Is there life for me after my husband's death?

Posted on: 21 January 2008 by

Lonely after her beloved partner's death, how can Deborah find happiness again?

Deborah Writes:

My late husband and I met when we were 14 years old.  He was my only boyfriend.  I'm 51 and we were married for 33 years.  He suddenly and very unexpectedly died last year which has left me broken hearted. We often talked in depth about “what ifs” and the possibility of one of us being left alone and what we would want for each other. 

I have to admit that I'm facing a new life in a big wide world and things are not what they were when I met him in 1969.  There were no such things as HIV or AIDS (that we knew of) and to have sex on the first date was unheard of.

When I'm ready to start having a 'social life' again, what on earth do I do?  I'm not keen on internet dating and to join a singles club fills me with dread as I've heard so many stories of people joining for 'only one thing.'

At the moment I am ok as I am, but I know that I will have to join that big wide world sooner or later.  Can you please give me some advice?



Andy Advises:

I truly feel for you - because I've been in exactly the same boat. My first husband died at the age of 52 some 17 years ago.  He was nearly nine years older than me, and like you I was broken-hearted.

I had two children and I knew that for their sake, and in my late husband's memory, I had to go on living and enjoying life for two of us because that's what I am sure he would have wanted.  I’m also convinced that that is what your beloved husband wanted for you too.  It sounds as though he was a very wise man, and he would have known that there is life after death - your life.

I spent many years alone so I know how you feel.  My advice to you is at first, just enjoy your old friends.  It's really helpful if you have one good girl-friend with whom you can go out to eat, go to the theatre, share walks, weekend activities, etc. without even thinking about men.  In fact, doing the normal things you and your husband might have done.

You may sometimes feel as though half of you is missing, but one of the things you will learn to do is become a whole person in your own right again. That's what the healing process is. You never forget, nor would you want to, but as my youngest daughter once said: "There comes a time when pain is no longer the boss," and you can smile and laugh and have fun without feeling sad and a bit guilty. 

Men are bound to make passes at you when they know you are single.  Some will be crude or lewd.  Beware!   You talk about AIDS and HIV which suggests you are thinking that any relationship will HAVE to be sexual.  I promise you that the word ’no’ is as relevant now as it was when you were single first time round.  Don’t be forced into anything you don’t feel is right.  If you want an intimate relationship in good time, then enjoy it, but only with a man you are comfortable with.   Tell the others to get lost.  My advice is don't rush into anything.

I was lucky enough to meet another man and we fell in love.  I remarried six years ago - and I was asked the questions that you are asking now by so many people that I wrote a book about it called How to Find Love Mid-Life. It was published in October 2003 by Hodder and Stoughton and you can still find it in bookshops like Smiths or Waterstones, or on Amazon, priced £7.99.  

Put yourself in a position where you meet people rather than men.  If you are busy doing things you enjoy, you will meet other people who enjoy doing the same things.  You might consider learning or playing bridge; going to Salsa classes if you enjoy dancing - you don't need a partner!  Join a book circle if you like reading or an evening or day class in something you have always wanted to learn and never had the time. Mix with married as well as single people. Make new friends because you never know who knows who.

If you look in magazines such as Saga, or Yours, you will find single people seeking friendship, not just partnership.  There is also an organisation called Nexus Singles, the address is Club Nexus House, 6 The Quay, Bideford, North Devon, EX39 2HW, telephone: 01237 471 704 which is an umbrella friendship club for people alone, with local branches throughout Great Britain.  And of course there's always the 50Connect message boards.

Good luck and do let me know how you get on.

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