WSN-MO: The Perfect Catch
A few minutes with Dating and Relationship Coach, Christine Baumgartner
Friends Seemingly Lost
Among the many devastating changes that come with widowhood, one that often catches people entirely by surprise is the pulling away of one or more close friends.
Most married couples have a few (or many) friends who are also couples. The relationship between couples may involve:
· Going to dinner with each other regularly.
· Belonging to the same organizations.
· Doing things together with each other’s children.
· Even going on vacation with each other.
Perhaps this situation sounds familiar to you. There were friendship connections you’d had for years. And when your spouse died, some of these friends pulled away, and you don’t see them as often (or at all).
Sadly, this is not an uncommon occurrence. And, it ends up feeling like “insult added to injury” because these people could have been part of your support as you go through grief. They would be the perfect people with whom to share memories of your late spouse.
I’ve heard a variety of reasons for this kind of pulling away:
· The friends don’t know what to say. I’ve heard many people (who haven’t lost a loved one) say they’re afraid to talk to the widower about their loved one. They fear it will make you feel worse. What these friends don’t know is – if what they say is from their heart it will always be comforting, and that we who have been widowed usually can’t feel any worse by talking about our departed loved one.
· There’s a chance that the same-sex spouse may be worried their spouse might be interested in having a relationship with you. I realize this is their problem and doesn’t have anything to do with you. However, because it really does happen sometimes, I wanted to include it in this list.
· The friends don’t know how to handle your sadness. They want to move on with their life and feel happy again. Being around those of us who have been widowed may seem like a downer to them. The truth is – you may long to feel better as well, but that’s just not possible for quite a while because you’re the one whose spouse has died.
Hopefully, some of your longtime friends will stay in your life. This would be optimum. But if you start finding they aren’t as available, it’s helpful to find new friends. I realize there truly isn’t a substitute for longtime friends. However, making new friends will help you create an important new support system.
One of the places to begin, if you’re new to your grief journey, is to join a grief group. A well-respected national organization is GriefShare.org. I know that quite a few people have made friendships (and some have even found love) while attending their meetings.
Another group to explore, especially if you’re a little farther along in your journey, is meetup.com. You’ll find a wide variety of people participating in exciting activities. Look for something you already enjoy or would like to learn and attend at least three times to confirm whether or not you enjoy the events and the people attending.
Being proactive about spending time with old and/or new friends can be very helpful in your mental and emotional healing. I know this, not only through the stories of my clients but in my personal experience of widowhood as well.
Let me know if some of these ideas end up working for you. And, if you have suggestions to add, I’d love to hear about them.
Christine Baumgartner Dating and Relationship Coach The Perfect Catch www.theperfectcatch.com
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 will be 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 always free to do so c/o her website http://theperfectcatch.com.
Look for Christine’s advice every other Thursday.