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Jennica

not feeling comfortable in my own skin

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It has been a bit since I have been on. It will be 3 years in August since my husband passed away.  My kids and I are doing really good. I think I have come to terms with our new life and have finally accepted the fact that he is no longer with us.  Now I find it rather hard to accept the single label. I don't know if it is weird or not. I feel that when someone asks if I am married I need to explain why I am not. It bothers me that I feel this way. I went to my sons 5th grade camp recently and on the second day a mom started asking me questions. Then she asked if I was married. Instead of just saying no and leaving it no I feel the need to explain. So I respond no, I am a widow, my husband passed away 3 years ago. Instantly I am so annoyed with myself. Why do I feel the need to explain. Why do I care? Its as if I think I will be looked at in a way that puts me beneath them and that feeling bothers the crap out of me. Then of course it becomes awkward and they say I'm sorry for your loss. The whole thing just annoys me. Ugh, the rest of camp I thought about if she was telling others. Is this strange? When do you stop saying your a widow? Am I always going to refer to myself as a widow? I don't want to but it just comes out of my mouth before I can stop myself.

 

 

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Being a widow does present awkward social situations.  I lost my wife about a month before you lost your husband.  I have been dating a really great lady since January.  When talking with her or her family, I still call my wife by that term ("wife"), which feels weird when you are dating someone.  It feels like overkill to say "my deceased wife".  This is when I speak to people who didn't know my wife.  I simply call her by her name when talking with those that knew her.  I guess I try to take the cue from other's reactions when I say "my wife", if they aren't understanding why I say I have a wife but am dating.  If there is a look of confusion, I will briefly explain, if no look of confusion, just keep on with the conversation!  I'd welcome other people's thoughts on this too!

I don't think you need to explain why you are single to others though, none of their business unless you really want to share that with them. :)

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I guess I have just gotten used to the concept of widowhood. I was widowed the first time at age 47 and the second time at 51. There have been so many changes in my life since losing my first husband, and if I am getting to know someone new and want an authentic connection with that person, things inevitably surface. I have developed the “Cliff Notes” version of my story and will elaborate if there is genuine interest in getting to know someone better. 

 

I don’t personally like being called “single”, as it seems to negate some very critical parts of my life. I’m not particularly concerned that others will be uncomfortable with my marital status. At this point, I can tell someone I am widowed without indicating that it is distressing. If people say they are sorry for my loss, I thank them and move forward. I’m all about having authentic relationships in my life, and if someone isn’t in that kind of place themselves, that’s okay. I let that person be where they are and I go on myself.  

 

I’m not currently dating, although I have been on a handful of dates.  It can be interesting when meeting new people - dates or otherwise - and  referring to my husbands by number. Again, this is a part of my life and what brings me to where I am today. 

 

Hopefully, in time, this will become more comfortable for you and you will find what works best for you to divulge or keep private, depending on the circumstances. 

 

Hugs,

 

Maureen

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I'm ten years out and consider myself a widow. I dislike when the options are "single, married, divorced". I am proud that my husband picked me, that we had a wonderful bond, and a successful marriage. When the topic of marital status comes up with people I meet -- be it at the bank or a social setting -- I simply state that my husband passed away -- usually as part of a longer sentence -- and move on. The response is generally a quiet "I'm sorry" to which thank them and continue on with the conversation. This seems to diminish the discomfort and gives everyone permission to accept it as a fact of who I am.

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I moved to a new city,  and I tell people if it comes up I am widowed. It is part of my story.  It tells them I was married but I am not divorced. It tells them my son had a dad. It is different than being divorced or never married. Not better but who I am.  And I was married 21 yrs.  That is longer than many folks so it says a lot about my life.  I will always be widowed, and maybe married again.  And I may say that. This is my new husband.  And if appropriate, my son is from my late husband.  It explains a lot. I don't have a shared custody of my child. He doesn't go back and forth between two households,and all that entails. It is me and him, full time but used to be more.  Late Husband is how I talk about him.  I don't know how NOT to talk about him. When conversing about all kinds of things, it was a "WE" not a "ME".   To talk as it was just "ME" is not my story.  I wasn't single for 21 years,  so that is a misrepresentation of who I am.  I went to Jamaica for my 10th anniversary.   Not alone, not with a ladies group, so how to share that and not be concise. NO shame. If they are awkward, then that is on them.....  

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Just saying ‘I’m single’ feels kinda false to me. And, when someone asked me the other day if I had ever been married, it felt incomplete to simply say yes. Besides, there’s bound to be follow-up questions anyway. I’d rather get ahead of it and get it out of the way matter-of-factly.

 

Sometimes I do feel discomfort in the other person and I try to propel the conversation forward quickly. But, many times, I’ve found my status opens something up for the other person- a chance to talk about their own dead person that they love and like having a place to talk about.

 

But it is an awkward word to say, especially when younger- because it’s so unexpected and shocking. I’m thinking of people I know who’ve lost children and imagine their own mental gymnastics when people ask if they have any children. It’s complicated. But we want to answer truthfully, because it is such a huge part of who we are now and it’s nothing to be ashamed about. 

 

The other day, I was filling out a form and was stopped by the question of marital status- was I a widow or was I in a committed relationship? I’m both, and I didn’t like having to choose only one. 

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I am a widow. I'm not single or divorced. I too am a little offended by forms that require us to check off single, married or sometimes include divorced. People are widowed. If the other person says I'm sorry I thank them and the conversation moves on. 

 

A few idiots, maybe 2-3 commented that I was *lucky* to be widowed. Their reasons were that there was no division of financial assets and/or I didn't have a living  ex. I made no comment at all. A cartoon bubble over my head would have read "I understand why you are divorced" but that would be rude to verbalize. Goes without saying I removed myself from those folks as soon as possible. 

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Wow, I cannot imagine anyone saying that you are *lucky* to be widowed. That is awful. People can be so inconsiderate it just amazes me. I am newly widowed and haven't run into too many situations, however, a week ago I had to fill out a form at a new doctor's office and when I had to check off widowed, I just broke down and started crying.
 

Hugs to all of you on here tonight. We all need them.

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If there is no widow/ -er option, I either add it manually or request to have the form amended so that I can choose the right answer. I am not single. Full stop.

 

To be honest, I still consider myself married (it is just that Ken and I are not in the same dimension) but I do not tick "married" as that would be too hard to comprehend for "normal" people.

 

 

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