Specific Situations > Young Widow/ers with No Children

Island of Misfit Widow(ers)...continued

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Many of us wids without kids...whether by choice or by circumstance...feel pretty isolated in and out of the wid world. Naurek made this post in February of 2010 and lots of us thought having an island just for us misfit wids was a pretty fine idea. I hope she will be ok that I brought the island with us in the move from YWBB. I think it's pretty important that we remember we are as valuable as any wid, have our own unique pains and loss, and we need a safe place to express just how hard it can be to walk in the isolating world of the wid without kids. Grab a drink with an umbrella from the tiki hut and join us!

Sorry, this is a so long. I just think if I'm feeling this way maybe someone else is and it'll bring some misery-loves-company type of comfort. I find this section of the forums to be pretty quiet. There is an enormous focus in society on being married and having kids. If you're not in that situation, the rest of society's focus seems to be on pushing towards attaining that golden standard. Obviously I'm generalizing here and there are lots of people who have all kinds of different circumstances that don't fit neatly into these categories and/or don't want to. I enjoy when those people come out of the woodwork and offer different perspectives, both here and in real 'life'.

It's just that lately I've been feeling so far removed from everyone. I always felt different, like an outcast, but it didn't matter when I had him. Things/friends were very family-centric and only becoming moreso as I near my 30s, but again it didn't matter because I had him. I don't have that many friends but the ones I do have I'm very close to. (unfortunately, not geographically).

Now, I feel like there is regular society full of married people with 2.5 kids living in their own microcosm of happiness and with friends in similar situations. I don't fit in that part of society at all. I can't relate to diapers, to pregnancy, to schools and little Johnny stories, to building a deck for the kids to play on, to the annoying DGI husband/wife complaints, none of that.

Another level of society, single parents who feel like they don't fit into that first 'ideal' (by society's standards) category. They may feel outcast, but there are still tons of them. The other parent might be absent, might be helping. They might be on good terms or full of bitter hatred. Either way they're not dead. I can't relate.

Then there's others have lost their husband or wife, but still have kids. The majority of widow/ers I see seem to fit into this category. It's a rarer thing, but the internet allows us to at least form a community. I don't feel that comfortable with this either.

Then there's single people. Whenever you say 'single' all the focus gets put on partying, fun, dating, trying to attain that 'ideal' of the partner + (probably) kids. I don't fit into there either. I don't want to date now. I don't want to be around the shiny happy people 24/7.

A lot of people seek out friends that are 'like them', us included. That's not to say we can't learn or relate in some ways to those that are different from us, but it's often hard when the divide is so big, when someone's life is consumed by their coupledom, their kids, a scene they're into, whatever. I feel like my place in society is the boring, depressed, still a 'wife' in my mind (even though that was ripped away), non-contributing burden to those around me. Fun!

I just miss my nice life full of middle ground like I used to have as half a couple. I never used to have to resort to hanging out at the library alone, and at the other extreme I was done with the days of clubbing and never had the desire to pick up random guys. Everything we did was ok because it was We. Now it's just Me, and suddenly I'm noticing just how terribly Different I am.

By the way, I don't mean to knock on anyone, I just feel like I don't fit in. Not a little bit, but by a long shot. Having kids is a huge part of one's life. Generally, 'the family' seems to consume people and of course their entire lives change. They can no longer relate to me anymore than I can to them. I feel like that divide would have happened anyway, but again... I had him and didn't need a ton of friends. Now it just seems so sad, I open this forum and see the "I have no purpose" thread and it really hits home.

I went on vacation recently (alone...) and it sparked most of these thoughts. Suddenly I realized how much is out there that I can't do. Most things are either family activities or full on scandalous type things that happy unwidowed college students do. The only middle ground is for couples. I felt terrible even eating in a restaurant, "Only one?", "Yes." I'm really out of ideas and just... for those days when I feel like exiting the house, I just feel so isolated and alone. There is no group of buddies that were always there to do something with for the sake of doing something, like there was in high school. I'm just at a time of life when things should be SET, everything should be working smoothly in it's nice routine, clicking into place as part of the plan toward some nice goals. Instead it all crumbled to shit and I'm just spinning around in the darkness reaching out, but nothing is there.

