Monday, July 11, 2011

Socializing

When your husband dies your whole social life takes a huge turn.  No longer do you have a partner in crime or a guaranteed Saturday night date.  All of a sudden you have to begin manufacturing a social life.  And frankly, I view socializing as a lot of work.

When Lane died other widows told me that I should accept every invitation and push myself out of the house as often as possible.  Well, I didn't get that many invitations so I was pretty safe entrenched in my own home.  Family members told me to "make new friends" which I interpreted as code for spend time with other women like you, women without husbands.  Not being much of a girls' girl I could only handle this type of socializing on a limited basis.

Of course some people told me to "find a man." Many widows have a great time dating.  They seem to get fixed up or go online with ease and confidence.  Not me.  I have had a couple of nice dates but I am just not willing or able to put myself out there.  Too weird.

Is it so bad to enjoy one's own company?  I guess maybe that's my problem.  Too often I am just as content staying home alone than I am trying to find someone to do something with.  Or maybe I am afraid to really try and have a social life that requires me to go it alone without my wing man.

How are you doing with your social life?

25 comments:

  1. I buried my husband of 46 years nine months ago yesterday, and I am finding out that people do not enjoy socializing with a widow. At the time of his passing was told by several different people how they would be there for me. Now to my dismay, those people have disappeared completely. I do not care to be out doing tons of things, but would enjoy having a meal or dinner with someone and be able to just communicate with someone. My family is my only contact and though I love them dearly.....I don't feel free to express my emotions as they expect me to start getting over my sorrow. I know they mean well.

    I have found that the married friends are not interested in me anymore and I truly feel that the women are afraid that I am looking at their husbands. If they only knew how much I still love my husband and have no desire to steal their husbands....I respect their relationships so much.

    I spend a lot of time alone and I am satisfied with that most times, but there are times when I feel very very lonely. I don't know if I will ever get over this feeling of abandonment from my husband's death and my dying friendships.

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  2. My husband passed away three years ago this month. Like you, Sue, I was encouraged to get "plugged into the community" again and make new friends. SO I joined a well known club that is in every community. It meets every week for lunch and a meeting. It has both men & women. I already knew most people in the club. Everyone else is married so the socials are all couples. I am the only widow. I may as well be wallpaper. Not one person invites me to join them to go to the socials....they invite other couples but not me and I am a member of the club! I know that none of them are purposely ignoring me...they just don't think about including me. WALLPAPER!!!!!! So my efforts seem to be in vain for developing a social life. I wish there were other widows, like me, here in my community that could get together and socialize.

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  3. I've been a widow for about a year and a half and while I moved closer to family I too spend a lot of time alone. I'm a freelance writer so I really poured myself into my work. I help with the grandkids, do family type stuff and read a lot (which I always did anyway). well-meaning friends and relatives are always telling me I should join a group etc. But, I'm not a big joiner and while I miss the dinner's out with my husband it's not being alone that sucks-it's being without him. http://widowslikeme.com

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  4. Welcome back, Sue. We missed you. Hope you enjoyed your break.

    I don't think it's so bad to enjoy your own company. I'd rather be alone with a good book or a satisfying hobby project than spend much time with some people. There were people I put up with because John liked them, and now I don't have to pretend to be interested in them any more. They never contact me, so I guess they didn't care that much for me, either. That's fine.

    I was mostly in charge of our social life. John liked to spend time with other people more than I did. I've always had hermit tendencies. But for his sake I did the chores of scheduling get-togethers and dinners out, little trips like weekends at someone's vacation cottage, and hosted people in our home. That meant cleaning, shopping, preparing food, planning some activities and conversation, and cleaning up afterward. John was great about helping with these things once I got the ball rolling. Still, it meant more work for me. I'm more relieved to be free from all that, than regretful.

    I still see my real friends whenever I like. In fact, I'm free to see more of some people. These are the friends that I liked more than John did. He'd put up with them occasionally for me, just as I did with those people he liked and I didn't care that much for.

    What's helped me, I think, is that John and I had some separate interests. I was used to going alone to a club meeting, or to a movie with other friends. We had places where our interests overlapped, and we sometimes participated in each others' activities. I had some fun doing that, and he introduced me to some things that became my interests, too, just as I did for him. I do miss that part of our life together, the sharing and being introduced to new possibilities. But I also had my own social life, and it's still there for me.

