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First date since widowed, friends reactions

(69 Posts)
Agggghast Sun 11-May-14 11:23:54

Last night I went on the first date since being widowed, after 25 years of a very happy marriage. DH died over three years ago. My 3DC, all at uni, were fine about it with my 2 DD insisting on checking what I wore etc! I had a lovely meal and enjoyed his company, no physical contact apart from a peck on the cheek but have arranged to go to the cinema next Friday. Speaking to my closest friend about it this morning, who has been wonderful through this, she said that it was pointless me dating since I had a maestectomy nearly four years ago and if she had known I would get over DH ( I never will) so quickly she wouldn't have bothered. I am completely shell shocked and firstly wonder if she is right about the maestectomy, looking a long way in advance but he does know I had breast cancer. But also now feel I have let DH down although I know he would not have felt it. Is just over 3 years too soon?

throckenholt Sun 11-May-14 11:53:00

That is NOT a friend. You have had 3 years on your own - if you feel ready then you are ready - nothing to do with so called friends. Your DH would have wanted you to have another chance and not be on your own for the rest of your life.

And if a man cares for you - he will care for all of you - mastectomy, previous husband, grown up children and everything else about you.

Agggghast Sun 11-May-14 11:56:35

Thank you, I spoke to all my DC when I was asked to go out to check they would be ok. I wouldn't have gone if it upset any of them but they were all pleased, I think they all worry about my being home alone! I sometimes make up plans at Bank Holidays so they don't drop theirs so I am not alone and rush home! The date is a lovely man who I have commuted with for the past 6 years and we are already friends. He divorced five years ago. I just felt she would be very happy for me, I have been good friends with her DH since uni and when our DC were little we spent huge amounts of time with each other. Her DH and mine were flat mates at uni. It is just so shocking she was so nasty. BTW my DD1 said I ought to have invited him in for coffee.....hussy!

MyFirstName Sun 11-May-14 11:56:51

What a vicious, stupid cow! In fact - have that phrase up your sleeve next time she is so unbelievable.

Not the normal MN "Did you mean to be so rude?' But "Did you mean to sound like a vicious, stupid cow?"

Wow. I cannot believe anyone think what she said - let alone uttered the words.

I hope you enjoy the cinema flowers

She is not your friend really..

A friend is someone who understand your past, believes in your future, and accepts you today just the way you are.

Don't think she meets the criteria does she??

Bitch

itwillgetbettersoon Sun 11-May-14 12:04:37

Your children sound lovely. Your friend is so very jealous and a bitch. She is scared that she cannot control you anymore and wallow in your sadness. Dating is lovely even if it just to make new friends. Enjoy it. By the way your daughter is right you should have invited him in for a coffee.

Foodylicious Sun 11-May-14 12:09:35

I have just had to re read your post 3 times
[Shock] it this woman who is supposed to be your friend.
3 years is not too soon, what she has said about that and your mastectomy is simply just nasty.
If she does appologise I don't think I would accept it. Please do not contact het to try to 'explain' or anything. You do not have to justify anything to her or 'owe' her anything. I would either go full no contact now or stop instigating any contact with her.
Good luck for your next date and without being patronising, well done you on going on date #1!!!
Sounds like you have lovely children, my mum died when I was 9 and as awful as it was I would never have wanted my dad to be lonely. He married 2 years later to someone who was in a similar situation and also had children. So we made a family of 9! Had our ups and downs like all families and are on the whole pretty close.
Hug your kids and bin the friend

Agggghast Sun 11-May-14 12:10:45

Yes I can see why she seems nasty but I doubt I could have got through that first dreadful year without her. That is why it is so upsetting. Her DH was the person who tried to resuscitate my DH, GP's at the same practice. Our lives have been intertwined for so long it is awful to feel she won't support me forwards. I don't expect this to necessarily be my future but I know I don't want to be alone for the rest of my life, I am only just 50, thanks for the support, it really helps.

Mumoftwoyoungkids Sun 11-May-14 12:16:37

Anyone else suspect that her husband fancies Op?

I think you should move on when it feels right to you. However, to give you some perspective - historically - when people were far more likely to have been widowed young - it was seen as "a bit quick" if someone got married in less than a year.

To be honest when you said how long you had been widowed for I was expecting a complaint that your friend seems to be determined to "get you out there" and so far has tried to set you up with her milkman, 3 of her neighbours (one of which you are pretty certain is gay), and her 48 year old brother who has never had a girlfriend and still lives with their mother......

cheeseandpineapple Sun 11-May-14 12:40:33

Not defending what your friend said but it sounds like she and her husband have not come to terms with your husband's death. It also sounds like your DH was more like a brother to your friend's husband and that you have been like family to each other.

She/they aren't ready to move on and for you to introduce someone new into the group.

You've had to live your life day in, day out on your own since your husband died. 3 years of that is a long time. For your friend and her family, the 3 years may have gone more quickly as she's not on her own every night.