I'm not even asking for answers, I know I can take a class, volunteer, fake it at work. But even when I do those things I still feel alone, like a part is missing, like I'm watching it all from behind some foggy glass. I just wanted to get that rant out really.. hoping someone feels the same (but at the same time... not. You guys know what I mean.)

If there was an island for us outcasts, I'd live there in a heartbeat just to feel human again.


Thank you for restarting this thread here on Young Widow Forum. During the 5+ years that have passed since my wife's death, life has changed greatly for me. But early on, I posted several times on Naurek's "Island of Misfit Widow(er)s" thread. The first time was with this when I was 5 months widowed:


I know how you feel. My beloved wife and I were together for more than 25 years, almost half my lifetime. And by choice, we never had children. Unlike being in your teens, 20's and perhaps early 30's, hanging out with friends is no longer the usual lifestyle as you enter those middle-aged years, late 30's, 40's, etc. Especially as the majority of your peers begin to have children, and so their priorities, interests and lifestyle become dramatically different from yours.

From the stories I have been reading on this site and elsewhere by other childless and/or childfree couples, it seems to be a fairly universal theme, the concept of quietly "nesting" together, for lack of a better word. When not working, then spending time with only your spouse/partner by your side, doing pretty much nothing together. Although much more free to enjoy an evening out, go on vacation, etc., still most of the time you prefer just staying at home, relaxing, being lazy and comfortable alone together.

But suddenly comes widowhood, at least for we unfortunate ones here. The life you have been living, perhaps for decades like me, vanishes in a moment. After the shock dies down and once you finally begin to get a handle on the grief and keep it in check, then what? Others may encourage you to get back into life, but what does that mean when the only life you knew for so many years no longer exists?

So you go out there, if you are strong enough, and take a look. It is so alien from the world you once knew. All you see are young couples still partying, or couples with young children, and since I am older than most here, couples with grandchildren now as well. What happened to my peers? I don't seem to have any.

Even before her death, I along with my wife often felt like "outcasts", simply because we had no children. But we didn't mind being on that "island of misfits", since we had each other and that was enough. But I know not how I will fare alone on the "island of misfit widow(er)s".

--- WifeLess

Several months later another member posted on Naurek's thread that he had just visited a shopping mall and felt quite out of place there with neither a spouse nor a child. In response, I posted this about feeling invisible at such places:

My beloved wife and I were together for more than 25 years, nearly half my life, and we never had children. About a month into my new existence, I went to the shopping mall for the first time since her death. The place was of course filled with the usual shoppers of all types: teenagers and young adults with their friends, talking and laughing loudly, each brimming with energy and exuberance for life; young lovers holding hands, or one with an arm around the other, frequently stopping to look for some small memento that might express their love for each other; senior couples, likely husbands and wives for decades, walking slowly now, not really shopping but just there for the exercise; and of course parents with their young children, some in strollers, others wandering off to peer through the window of some toy or pet store.

And then there was I. Although none of those others were able to see me. For I had recently become invisible. Or so it felt. The only one who really saw me, the one who in seeing me through eyes of love instilled within me enough substance to be seen by others as well, was not there. She was no longer anywhere. She had gone, taking with her my only connection to all that life going on at the mall as well as in the rest of the world. Making me quite invisible.

I don't go to shopping malls very often, even now. Nor to many other large public places. As many of us here have discovered, it is not easy to wander around as a ghost. Unseen, unnoticed, unknown. Invisible to all others. Without substance. Without love.

--- WifeLess

@kmouse: Thank you for restoring our lovely little island and I'm glad that Atlantis didn't happen to it :) I remember so well how out of place I felt in the widow community in the early days because I was (still am) a widow without children and that I had to come up with a reason to hop out of bed every morning on my own. I even started a thread asking if there were others like me on the board and yes there was. Felt nice that I was not alone nor a freak. I like children but I never wanted any of my own and I'm happy with my decision.

So yeah, this widow without children reporting back to island and renewing my misfit membership card :)

Just had to throw a comment out into the ether of something I really appreciated about YWBB.  The folks that designed the layout of sections made a deliberate decision to put the wids WITHOUT kids section before the wids with kids section. It was just a sweet recognition that lots of us here would have given anything to have children with our loves and have now been denied that opportunity forever and always...they wanted to spare us having to be reminded every time we cruised to "our spot."

It was a sweet nod of compassion. I miss that. 6 years later and it's not any easier to be reminded that I'll never be a mother to his children.


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