Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Growing Up is Hard to Do

Who would ever imagine when we are all grown, have children who have grown and moved, that we ourselves would have to learn to grow-up?

When I lost my husband I actually lost half of myself.  Sure, I was incredibly independent, always have been.  But reality strikes when you trod on to do what comes natural to some.  Suddenly you find, you were dependent on your partner whether you realize it or not and just how much you were dependent.  When he's gone, half of you is missing.  Sad but good at the same time, he can never be replaced.

I finally ventured out and tried my footing at meeting men.  Total tragedy.  I am not "grown-up" enough for this.  I feel like a fish out of water.

I had a few "dates" for coffee or lunch trying to get my footing.  Then I started actually seeing someone.

After two years of seeing the same person, living together for a year, getting to know the family, feeling comfortable and then a sudden breakup, a very harsh one with some very mean hurtful humiliating things said...well it leaves one quite stunned. No in fact more than stunned.  Emotionally traumatized is more like it.   

Plus, what a way to break-up with a person.  I mean honestly, one doesn't expect a romantic dinner served with Dom P'erignon, but a little bit of respect about it would be nice.   Your brain starts scrambling as you try to be mature even though your heart is so broken its indescribable.  Tears, of course, well up and you really have so many thoughts running through your mind that you say nothing at all.  Speechless.  Feeling very naked because you were sitting on the couch and it came out of the blue.  Then you hear, "Oh stop it, tears won't work, your trying to lay a guilt trip on me and ruin all my dreams."

A gasping pain runs through the body again.  Like you purposely teared up?  Its a normal response of our body.

So you stand up to leave as gracefully as possible while everything around you is spinning out of control, and you hear:  "but I still care for you and lets keep our friendship."

Well, okay, that seems like the mature thing to do since I've seen my kids date, break-up yet remain friends.   But what happened just now, like, did I hear what I heard?

Yes, I think I did.  So I came home.  I looked around and I thought, my husband would NEVER have treated me this way even if he wanted a divorce.  Or would he?  Or did he?  Did he ever do this to someone?  Is this a guy thing?

I wonder how my kids ever survived dating.  Two are married and one has a girlfriend.  How do you deal with this.  Is there something your supposed to do?

Okay, so "lets remain friends" enters the picture.  You muster up enough strength to actually be mature about this and remain friends.  Then after a long time your suddenly being "broke" up with again.  When you really weren't, as far as you thought, "together" and were only friends.  How does this happen...when the friendship is a take, take, take, and you give, give, give.  When you have nothing of use to give...the break-up again.

Or, simply playing the grade school I like you today, I don't like you today.  Point is when you are broke up that's it.  That simple.  You can only break up again, IF, you are going out together again.  So something didn't sit well.  I gotta learn how this all is supposed to work! 

This is when it really hits.  Friends DO NOT treat each other this way.  I now believe "Toxic Personality" or "Emotional Vampires" really do exist.  I refuse to be a victim and am now learning to turn this negative experience into a positive.  Learning to read signs of take and give rather than take take take.  When you pull away that person caters to your weakness to keep what they benefit going.  Your lonely, have lost the one person in your life and you've been a wife and mother and this is all you know, so of course, you want to be loved, you want to care for another and unfortunately you want to be needed.  Only to find that as soon as you, again, fall into the caring mode, because we do care about our friends, you are being dumped.  Suddenly things are weird and when you are busy doing what you need to do... that person plays a guilt trip, or emotionally belittles you, you use all your willpower not to fall for it.  You begin to feel you are being played.

Widows/widowers, this is when its time to take control.  Be angry, its alright.  Put your foot down.  Stamp your feet and cry.  It's alright.  Do NOT put up with it.  And most of all, don't be afraid to break off what appears a seemingly  lovely friendship because constant one-sided taking is not friendship.   Guilt trips to cause you to feel you really should stop your entire life to do the sole will of this person...that is not a friend. You are losing nothing by letting go.  Don't feel as if you are losing someone again.  Recognize that fear of "I've lost someone again" or "I don't want to lose someone again."  Then embrace it tightly to your heart.

It is only the reality that you have already lost the one you loved coming back to hurt again.  Perhaps its time allow yourself more time to grieve, deal with the past and recent trauma.  Maybe recognize the possibility a "growing-up" portion is lacking in your life. After all we are having to start all over again.

Of course its lacking, because you have lost a complete half of yourself and you are no longer whole.  Take your time to learn this.  Never feel ashamed that you are not good enough.  You are most definitely good enough, and you are beautiful because someone loved you for who you were.  That was torn away and it takes a great deal of time to recover.

In your marriage, you were loved unconditionally.  It took a long time of tolerance, give, take, acceptance, compromise and learning about each other to form such a bond.  Some people never having gone through our situation could ever imagine what its like to lose someone after investing so much effort to make it right.  Some individuals never even have a chance to create a good relationship.

Never ever allow this new "dating"  type of  trauma to bring you to a low.  Yes, it happens and is part of life, but we are vulnerable.  A little more so than others.  We got comfortable with our relationship to those we lost.  Getting mad is far better than going to that dark quiet "I don't want to see anyone, I'm so embarrassed and ashamed" place.  You did nothing wrong.  You didn't "cheat" on your deceased loved one.  Your not a bad person.  It's all part of relearning.

I hope this helps someone, and if any of you have experiences to share please do.  Out of all the things I've had to do, this has been by far the hardest.  It isn't like there are books written on it.  Maybe we can help each other through experiences, in turn helping even others.


  1. Hello! Thanks for sharing your experiences. I'm a recent widow, 3 months now, and am very open to learning from you and others about this new role -- widowhood. I'm still grieving and feel very lost every day. Looking forward to reading more of your insights. You were loved unconditionally, just as I was, and this is comforting to know.

  2. Hello Anonymous,
    I'm sorry to hear of your loss. Yes, its good to learn from those who have experience. Take great comfort because what we had, we will always have and no one can take that from us!


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