then a boundary might just be the thing she needs to get her life together. It could be that part of the reason she’s mad is she feels threatened that her living situation might change. 
  • Once our children become adults and are capable of taking care of themselves, then it’s up to us parents to move on with our lives. We need to become examples of people who do good self-care, and being in a healthy, loving relationship is one of the ways we do this. 

Question: My wife of 10 years recently passed away. I went straight to anger mode, and I’ve been there ever since. Why do scumbags get to live, and my sweet wife was take? She was one of the greatest people on this earth? I’m functioning at work and in everyday life but am also pissed off all the time.

Answer: Your feelings of anger are so normal. And you’re right – it makes no sense that wonderful people die and terrible people get to live. Many widowed people feel this way (I certainly did). I appreciate you’re still being a responsible person and going to work. At the same time, I know how debilitating it is to be angry all the time. Here’s what I’ve seen work for others and myself:

  • Therapy. A skilled and professional therapist can help you work through your feelings of anger.
  • Regular exercise. I realize this doesn’t change any of the circumstances. I do know it’s a great way to dissipate and lower the energy behind your anger and help it not feel as consuming—things like walking, running, bicycling, or lifting weights at the gym. I’ve also known people who took up martial arts because, not only did they get to expend energy, it also gave them focused targets on which to aim their anger.
  • Join a support group. This is one thing that helped me. I found widow groups (both online and through meetup). When you share your anger issues with the group, you’ll probably find out that many of them share your same feelings. Some of the members may have insights for you. 
  • Recommended reading. Why Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold Kushner, this book helped me tremendously with my anger. It’s been helpful for many of my clients as well.

In closing…

Have you had experiences like these? If so, how did you handle them? I’d love to hear your thoughts. And as always, please write to me with your questions and concerns. I’m happy to answer them.


WSN-MO: A FEW IMPORTANT POINTS.

1. The services offered by Christine, herself a widow, does not include “dating or matchmaking services.”

2. WSN-MO remains a private “Men Only” page. As such, Christine does not have direct access to WSN-MO’s Facebook page. All postings are facilitated through WSN-MO.

3. WSN-MO members can ask questions of Christine (even anonymously via private message to me) Just send your questions to me at herb@WidowersSupportNetwork.com. Following, I will then post her responses.

4. WSN-MO members who wish to contact Christine directly are encouraged to do so c/o her website http://theperfectcatch.com.

Look for Christine’s advice every other Thursday.

NOTICE: Listen to Christine’s advice on Widower’s Journey Podcast, Episode #2.

See: http://widowersjourney.libsyn.com/relationships-with-christine-

Categories
Dating/Relationships Loneliness Mindfulness Self-care

Settling into Singleness

Terrell Whitener

When not having the privilege of submitting articles to this outstanding group of men, I enjoy reading the exceptional content provided by other writers as well as reading your questions and thoughts. One of the common issues that seem to foster many conversations is dating and new relationships as a widower.

Last week I experienced my fifth anniversary as a widowed man. In these five years, I have learned so much about life and myself as well. Anniversaries and milestones often are times for deep thoughts and reflections about our station in life. Last week as I found myself in one of these thoughtful periods, I reflected on just how comfortable I have become in my singleness.

As I have stated many times, I have no desire to find another version of my late wife. One of the primary reasons for feeling that way is because my wife’s death changed me in many ways. During the last few years of her life, I served as my wife’s primary caretaker. While I am so grateful to have made her comfort the primary focus of my life, this endeavor was exhausting as well as all-consuming. One of the first realizations, after my wife died, was just how exhausted I was.

When you experience both physical and emotional exhaustion, you are exhausted! The one thing that I am very sure of is that I am not the same person I used to be. My needs and desires are much different now. I am very comfortable with the fact that I have settled into singleness.

When thinking about the reasons that I have reached this point in my life, I think there are three primary reasons. These reasons are my patience, my emotional band-with, and my desire.

When thinking about my patience with relationships, I selfishly have little desire to deal with the thought dis-approving kids, family members, or friends playing a role in any relationship I may have. During my widowhood, I have discovered a newfound respect for my time. Whom I spend my time with and how I spend my time have become very important to me? The thought of spending my time trying to win over disapproving family and friends doesn’t sound like something I am remotely interested in.

The second area that I feel contributes significantly to my singleness is my emotional bandwidth. My emotional bandwidth is probably a combination of being gun shy about starting a new relationship, a bit of selfishness (enjoying my newfound freedom), and a healthy dose of healing mixed in for good measure. Even though it’s been five years for me, I still feel there is still so much out to be explored before even contemplating settling back down with one person. However, let me be transparent. I like so many rushed into a relationship with a woman that I knew soon after my wife’s death. To put it mildly, I was not ready. Fortunately, the woman and I remain on civil terms. It is my nature now to very err on the side of caution. I have learned that I can enjoy the company of the opposite sex without it being a search for marriage every time we go out. I have pleasantly discovered there are several women that feel as I do.

The third and final reason for me is that I have quelled the desire to be attached to feel complete. For those of you who have found new relationships and even marriage, I applaud you. Fulfilling this part of your life is as different for us as the pathway to healing is for us all.