Doesn't in anyway excuse what she said but might help you in understanding the vitriol and how to tackle it with her.

bragmatic Sun 11-May-14 12:57:18

Be honest. This can't possibly be the first nasty thing she's ever said to you?

Good friends help you through tragedies. Better friends are genuinely delighted for you when things are going your way.. They want you to be happy, even if it means you're happier than they are.

Cocolepew Sun 11-May-14 13:01:13

What a vile thing to say, I'm shocked at her nastiness.
That woman has issues.

Foodylicious Sun 11-May-14 13:07:07

Retract my comment about 'binning' the friend thanks
It does sound like its more complicated with her and her DH having to come to terms with his death too, so her response whilst upsetting (and the wrong thing to say to you) is a reflection of her grief and that she is not ready to move on & may be worried herself about how she will feel actually seeing you with someone else.
Maybe she should be given the opportunity to explain herself and talk about how she is feeling, but she will need to understand that how she feels is not necessary going to influence the decisions you make about your life.
You might just have to have less contact with her for a bit while she comes to terms with this,and to stop her from making you feel guilty whether this is intentional or not.

Good luck x

bobsnotmyuncle Sun 11-May-14 13:08:15

Your friend is a thoughtless and quite possibly jealous cow. She might think it is too soon FOR HER if her and her DH were close to yours but if she was any kind of friend she would have kept that to herself, instead of making it all about her.

FWIW my mum got remarried 4 years after my dad died suddenly, I'm one of 4 DC and we, and all of her real friends were nothing but happy for her.

Agggghast Sun 11-May-14 13:08:20

Bragmatic that is right she has never really 'celebrated' my DC's achievements, when DD2 got into Oxford she spent a lot of time querying whether it would be detrimental to her health, after DH died she became borderline anorexic, rather than allowing us to enjoy the moment. But it is also true that her DH and mine were incredibly close and her DH is a lovely man and they are very close so I suppose it is possible she is thinking about his feelings. I hadn't thought of that. It is all so complicated!

girliefriend Sun 11-May-14 13:10:45

She sounds toxic - steer well clear, agree with pp - this woman is not your friend sad

Good luck with the future op - it sounds like you have had a crap (understatement) few years and are very much due some happiness smile

I think this has nothing to do with you, your physiology or the period of time since you were widowed and everything to do with your friends issues. You reference that she was amazing in the first year or so which is no doubt correct but for whatever reason she has you pigeon holed in a box to validate some aspect of her life. Your date has taken out of whatever pigeon hole she has you in (don't want to be amateur psychologist but along lines of 'at least I am not alone', 'at least I haven't had cancer', I may be in an unhappy marriage but at least I am in one' etc.) and this isn't sitting well with her. Your decision to maintain the friendship is your choice but you should not let it affect your dating life and your potential to be happy again and have a live along side your loss. I wish you well lovely, you sound gorgeous - a lovely mother and a caring friend.

SpringyReframed Sun 11-May-14 13:23:51

I think there is nothing like a traumatic life event for a friend such as bereavement or divorce to bring out the very best but also the very worst in people you see as friends, OP.

I've had both the above in the past couple of years and I have had wonderful and horrible experiences with "friends". It is not something I would have ever imagined, that I would lose friends, nor find support and new ones from the most unlikely of sources.

I don't know whether is worth spending time second guessing the whys and wherefores or all this because it does hurt and it is always nice to have answers. Personally I decided to move on and not look back but it not always the easy option.

Wishing you all the luck in the world with moving on with your life. There will be new and lovely friends to go on with in the future. thanks

Hissy Sun 11-May-14 13:34:45

This screams of her wanting you to stay right where you are in her head.

Any normal decent friend would be shouting from the rooftops about how far you have come, how your DC are a credit to you and to their father.

If you stay as you are, it means that she stays as she is. if you move on, then you are leaveing your place, and potentially competitive somehow.

it could be as simple as her own insecurity:

Widowed is a status that deems you 'off the radar' somehow. when you are 'dating' that means that you are now SINGLE.

Divorced women get this all the time, the fact that you are not partnered means that you are a loose cannon. She has now gone from seeing you as benign to seeing you as a threat.

Some of us live have experience of family and friends being happy for us as long as we remain 'down' or oppressed/suffering. the minute we begin to rise/get on with life/recover, this causes them extreme discomfort and we can't be allowed to do so somehow.

I know it's trite, but it rings true sometimes that some people are in our lives for a reason, others for a season and the best for life.

If I were you, I would sit her down and tell her how hurtful and negative I'd found her comments and that it's causing you to question everything to do with your friendship.

then I would take a VERY large step back. knowing someone ISN'T cheering for you, personally or for your your family is a nasty acidic presence in your life, and will eat away at any self confidence you gain.

lycheechoc Sun 11-May-14 14:45:27

What Hissy said.

The being widowed status is the red herring really, she's a toxic person.

