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Do we get more than one great love?

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Karin_a:
Not sure if this is post is in the right place. But I have been thinking a lot lately about my boyfriend and how I knew from the first moment I saw him and talked with him that he was the one. We knew what the other person was thinking without even saying a word. What we shared was so special and I knew he was the one person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I know I will always love him and miss him. It wasn´t supposed to be like this, I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him not just the rest of his.

Do you think you can get more than one great love? And what happens if we do meet the person we lost after we die and we have met someone new?

I guess I´m scared that if I would meet someone new that I would forget and disappoint my love... I´m so torn I don´t want to be alone forever and I want a family of my own but at the same time it was supposed to be with my boyfriend and now when he died I don´t know whats right.

Just needed to get it out....dont really have anyone to talk to about this

Wheelerswife:
Hi, Karin,

Let me just say that I had a second great love.  Now, my hope is for a third great love down the road a little bit more.  I know many folks who have been widowed who have found love again.  Just a couple of days ago, I was invited to another wedding of a widow I met through the precursor to this board.

I know that people have differing religious and/or spiritual beliefs.  My perspective is that THIS is the life I have and in which I want happiness.  I don't know what comes next...I don't follow any specific religious tenets...but my experience in life tells me that it is important that I live my life as fully as I can.  For me, that includes the very special kind of love that I found with my two partners in life who sadly died long before their time.

I never felt as though finding my second great love in any way diminished the love I had for my first husband.  My second husband was also widowed, and his experience of finding love with me made him the happiest he had ever been.  His colleagues and friends saw the change that came about in him.  I know without a question that he would want me to find another man who will love me deeply and contribute to my happiness in whatever time I have left on this earth.

As far as forgetting...some memories will fade, but it is nothing like how I lost memories of childhood.  Some memories move into the background, but a story or a picture or a familiar smell or visiting a special place seem to bring those memories to the forefront.  The good thing about fading memories, to me, is that the difficult memories also get softer.

I hope that you will find yourself comfortable in stepping out with someone new when you are ready.  A new relationship will be different - and I think that is a good thing.  My second husband had some really amazing qualities that were not a part of the make-up of my first husband, and I cherished those differences.  You aren't looking to replace a worn appliance or car...this isn't comparison shopping.  It is a process of opening yourself up to the uniqueness of someone new, coming to love that person for themselves, and bonding in a way you may never have expected.

Best wishes to you as you continue to explore your future.

Hugs,

Maureen

MrsDan:
If you're asking if it's possible to experience love on the level that we did with our deceased loves, then I would say yes. I wouldn't have thought so before I met my boyfriend. It's something I had to experience for myself to believe, is still something of a mind fuck for me.

I don't know what happens after we die. I do know what I needed to find this life bearable, to find joy. I don't know how Dan would feel about me being with someone else. I do know that I've grieved, and still grieve very hard for him. I'm also fairly confident that he would have recoupled, and possibly sooner than I did. I also think he would approve of the choice I made, that he would like my boyfriend a lot.

Trying:
I agree with MrsDan, I never would have thought it was possible before it happened to me.  I even fought it, tried sabotaging my new relationship a few times because I didn't think it was right to be feeling what I was feeling.  I have settled into acceptance that the heart has a great capacity to make room for new love without replacing past love. 

I am a spiritual person but I don't really worry about what will happen in the afterlife.  God gave me the capacity to love more than one so I trust He has a plan for how that works out in the end.  I know I function better and am happier being in a partnership, being loved and loving someone else. 

I think the questions you have are natural and my experience has been that it is not easy to reconcile the feelings of grief with the hope that new love brings.  In my case, finding someone who could be patient and understanding with the challenges of dating a widow like me made me all the more sure he was the right guy.

Mizpah:
Karin_a, for what it's worth, my story/perspective:

DH and I were obsessively harmoniously in love, in a way that didn't fade over the (sadly few) years we shared.  He used to say, "No one's in love like we are."  He brought a calm to my life I'd never known.  I'd always had a feeling that stuff was happening elsewhere and I wanted to be there, but with him, I finally felt like wherever we were together was the only place I needed or wanted to be.  All my prior relationships, even long-term ones, just faded into black and white. 

When he died, I truly deeply believed I would never have feelings for anyone ever again.  Not like that.  Maybe not at all. 

After about two years, I started to feel alive again.  (At about 15 months, I started dating someone for a few months.  He was a very kind and good man, absolutely nothing wrong with him, but I had no feelings, which just reinforced my original opinion.)  I met a man who I'd intended to just be friends with - "more" hadn't even occurred to me.  He was a widower and I tried as often as I could to "pay forward" the support I'd gotten.  But as soon as we met, there was something.  It was a feeling of inevitability (at the time, I only recognized it as an inevitability of a fling/sexual connection).  After only a very short time, I realized I was deeply attached to this person, and he was to me, the chemistry was undeniable and overwhelming.  I was SHOCKED.  Fast forward a few years, and what was once a casual long distance fling is now us raising our child together. 

Now for the harsh truth: what we share is not anything like what DH and I shared.  After the initial "honeymoon phase" whirlwind romance, newness, extreme lust of beginnings, it changed.  Keep in mind though: DH and I didn't have children, we didn't have financial worries, we basically just had a life where our only obligation was work, and the rest of our lives were all about enjoyment.  NG and I are co-parents to a young child (read: strain/stress!).  We have financial worries.  We have a house and yard.  We are both widows, so we have emotional baggage.  We have extremely different personalities and preferences (country mouse and city mouse to say the least).  So a lot of it I'm sure is circumstantial - if we were living the same kind of easy life DH and I lived, the nature of our relationship would likely be way more fun.  DH and I were perfect for each other.  NG and I are not.  It's debatable whether we're incompatible (negative view) or whether we balance each other out (positive view).  That being said, though, there are moments in which I love this man SO MUCH my heart hurts.  We have a deep bond and crazy love for each other.  It is different for sure - what we share with one person can never be replicated with another person, with all the multitudes of who they are.  It is different, but it is wonderful and sweet. 

As for making DH proud, there have been many moments (mostly in the past when NG and I were going through major adjustments not gracefully) in which I think DH would be sad for me and angry at me, would want me to leave NG.  In the first couple years after DH died, all I wanted was to pay tribute to DH with my life and my choices and myself.  Life becomes complicated again though, and a laser focus on honoring DH wouldn't honor my life. 

I used to have dreams about DH.  I used to think that, when I gave birth to my daughter, I would be heartbroken because she wasn't DH's.  But I wasn't, and the most recent dream I had, DH was holding my daughter and believed she was his.  I was heartbroken to have to tell him she wasn't, but my heart was NG's in the dream.  I will always love DH, he will always be the most intense love I ever experienced, but my new life/love isn't lesser, and I don't feel sad. 

I say now I have a starfish heart, that we all do.  The arm was gone, destroyed, lost, dead, when DH died.  But it grew back, gradually, different but just as big, just as useful, just as full. 

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