Grieving widow doesn’t need to start dating in order to heal (letter from advice column)

Grieving widow doesn’t need to start dating in order to heal

I like to see comments from people who acknowledge you don’t need to be in a romantic partnership to be whole or happy.

Not that I am against anyone wanting to get married – I know when you want to marry (or have a boyfriend) it can be difficult or frustrating or lonely at times. I get that.

But at the same time, it can be so insulting to deal with the recurrent attitudes in American culture that one is a big, fat “zero” unless one is married (or has a boyfriend – or, if you’re a guy, a girlfriend or wife), or, your life is somehow sub par or lacking if you are not married.

This is from advice columnist Carolyn Hax:

Grieving widow doesn’t need to start dating in order to heal

Woman can set an example for her son that security and happiness don’t flow exclusively from romantic bonds.

The letter:

Dear Carolyn,
My husband committed suicide a year ago and it’s been absolutely horrifying, not only for me, but for my 8-year-old son as well.

Recently, I have been trying to date and mingle due to my son’s worry I will be alone. I’m 30 and feel as though I’m doing something wrong. When I took my vows, I meant them, so I feel like I’m cheating or being unfaithful to my husband. He chose to do what he did, so should I be feeling this guilt when on a date? Please help.

Part of Hax’s reply:

I am so sorry. That is such a heavy thing to carry with you.

Those vows, presumably, were “till death do us part,” so they don’t impose guilt, they absolve you of it.

But also please free yourself of any pressure to date.

I realize you want to ease your son’s mind now. I fear you could unwittingly hurt him later, though, by reinforcing his idea that alone = bad or dating = pain relief.

It’s okay to be alone while you’re healing; it’s okay not to be interested in dating, yet or ever; it’s okay to be open to having a partner — but also open to being single unless and until you meet a worthy one.

It’s okay to find companionship through friends, family, colleagues, the regulars at the coffee shop, pets — as in, however it’s available — instead of in one specific form over which no one has full control.

In fact, in looking for security or happiness in a romantic bond, just for the sake of having one, you subtly reinforce the idea that those things are available only through someone else. Please model for him an adult who is whole. Grieving, for sure, but complete.

Related Posts:

(Link): Grieving for My Sex Life After My Husband Died by A. Radosh

(Link):  Dear Abby: Friends Push Overweight Woman To Date But Offer No Help

(Link): Widows and Childless and Childfree Have Better Well Being Than Married Couples and Parents says new study

(Link): Widower to Advice Columnist Talks about Being Stereotyped by Married Couples or Ignored by Other Marrieds Since His Wife has Died

(Link): Married People Who Find Themselves Single Again – Spouses With Dementia / Married People Who Are Lonely

(Link): Study: People today living alone more than ever before

(Link): Live alone? You’re not alone (from CBS news)

One thought on “Grieving widow doesn’t need to start dating in order to heal (letter from advice column)”

  1. Hi from Sharon:

    I just wanted to thank you for the response to my comments and I am glad that you checked out my store at ecrater. I agree with this article about the greiving widow. She doesn’t need to date in order to feel whole again. Also, I think the person named Sandy R. that left a long comment on your other post may be a troll. She was complaining that most American men are going overseas to date/marry asian women, and that American women are horrible. Personally, I don’t really care who American men date or marry. I am content wherever God has me. I thought that it was disrespectful for her to leave such a comment like that, considering the fact that you have suffered a lot of rejection and have problems with depression. I just wanted to let you know that God cares for you, regardless of whether you marry or not. Some people can be very insensitive to other people’s suffering.

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