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Is this as good as it gets?

Is this as good as it gets?

Should I be satisfied my life as it is now? And sail into the sunset?

I have heard so many horrors stories about what has happened to some men after their spouse’s have passed away. Quick relationships, quick marriages, divorces, only to land in the same position alone, but this time emotionally scarred and with major financial impact. Is it worth the effort since the consequences of failure are high for me personally and for my relationship with my children, family and friends (the few I have)?

“Be happy with what you have and had.”

“Buy a dog; enjoy the memories, your children and their children (maybe)”

A widowed friend told me that men have a tougher time with loneliness and are quick to find a new partner. “They can’t handle being alone.” We are used to the company and somebody doing all the domestic work. Most men think they can duplicate what they had. We just need a woman who can do all the domestic activity, social scheduling, entertaining, ego stroking and allow us to get on with the difficult parts of life: like meeting ‘the boys’, playing golf and discussing all the world’s problems. This should be easy, there are loads of woman looking for a guy like me!

This is not as easy as most guys make it sound when discussing the subject in the pub. Women are human beings with their own thoughts, ideas, expectations, and desires of their own. They are not looking for a lazy guy who needs a slave. They have probably had one already.

Most people don’t like change and fight change in every way possible. So the primary objective of most men is to completely replicate the previous relationship.

On average, most men do not work as hard on relationships as women, thus, to do the extra work that is necessary can become a major issue.

Nevertheless, the alternative is not good. I met a man who was very quiet, lonely and never went out to meet family or friends after his wife died. In a short time after her death, he died, basically from self-neglect. He could not handle the loneliness and the loss of companionship. I spoke to people who knew him before she died. They remembered him as a very proud, self-confident, haughty person who was very energetic. A person whom you would think did not need anybody.
A marriage -bad, good or excellent-is a relationship of extreme intimacy. It is not only a sexual relationship but a complete integration or blending of mind, mood, knowledge, security, comfort level, communication (verbal and non-verbal) until the two become one. The probability of obtaining the same relationship again is impossible.

Just because someone meets the basic requirements, social, moral, background, education, etc. does not mean that the chemistry is going to be there or will ever be there. I get a laugh out of the ads for online dating. They quote the ‘x’ number of points of comparison. They do not know about the X factors in relationships. Neither do I.

As I go down the road to being open to new relationships, hopefully one which will be permanent. If one does occur, it will not be the same as before. I will not be looking for the same as I do not think that it will work for either party. I am a different person now and changing daily. My expectations and view of the world is changing. I have accepted a new role with my children, which is that of a ”position of respect”. I have accepted that I am no longer in the parent role, as my children are now grown and are starting their own lives. Therefore, advice is given on request instead of parental edicts.

My children are also changing, even though they do not notice it as much as I do. They are coming to terms with one parent alive and also beginning to accept that even these bonds with me will become looser. This is natural and should occur. But they are now starting to exercise reverse parental control which will have to be taken into account in any new relationship I may have.
I think that if I am to be successful in a future relationship I will have to over communicate, go slowly and recognise that any new relationship must include acceptance of my spouse. She will always be there, not as an adversary but as a positive person who would want the best for everybody. The trick is not to make her into the super mother which time often makes of people who have died. But to keep her as the positive and ‘human’ person she was. Then, she will truly be remembered.

Even I will become a better person after I have departed. Hard to believe.
The thought of a new relationship is full of concerns, fears, risks, and fraught with dangers. When we were young we never thought like this. If we did, we would never have met anybody. So my lack of experience is a problem and only time will tell.

On that note… where is the nearest pet store? Ha, ha!


  1. Dee  October 19, 2011

    I think the good stories far outweigh the “horror” stories and that widows and widowers alike should at least explore the possibilities of new relationships-but not too soon after one loses his/her partner. Rushing into any relationship is always a mistake as it takes time to not only heal but also to fully get to know others at a level necessary to take good decisions. The problem with some widowers is that they do rush and are blinded by the new experience. So much so, that they tend to avoid their good friends and thus lose friendships solely due to their own behavior. Could this be the case with Joe as he says he has few friends? From my experience, assuming Joe waits a reasonable time (2 to 3 years in my opinion), there will be full understanding and even encouragement from children,family and friends. Joe should avoid falling into the rushing trap that he refers to. There are lots of ladies waiting to meet Mr. Right but the good ones will avoid any man seeking a permanent relationship shortly after he has lost his partner.

    • Joe  October 27, 2011

      Thank you so much for you very thoughtfull and insightul comments. Really appreciate you feedback and will keep it in mind.
      All the best.

