Acknowledging International Widows Day

 

International Widows Day raises awareness of the plight of the estimated 259 million widows around the world, over 115 million of whom live in extreme poverty and deprivation.

Widowhood can bring with it all kinds of emotional and financial hardship, but for many it is much worse. Many widows all over the world, especially those far removed from Western society, are shunned and vilified because they do not have a husband.

The first International Widows Day was launched in 2005 by Cherie Blair, the foundation’s president, and Lord Loomba, who is associated with several charitable organizations including Barnardo’s, Children in Need and OXFAM.

International Widows Day was introduced to address poverty and injustice faced by widows and their children in many countries, spotlighting the plight of widows in USA, UK, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Syria, Kenya, India, Bangladesh and South Africa.

It was officially recognized by the United Nations in 2010 and is today acknowledged each year on the 23rd of June. This is the day that Lord Loomba’s mother became a widow and is marked as a day of observance within the United Nations system.

It’s important to remember, however, that regardless of one’s country of origin or inhabitance, all women who are touched by widowhood can be subject to the same (or at least similar) emotional struggles and day-to-day challenges. This is why it is important to highlight, and place into context, the significance of organizations, which aim to enrich and enhance the lives of widows throughout every country of the world.

Let’s use today to think about the strength and fortitude exhibited by all those women who have lost their life’s partner; especially those with children. The sacrifices they have to make to support their families and the need to remain consistently strong in the face of adversity.

For more information on International Widows Day, visit The Loomba Foundation website, where you are given the opportunity to donate and also learn more about the ‘Empower a Widow’ scheme.

Your First Relationship After Being Widowed

 

Although it may be second nature to hope that you might find similar qualities in a new partner to those of your late husband or wife, it’s important not to rule out the possibility that the next person in your life may well be completely different. Your first relationship after being widowed will bring with it a whole new set of possibilities.

This doesn’t mean you won’t be sharing interests together, more that you will be exploring new ideas and aspects of your personality which will make this relationship special in its own unique way.

Making a concerted effort to learn about your new partner’s interests and hobbies is one way of building upon the relationship. It might be worthwhile to be aware of your new partner’s choice of activities and consider whether they could appeal to you. Something you have previously disregarded as not being to your taste may, in actual fact, present an opportunity for you to discover new skills. This could also be a good way of gaining confidence and help to build self-esteem.

Another way of making a mutual connection could be that you explore an activity neither of you have tried before. This may well open the door to new hobbies and interests, which you can develop together. Perhaps this is the perfect opportunity for you both to begin a new chapter of self-discovery!

If you’ve reached the point in your relationship where you occasionally stay over with each other, the next step could be to plan a weekend away.

Deciding where to stay and making plans about what you will do once you get there is bound to highlight any differences in taste. This provides an opportunity for some give and take. He might prefer a large hotel; you might prefer a log cabin. He might want to take his golf clubs and you might want to take your tennis racket. How you make decisions at this time will be a real pointer as to how you get on.

Also interesting, is how you feel when being seen as a couple in public. Are you aware that he looks at other women a lot – albeit fleetingly, but annoying, none the less? Does she seem to be constantly checking her phone to talk to her friends and family? These could be character traits that will make the relationship difficult in the long term.

In any case, the important thing is to always be who you are and open to the possibilities that lay ahead. While it’s important to be patient and not rush into anything, you can still embrace being in a couple again. In time, the activities you take part in will teach you things not only about your new partner, but about yourself, too. This will give you a greater appreciation for the future and what life may have in store.

Five Steps To Creating Your Perfect Dating Profile

 

Your profile is your selling point and must deliver in a brief, but dynamic way, your best attributes and most compelling interests. Whether these interests are gardening, walking, cooking or a round of golf, don’t be reluctant to talk about them, as they are an important part of who you are and what makes you unique.

Crucial, of course, is adding a photograph. Without an image you’re not likely to attract much attention. People are always suspicious of profiles without images as they naturally suggest someone who is not fully committed to the process or is unhappy with the way they look. The real reason is much more likely to be because you are shy, of course, but potential connections will not have time to make this consideration, they will have moved on to the next profile with a photo.

Once you’re happy with your profile, you will feel more comfortable about contacting other members, as you will know you have sold yourself in a way that is true to you and therefore more likely to attract a compatible person.

Here are five recommended steps to creating your perfect profile:

1. Be True

Don’t over-sell yourself and always keep a little something back in case you want to make an impression further down the line. Something like….’I play the piano’ or ‘I’m in the process of writing a book’, will very likely add interest on a first date.