    A friend of mine who wasn't as independent as me joined a bridge club. She took extra lessons and became such a good player, she was always in demand. Once people in the club got to know her, they realized she wasn't after anyone's husband, and welcomed her on her own terms.

    Another woman I used to know found an original solution to this problem. She invited another widow to move in with her to share expenses. Then they very quietly encouraged a rumor to start that they were lesbians. It was totally untrue, but neither of them was interested in a new relationship, and they lived in a tolerant urban area. Pretty soon people began inviting both of them out as a couple. Part of this was so people could show how tolerant they were. But the widows didn't care why, they were just happy to be building a social life.

    So far, my family hasn't put any pressure on me to make new friends. I think they're more alarmed over the friends I already have--science fiction writers, Viking re-enactors, a gay man my son's age, and a couple of aging rock musicians among them. I think they're afraid to see what I might come up with next.

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  5. It's going on 5 months the 18th that my beautiful husband left me... My socializing skills are getting better and easier. I've been bombarded with a lot of problems. My daughter is due to give birth any day, lawyer issues and etc... I just had her baby shower at my house (70 friends and family). It turned out very nice and my grandbaby is hooked up with clothes and etc... The one thing that really upsets me is some people and their opinions. Everyone thinks or has something to say about whats best for me and my future. I will not get rid of the house, trucks, boat, dogs, baby up for adoption and etc... I will ride everything out for a year, no hastey decisions. Some people have told me they were sorry for acting and saying things to me. I do the best I can... Trish

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  6. It will be two years Aug. 11th that I lost my amazing husband. I have no social life at all, other than holiday visits with my children. I am in the process of moving and hope once I am living in the new location I can meet some other widows who may be interested in being friends. Later on I'd like to travel and you really need a traveling companion or you get hit with double rates, etc. I have absolutely no interest in finding another man, I had the best and will love him til the day I die. But I really would like to have a friend or two. There is a very active Sr. Center where I'm going and much as I never dreamed I'd go there, will join and see what it has to offer. My mother used to go there many years ago and met friends and really enjoyed it, but she was a piano player and sort of the "star" of their entertainment, when they did musical shows around the area. They entertained at many nursing homes nearby and she had a grand time. I'm hoping I'll just meet somebody like me............

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  7. I just buried my husband of 41 years in early May. I miss him so much. I am at that stage where no one seems to understand. They just try to relate by telling me about their divorce or about their siblings or parents that may have passed away. I think they just are not capable of understanding what it is like to lose the person I spent every day with. I have a wonderful supportive family and I do my socializing with them. We are getting ready to go on a lake trip, our first without him, and I feel so sad and lost. He just did everything to help get ready and I keep looking for him to walk in the door or be busily cleaning something or preparing something. This is just so hard. I am thankful for my family who all live close by and visit often, so I think I am avoiding all other social situations at this point except I have gone to church and out to lunch with some friends. Even that is so hard. I used to always want to sit close to the front and he wanted to sit near the back so we always sat in the back. Now I am sitting closer to the front. So I guess I will eventually feel like socializing with people again, but for now I am perfectly content to just be with my family or myself and my dog.

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  8. Still not ready to socialize much. It is now 5 months yet I still need more time to figure this all out and define who I am. I think family & friends are worried about me but I know I need this time to contemplate and reorganize my life. I am selling one of our houses, and need to finish a few more
    financial things and get my health back in sync. I have Lupus and the stress has been a real problem but I will go into remmision and this will let me clear out the rest of the cobwebs so I can move forward. I have always been one to retreat when I am ill. So I have come to realize we all go
    through this process of recovery in our own ways and on the positive side I have caught up on some great movies, books and music. I have also spent time on my love of photography which helps me focus on life. My heart goes out to all of us on this strange journey!

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  9. Hi,

    I lost my husband 2 years ago, very suddenly. He dropped me off for a eye Dr. appt. and never picked me up. He collapsed at worked and died in the ambulance. We were married 34 years. After reading all of your comments, I see I am not alone. What happens to all the friends and invites; all the people who said "If I need anything, just call". Well, we all know that widows rarely do that. We almost know we are reminders of what is to come. That is what a friend told me. Also, we can be viewed as a "threat" to a married couple. We don't want their husbands, we want OURS ! I too spend a lot of time alone. I spend time with family, but my son and my new grandson live out of town, so I have to fly to see them. IT is lonely. How do you start over at 57. I also know what it feels like to be treated like "wallpaper". I just do not understand. I would like to be invited to a gathering, like before, or have dinner like before. My family tells me to get out and do things. I am not going to go to bars or clubs. I take craft classes, read, etc., but I think all our previous couple friends fell off the face of the earth. Blessings to all of you. At least I know this is not just happening to me.

