Archive for October 21st, 2013

When you’re widowed, the way I was in 2010, eventually the immediate grief fades. You still find yourself regularly ambushed by memories of your partner, but you start to establish new rhythms and patterns.

The trouble is, these new rhythms and patterns are not nearly as satisfying as the ones you used to have. In particular:


  • No one is around with whom to share the jokes heard during the day, the observations or news, or to talk about a new book.


  • After an event, you have no one to discuss what happened, what other people said, or what meanings or motivations might be behind them.


  • Cooking for one hardly seems worthwhile, and too many nights of takeout soon becomes pathetic.


  • At first, not having someone who needs to know your schedule is like being on vacation. However, after a while, it simply emphasizes that you’re on your own.


  • If you don’t do a chore, it doesn’t get done. Moreover, when you do get around to a chore you’ve been putting off, there isn’t anyone to share it with to make it less dreary.


  • You find yourself dreading social events, because they end with you returning to an empty home.


  • When you hear a car outside, you have to keep reminding yourself that it isn’t your partner’s.


  • You have no one to buy gifts for or to celebrate anniversaries with.


  • At night, the bed seems far too large – and, in winter, too cold.


  • Planning a future for one is a necessity at twenty. Add a few more decades, and it only seems pointless.


  • People keep expecting you to start a new relationship when you are not even sure that you want one.


If you have never had a long-term relationship, or current one is unsatisfying, some of these points might be puzzling. After all, isn’t what freedom from obligation what everyone wants? But obligations are what relationships are all about. You can miss them more than you might imagine – especially when you’ve cheerfully fulfilled them for years and they suddenly disappear from your life.

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