2. Photos

If possible, get a friend to take a photograph. Pictures you take yourself are unlikely to be the most flattering. A headshot, preferably whilst you’re smiling, would be perfect and if you can, a picture in an informal environment where you look comfortable.

3. Description

If you find writing about yourself difficult, write about what your passions are: i.e. your children, your hobbies, or your work. This will help to convey something of who you are. Keep it positive and try to display confidence within your text. As the saying goes ‘confidence is everything’! If being funny is part of what makes you who you are, then say something amusing. If you’re a serious kind of guy or girl then try to express this in some way.

Avoid saying too much about your assets – or lack of them. This is the Internet after all and you don’t want to attract anyone for the wrong reasons.

4. Dreams & Aspirations

It’s not always a good idea to state in too much depth what you hope your next stage in life will be. Describe future plans only loosely, suggesting you’re open-minded about what lies ahead. For example, ‘a desire to travel’, or ‘learn a new language’. Keep things in the moment and focus mainly on describing where you’re at in your life right now.

5. Say Hello!

Don’t wait to be found. Once you’re happy with your own profile, visit the profile sections regularly and if there is someone who looks and sounds promising, give them a wink, or send a brief message showing your interest. If initial contact does not prove fruitful then try again. Someone, somewhere will be waiting for someone just like you.

Being honest and genuine when creating a dating profile makes a big difference to the outcome of any potential friendship. The more people you interact with online, the more you will gain confidence and the more enthusiastic you’ll become about the possibility of dating again.

Coming To Terms With Being A Widower

Moving forward as a widower

Losing a life partner is bound-up not only with the love borne of friendship but also romantic love. Coming to terms with being a widower, whether you’re young or old, will challenge your spirit and senses more than anything.

Statistically, women are far more likely to be widowed than men. However, the older a man gets, the greater the chance he will be widowed.

The course of bereavement for widowers will be different to that of widows. If there are young children involved the experience can be quite overwhelming. In some ways, this is not such a bad thing. Being absorbed with the running of a home and organizing children can help to divert the mind away from any feelings of loss.

Facing the demands of each day

Most widowed men will agree the daily demands on their spouse were far greater than they ever imagined. So much of what a woman does is a convoluted support system keeping the wheels turning in a busy household, even if it was just the two of you. This is not to undermine a man’s role, of course, as he is likely to have been supportive of his partner in many other ways. If, because of a partner’s illness, the man is previously used to the daily demands of running a home, then coping alone will come in his stride; if not with a heavy heart.

With this in mind, it’s worth noting that men tend to take on a more primary attitude to the death of a spouse. Potentially, they have seen themselves as the main source of protection and support. Initially, there may be the feeling that there is no real point in carrying on, other than providing the financial needs of running a home. This feeling has been described as ‘being lost without a compass’ and it may well appear to those left completely alone, that a return to work is without purpose.

Redefining your routine

In spite of the inevitable concerns on the reliability of childcare, if necessary, and the day-to-day responsibilities of running a home, it will be good for you to concentrate on something else. Going back to work, especially if you really enjoy your job, will come as a welcome relief. Use this time to think about your own physical and emotional needs as well.

Anything involving exercise is a good way to enhance your mental stability. Joining a gym, for example could very likely bring you into contact with others who have lost a partner. Comparing notes is a good way to measure your recovery. Look outside the routine you may have followed for years and see what there is on offer to broaden your horizons.

Being a widower and dating again

As time goes by, you may even find you’re hankering after a relationship – even if it is only for companionship. This is nothing to feel guilty about. In fact widowers have a greater tendency to want to seek out another partner sooner than that of widows.

Dating again if you’re still relatively young may not have the same amount of foreboding than for those who are older. However, a bit of moral support from friends and family could make the exercise that much more lightweight. It could be that one of your friends will know someone who could well be an interesting proposition for you. There are, of course, many social avenues for you to investigate; or you may even want to explore the possibilities presented by online dating. It is the norm these days for people, young and not so young, to seek out friendship on dating websites. This way you can take your time and not feel pressured in any way.

When, and if you do feel ready to date again, try to think positively about the experience. Whilst there may be a bit of uncertainty to begin with, have confidence in what you have to offer. If you have enjoyed a happy relationship, there is nothing to say you cannot enjoy the same with someone new. If it takes a while to meet that certain someone, be patient and don’t stop looking. Being a widower, you never know what the next chapter of your life has in store for you!