    • Barbara  December 27, 2011

      Dee, I so agree with you. I feel it is very important for an individual to heal from the loss; that is to be okay with self and to truly understand and grow from the loss experience. Included in the growth is a knowing you are now different and will never be the same as prior to the loss. Sadness, longing, hurt and not wanting to be alone for one more minute are real and can be all consuming……if we let them consume. Be in the moments of sadness etc when need be and gradually, really…gradually create a “new normal”.

      I am impressed and agree with the comment , “There are lots of ladies waiting to meet Mr. Right but the good ones will avoid any man seeking a permanent relationship shortly after he has lost his partner.” The journey of grief requires sharing BUT to heal over time will enable the individual to be ready for and discerning of any potential new relationships.

      Ally best to all on their healing journey,

  2. carole bunyak  October 27, 2011

    That’s what I wonder. Is this all there is?
    I had such a good life, I can’t believe it’s gone , or that I could ever have such a good time again. I guess it’s age, because I didn’t feel this way at all, after a divorce in my distant youth. It’s nothing to do with money , even health. How do you find another soulmate after all this experience? Who will hike the Grand Canyon with me? can I hike it now? Ride our bikes on a 1600 mile trip? go to China.. Peru.. there’s lots of world left, so many places I haven’t been,

    How do you learn to love something different

  3. Joe  October 27, 2011

    Hi Carole,

    Thanks for the response to the E-mail.
    I don’t have all the answers ( i am not trained in this area ) but I think I will look for good friends first- as in ‘Soul Friends’. If I can achieve that, then maybe there will be a ‘soul mate’ around the corner.
    But, if they do not turn up, than at least I will have been able to enjoy new friends and experiences.
    Remember ‘one day at a time’ and half a an experience is better than none.
    Have a great day.

    • Alice Langelier  November 12, 2011

      I lost my husband this summer and I am having a difficult time dealing with the situation. I wish I had a friend to talk to and do things with. What is your advice?


      • Joe  November 14, 2011

        Hi Alice/Marie,
        I am not an expert in this area as I am in a similar position.
        I am making great efforts to get out to all events and activities to meet as many people as possible. It is hard to go alone, I know.
        But we have to do it. I have decided to listen more and not to talk about my departed spouse; most people do not want to go there.
        What I have realised is that people to learn about you now. If they want to make friends with you, they need to know you.
        Wish you all the best.

  4. Marie  November 9, 2011

    Great article!!

    I lost my husband a few years ago and worked through the grief and mourning
    stages, now its time to get my toes wet in the dating game. Loneliness is killing

    So, where does one start when it comes to finding a companion (human)? The
    dating sites have its own set of drama. And I do have a pet.

    Any suggestions?


  5. Mitchell Mingie  November 17, 2011

    Great advice. I am sorry to hear about your loss. Here in Vancouver there are many different sites, clubs and associations where to meet people. Some sites are for the hard core type of dating, but the more relaxed ones are involved in sports, action activities or hobbies. For example skiing, hiking etc. At least you get out and enjoy yourself and at the same time meet people who enjoy what you like. It is a start with no pressure. I have been with my wife for over 25 years and would find it difficult at the beginning to get out, but I really believe that your loved one would like it if your could start a new life and have a full life again. I think that would make your past partner smile:-)

    I wish you all my best.

    • Mary  August 4, 2020

      I think it’s important to accept that a later relationship will be very different. Companionship and friendship and including that person in your life is important but it won’t be like it was with your life partner nor should it be.
      I would never marry again nor would I want to change my life in any drastic way. I would like to find a kindred spirit to share the next phase of life but not be totally immersed in the relationship that neither person can continue to socialize with family and friends. The partner should enhance your life and not take it over.

  6. Judy  November 17, 2011

    I am a widow of 2 years and am 62 yrs old. My counsellor sister gave me what I think is good advice. She said
    My new job description is to be the best single I can be. If another man comes into my life I want to be already enjoying my friends, new hobbies and yes,
    single travel too. This isn’t all easy but I do not want to waste time waiting to meet a new husband. Does that make sense or is it helpful to anyone else?

    • Joe  November 18, 2011

      Hi Judy,
      That is great advice.
      I wish you all the best in your new program.
      Keep me posted, would love to know how it is going.
      All the best for now

  7. Dee S  October 27, 2019

    Just curious. Where does one go now to meet people after losing a spouse? I have been a widow for a little more than year and have had no idea where to socialize now. I am an active senior who misses a fabulous social life. It seems that once you lose your spouse and are no longer part of a couple, friends with partners tend to develop stance themselves from you.


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