Crashing Waves of Love in the Senior Years – Dating a Widower
As the wave of the previous post Riding the Waves of Love in the Golden Years comes crashing on the shore, I’ve learned a lot about romancing a widower.
After being unceremoniously dumped by the eviction of a few things of mine left at his house just because he couldn’t stop loving his deceased wife, I tried many things to understand what he was going through, and why a relationship wasn’t possible. From researching all there is to know about widowers and their pain, and finding that over 70% of them never heal, to trying to figure through text messages what I did wrong and where I could have acerbated the situation, to trying to be friends but in essence a “co-worker” (even though we are retired), My brain, emotions, and heart are all stretched to the max.
You can get a grasp of how our relationship progressed by reading my previous posts from Love on the Doorstep where we met, to Golden Reflections – Life and Love in our Golden Years and the latest Riding the Waves of Love in the Golden Years .
Over the last two months, I’ve tried to figure how to be a friend to someone who has hurt me. The challenge has been that we live in the same Retirement community. We met at my doorstep there, and through what I thought of as a lovely year and a half, had many experiences where I encouraged him to learn to dance, go camping to places he had never been, and develop a core of friends in the community. In addition, I got him involved with the senior center next door, which led to his lifeguarding job at the pool, his volunteering and even being Mr. And Mrs. Claus together. So essentially, even while we are not “together” now, we see each other almost every day in some capacity or other. So we’ve gone from trying to avoid each other by changing classes, and not walking together home from volleyball, to being polite when we have to in our volunteering/working roles on the same days. We go to separate dance classes now, and I really miss being able to take the couples class. I still like to swim at a time that he’s lifeguarding as it’s the best time to get a lane for my laps.
This all came to a head this week. His birthday was over the weekend, and I sent a private birthday wish via text rather than posting publicly on Facebook. He had unfriended me on Facebook, I suppose because he didn’t want me seeing things he posted (he used to post everywhere we went) as he started dating a new person. Yep, less than a month after we broke up, he has a new love. She posted a birthday message on his timeline, and I did a thumbs up to it, as well as to messages on his family pages.
In addition, the group we usually hang out with had a cards and birthday cake celebration for him. We have done that for each of us as our birthdays come around. I’m usually the organizer, but this time, since we were supposedly broken up, another friend started the organizing. She said she couldn’t afford the cake, so I offered to buy it and supply the cards. I wasn’t planning on attending, but, as one of our friends pointed out, I should go because we are supposedly still friends. And as I thought about it, why should I miss out on a chance to socialize with MY friends to whom I introduced him?
All my reading had suggested ignoring him, and not going because it would look needy. However, I had reached the point in my emotional process that I was tired of trying to avoid him, and wanted to get on with my life as it was BEFORE I met him. And I figured we were adults, and had to “work” together, so if we kept it friendly, then it would be ok.
The result of one of the above scenarios, caused him to really go off the deep end, and totally block me from Facebook, and turn his back on me as I took new visitors through his pool for a tour. In addition, he brought his new love to the dinner dance we always attended together and where I got him moving and dancing.
So yes, he’s moved on, and I’ve been trying to. However, from what I’ve read, widowers tend to use new relationships to “fill in” for their missing spouse. Until they are ready to open their hearts to love again, they never settle for one person, but keep trying to replace her. I can’t help but wonder if that is what I was for him, or was it deeper? He did several of the steps toward healing that is a big one for widowers which is to re-invent themselves as a single person. I feel I helped him with that process, because before this he never lived alone, nor supposedly had he traveled much, or danced much in the past. He’s developed quite a following of ladies at the pool at the senior center, so he’ll never lack for companionship. However, will he ever develop a deeper relationship and be able to hold onto it without hurting another woman? He’s a very lovable guy, and I see him breaking many hearts if he does.
So in my heart of hearts, I hope this new lady can fill in more gaps for him, or even be the one he needs. She’s a widow, so probably has a better understanding of what he’s been through and the healing process. In some ways, she’s more like his wife than I ever was, so maybe it will work.
As for me – I’m moving on -I’ m back to doing a lot of things with girlfriends, planning the travel for the things on my bucket list, and continuing with life the way it was BEFORE meeting a widower on my doorstep.