Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Life and Other Illusions...

I've just posted this over on The View From the Pond but it seemed to fit the bill so well here that I couldn't resist sharing it with all you fellow Prunes and Rosehips as it suits my present mood perfectly...

I've been making progress in my approach to my relationship with The Climber. It struck me today in a moment of tranquility that I am still really angry about being widowed and that somehow I expected The Climber to make it all better and then couldn't forgive him when he didn't.

For seven years I was in recovery mode after the death of my almost-childhood sweetheart. Then, when I decided that I was ready for a new relationship, I absolutely expected it to lead to marriage or, at least, living together in a committed way. I dated four men before The Climber and would have contemplated marriage with two of them. I don't know whether I had become cynical about true love (yes, I do know - I had) but I believed, and still do, that a good marriage doesn't have to be founded on thinking you've found your twin soul. When I set out on the internet dating circuit, I thought, "I will, in due course, find a man that excites me, makes me laugh, makes me feel safe and, if he finds that I tick his boxes, we'll grab a bit of happiness,  get married and stave off the loneliness of a solitary old age." And, with The Climber, I thought I'd found it. Three years later, I am at last beginning to realise that he does not find the idea of marriage as appealing as I do, and that there's nothing I can do to make it more appealing to him.

So I've found myself bouncing between the idea of trying to turn myself into a happy-go-lucky, independent girlfriend who's just in it for the fun, and splitting up with him and trying my luck again in the dating pool (or giving up on the idea of marriage completely and make the best single life I can for myself.)

A good friend gently suggested to me recently that instead of looking for a new man to lean on, I might try to become my own support. I dismissed her comment at the time but now I am beginning to get what she was saying. Maybe all these years after the death of The Golfer, I am still hurting, still grieving for the life I had and lost...and maybe the solution to this pain is not to try to go back to what I had with a new leading man but instead to move into a completely new room and genuinely, authentically live a good new life as a single person.

Only trouble is, I don't think I can do that without saying goodbye to this lovely man I've had in my life for the last three years.


Gretel said...

I don't think one ever stops grieving...it comes and goes in varying amounts, thankfully for me, not in large chunks anymore and not so often (maybe that makes me a very very selfish person!) but there are still nasty stabs and painful sores. And how could it not be? And the anger is totally understandable - hey, you're normal!

I'm not going to offer any advice; I'm not very good at taking advice myself, I like to wend my own way and usually find out the hard way, but you have a good and wise friend there. It's a very lonely place to be, losing your long term husband/partner at a young age (as in my case), I don't personally know anyone else in my circle who has been through it. So advice from them is usually met with an internal 'how the heck could you possibly know and wait until you have to go through this'. So I really value your blog as it makes me feel a little less alone and weird. Because you've been there too. X

Puddock said...

Thanks so much for your thoughts Gretel. Like you, I'm the only one among my friends who's been widowed and I used to have that 'wait till you have to go through this' thought quite a lot! Not so much now. But, with the Climber not being at all interested in marriage, I have found myself envying and resenting people who are married and settled with almost as much venom as I did in the early days of grief ...really took me by surprise.

And, if I'm honest, I'm not grieving any more, at least not for the Golfer, but I do still ache for that familiarity, built up over years, of having someone there who has your back, that sense of being together against whatever the world threw at you. I had that with the Golfer and I don't have it with the new bloke. Btw - you are not being selfish AT ALL because you're not grieving so much any more! I beat myself up for seven years before I felt able to let the Golfer go and not feel guilty for moving on - what an idiot! Men seem to be able to be much more practical about these things and start dating much sooner than we do.

I'm so glad you find my blog helpful. I sometimes feel I'm just using it for therapy and no-one else is reading. Writing it makes me feel less alone and weird too :)