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  10. Wow. This is all very interesting and really hits home for me. I lost my husband of 27 years nearly 3 years ago. I am now 56. I chose to move to our second home location and tried to start a new life. It went well at first but like all of you, as many friends (and they are nearly all couples) as I have made, I am not invited to their events, parties, dinners, etc. I'm not sure why that is. I'd feel perfectly fine going as a single amongst couples, just to be around folks and have conversations. I really don't think people understand this. And like one of you said, I do not see myself as a threat to their marriages, I want MY husband, not theirs.

    I must say, I did seem to date a lot, right off the bat, I think to avoid the loneliness. I made a conscious effort about three months ago to stop dating and learn to live alone....and enjoy it. Of course there are lonely times but I must say I am happy to not have the hassle and worse yet, getting "hit on" as though I were some desperate widow in "need" of a man.

    But the bigger question is, how do we change this path of distance and rejection from our friends? Someone said to me once, "to have friends, you need to be a friend." Perhaps we need to make an effort to invite these folk, couple included, to our home, to our parties, to our lunches. Maybe the more we do that, the more they will reciprocate.

    Just a thought.

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  11. After reading many an experience and feelings of widowhood, I can recommend a book for any woman desiring God's very best for their life... Amazing Grace: God's provision during widowhood by Jane Wittbold. It's available online and at amazon. Even as a divorced woman, I found it inspiring and encouraging to trust God more!

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  12. Hi,I'm Mary and I lost my husband one month short of 37 years. I am 63 years old and work part time. I really want to do something good for the community but I don't know what. I am lonely just like you guys. I want to have both men and women friends. I want to travel. I don't want to date, I'm to old. I was looking into a 55 plus community yesterday but it's cheaper to stay in my house. I love being a grandmother & helping out with the kids. I am feeling lost without my husband. The only good thing is I can do as I please and I am losing weight because I don't have to cook. Now I guess I need to trust in God for help.

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  13. I still don't know how this site works but I'll keep trying.

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  14. My husband passed away suddenly May 9, 2011. How long do i continue to wear my wedding rings. My husband was cheating on me and I was devastated to find a love letter from the other woman after he died.

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  15. I lost my husband October 7th 2010. I thought I was doing well, but the more time goes by, I just am realizing the finality of him never being here with me again. I feel like he's always guiding me to do things with people, for people and not wanting me to give up. We were married short of 5 years, he was in my life when he was 19 and came back into my life after nearly 40 years. He was kind compassionate, funny and I dearly loved him and miss him every single day. He had just turned 65..It's so hard to go to church which was a big part of our life and I miss his presence beside me

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  16. Social life? There isn't one unless you make it yourself. I have no friends and my family, except for two sons and a sister and granddaughter live in other states. I never hear from anyone but my aunt and a brother. Shortly after my husband died I joined a writer's group and they more or less saved my life. But it isn't like we do a lot of socialization outside out meetings. I go to church but as many have said here, you're an like an extra eye or ear. You don't belong and can't participate in any activity where it requires a partner. I'll be 55 this year. My husband died Jan. 29, 2009. Nothing has changed except that I've learned to tread water instead of drown. I've picked up sewing and crochet again, things I'd dropped when life got hectic with my family and job. Still, most days I go home from work wishing there was someone I could talk to, or share my day with, or watch a movie with. Weekends are worse. I spend Saturday totally lost as to what I should do. I'm used to a partner spending my whole day with me. I can't get used to having no one. I try and get my 4 yr old granddaughter but I can't do that every Saturday.

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  17. I lost my husband Ken in June 2010. We had been married for 27 years. I still wear my wedding rings, as I don't want anyone to think I am free because I am a widow. I still very much love Ken and always will. The weekends are hard to get through. I feel so alone, even with my children, who all have spouses. We were both retired and were together 24/7. I am in the process of moving to be near some of my kids and grandkids. All I have left are my memories and our kids, but I am a survivor. I have made it through the first year.I don't plan on finding a new relationship with any man, other than friendship. I hope to start a new venture of my life by myself. God bless you all.

