It can be hard finding yourself alone at any age, especially if yours was a true partnership; sharing friendship, interests and plans for the future. Looking on at couples whose relationships have stood the test of time and who enter middle age with the prospect of retirement together can be quite an emotive experience. We look to the future and see ourselves in this place, but alone and wondering how we will cope on our own. This is difficult to envisage, as we all have our own way of negotiating life’s journey and being a single entity was not part of the plan.
Those of us left with what could be a large part of our lives remaining, will use this time to travel and have a few adventures; time and finances permitting. Others will be satisfied to throw themselves into the peak of their career or family life. However, for some, being alone can become a wholly enveloping experiencing and can cause those affected to become withdrawn and depressed. Be reassured, it doesn’t have to be like this.
Sadly, it is the way of the world that one of you is more likely to die before the other; thus leaving a huge void for the surviving partner. How long it takes to come to terms with this situation will be different for everyone. When it happened to me I still had two relatively young children to raise and whilst this seemed a daunting responsibility at the time it meant that I had focus and good reason to want to keep my head above water.
It is hoped with the passage of time, and the support of friends and family, you will gradually come to terms with your circumstances. You will see that you’re coping well – and that doesn’t mean you are over your loss, but learning to live with it. Confidence can grow with this realisation and new avenues present themselves that can broaden your horizons.
Developing new interests will help you to get the best from your situation. I went on a creative writing course, which I really enjoyed and I met some great people who shared my enthusiasm for poetry and literature. It gave my confidence a huge boost to go out and meet new people and at the end of the course I had made friends with like-minded people, some of whom were also widowed.
There may come a time, regardless of your age, that you feel you would like to start dating again. If you’re keen to meet someone who has also lost a life partner, this is a good starting point for the basis of a future friendship. What’s more, it also means that you don’t have to explain away any awkward background history, and you are less likely to experience the emotional baggage, which can become difficult to share with a new partner.
Asking yourself what you want from the next stage of life will hopefully set you on a path to feeling complete again. If this involves meeting someone new with whom you can share your dreams, don’t feel guilty. Enjoy it as a sense of fulfilment. This doesn’t mean you have forgotten your partner, it is more a case that you are moving on, but cherishing your memories as you go.