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  1. Corriebean, It's been 14+ years since my wife died. I am in a good place, but it took me longer than I thought to get here. Although there is no set time to resolve grief - it's different for each of us - it's still early on for you. I think two months is not much time to resolve all the different emotions you describe. In any event, it's not really important what you call where you are. As things progress a new life will emerge for you. The new life is what's important, not whether you have "moved on" (some widdas take offense to the term - they feel it represents forgetting their loved one). Some thoughts about what you wrote: There is no way you "should" feel so don't let anyone tell you differently. You will feel what you will feel. How you deal with those feelings is what counts. However, it sounds to me like you still have unresolved emotions over your loss. I found it helpful to keep looking for WHY I was feeling a particular emotion. Once I understood why, the difficult part of that emotion became less painful. That's a LOT! I'm not sure what more you could ask for! See my comment under the first quote Let the process happen. Take things at your own pace. Don't put any pressure on yourself to feel a particular way or to feel differently. Mike R
  2. MikeR

    I don’t know what to do.

    SP, I am nearly 14 years out. I lost my wife in 2006 (Breast Cancer) and at the time I had a 10 y.o. son and a 4 y.o. daughter. I rarely come to this forum - indeed, I don't come on the board much at all these days. But today I did and I saw your post. I can tell you that over these many years, I have read posts very similar to yours - the feeling of being lost, the anger, the regrets. My original post was similar, too. From what you wrote, your feelings are very much like so many of us. Please be assured that you are not the only one feeling this way. Some thoughts, for what they are worth - There are no magical fixes to what is hurting you. It takes time. However, it WILL get better. It's not linear, though - some days you will feel good, then the next day you will slide back to the depths. It's ok, it's normal. One thing that helped me is to remember that you will not always feel as you do today (or even this minute!). Another thing to consider is NOT running from the pain. We are conditioned to do that - if we touch a hot surface, we pull back. But this is different. I found that if I tried to ignore my pain, it kept coming back. It wasn't until I embraced it - accepted it and let it wash over me - that I was able to start thinking about WHY I was feeling whatever these things. Once I got a better understanding of what triggered a particular emotion, the pain lessened. For example, I had a regret similar to what you stated - why did I focus so much on work (and why did I go to work on the day she died)? I should have been spending every moment with her. But when I accepted the hurt I was feelng, I was able to examine it in detail - why did I do what I did? What did it all mean? What did she think? I found my answer (yours will probably differ) and it's easier now. It's that way with all the other emotions, too. So, 14 years later, life is good. I still miss Cathryn and at times I cry for her. But it's easier now, and doesn't last as long. It took hard work and a lot of soul searching (which, by the way, made me a much better person, I think). Just keep a positive attitude (what I mean by that is to keep reminding yourself that it will get better). Be gentle with yourself (that is a quote from an amazing widow from the predecessor board, YWBB - a person who had so much wisdom and helped be immensely). Michael
  3. MikeR

    Speed Dating?

    CJF, The one I did was called 8 Minute Dating. You had 8 dates, 8 minutes each, with people in your age group. everyone had a name tag with their first name and a number. There was a social hour before the "dates" started and more social time after all the dates were done. You can talk to anyone there at the social times (there were several age groups attending). After the evening was done, you logged onto your account at home and put in the numbers of people you wanted to match with. If they also put you in as a match, the system would send email and phone numbers to each of you. If no match, you did not get any contact information. It's nice that way - you remain anonymous to those you did not match with and no unwanted contact from the others. I have to tell you, I talked with a lot of women and a few were really out there - one was downright scary. But most were nice people with whom I did not feel the attraction. The thing I liked was that you kind of knew right away if there was a spark and if not, you did not waste a lot of time or energy trying to figure out if the person was a possibility (as one would do with online dating). Some times I matched with several people, sometimes with no one so don't get discouraged. Michael
  4. MikeR

    Speed Dating?