So, there you have it, my thoughts on my current state, successfully single. Now watch me go to the grocery store tomorrow and fall head over heels in love! As always, I welcome your responses to my offerings. And remember, this is just one man’s opinion. Until next time.

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Terrell Whitener is an author, motivational speaker, and coach. Based in St. Louis, Missouri, Terrell is the author of “The First 365, Learning to Live After Loss.” Terrell can be reached at his newly redesigned thedebriefgroup365.com; there you will find all of his social media contacts or c/o herb@WidowersSupportNetwork.com

Categories
Dating/Relationships Love Languages Moving Forward

Love Languages

Christine-14

WSN-MO: The Perfect Catch

A few minutes with Dating and Relationship Coach, Christine Baumgartner

Several years after Tony’s death – as the fog of widowhood started lifting – I found myself wondering, “what’s next.” I wanted to be open to inspiration and possibilities. I knew they were out there somewhere if I could just learn how to recognize them.

Little by little, I gathered little gems, most of them in my everyday life. These lifted my spirits and gave me hope. I made a practice of watching for them. The story below is an example of this.

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I love to shop in used bookstores. And that’s where this story takes place – in a used bookstore in Everett, Washington (just north of Seattle).

As I’m making my way to checkout with my great finds, I notice an older gentleman approaching the counter just ahead of me. In a tentative manner (almost apologetic – he looks out of his comfort zone) the gentleman asks the staff person if they have “that book about the five love languages.” My ears perk up; this is a favorite topic (and book) of mine.

The staff person says yes, and that she’ll get it for him right away.

After she disappears into the stacks, I turn to the man and say, “Good choice. Are you buying the book because of someone?”

With a smile and a twinkle in his eye, he tells me it’s for a lady friend who recommended he read it. He gently taps my arm as he answers.

“You’re going to get so much benefit from this book,” I say. “Do you know anything about it?”

“No, but that’s not a problem,” he says, once again tapping my arm. “I’m someone who likes to keep learning, and I know it will make her happy that I’m buying it.”

Then he abruptly becomes self-conscious and says, “So sorry; I keep touching you. I’ve been told I do that too much.”

“I’m completely okay with it,” I tell him. “As a matter of fact, you might learn, as you read the book, your love language is physical touch.”

He looks relieved and also intrigued. I go on to tell him that when he and his lady friend take the love language test, it’s best to take them separately. Then afterward, it’s fun to discuss each other’s results together.

By now, the staff person is back, book in hand. The man takes it from her and shows it to me, asking, “Is this the right one?” I nod.

As the cashier rings up his book, he finds that not only is it less expensive because it’s used, it’s also on sale. He’s ecstatic.

With his purchase proudly in hand, he turns and thanks me. I tell him that my job involves talking to people about their relationships, which is why I’m so clear about the importance of this book, to both individuals and couples.

He says, “I could tell you knew stuff.”

As I pay for my books, he asks, “Guess how old I am?”

I tell him I have no idea.

“I’m 85,” he says. Then to my surprise, he does a high karate kick. “There’s still fire in me!” are his parting words.

So inspiring – at 85, he’s decided to learn about love languages. And he’s going out of his comfort zone in an attempt to connect with his lady friend.

Learning your own love language and that of your partner is a tool I use to help people work on relationship problems. My clients are often surprised to hear how differently people can feel loved and cared about, depending on what their “love language” is.

I consistently recommend the book “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman (the same book my elderly friend bought). It talks about five ways people typically feel loved and will help you learn your language and your partner’s (you can also take the love language quiz online). Chapman lists the five love languages as:

1. Acts of service – doing something for the other person.

2. Quality time – spending time with the other person.

3. Words of affirmation – giving compliments and other affirming verbal messages.

4. Gifts – giving and receiving of gifts.

5. Physical touch – regular physical touching.

Even if you like all five of these, there’s usually one you prefer. If you assume your partner will come in on the same “love language” wavelength as yours, things may not work very well. You can do your “language” with them all you want, but the other person will still feel lacking if it’s not the language that makes them feel loved and cared about.

So, what is your love language? I’d love to hear about any challenges and successes you’ve had with it in your personal and romantic life. Send me an email and let me know!

And by the way, my love language is words of affirmation, so I love compliments.

Coach Christine

WSN-MO: A FEW IMPORTANT POINTS.

1. The services offered by Christine, herself a widow, does not include “dating or matchmaking services.”

2. WSN-MO remains a private “Men Only” page. As such, Christine does not have direct access to WSN-MO’s Facebook page. All postings are facilitated through WSN-MO.

3. WSN-MO members can ask questions of Christine (even anonymously via private message to me) on our Facebook page, which I will then forward to her. You can also send questions to me at herb@WidowersSupportNetwork.com. Following, I will then post her responses.

4. WSN-MO members who wish to contact Christine directly are encouraged to do so c/o her website http://theperfectcatch.com.

Look for Christine’s advice every other Thursday.

NOTICE: Listen to Christine’s advice on Widower’s Journey Podcast, Episode #2.

See: http://widowersjourney.libsyn.com/relationships-with-christine-baumgartner