I get that you're thinking of emotional loyalty to your late DH, and to his friend, and of course that's to your credit. But really, she's going to suck the life out of you if you keep her in your life. PLEASE don't feel you owe her something for her support: if her intentions weren't sincere or with the aim of building you up and helping you, then feel no guilt about cutting her out.

I remember a so-called "friend" post divorce, enraged that I actually took care of myself physically and went out and met new people and went on dates, rather than being HER creature, and paying some social debt towards society for being part of a broken marriage.

She hated that I was moving onwards and upwards, because she wasn't.

So I'd get gloomy messages if I was committing the crime of sitting in the sunshine, or getting a new haircut: "oh, do you think YOU should be doing that?" Trying to induce guilt. She even wanted to get in on my new friendship groups so she could "warn them" about all the trauma I'd been through.

Been NC with her for YEARS and it's bliss.

lycheechoc Sun 11-May-14 14:52:02

PS Just to add the above "friend" did do practical things for me when I was first divorced - so of course I did have the emotional thing of "well, she did give me a place to crash, I don't want to be ungrateful and not value that".

But - even when I was crashing at hers - she seemed to enjoy the fact that it gave her the chance to have a nose and comment on every aspect of my life, in the guise of "giving advice and support".

It was horrible: I think of myself as fairly easy going and tolerant, but thinking back, she was literally rubbing her hands in glee that she had "got" me now, and that I was now "broken", and that she was now "above" me socially.

Vile, vile, vile.

Shockers Sun 11-May-14 14:56:04

She sounds as though she's imposing her own limitations on you and your family. I'm not sure she's the utter bitch she's being made out to be, more that she's frightened of the changes in your life because it means moving on. She's handling it very clumsily though.

eightyearsonhere Sun 11-May-14 14:58:02

Aghast, I think of course she sounds outrageous, and you are within your rights to end the friendship.
But, her comments are so clearly not actually about you at all.
They say something about her. I don't know what that something is, maybe you will figure it out, maybe you wont, but you have had a little glimpse into her soul and it is blacker than you expected.
So actually if it were me, I would not formally end the friendship. I would continue to have her as a friend, and would enjoy the comfort you can get from old friends that knew your husband so well. I would harden myself emotionally yes, no longer allow her to hurt you, don't share your feelings with her, don't rely on her. But still see her, be friendly, remember the good times, and keep her husband in your life too, that shared history cannot ever come again.
Really this was not about you, it was about her own unhappiness.
Has she always been jealous of you?
Were you the better looking one? The happier one? With the better marriage? The bigger house? Did she look at your DH and her DH and think she had the wrong end of the bargain? She should have ended up with your life?
It sounds like the past 3 years might be the first time she thought "Yes, one up on agast, my life is better than hers at last" and now to see you successfully moving out from those horrific early years of grief - might be too much for her to cope with.

By the way, has she apologised yet? Is she likely to do so?

I think I would think of her as a familiar dog who has bitten me - I wouldn't put him down, but I would never trust him again.

tribpot Sun 11-May-14 15:01:52

I can only echo what everyone else has said. I think I would let her know that you found her words incredibly hurtful and if she is unable to be supportive she should keep away.

You know, and your children know, that your DH would not want you to forego any happiness after the terrible loss you have suffered with his death.

As to age, you're the same age as Sandra Bullock, Courtney Cox and younger than Brad Pitt! You are in fine company and can do anything you bloody well please.

Bitofkipper Sun 11-May-14 15:03:56

What a clever, measured post from eightyearsonhere.
She has got it covered I think.

cheeseandpineapple Sun 11-May-14 15:04:49

She was silly for expressing herself the way she did. And the mastectomy comment was harsh, if not cruel. No matter how hard it is for her and her husband to come to terms with the loss of someone they loved and see you move on, you're the one who faced the ultimate loss and they need to support you if they wish to stay connected with you.

After a friend died, his widow started dating around a year or two after his death. It was weird hearing about her new relationships and I felt sad that my friend wasn't around to be living his life with her and their child but I absolutely would not expect her to put her life on hold and am encouraging of her new relationship. In some ways easier because whilst the friend who died was a good friend, he wasn't my best friend.

But, in all honesty if my best friend died and her husband moved on even after 3 years, I would find it so hard to accept someone else. I know that would be me being unreasonable and I would bite my lip. It would feel very very painful but I certainly wouldn't say what your friend said. I would still want to maintain my relationship with the family on behalf of my friend and keep my personal emotion in check. It would break my heart to see my friend's husband with anyone else but that would be my problem to deal with privately not my friend's husband.

She's not handling it well but her emotions are pretty conflicted, might be worth talking it through but realistically, if you're going to move on properly, you may have to accept that your relationship with your friend and her husband will change.

Such a tough situation for you but you must do what's right for you, you deserve to be happy and that's not being disloyal to your husband. She and her husband need to come to terms with that.

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