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DragonTears

Grief and Friends

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I'll be honest.  I haven't had many close friends over the years, so it is hard for me to judge what a good friend really is.  But not hearing from a single friend on weekends, especially the long holiday weekends, doesn't seem like real friendship to me.  And I've had many long holiday weekends over the years where the only people I talked to were strangers on Craigslist, who were also home alone with nothing to do.

 

Then you go back to work on Monday morning or Tuesday and everyone says, how was your weekend?  How do think it was?  It was lonely, sad and depressing, much like the rest of my life.  Of course, I never say that, because people like to live in their little bubbles, and I try to be as pleasant as possible at work.  If they only knew the truth.

 

Any thoughts about this?

 

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Yes, DT I have a thought.  I know just how you feel because the very same thing happens to me on the weekends.  I am constantly the one to reach out but sometimes you just get damned tired do that too.

Hugs

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Gosh yes. I think at first people probably wanted to give me "space". A couple months after he died I did get maybe 3 invites to go out in the evening, but I had a traumatized 4yr old who would go into a panic whenever I left him and the invites were not things I could bring him to. I passed because I couldn't figure out the logistics. And then people stopped inviting me and the ones who never reached out probably felt weird for being out of touch. Fast forward and now I'm 2.5 years out and I'd say I am in touch with maybe 10% of the so-called friends we used to have.

 

Things are better this year because now that he is 2 years older, my son and I have all kinds of adventures together on the weekends and I'm not just counting the hours.

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DragonTears -

 

I am also someone who has had few close friends. I also have no children. I typically spend my weekends alone (though today, which is a Sunday, has been a happy exception). I'm comfortable being alone, perhaps too comfortable.

 

I suppose it hurts more to have friends disappear when you don't have very many to begin with. It's always reassuring when I can remind myself that it's easier to make new friends than I expect. I learned years ago that it helps to volunteer for activities outside of work. You're less likely to feel out of place if you have doing something necessary that's also fun. You may need to try a few things to find something that works for you.

 

I also took a language class recently. I learned German many years ago, and was always good at it, but I was very much out of practice. The great thing about taking a language class is that it forces you to talk to other people. The mistakes you make can often be a source of humor, too.

 

Next weekend is a long holiday weekend for Americans like me. A long weekend like this can be extra lonely if you're the only one without any special plans. If this is situation you're facing right now, do you think you might be able to try something new next weekend?

 

|+|  M a r k  |+|

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I think a lot of this is about habit, rather than quality of friendship.  I've found that people don't reach out, even when they would love to get together and would say yes to things.  I think this is about slowly changing habits, creating community.  I moved about 3 years ago from a place I'd lived for over a decade, and had a wonderful social network, to a place where I had no friends.  It's taken a really long time, and lots of sucking up pride, and rejecting the idea that if they don't contact me I won't contact them, to get what I need: community/friendships.  If you want to hang out with someone, reach out.  Gauge their reaction.  Do they want to but can't?  Then try again.  And again.  It also helps to suggest things that are easy to pull off or makes sense in the schedule of their lives/interests/location.  Try not to keep score about who initiates unless the person doesn't seem interested.  Most people are passive and in the ruts of their routine. 

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I think part of the problem is that we are used to being part of a couple, and part of a social network that knew us as a couple.  There may be singles and couples in that set, but were a part of it as a couple. Now we are something else.

 

When our spouse dies, we fall into some limbo land. We don't belong anywhere.  I think a lot of people are just as happy if we kind of fall by the wayside and drop out of sight.

 

But I also think that there are a lot of people that just aren't quite sure how to interact with us although they would like to.  I know that when my husband died, I was crazy. My best, dearest, most wonderful friends stuck with me.  But now, 11 years later, I don't blame the ones that didn't.

 

Someone on YWBB once wrote that friends were like food.  Some were empty calories.  Some gave you nourishment.

 

As if we don't have enough to deal with, we also have to sort our friends into food groups!  LOL  But in the long run, it is easier if we accept that some people aren't up to the task.  Some are.  But we may have to just chuck most of them and start again.

 

The other way that I look at it is that everyone's friends change over time. Even if our spouses had lived, eventually we would cycle through some new friends.  You get married and you tend to have just married friends.  You have kids and you end up hanging around people with kids. You are widowed and . . . . . . .I guess you end up here.  Or in a support group.  But what we really want is to be an actual person again that fits somewhere among the people just living their lives.

 

It hardly seems fair, but I think if we want friendship, if we want to be included, remembered,  thought of: we have to be the ones to try harder. 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
On 8/30/2017 at 6:50 PM, Euf said:

 

I think part of the problem is that we are used to being part of a couple, and part of a social network that knew us as a couple.  There may be singles and couples in that set, but were a part of it as a couple. Now we are something else.

