Socializing > Social Encounters

Widowed vs. Divorced

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Captains wife:
I have to admit I am rather weary of dealing with divorce/custody issues in dating NG - by that I mean listening to ex stories (regarding confrontations/interactions), revolving around ex schedule, dealing with child custody scheduling issues, dealing with the fact that he and his ex have things they do together with their young son (and my young son and I are not part of this) etc. I would like to add I'm surprised how much it bothers me.

BUT NG said something interesting to me this weekend (when we were talking about it) and I wanted to see what fellow widows/widowers thoughts/feelings were about this topic.

He thinks part of my (negative) emotional reactions to what he is dealing with, with regards to his divorced status stems from the fact that its not "even" - in that I am a widowed, single parent that doesn't have the other partner is our lives anymore. He wasn't trying to be unkind, he was trying to better understand what I am going through.

I guess I didn't think about my emotional reactions that way - but there is some sense in what he says...maybe I am a little bitter in having to deal with his stuff and make quite a lot of compromises since I am parenting alone and don't have my son's father anymore.

I can not speak to this issue with any authority as I have not yet been in your situation. However, your post reminded me of a good blog post I read on the subject and I wanted to share.

It's a trade off. There's "good" and bad to each situation. I don't have the crazy x that I have to share kids and communicate with. He doesn't have to deal with me complaining about custody issues, or feelings of resentment or whatever for an X. But, I also have no one to take my kids every other weekend, or to be there for them when I can't, etc.

NG has the X to deal with. She sometimes is irrational and asks for dumb stuff, just to be annoying and continue to insert herself into his/our life. Luckily for us, his kids are 17 and 20, so required contact is very minimal.

I wouldn't be able to do it with a NG who has young kids. I just have too high of anxiety level to deal with that kind of a situation. I can understand your feelings, it's not fair either way.

I think widowed people have an appreciation for some things that the divorced simply can't because being devastated by death changes your perspective in some pretty radical ways. Yes, both events cause major heartbreak, but the emotional changes just seem to manifest themselves differently. This became extra clear to me recently when reading poetry by two women- one widowed, one divorced. Both heartbroken but so different.

It's irritating two adults can't get their shit together enough to co-parent, irritating they can't realize life is short and beautiful and they should appreciate the extra set of hands and heart to raise their children- that it is a gift to be able to give a child two parents, a joy to have someone to share in the triumphs and the disasters- even if the marriage is over. Yes, it's especially maddening to witness when you are juggling all of the balls all by yourself. Widowed have a lot more in common with single parents than with divorced parents.

As the divorced man who tried to court me explained oh so eloquently: widowed people are sad their spouse is dead, divorced people wish their spouse was dead. Talk about a serious mood killer... so, I guess maybe some divorced people envy what they view as a much less messy situation and thus deem it easier to be widowed. And hey- maybe after viewing some of the batshit crazy stuff their ex can pull, you might see how that thought can occur to them.


You got IT!  It is hard.  I know you have read my posts so I understand where you are coming from. 

Leadfeather, I have shared that article from that blog, too.  It is good.  She also wrote about how she will always love her DH and will always be his widow and now her new husband's wife.  I appreciated that perspective since people want to put us in a box of "you can't move forward if you still are in love with your dead spouse."  It is so much more complex.

Bunny, you nailed it with the quote.

--- Quote --- widowed people are sad their spouse is dead, divorced people wish their spouse was dead.
--- End quote ---

Not all divorced folks, but many.  We have shared on here and the old board about things divorced folks say to us.  LIKE, you have it easier, yours is dead.  Yeah.....

WE can't change our situation anymore than they can.  Just life.  Trying to figure it out, also, CW..


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