Author Topic: Ulp, from Social Encounter to Relationship/Remarriage  (Read 2586 times)

mawidow

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Ulp, from Social Encounter to Relationship/Remarriage
« on: April 30, 2015, 09:29:04 PM »
My current relationship is officially crossing the threshold from dating to living together within the next month. He is very hot to trot about being together and keeps saying that waiting to live together is "like waiting for Christmas to come."

Ulp. I don't feel like Christmas is coming. It's not like doing my taxes, but it's not like Christmas.

I AM excited, but in a widow way. In a subdued, no illusions, loss of innocence kind of way. I absolutely want to be a better partner this time around. I don't hold back compliments, affection, or support. I'm not at all interested in changing or tweaking someone else. I think less about what I can get and more about what I can give, how generous I can be. I learned this directly from 20 years of DH's love and generosity. So I'm thinking about the lessons of my past marriage a LOT, even in the midst of the current relationship. That is hella complicated.

The current relationship is still a sapling (although a strong one) and my 20-year marriage is still the more vivid relationship. I love the current guy and he is absolutely wonderful for who and where I am now. But I am not giddy, I'm not starry-eyed, I'm not full of hope. It's not Disney-fied. It's my real life.

I know that everything will continue to evolve as time goes on, the sapling grows, and I learn to feel as safe with the new guy as I did with DH. Whatever may come, I am a survivor.

Sending care all around.

Trying

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Re: Ulp, from Social Encounter to Relationship/Remarriage
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2015, 05:49:40 AM »
It's a little sad in some ways that we can't shut off that part of our brain that has learned the hard lessons.  And for me, being with a divorced man who is able to say (and often does) that this is the best relationship he's ever had, and he has never loved someone the way he loves me, makes me stop in my tracks.  My relationship with DH wasn't perfect but it was 25 years strong and I would still be in it if he hadn't died.  That depth of trust and experience will take years to build again.  I became an adult with DH so our relationship helped form who I am.  With new guy, I am fully formed already.  Yes, I believe we continue to grow and learn from new people and experiences and there are many things I want to do better this time around.

What I'm trying to say is that I understand not feeling like you are
living in a fairy tale.  That doesn't mean it's not wonderful or right.  And how wonderful to have someone who wants to be with you so much!

Wishing you all of the best.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2015, 06:13:00 AM by Trying »
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MrsT85

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Re: Ulp, from Social Encounter to Relationship/Remarriage
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2015, 10:18:28 AM »
MAW, first of all, many congrats!  I'm so happy to hear your relationship is going so well :)

Secondly - wow, do I know exactly what you're talking about here.  I was with DH for 8.5 years instead of 20, but being a bit younger than you it's probably proportionally about the same.  I didn't really have this reaction "mismatch" when NG and I moved in together, but there definitely was one after he asked me to marry him that I felt (feel?) rather guilty about.  He and his family were all giggles and nerves and hugs and wanting to jump right into planning a storybook wedding and I (while happy) was very subdued.  We hadn't yet moved in together at that point, and didn't even want to start thinking about weddings before we had done the apartment-hunting and moving thing:


I AM excited, but in a widow way. In a subdued, no illusions, loss of innocence kind of way. I absolutely want to be a better partner this time around. I don't hold back compliments, affection, or support. I'm not at all interested in changing or tweaking someone else. I think less about what I can get and more about what I can give, how generous I can be. I learned this directly from 20 years of DH's love and generosity. So I'm thinking about the lessons of my past marriage a LOT, even in the midst of the current relationship. That is hella complicated.

The current relationship is still a sapling (although a strong one) and my 20-year marriage is still the more vivid relationship. I love the current guy and he is absolutely wonderful for who and where I am now. But I am not giddy, I'm not starry-eyed, I'm not full of hope. It's not Disney-fied. It's my real life.


