Archive for August, 2012
First, thanks to everyone who left suggestions for future Widower Wednesday columns. There were a lot of great ideas presented and you’ll see them in future columns over the next couple of months.
Second, our move was successful. It was an all day, arduous event but we finally got everything unloaded last Wednesday. Right now we’re in the process of unpacking and getting settled in. And we’re so happy to finally have our own place. More on the adventures of life in our new home will be posted soon.
Now on to today’s Widower Wednesday . . .
Readers of this column know I’m a big proponent of learning how to communicate with your widower about relationship issues. A lot of widower-related relationship issues can start to be solved just by taking the time to talk to the widower about what’s on your mind and how his actions (or inactions) affect you and your relationship.
I also believe that to have a healthy relationship, people being able to talk about anything and everything with their partner. Being able to talk with someone about what’s on your mind with someone who will actually listen and talk with you about something is a necessary component to any healthy relationship.
However, I’m going to make one big exception: Don’t ask the widower about his sex life with the late wife.
Recently a couple of mailers inquired about the widowers past sex life and immediately regretted learning more. For example, one woman asked her widower what the most sexually adventurous thing he’d ever done with the late wife. The answer shocked her so much that she seriously thought of ending the relationship because she couldn’t get a certain image out of her head. A second woman (who apparently had a couple of drinks) started asking her widower about how sex with her compared with sex with the late wife. After listening to several detailed stories about what it was like to make love to the late wife, she stood up and left with tears running down her face thinking that she’d never be able to be as good as the late wife in bed.
Discussing the widower’s past sex life (or yours for that matter) is as poisonous to any relationship as having a ton of photos and other reminders of the past all over your home. The intimate moments between a couple should stay between them. Period. What they did together in their intimate moments has no bearing on your current relationship. What’s important is how you two enjoy each other now as opposed what he used to do with someone else.
For the widowers who read this column, if your girlfriend or wife asks about your sex life with the late wife, don’t answer it. Tell her that what you and the late wife shared in the bedroom was between the you and her and, like any intimate relationship you currently have, it’s not to be shared with others. And please don’t voluntarily bring up information about your past escapades with the late wife or others. You’re asking for nothing but trouble if this information gets out.
Unfortunately, I can speak to personal experience about this. I let something about my love life with the late wife slip early in my marriage to Marathon Girl. Even though it was a little thing it made Marathon Girl feel like in one small way she couldn’t measure up. Yes, we worked through it and our love life is fine thankyouverymuch, but it was an issue we wouldn’t have had to deal with if only I had kept my big mouth shut.
So when it comes to the widower’s past sex life, don’t ask about it and don’t tell anyone about it. It’s not important to your current relationship. Concentrate on each other and your current need. Your relationship will be stronger because of it.
August 29th, 2012
I haven’t played the video game Portal 2 but apparently there’s a character in the game that looks like me named Cave Johnson. A coworker found a picture of him online and emailed it around the office. The consensus was that yes, it looks like a creepy version of me. For those who have met me, what say you? I think it’s pretty damn close.
August 27th, 2012
If you’re reading this, then I’m spending the day moving the family into our new home. Since I won’t have time to write a Widower Wednesday column today, I thought I’d see what topics you’d like addressed in a future column. Requests I’ve received over the last week that I’ll be addressing in the next few weeks include:
- Why widowers shouldn’t get a memorial tattoo
- Tips and tricks to help widowers adjust to life alone
- Does how the late wife died affect the widower’s ability to move on?
Leave your ideas in to comment section below or send me an email. Look for a new column on one of the aforementioned topics next Wednesday.
August 22nd, 2012
We signed the papers to buy our home this morning. Assuming all goes well, we should have the keys on Monday and move into our place sometime next week.
Finally, we can have a place of our own again. I haven’t seen Marathon Girl this happy in weeks.
Crossing our fingers that all goes according to plan.
August 17th, 2012
I don’t watch a lot of TV. With five young kids and four books in various stages of completion, I don’t have the time or energy to commit to the boob tube. But with Marathon Girl glued to the Olympics for two weeks (about the only time she watches TV) I kept seeing the promos for the new Mathew Perry show Go On. The subject matter of a recent widower trying to move on was enough to entice me to put down the pen for 30 minutes and see if the show was worth watching.
Much to my surprise, the pilot episode was entertaining, funny, and heartwarming. If done right, the show has lots of potential.
For those who haven’t seen it, Matthew Perry plays Ryan King, a recent widower who’s required to attend grief therapy before he can return to work. He ends up in a support group for “life change” filled with a bunch of eccentric characters who are dealing with the loss of their cat to a brother who’s in a coma. He brings cheerfulness and humor to a group that run by a strict Kubler-Ross type named Lauren (played by Laura Benanti) who wants to help people but whose “qualifications” for running the group is motivating people to lose weight through Weight Watchers.