 

When our spouse dies, we fall into some limbo land. We don't belong anywhere.  I think a lot of people are just as happy if we kind of fall by the wayside and drop out of sight.

 

Actually, for me I actually dropped out of sight long ago and this is why I used to post in Special Circumstances on the old board.  It is hard to maintain friendships when you are dealing with a spouse with an addiction issue that went on for years.  I lost touch with everyone because of that and because of my own layoffs from work.  Lately I find myself more and more wanting to reconnect with someone who knew me before all of this and it's hard to find those people.  Some have died and some are just off living their lives with their families.  

 

There should be a word for the widow of an addict that shows a little more respect than the word "enabler".  Feeling very sad today and feeling all of the losses over the years.

 

Edited by DragonTears
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Hugs, DT. 

 

I did not have a spouse with addiction issues, so I don’t know what that reality is. I was a caregiver for a husband with a physical disability, and the world of ours (mine) that I had with him walked away from me after he died. 

 

I never have recovered that part of my friend/acquaintance group (including most of his family).

 

Interestingly, I reconnected with people I knew before him and enjoy some distant friendships from my past. Facebook has helped me in this process. I have moved more than some people and I am geographically distant from most of the people from my past, but I have been surprisingly embraced by some older friends. I just saw an old friend last weekend who I knew in the 1980’s and haven’t seen since 1991.

 

It is hard to make new friends as we get older. I have more colleagues and acquaintances, yes. But friendships?  Different story. 

 

Maureen

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DT,

I don't pretend to understand your struggles with an addicted spouse, but I certainly can see where that made for lots of extra challenges, and friendships on the way back burner.  

I was the third wheel for several years in my small town after LH died.  I wasn't always invited to things, but I wasn't left out in the cold all the time, either.  But they were my friends from "couple" years. So when I started dating a guy out of town, whole new life.  I eventually moved, too.  So, I am in the process of rebuilding everything.  And the guy I date has special circumstances, so we have not been a couple in a world here yet. We go out but have not found friends to do things with.  

I chose to attend a church that my kid loves, and I am stepping up there. I have a small group I go to. I am the youngest by around 15 yrs., and they get my widowhood and are kind. But we are not hanging out!  And now I am working with the kids at church.  Not hanging out with them either.  But I am making connections, slowly. 

It is hard.  Just is. I don't see how it could not be. Most of us are not going to recouple and step right back into our world we had. I suppose it happens, as it does in the movies 😉  But not for most of us Another major change/loss in the death of our spouse.  Our circles change, maybe homes, jobs, family contacts.  Gosh, so much with one human missing. They were something special, weren't they!? 

 

So, I understand on some level.  

 

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On 8/24/2019 at 11:10 PM, DragonTears said:

There should be a word for the widow of an addict that shows a little more respect than the word "enabler".  Feeling very sad today and feeling all of the losses over the years.

Agreed DT,  we need a word that expresses the collateral damage aspect.  Something like "civilian casualty"

 

Hope your week has improved.

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It's so frustrating feeling like your friendships are just more collateral in your loss. I've been struggling the last few days with my friendships. One of my very closest friends sort of abandoned me after my husband died. About a year-and-a-half later she apologized and admitted to dropping the ball. I thought we were on the mend but recently found out she's having Christmas dinner with all of our close friends and I wasn't invited. Singles and couples alike. When I attempted to speak with one of our friends about it she became defensive and started to point out things like I hadn't always invited her to events in my weaker moments of grief. like when I had a small memorial on his birthday and I couldn't handle a lot of people being over. Like it's a scorekeeping game. I'm tired of feeling responsible for maintaining all my relationships when I needed people the most. I'm tired of having to explain the Christmas is a shity holiday that I struggle with and I would love to have the people I care about around me and that being excluded when you're single alone and widowed is the worst.

 

sorry if this is rambly but I'm feeling kind of raw and this place is always a good outlet.

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After my Ken passed away I sort of stopped giving a sh%*t about people. On one hand I have more patience for them but on the other, If they let me down a few times, I wave goodbye and move on. @KrypticKat, sorry to say but your friend doesn't sound like a friend. Point scoring is pathetic and if she doesn't understand how you feel/ have felt in your grief, she doesn't deserve your friendship. I'd rather be on my own then waste my limited energy on such toxic relationships.

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@KrypticKat - that sucks that you've been excluded. Maybe it's for a valid reason, similar to why you left her out of the birthday memorial...but it still stings and is disappointing.

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