And Trying, I could have written large chunks of this pretty much word-for-word (from one Tim's widow who starting dating way too early to another :) )  NG hasn't ever been married, so when he talks about our relationship as his "best ever" it similarly gives me pause.  My marriage to Tim wasn't perfect, but it was very strong and we constantly talked about how we were looking forward to spending the next 40-50 years together, crafting a family and a life.  I had been with Tim since I was 19, so like you, he helped shape me into the adult I am today.  It's no one's fault, but being with Tim was usually just effortless in a way I can't fathom ever finding again.  But NG loves me and I love him and even if it ends up being a less "perfect" match, we make each other happy and want to build a life together.  Which, considering how short and unpredictable life can be, is more than enough for me.

 
It's a little sad in some ways that we can't shut off that part of our brain that has learned the hard lessons.  And for me, being with a divorced man who is able to say (and often does) that this is the best relationship he's ever had, and he has never loved someone the way he loves me, makes me stop in my tracks.  My relationship with DH wasn't perfect but it was 25 years strong and I would still be in it if he hadn't died.  That depth of trust and experience will take years to build again.  I became an adult with DH so our relationship helped form who I am.  With new guy, I am fully formed already.  Yes, I believe we continue to grow and learn from new people and experiences and there are many things I want to do better this time around.
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mokie

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Re: Ulp, from Social Encounter to Relationship/Remarriage
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2015, 10:48:17 AM »
This is interesting.  I have often thought that this marriage I am in now, post-widowhood, is the best marriage I've had.  First marriage quickly ended in divorce, the second, widowed.  I used to feel guilty about thinking that... We wouldn't be married now if our spouses hadn't died.  But I know a lot of it has to do with building on, and learning from, past experiences.  We haven't tried to change each other, we are more open to really listening to each other, we can use things that did or didn't work in the past to guide us now.  I think we are both way more laid back and accepting of who each other is, and we don't sweat the small stuff.  And we laugh, a lot.  At ourselves, and each other.
When you get the choice to sit it out or dance... I hope you dance!

MrsT85

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Re: Ulp, from Social Encounter to Relationship/Remarriage
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2015, 12:28:22 PM »
This is interesting.  I have often thought that this marriage I am in now, post-widowhood, is the best marriage I've had.  First marriage quickly ended in divorce, the second, widowed.  I used to feel guilty about thinking that... We wouldn't be married now if our spouses hadn't died.  But I know a lot of it has to do with building on, and learning from, past experiences.  We haven't tried to change each other, we are more open to really listening to each other, we can use things that did or didn't work in the past to guide us now.  I think we are both way more laid back and accepting of who each other is, and we don't sweat the small stuff.  And we laugh, a lot.  At ourselves, and each other.

I wonder if this might have something to do with both of you being widowed.  I imagine there's a lot more that you just innately emotionally understand about each others mental states because it's a path you've both walked.  Plus, since you've both been widowed, you both know at a very visceral level what your priorities should and should not be.  What's worth fighting over, and what's not.

For me, I often feel like I'm decades older than my fiance.  I'm 29, he's 33, but good lord, do I feel like I've "lived" so much longer and harder than my years might suggest.  I try to be quick to forgive.  I try to not sweat the small stuff.  I have this perspective where I look back at my years with Tim and regret every night I ruined being mad at him for something that in retrospect was so petty.  Every goddamn moment I wasted not wanting to cuddle with him, or giving him the silent treatment.  I *know* that if we both leave for work mad, there's a chance either one of us might never come home and our last moments spent together were spent fuming rather than with an "I love you" and a kiss goodbye.  I'll explain why I get so upset when he cold-shoulders me and holds a grudge, and then he'll apologize and feel guilty about it for a while.  But then the next week he'll come home from work grumpy, lash out at me for a little thing (I kid you not, one fight recently kicked into high gear when I asked him if I should "stay out of his way" rather than "leave him alone"), and then the rest of the day (or weekend, or whatever) will be ruined.

