Society has expectations of
what is and is not appropriate behavior for the wife or the
significant other of a formerly widowed man. I say "formerly
widowed" because once a widower decides to remarry or decides to
become involved in a committed relationship with another, I believe
that its time for him to say goodbye to his late wife.
society believe this as well? I have come to the conclusion that "it
depends" on who society is. Before we became the "new love" in our
men's lives we were a part of society. As a part of society we were
conditioned to believe that we should feel sorry for our widower and
we should listen to his pain and we should be the shoulder to cry on
and we should be understanding that his late wife has come before us
and that we should understand how important she was in his life and
we should allow this memory of her to flourish for the rest of our
lives with this man. We should understand all of this, and at the
same time we are sharing ourselves and our hearts intimately with
him. Society is telling us to be OK with placing our selves in a
position where our self esteem takes the largest plunge ever.
Society disapproves of adulterous affairs and society disapproves of
the divorced carrying a torch for their X-spouses. Society tells
us... do not enter these relationships because they will damage your
sense of self worth. Society is creating this double standard for us
to follow dictating with the unspoken words.... "allow your partner
to place you second and love you less... after all he is a "widower".
What do I believe now? I believe that society, exclusive of
those who have walked in our shoes or have walked with us in our
journey, still has the exact same mind set. I have read articles, I
have visited support sites for the widowed and all of the resources
available stipulate to the widowed and to their support system that
it is OK for them to continue their bereavement as they enter new
relationships. I happen to disagree. The topic of grieving while
entering new relationships typically is not even discussed and if it
is discussed the conclusion is... that the new person needs to "just
understand" that this is what you need to deal with if you want to
be involved with a widowed person.
There is one particular
book I have found and read, designed to help the women who venture
into relationships with a widower. The opinion of the author of this
book and the message that is sent to us is to be ever mindful that
our relationship will always be one of "three hearts". Learn to
share him, learn to let him grieve or else your marriage will not
work out. This is the message that I received loud and clear. I was
disheartened after reading this book, so I searched further.
Something about what society was telling me to accept, was just not
right for me. It may be OK for others, but it wasn't OK for me. I
began to feel like a selfish, evil person because I did not want to
share my man with the ghost of his former wife. Society was clearly
not on my side. I felt as if there was something wrong with me.
Not unlike me, I've found that women married to or dating
former widowers, are also not satisfied with society's norm and
continue to search for answers and fortunately find this site. Then
there is relief because there is a whole support system of women
here who validate that your relationship with this "poor soul" does
not have to be the way society implies it should. You do not have to
allow yourself to be placed into the role of his grief counselor or
to be satisfied with a "second best" position in his life. We all
deserve to have a relationship that is normal. Normal meaning that
his grieving is over and that he is ready to find love again and he
is ready to respect you as "his current love" who deserves to be the
only person on top of a pedestal. You should not be made to feel as
if there is a competition going on between you and his deceased wife.
Or be made to feel by listening to all of his glowing stories of
their life together that you will never measure up.
forum is not a breeding ground for selfish or heartless women. There
are many women on this site, myself included, who respect that our
partners will always have love in his heart for his late wife. We do
believe, however; that their active grieving should be concluded
before they embark on a new relationship. This forum picks up where
society leaves off and supports the fact that we have every right to
expect that this relationship is one of two hearts and however sad
it may have been for our formerly widowed partner... this
relationship is about the present and the future. It is about
happiness and hope. There can not be society's consistent tug at his
heart to cause him to feel guilty when he begins to think of his
late wife less and less and when the love he carries for her in his
heart also begins to fade.
Understand as the new partner, you
are often times better suited for him spiritually and emotionally as
the man he is today. He should love you with all of his heart and
soul and you are justified by standing up and saying to society...
"I disagree with your expectations of how this relationship has to
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