    CJF, I tried online dating sites and they were horrible - you have to weed out so many who are not as they present themselves to be. Then, you have to spend time messaging - which is only one-dimentional and does not give you a feel for who the person really is. I found that almost always that when I met them in person they were not the same as their online persona. So, I tried speed dating. Bottom line - for me, it is so much better than online because you get to meet the person. You can weed out the duds, or phonies, right away. Our sixth sense is pretty good at telling us when there is an attraction or not. If there is none, at least you only have to interact with them for a few minutes. I know it can be intimidating (it was for me). What got me past it is I focused on the facts that: 1. It was only a few hours - if I hated it, it would be done soon enough. 2. If I didn't like the person I was talking to, I only had to endure a few minutes of conversation. 3. At the worst, it would be good practice talking with new people (something I have always been uncomfortable with). and 4. No one could contact me after it was done unless I wanted to match up with them, so it was truly safe and sort of anonymous. I found my fiance this way so I would recommend it to anyone who was even thinking about dating. Don't be scared of it (it is not difficult - our expectations can be more intimidating that the reality). Also, don't expect that it will magically result in finding the perfect match right away (see below), so don't give up so easily if it doesn't work the first time. Again, it is infinitely better than online dating! More detail about my experiences The first time I went, I connected with a wonderful person and we dated for about 7 or 8 months. I eventually broke it off because I was looking for a long term relationship and I didn't feel she was "the one". Back to speed dating. The next several times I went, I had spotty results - sometimes I was not attracted to anyone, sometimes I was, but they were not attracted to me. I dated several other women but none developed into the relationship I was looking for. At one point, I seriously doubted that I would find someone this way or any other. Maybe I was too picky, but I wanted someone that completely fit my criteria. I would not settle for "good enough" (the first lady was in that category). I reached a point where I said to myself that I would try one more time, and if it didn't work out, I was going to take a break from dating - indefinitely. So I signed up for one more event. This time, I matched up with three ladies, all of whom I thought had a lot of potential. As it turned out, I called the first one, met with her and following that, I did not even call the other two - I knew she was the right one for me. As I said in the beginning, we are engaged and we plan to be together for the rest of our lives. I hope this helps you decide what to do. Michael
  5. RAM, Another piece of advice (you sort of asked for it ) I'm also not very good at expressing my thoughts and feelings. It actually got better when Cathryn died because I had such intense feelings, they had to get out somehow or I would have burst! One thing that changed a lot for me is that I developed (not purposely - it just happened) a strong need to understand WHY I was feeling what I was feeling. Not just the sadness, guilt, etc. - those are the typical results of what I was going through and were kind of easy to understand. But other things popped in that didn't seem to make sense. For example, I might be reading a book and a particular paragraph made me tearful. It might have nothing to do with anything in my life - just a random paragraph. But I had to try to understand why I reacted to those words in the way I did. It helped me so much to understand who I was and who I was becoming. You might want to do the same - WHY did you react to the situation as you did? It might not be just the obvious fear of losing another loved one (then again, that might be all it is). Only you will know, once you look deeper. As far as discussing this with your NG, you know the relationship best and can decide whether it will help or not. While communicating our feelings is usually a good thing, depending on the circumstances of your relationship and this specific issue, it might be better to work it out for yourself. I hope this helps. Mike
  6. Today is 13 years. For the past 12, I took this day to have some quiet alone time and reflect on my life with Cathryn. I would visit the cemetery, some places that were special to us and just remember the good times. Smiles and tears, but in a healing way. This year it feels a bit different. I don't feel the need to keep apart from the world today. My daughter (17) wants to go to the cemetery with me and of course we will do that. I will pray for Cathryn as I often do. But beyond that, the day will be just another day (sort of). As I woke this morning, I was thinking about Cathryn but also how life has changed. In the early years after she died, I created a new life on the old board (some of you remember that board). It was a life saver for me, but it was also my social life. Most of our friends faded away after Cathryn died. I think they were uncomfortable - I was a reminder that their spouse could die, too, but also our relationship changed from a couples relationship to a couple-single one. I got it, but I wasn't happy about it. On the board I made new friends. We would have a nightly chat in the chat room and it got absolutely crazy at times. We laughed, cried and just let go with friends who understood. It was a completely new thing for me and I forgot the pain for a little while. Some I met in person. We had many 'bagos here in NJ and in Maryland, NYC, PA. One memorable one was when we took a Circle Line cruise around Manhattan. I invited everyone back to my house for a BBQ after. We had some out of towners show up - one from South Carolina and one from Alaska! That has faded away now. Life has changed yet again. I have found new local friends - non-widdas. I have recoupled. Life is more typical now, not a widower-based one as it used to be. I'm happy, but I sometimes miss the board life. It was a lot of fun (at least at times - I don't miss the pain). The Widda friends have faded away. We haven't gotten together in a long while. I think I have to reach out to them and suggest a "reunion" this summer. I miss them, too. So this is yet another strange leg in the grief journey. It took me by surprise. Thanks for reading. Mike
  7. MikeR

    Trying to make sense of dating again...