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  18. I just found this blog and know it will be a blessing to me. I lost my husband Randy two years ago (August 11) after he battled cancer for more than ten years, with the last few months being the only really bad time. He had an incredible sense of humor and we laughed our way through catheters, wheelchairs, scooters and lots of doctor appointments. He was 60 and I was 53 when he died, so I can still get worked up about being robbed of him at an early age.

    I am very social - with girlfriends and couples - at least those who include me. I don't think the women (in couples that don't include me) think I'm going to go after their husbands. Instead, I think I'm a painful reminder that they too could lose a husband at an early age. I have had many blessings in my life and I am thankful for many things, including that Randy didn't suffer for a long time. I do miss Randy terribly, and even though I hate to admit it, I miss being part of a couple.

    I think I would date again at some point, but Randy was pretty special, so my standards are very high. RIght now I'm focusing on volunteering, getting healthier and serving my God. And that's a pretty satisfying life most of the time...

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  19. Some of our friends still invite me to group functions. The very first outing was painful but after the first year I began to enjoy the gatherings. Three yrs into widowhood and not interested in dating (age 64) even though I miss male conversation. I keep busy with community/church activities but Friday nights are tough since it was our 'date' night. I am somewhat at peace with living alone and I make the most of it doing things that interest me and keeps me looking forward

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  20. It has been seven years for me since my husband of 24 years died suddenly. You sort of happily lose yourself in a good marriage. Afterward, you have to refind and redefine yourself. That takes time and it is best done before throwing yourself into awkward social situations that painfully remind you of your loss and changed status. After awhile you get comfortable with yourself and a social life isn't quite that important. I have a busy job with lots of public contact and often I just crave time alone. It's OK not to date, or go out to events all the time. Just do what is comfortable. Don't force yourself into anything. It takes a lot of energy just to keep going, so just follow your own instincts. If you find something your enjoy like reading or watching old movies, then do that. Just be good to yourself; you've been through the worst that can happen and you don't need more stress trying to meet others' expectations.
    My best to you all.

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  21. I lost my husband of 43 years almost 3 yrs. ago. I've finally decided that I'm tired of sitting around being lonely. We moved here to be closer to most of our kids and grandkids, but he died shortly after the move and before we could get out and start meeting people.
    I'm not that outgoing in the beginning...I need to get to know people first before I can "let go" and be comfortable.
    I just started the online match up gig and to be quite honest, it sucks. Sorry guys, but the majority are looking for arm candy.
    I don't really want a romantic relationship. I just would like to meet some people that like going out and doing things once in a while. Eating out alone is not something I enjoy. To have a friend that I could call or have coffee with is really what I would like.
    Not sure how to go about finding widows in my area that are lonely and looking for a friend too.
    Yes, 2 of my kids are here and most of the grandbabies, but they have their own lives and there are just so manyholidays to spend with them. I've gotten used to living alone, in fact, I sort of like it, but there are times when the walls start closing in.
    I'm just tired of books,movies, etc. That all gets old after awhile.

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  22. Wow. "Wallpaper" really hit home. I can emphathise with all who suddenly discovered friends disappear despite pledges to "call if you need anything". Though my situation is more heart wrentching as my husband died and left me with 11 & 12 year olds. It hasnt been easy single handedly to take them through college and a lot of sacrfices have been made. But they are unappreciative and blame me for everything including 'quiet miserable house' because everyone desserted and no one visits. They don't understand society stigma on widows and that its not my fault. All I have sacrificed to bring up and educate them has been unappreciated and they have "slapped me in the face' several times. On top of loosing husband and main bread winner, I have lost my kids as well. Are there widows who have had similar issues?

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  23. Anonymous 8 Sep 2013 10.p.m
    I am a widow aged 57.My husband died after a brief illness 2 years ago. We planned not to have kids.Just after he expired I wished that I had kids. But right now I wonder? All my sisters are overseas so I feel lonely. But I have managed to come out of it. I play badminton about 4 to 5 days a week and walk with friends in the evenings.Read a lot including the Bible by Charles Stanley which has helped me a lot.I get invited to lunches and dinners by different badminton groups.I feel doing some kind of sport would help a lot.I still feel the loneliness at times though.

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  24. My only social life since my husband dies in May is work. We didn't have many friends as Danny was very private and prefered me and the kids to any social events. As a result I really am alone as I don't really have any friends. I'm 60 and it's pretty difficult at this stage in my life. I thought I would grow very old with my sweetie. My two children are amazing but they are adults now and have lives of their own. The day my husband died our daughter had an emergency C-section and gave birth to our beautiful granddaughter. What a day!

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