Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Relationship Status

Okay, so I was surfing the net, and decided to drop by Facebook and see what was up with some of my friends. I'm one of the many that has not been too happy with the changes that Facebook made, so rather than rely on what Facebook decides to show me in their "Top Stories" I click in and out of every one's pages. It kind of serves to make me feel like I am visiting a friend, although no one usually knows I've been there unless I take the time to leave a comment.This is a long-winded way to get to the point of today's writing.

I was checking out a particular friend's page, and noticed that her relationship status had changed. Yes, you know who you are! Well, it's not that I didn't know she was in a new relationship, as we both started our new relationships around the same time. And no, our relationship is not with each other. My point is this, her Facebook status reflects her current relationship status, and mine still says Widowed. It had me thinking, why haven't I changed mine? Now I know that I don't have to do everything she does, after all we are two very different people. Well, we aren't that different, but different none the less.

So, what's up with me?

I wonder if I'm having a difficult time letting go of my widowed status. Actually, there is no reason to wonder, as I know that I'm having a difficult time letting go of my widowed status. Besides, it's not just reflected in my Facebook status, it's everywhere else in my daily life. After all, the only people that know of my new status are you, my online community, my friends from work, and a few friends who happened to have notice a new face pop up in my uploaded photos.

This morning I woke up thinking about all of this. I realized that I have been in this relationship for about a month now, and it was time to begin letting more people know. I also realized that the first person I needed to share this with was my mother-n-law. I know she didn't expect me to remain single forever, yet I also know that it might be another transition in her own grief to know that someone is now occupying some space that Michael once had sole custody of. Because I was at work, I decided to write her a message, as I would then be able to best articulate my thoughts, and give her the opportunity to re-read them if needed. I expect that now that I have completed this initial task, I will begin sharing my new found status with my parents and siblings soon.

Here's the thing, I will always love Michael. Michael will always be my husband. That will never change. It's just that I need time to sort out my frame of reference regarding these two men. For one, it's still early on in my relationship with Abel, yet I already know that what is developing is something significant. When speaking of Michael, I always say "my husband." Rarely do I refer to him as my late husband. So maybe I'm looking for a term that speaks of a widower who is in a relationship.

For some reason I keep thinking about the film Doña Flor and Her Two Husbands.


  1. :)
    Two things:
    1. Thanks for the "we aren't' all that different". I happen to agree and think that's a compliment.
    2. This is my second relationship in my "after". I had a much more difficult time coming to terms with the relationship status, and didn't really want to let go of "widowed" because that would feel like I was letting go of Jim.
    Silly .... yes, to a non-widowed person. But not to one who's widowed. Not silly at all.
    I think it'a process and it's not to be rushed. You'll get there. And when you do, you'll be ready. Not to let Michael go, but to bring Abel on board with both of you. And it sounds like he's going to be fine with that.
    I love you.

  2. very thoughtful, Dan. Thank you for this. The same kind of thoughts are swirling around in my head these days, too.
    The same kind of timeline too: it's been about a month. Since a high school boyfriend came back to town for 2 weeks. For his mother's funeral. (He keeps saying he "gets it now".) We spent a lot of time together and now he's back home, 1700 miles away. (I just bought tickets to fly there to visit next month. To see how we are together. Then, who knows?)
    It's been a month of thinking. Wondering. A month of hours on the phone every day. A month of texting, pictures, and - well, never mind.
    He's "in a relationship" on fb, and his friends are overjoyed. I'm still widowed. I'm feeling pretty solid about him, but I have a reluctance to use the language. Not to admit that I'm in a relationship, 'cause I clearly am, but the idea of eclipsing all that brought me here, I can't deal with that.
    And I agree w/ Janine: these new relationships are not between only two people. They can't be.
    Love you both!

  3. It took me a while to change my status too. It was also my second relationship. I never felt like widowhood defined me, but I guess I wasn't ready to publicly "give up" that status either. My girlfriend wasn't chomping at the bit to publicize things either until we knew it was going to be long-term, so that gave me time to get used to the idea. For us, it was five months. Certainly not a magic number, but one that worked for us. You'll know when it's time. In the meantime, just enjoy your new relationship.

  4. Yes, what Janine said up there, first in line. ;o) I think it's MUCH harder to work through that whole widowed-status issue with the first relationship, particularly at only 2 years out. Plus there can be a big difference between being just at 2 years out and almost 4 years out. As hard as it can be at times, try not to compare how you react/act/feel to other widows and widowers (ha! I've often totally sucked at *not* comparing myself to my widowed friends).

    On a totally separate and frivolous note, I'm rather enjoying the scrolling slideshow of hunky men from the images you've inserted in your posts. That's more action and half-clothed men than I've seen in a long, long time! ;o)

    Hope you're doing well, Dan!!

    (And even more irrelevantly but amusing: my captcha phrase was "trydatin." Ha! Yes, Universe, thanks for the reminder…again. ;o))

  5. A month is a short time period but relationships are often measured in dog years - the time put in doesn't always reflect the connection/intensity and importance in the grand scheme, ya know?

    It's best not to compare. I couldn't shed "widow" fast enough. I felt like a Confederate war widow suffocating in black taffeta. But, it is a an odd duality when you fall in love again, which eventually just feels like any other reality we've ever accustomed ourselves too so try not to "over-think".

    The first relationship is just first and nothing more. It's not training wheels and you'd be surprised how many ppl meet and settle down with their "firsts". It happens. Happened to me and Rob.

    It's just day at a time and living in the now. Same as anything else.

  6. "Rarely do I refer to him as my late husband".

    I had a friend comment to me "why do you still refer to her as "my wife" and not "my late wife"?
    It was like running into a wall (as many things are these days). It had never occurred to me to refer to her as anything but "my wife": that is what I had called her for so long.

    I changed my FB status to Widowed fairly soon after my wife's death, it was an act of defiance, rather like moving my wedding ring from one hand to another. Recently I changed the status to "In a relationship with..." in fact in a relationship with the aforementioned "friend".

    I wish I hadn't been in quite so a rush with the latter. Not because I'm unsure about the new relationship (although I am...) but because I think I'd rather acknowledge my widowed status for a little longer. What FB needs is a status that reads: "Widowed. In a relationship with..." That would be perfect.

    Hope that helps or rings a bell with someone like your post did with me.

  7. Hmmmm, apropos of nothing I suppose. I refer to my late husband as Randy.

  8. I was just wondering, since many of you have/had changed your status to windowed, if you could answer a question for me? Did that disconnect you from your spouses facebook page all together? I do not necessarily want to run out and date, but I am also at peace with the fact that I am neither "married" anymore AND I'm not okay with calling myself a widow-i am my own person, after all. Each person has their own way, but I only ask because I know that his family still posts on his facebook and such (I dont) and I dont want to hurt them or disconnect THEM either. I have tried looking all over the internet for the information on what happens to the deceased's profile and/or connection with the still living spouse. Any input?
    Side note: I DID find information and was able to memorialize his account, so that has already been done.