Losing a life partner is bound up not only with the love borne of friendship but also romantic love. Coming to terms with this loss, 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 overwhelmingly demanding which, in some ways, is not such a bad thing. Being busy and absorbed with the running of a home and the organization of children and their daily routines will definitely help to take the mind away from feelings of loss.
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 as 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.
In spite of the inevitable concerns on the reliability of childcare, if necessary, and the day-to-day responsibilities of running a home in the back of your mind, 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 or sports club, for example could very likely bring you into contact with others who have experienced the loss of 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.
As time goes by and you find yourself settling into a different routine, 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 with your partner, then 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. You never know what the next chapter of your life has in store for you!