    Monique, When I started dating again, I realized that I am a different person than I was when I met my wife. I'm an adult, in many ways that I wasn't in my 20's. So it is likely to be with you and anyone you date. You will both have "baggage" (in both the good and bad sense of the word). You both have established, adult lives and adding another person to your life will require some changes. Not saying it will be good or bad, just that it will be DIFFERENT. You absolutely can fall in love again, but it is unlikely to be in the same "way I did with my late fiance". Embrace the differences rather than comparing. Mike
  8. MikeR


    Widower40, Such a charged, complicated, emotional topic. My thought is that you and the lady should discuss it in depth before either of you act on it. If you both enter the relationship (and, yes, it IS a relationship) knowing what the other thinks and expects, it will help to minimize the potential for a bad outcome. Mike
  9. Captains Wife, Lots of great replies here. As I read your post the thing that struck me is how you and your guy have interacted on the issue. From what you wrote, it seems as though he sees it as black or white - the only resolution for him is for you to agree to get married/cohabitate. We don't know his side of that (perhaps you do but it wasn't clear from your post), but it seems as though he is thinking more of his needs than yours. An hour apart does make it more challenging to see each other, but there are other ways to be in contact - phone, skype, etc. Not the same, but still better than nothing. My fiance lives about 40 minutes away and the drive there (or here) gets tiresome but we deal with it. We are waiting for my daughter to graduate H.S. and then we will get married and move to a new place. So our solution is to talk every day and get together every chance we get. There are ways to progress the relationship other than living together. What about moving closer (him or you)? An important question is: have you two discussed each other's needs and wants? Have you explained the reasons behind your hesitation? Has he explained his reasons to you? Why would he want to marry you if he knew you were unsure about it (regardless of the reason)? It's easy to say, but it's true - communication here is key. If you two both want this relationship to be forever and you discuss each other's needs with love in your hearts, you should be able to find a resolution. It would help if you each put the other first as you continue to discuss this (isn't that an important component of love?) Clearly, the reasons behind your hesitation need to be resolved within you before you move in with him. All the points you raised - being on your own, divorce issues, etc. need to be understood by both of you. With understanding will come clarity. Waiting to get married until these issues are resolved seems like the better course here. Hopefully, he will see that once you talk it out. Mike
  10. MikeR

    Need help - completely broken

    Redhed, I am not the most socially active person and when my wife died (12+ years ago) I did not have a lot of friends to lean on, or just to socialize with. It took a lot of introspection to get comfortable with the idea of being alone and needing to rebuild my social life. You mentioned the ups and downs - that is totally normal after a loss. Healing from a loss is not a straight line. It's two steps forward, one step back. It helped me to remind myself when I was feeling my worst that I wouldn't always feel that way. Sure enough, after a bad period I had a good day (or two). Over time, the good days outnumbered the bad days. New friends came into my life and eventually a new love did, too. From what you wrote I think your guy is done with the relationship. You can't control what he thinks or feels - only what you think or feel. So perhaps it's time to let him go. It doesn't matter whether he ever loved you (you asked that question in your post) - he probably doesn't want a relationship now. So work on accepting that and building a new life. If you have unresolved grief, work on that first. The things that make us feel the worst are the things we need to work on the most. Embrace the pain rather than run away from it. Try to understand why it hurts. It's not easy, but it has to be done. And you CAN do it. Mike
  11. Ronda, I tried online dating and it really wasn't that good. It's so hard to determine if there is an attraction to someone from a picture and a few paragraphs. And, yes, there are people out there who are looking for different things. Some are looking for meaningful relationships, other just for a good time. Unfortunately, those things are not usually stated up front. I met the lady I am engaged to a different way - it is called 8 minute dating. (basically a speed dating thing). The thing I liked about is is you got to meet in person so you got the body language as well as the conversation, but it was quick (8 dates, 8 minutes each)so no pressure to stick with it if you weren't interested (most of us know pretty quickly, I think). I live in a populated area (NJ) so it was close by and easy to attend. Even so, I went pretty regularly for over 2 years. I did date a few ladies during that time, but we didn't click so after a few dates the relationships ended. Then, as I was about to give up (doesn't it often happen that way) I met my (to be) fiance. She stood out like no other did - it was the intangible things that attracted me to her. Either way - online or in person - it takes time, effort and luck. Keep sifting through the rubbish until you find the gem. Easier said than done, I know, but what else can we do? Mike
  12. MikeR

    The problem is me.