It’s hard to find humor in loss and grief but the writers find the perfect mix of humor and heartfelt moments while doing a good job poking at the general absurdity of so some of the grief techniques and practices that “help” people move on.
As a former widower, Perry’s character felt real. He wants to move on with his life but is in denial about the need to get his life in order. Instead of dealing with his emotions, he turns to humor to deflect his feelings about loss. And the moments in the support group when he starts a March Sadness tournament in order to give someone sob-story bragging rights flat out hilarious. And even though his character is egotistical and self-absorbed (his favorite activity is listening to past sports shows he’s done), we see a hint of warmth as he goes out of his way to help certain members of the group come out of their shell.
Whether or not future episodes of Go On will be just as entertaining will depend a lot whether or not the writers let all of the characters in the show evolve. In real life we don’t like people who can’t move on with their life after a tragic event and it’s the same for characters in TV show. It would be easy to let those in the support group become standing punch lines for whatever situation Perry finds himself in. But since they showed some of the people taking baby steps at moving forward in the pilot, I’m hoping that they’ll move on from the group and be replaced by others.
The Perry character will have to evolve as well. Currently he’s kind of a sad jerk who we end up rooting for only because we see his genuine sadness at different times during the show. However, in order for us to root for him week after week, he can’t be a sullen jerk forever. At some point he’s going to have to come to terms with his loss and do what it takes to move on and either leave the group or become someone who leads. As part of his evolution, I’d like to see him start flirting with and dating the support group leader, Lauren, as there is plenty of funny and heartfelt dating a widower situations that could fill up an entire season or two.
I highly recommend watching the pilot. (You can watch it below). For the first time in years, I have a show to watch on regular basis. Hopefully future episodes are just as good.
August 15th, 2012
Good news! Marrying a Widower is now available through iTunes and the Apple bookstore.
Thanks for those readers who patiently waited while I navigated the iTunes approval process to get it in. There were a couple of formatting issues that kept cropping up with the manuscript, thus delaying the approval process. But it’s up there now and will be so long as Apple runs an eBook store.
And for those who want to read Dating a Widower on their iPad or other Apple device, you can find it on iTunes here.
August 9th, 2012
Occasionally readers will send me news stories about widowers. For Widower Wednesday I’ve decided to post and comment on two of the more interesting ones as well as an upcoming TV show.
First a story for those who have to deal with widowers who make frequent trips to the cemetery, here’s one from Alabama.
Jim Davis leaves no doubt about his willingness to do whatever it takes to honor his wife’s dying wish.
Shortly before she died in April 2009 at the age of 66, Patsy Davis let it be known she wanted to be buried in the yard of the rural northeastern Alabama house where the couple raised their five children.
So that’s exactly where Jim Davis laid his wife of “48 years, one month and four days” to rest, even though the city council in Stevenson denied him permission to do it.
After his wife died, Davis picked out a spot in the front yard and applied to the county health department for the necessary approval. The department ran hydrological tests as required by law and granted his request.
Davis then sought permission from the city council. The council said no.
Davis said he’s the kind of person who doesn’t “take no for an answer.” One morning soon after the council’s refusal, he rented a backhoe and dug the plot anyway.
Read the full story at Yahoo! News.
Apparently burying people in one’s yard is legal in Alabama. If so, then I fully support Mr. Davis’ right to bury his wife in his front yard. Such an action, however, may deter any chances for a serious relationship if he decides to date again.
On a happier note, here’s proof that widowers can move on again and that the former in-laws can even be supportive of the widower and his new love.
The Connecticut doctor who survived a horrific home invasion that left his two daughters and wife dead remarried on Sunday.
William Petit wed his girlfriend, 34-year-old photographer Christine Paluf, in Simsbury, Conn., and family spokesman Rick Healey told the Associated Press that about 300 people attended the ceremony. The couple had been seeing each other since the summer of 2011, People magazine reported, and they met while Paluf was volunteering for the Petit Family Foundation.
The family of Petit’s late wife gave the couple their blessings. According to People, the family met Paluf in September 2011, at a birthday party for Petit. When Cindy Hawke-Renn, the sister of Petit’s late wife, learned on New Year’s Eve that they were engaged, she said she was thrilled for the couple. She added that her sister would have been too. “She would have only wished the best for him,” Hawke-Renn said. “That’s just how she was.”
Read the rest at Today and thanks to Kristen for the tip.
Finally, there’s a new show, Go On, that is showing a preview episode after the Olympics tonight. Matthew Perry plays a radio talk show host who recently lost his wife and is ordered by his boss to undergo therapy. The previews look promising and assuming the show has staying power, I’m guessing they’re eventually going to have the Perry character start dating the lady who runs the therapy sessions.
