Widower Wednesday: Opening Your Heart

Last week I wrote about the aggravating push/pull characteristics that women experience in some widower relationships. This week I’m going to suggest three things that can help widowers make room in their heart for the new woman. Keep in mind the ideas below are simply suggestions. What worked for me may not work for you. However, if you’re serious about dating again and entering into a committed relationship, then you owe it to yourself and the woman you’re dating to open your heart to her instead of pushing her away and pulling her back every other day.

  • Pick a time to grieve – Widowers who start dating within two years of their wife’s death are usually still grieving. So it helps if you can find a specific time to vent, cry, or do whatever is necessary to get feelings of sadness or anger out of your system. After Krista died, I went running every morning. It was the only time of day I allowed myself to focus on her, her suicide, and what I was going to do with my life. Some mornings I swore under my breath for the entire run. Others I came home with tears frozen to my cheeks. Sometimes those runs were downright miserable. However, the benefit of this was I was able to function more or less normally the rest of the day. I could focus on work, other activities, and any relationships I was involved in at the time. Find a place and time of day where you can be alone, then do whatever you need to feel better. It makes it a lot easier to enjoy the rest of the day and open your heart to someone else when you’re not down in the dumps all day.
  • Embrace Change and Take Advantage of New Opportunities – Life isn’t static. Every day we learn to adapt to change and take on new opportunities. When a spouse dies, it alters the course of our life forever. But it also opens new doors that will take us on new adventures. In every way my life is better than it was 10 years ago. Why? Because I took advantage of the opportunities that arose. When I fell in love again, I got married. When I had a chance to have a family, buy a new home, move far away, start a new job, write a couple of books, I did all of those too. Life didn’t come to a screeching halt 10 years ago. It just changed. And I took advantage of those changes and now I’m a million times happier. Look at your life now that it’s different. Where would you like your life to be in 10 years? What new opportunities and adventures are awaiting you? Are you taking advantage of them or wishing that life could go back to the way it was?
  • Losing a Spouse is Nothing New – Grief is all in your head. Even though we think the world’s going to end—it’s not. Losing people we love, including spouses, is part of life. Yes, death of a spouse can be an incredibly difficult and painful experience and I’m not trying to minimize that. However, millions of people lose a spouse every year. Billions of people have experienced the same thing since they were put on the Earth. You’re not going through something people haven’t gone through before. Most people learn how to deal come out better for it. Some of them even remarry and have successful relationships. Quit being selfish and thinking no one understands what you’re going through. Open your eyes and realize how lucky you are to be alive and have the chance to open your heart to someone else. There are people that go their entire lives without finding that special someone. Think how blessed you really are if you can find two wonderful people.

So, widowers, there’s three things to think about. I’d also love to see widowers share with others in section that has helped you open your heart to someone else. For the women reading this, what are things you’ve seen your widower do that have helped him open his heart. I’ll post some of the better comments up here for everyone to read.