    RAM, One thing about What helped me deal with uncertainties like this is when I reminded myself that the worst thing I can imagine has already happened and I dealt with it. If you can deal with the worst, everything else should be easier. Not easy - but easier. This gave me the confidence to tackle whatever came my way. Mike
  13. MikeR

    Is death the end?

    Sc39, I'm not sure how long it has been for you (12+years for me) but depending on where you are in the journey, different ways of seeing things like faith or why this happened may emerge. On faith - While I always had faith in a life after we pass from the Earth, I had several experiences in the first few years after Cathryn's death that proved, to me at least, that she still exists. She sent me signs in several different ways. I suppose they could be explained away as coincidences, but the explanations would be complicated for some of them. I believe the simpler answer is probably the right one - they were signs from her. More importantly, I saw two different mediums and in each case Cathryn came through and gave specific evidence that it was her that no one could have known or guessed. Proof enough for me. Perhaps it would help you to find your own faith knowing that others have done so. On why - If the question of why this happened or why God would do/allow such a thing is bothering you, I strongly suggest reading "Why Bad Things Happen To Good People", by Harold Kuchner. His discussion of this topic is very well thought out, IMO. It made a big difference to me as I was dealing with the issue of why. Mike
  14. Well said, Wheelerswife. SC 39, I'm so sorry for your loss. It's 12+ years for me but I still remember very well being at a father's day family get-together (Cathryn died in early May so maybe 6 weeks out) and feeling completely alone. Mind you, this was with my brothers, their wives and children and my parents - my immediate family, the people I felt most comfortable with my entire life. It was nothing they said or did, simply that they were okay with their lives. The loss of Cathryn didn't seem to affect them. You will continue to run into people who have all sorts of "great" advice about moving on, etc. They really don't understand (we called them DGI's - Doesn't Get It). Right now you are running on empty and you don't need more stress so my advice to you and everyone is: recognize that it will happen, that they don't mean to be mean and that there is nothing you can do to make them understand. Don't let their words cause you more grief. Just let it wash over you; ignore it. There may be times when you need to find your voice, as Maureen said, and gently remind someone that their advice is not welcome, but try not to stress out when you hear these things. In the words of a widow who was far wiser than anyone I know, "Be gentle with yourself." Take it one day at a time and understand that it WILL get better. Mike
  15. stawcie, In reading your post and all the replies I think there are really two things to consider - when are you ready to date and what to watch out for when you do start dating. The calendar time is completely unimportant. Shortly after my wife died, a coworker told me that she met someone three months after her husband died. They ended up getting married and were together 15 years later. Definitely on the short end time-wise, but it worked for her. I guess she was ready (she was still grieving her husband at the time but her new man helped her through it.) For me, I started thinking about it about a year later. I've known widow(er)s that took several years before they started dating. Some emphatically state that they never will! Only you will know when you are ready. To me, the important thing was resolving conflicting feelings - guilt, feeling unfaithful to her memory, loneliness (as the sole motivator to date). Once I came to terms with what I was feeling (and what was bothering me), I was ok reaching out. I was still working on my grief, mind you. I still missed Cathryn and had good and bad days. But at that point, I had reconciled her death and that I was still here and had a life to live. When I did date, I thought I was perfectly fine and equipped to deal with anything that came my way. Thing is, the emotion of finding another person that you connect with can overwhelm your logical mind and allow you to do things that aren't really in your best interest. What I mean is, we are still fragile emotionally and it is easier for us to get our hearts broken, or to be taken advantage of. The elation of finding what we think is new "love" can cloud our thinking. So my advice is when you do start to date, TAKE IT SLOW. If the guy puts pressure on you, exhibits too much jealousy (we all can have some - just not too much, ok?), asks for money, or a dozen other things that do not come from LOVE, then take a step back and think about it before you do anything. That you are thinking about it tells me that you will be ready someday - probably not too far off. Mike

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