The show is on too late for me to watch live but I’ll record it and see if it’s any good. If any readers happen to catch the show, I’d be curious as to your thoughts.
You can watch two previews of the show below.
August 8th, 2012
We had hopes that we’d be ready to move into our new home this coming weekend. ‘Tis not to be. The construction is running, as of now, about a week behind schedule. But things should have picked up again yesterday and are scheduled to be completed next Tuesday. Assuming that the inspection and everything else goes as planned our tentative closing date is now August 17. That means at least one extra week with the in-laws.
It also means that our kids will be starting school in their new four days after we move in. We were hoping to give them a week or so to adjust to the new house and meet some kids in the new neighborhood (which there are plenty of). ‘Tis not to be. Instead we’re moving in and they’re going to go through everything at once. But they’re troopers and will handle it just fine.
Oh, and for those who ever put all their stuff in storage until their house closes, don’t store important documents you might need for, say, a mortgage in the very back. It’s not fun to have to dig through an entire storage until just to find things.
August 7th, 2012
I grow old . . . I grow old . . .
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
—T.S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”
When I turned 20, I had a quarter-life crisis. I remember getting on the bus to go to college that cold, rainy morning feeling that since I was wasn’t officially a teenager anymore, I had to grow up and be a responsible adult. Looking back, I wonder why I even felt that way. At the time I lived by myself, was in the middle of my junior year of college, was in a relationship with a girl who would eventually become my first wife, and had a part-time job. I was about as grown up as one can be at that age. And even though those feelings faded away a few weeks later, I still cringe every time my birthday rolls around and there’s an extra candle to blow out.
Today our youngest child turned one. And as I fed her a breakfast doughnut this morning, I couldn’t help but feel old. Really, really old. Yeah, it’s silly to feel this way. I’m 37 and in a lot of ways am at the prime of one’s life. Besides, there’s nothing I can do to stop the aging process. (But if someone knows of some ways to reverse it, please let me know.) All I can do is stay active and try to age as gracefully as one can.
It’s not like again isn’t all bad. I like the wisdom that comes with age and experience. And looking over my life I have nothing to complain about. Mentally my mind feels active and alert. Aside from the sore knees that follow running long distances, I’m in great health. I have a great wife and five wonderful kiddos. I’m writing books better and as a faster pace than ever and I’m still 2.5 years away from hitting the big 4-0.
Still it would be nice to go back in time to that morning I got on the bus, having the first day of that inane quarter-life crisis and just enjoy feeling 20 for the rest of the day.
August 3rd, 2012
At least once a week I’ll get an email from a woman who’s reached a breaking point with their widower she’s dating. She’s so frustrated they wonder if the best way to either move things forward or bring things to a head is to give the widower an ultimatum to change or end things once and for all.
For example one woman described the promise after promise that her widower made about removing photos from his living room and kitchen so he could feel more comfortable when she visited. Despite repeated promises the photos remained on the wall and she was ready to leave and wanted to know if an ultimatum would be the best way to get him to remove the photographs.
Ultimatums usually do more harm than good to relationships. Yes, there’s a time and a place for them but I usually only recommend them when you reached a point when you’re willing to walk away from the relationship forever. Instead of giving ultimatums, it’s better to recognize the red flag and other warning signs that widower isn’t ready to move on and start a new life with you. Why put yourself through months or years of agony with someone who’s not willing to change?
Widowers who are ready to love again will treat you like the center of their universe. Though there may be moments and times of frustration, you should learn how to communicate with each other and work through widower (and other issues) together and so you can make your relationship stronger.
But if you’ve reached a breaking point with the widower you’re dating, there are a couple things to consider before taking such drastic step:
- Don’t give anyone an ultimatum unless you’re actually going to follow through with it. So, if you’re ultimatum is something like “Take all the photos down by Saturday or I’m never setting foot in the house again” then you need to have the resolve never set foot in his house again if the photos don’t come down by the deadline. If he keeps the photos up, you end up back in his house sometime after the deadline, then the widower will know that you’re a paper tiger and won’t take you seriously next time you ask for something. You’ve proven that he can do whatever he wants and there won’t be consequences.
- Sometimes ultimatums backfire. Let’s say you tell the widower he has to remove the late wife’s clothes from the closet or the relationship is over. The widower may simply shrug his shoulders and decide that he’d rather keep the clothes instead of you and end the relationship right then and there. You have to be fine with that outcome as well or else you’re setting yourself up for some early heartbreak.
Again, you’re better off knowing when a widower isn’t ready to move on and end things earlier. But if that’s simply not an option at this point, be prepared for any and all possible fallout that comes from such a heavy-handed tactic.
August 1st, 2012