Woman to Woman: “Living by your Own Rules”

Woman to Woman

Woman to Woman: “Living by your Own Rules”

One of the things that hits us the hardest as widows is the fact that we were in a marriage, coupled, and now find ourselves navigating the murky waters of what it means to be “single.” Even our friendships that once seemed safe in our couple’s world now feel awkward and strained as we are seen differently as a “single” woman. The only rule there is in the process of healing is that there are no rules! There is nothing to guide you but your heart and what you feel is the very best choice you can make to heal. You are, after all, the surviving spouse. Here are a few guidelines I would suggest you reflect on as you begin to discern your next moves as a modern widow and single woman.

#1: Don’t try to live by anyone else’s rules

I don’t prescribe rules. I encourage women to find their own way. Only you know what’s right for you. Widowhood is not a journey we choose, and there is no one way to do it. It’s one of those journeys that only others who walk alongside you truly understand. That’s why I am happy to navigate this journey with you with candor.

#2. Let yourself heal and be whole

Like grabbing a dangling rope from the scary pit of darkness, it’s easy to jump right into a new relationship, but if you want to attract a healthy relationship, it starts with being healthy yourself. You deserve the time to heal, no matter how long it takes, and what you don’t want is to attract someone who is equally broken.

#3: Let the first relationships that show up be transitional

My first encounter (after Richard) was a healing relationship. I found a companion; he was long-distance, and there was sex involved. I remember wanting it to be more than it was and creating the story (for a little while) that I had met my ‘next partner’ because I was terrified of the uncertainty of what the future held in ‘singledom’. Truth is, as time unfolded, within a few months, I realized that what I had was a really good friend with benefits and a transitional healing partner.

#4: Wait until you’re ready

It took me more than a year before I would put myself out there to really “date.” I was lonely and knew that I needed male companionship. I was 43, and I also clearly needed sex. If you’re unsure about when the right time to start dating is, I guarantee that your biological clock will tell you. Something will click in you, and you’ll just know it’s what you need.

#5: If all else fails, get yourself a vibrator

Seriously. If you’re still experiencing fear or neediness, then that’s what is speaking to you. Listen to it. It might be that all you need is a vibrator. This new time alone with yourself gives you the best opportunity to explore your own needs, your own body, your own desires. Plus, a vibrator will keep you from having random sexual encounters that might put your health in jeopardy. There’s more sexually transmitted disease today, and single women in their forties are one of the highest risk groups to contract these diseases.

#6: Give yourself permission to be a modern widow and a woman

Whether it’s a date or sex, widows sometimes have to give themselves permission to participate. Often, we are dealing with guilt, feeling as though we will be betraying the spouse or the marriage, and that has is a story that to be healed. One way to heal it is to acknowledge it and grant yourself permission to live your new life. Believe me, if the situation were reversed, you would want him to live his life, right?

#7: Be victorious

If you’ve taken on the role of victim, I suggest leaving the “perpetual pity party” so you can transition into your new life as a single woman. Take the stand that you will move forward, and decide that you want to be the best version of yourself so that you can attract the highest possibilities. Ultimately, it’s about choosing to live your life. Make your highest goal to have a love affair with life and all it’s pleasures and joy, and you will be on your way from survive to thrive.

I hope that you find these suggestions helpful in guiding you in what I know is unfamiliar and insecure territory as you approach your new single status in baby steps. In my next column, I’ll talk more about dating and relationships and how they can trigger our grief.

See you next month. Namaste,