Sometimes I envy you wids who find other wids.  I think that even though my NG intellectually knows what I went through and tries his very best to understand and be patient with me, he just can't be on the same page as me in terms of the life lessons being widowed has taught.  Hopefully he'll find out one day, a very long time from now.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2015, 12:38:17 PM by MrsTim85 »
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mokie

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Re: Ulp, from Social Encounter to Relationship/Remarriage
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2015, 01:29:52 PM »
Probably true.  We've both admitted to being way more laid back than in previous marriages.  No time to sweat the small stuff.  Like you said, you never know what the last thing you say to someone is going to be.  Might as well be something nice.
When you get the choice to sit it out or dance... I hope you dance!

TooSoon

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Re: Ulp, from Social Encounter to Relationship/Remarriage
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2015, 01:46:50 PM »
This is interesting.  I have often thought that this marriage I am in now, post-widowhood, is the best marriage I've had.  First marriage quickly ended in divorce, the second, widowed.  I used to feel guilty about thinking that... We wouldn't be married now if our spouses hadn't died.  But I know a lot of it has to do with building on, and learning from, past experiences.  We haven't tried to change each other, we are more open to really listening to each other, we can use things that did or didn't work in the past to guide us now.  I think we are both way more laid back and accepting of who each other is, and we don't sweat the small stuff.  And we laugh, a lot.  At ourselves, and each other.

This.  Like all of you, I've given this so much thought as things have progressed.  Granted I'm involved with another widow so maybe some of the subdued-ness is inherent in our shared experiences (ie. our spouses - especially through our children - are ever present).  What I have struggled with is accepting that, in many ways, this is a much better, more even and in some ways, and in spite of tremendous distance, more solid match.  I can't explain why.  It just is.  It does not diminish the love Scott and I shared; I think that the love we shared only drives me to love still more deeply with the knowledge that nothing is guaranteed so be happy and open-hearted and in the present moment.   

Anyone who knew me on the old board would know this is a total 180 from where I started out but life is full of surprises! 

Captains wife

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Re: Ulp, from Social Encounter to Relationship/Remarriage
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2015, 06:35:55 AM »
Firstly, congratulations again on your cohabitation ! This new man obviously knows what a great person you are and feels so lucky to have met you - thus his great enthusiasm. Like you, I feel I want to do certain things differently in my next relationship since I feel I learned so much from losing someone so suddenly - your new guy is so fortunate to have met someone with such self awareness and compassion...many people don't ever get there. In terms of the subdued excitement, I think this is understandable - you are still in a young relationship, while still grieving the loss of a long-term, solid, happy one. So many things are different this time around too and it will take a while to build up that history and solid relationship framework. I think we all have been through so much that a lot of us don't have those expectations of the giddy feelings over all the firsts that we may have had the first time around (I know that applies for me at least). It is fabulous, however, that you met someone so compatible that you two want to share a living space and its clear this man is emotionally open and available for you - good for this time in your Chapter 2 and not easy to find out there. Wishing you all the best,

Mel4072

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Re: Ulp, from Social Encounter to Relationship/Remarriage
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2015, 07:29:44 AM »
Interesting term "in a widowed way". I get this. The roses don't smell as sweet. The sun doesn't shine as bright. I feel the same way. There is that undercurrent that pulls us back to look at the past. I'm over 2 years widowed and in a great relationship but a part of me stays very quiet. A part of my heart continues to mourn for my past life of love, shared lives, exuberance and excitement. A part of my heart stays in the memories and my mind looks at "what if I do it all over again".

mawidow

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Re: Ulp, from Social Encounter to Relationship/Remarriage
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2015, 07:35:44 AM »
Thank you to everyone who replied. I can't tell you how much your support and understanding mean to me. I swear sometimes I think mrstim and I are cousins. I have absolutely cherished my friends here who have been in my corner from day 1 of the wild ride of dating. Thank you thank you.