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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?

daisychain01 Mon 12-May-14 05:18:24

I feel such a sense of comfort reading people's experiences on this thread. When DH died the most stark emotion was that of loneliness, and the thought That nobody I knew could understand, because we were all too young - and yet so many people do go through it of course.

If only I had known about MN back then!

daisychain01 Mon 12-May-14 05:13:13

I genuinely think that when someone loses their life partner it is impossible to express the way it rips your heart out to people who don't have the empathy to understand.

When I lost my DH very suddenly 7 years ago (literally no warning, one minute here, next gone) it knocked me for six. I battled through the blackness and thank goodness I did, because it led me to my DP who has given me a life of joy and closeness I never thought I would be blessed with again. He is so respectful to the memory of my DH, so empathetic. If I had listened to anyone's judgements about "too soon" or "going through the grief cycle" like it's not OK one week, one month, then flick a switch and its all fine, you can move on now, I would not be with DP now!

agggast if a close friend had said to me what your's said to you, I would really question their intentions as a friend. I cannot think of a situation when those comments would ever be acceptable.

I believe in the notion of moving forward not moving on. I hope you find great happiness and wonderful new experiences with the uniqueness of the relationship with your new companion x

Darkesteyes Sun 11-May-14 22:07:32

The mastectomy comment is downright evil.
My DH is in poor health and I already know that if something should happen to him I would get the same shit from my DM.

I think there is a huge difference in society in the way widows and widowers are treated. Widows seem to be expected to don sack cloth and ashes forever and a day. My mums best friend and my godmother is Italian as is my mum and whenever a relative or partner died they had to wear black for a year.
Whereas with widowers dating again there seems to be nowhere near as much condemnation as there is with widows dating again.
I wonder if there is just a little bit of internalized misogyny going on with your "friend" OP.
You've been through so much and im glad things are getting brighter for you thanks

Musicaltheatremum Sun 11-May-14 21:56:47

Aggghast, congratulations on the date. Must have been very nerve wracking for you. It is a really hard decision to date again after such a long marriage. (2 years since my husband died and we were married 24 years 265 days so similar to you.) what a very strange thing to say from your friend. Life does to on. You never ever "get over" it but you have to live again. I wish you all the luck in the world.

Botanicbaby Sun 11-May-14 21:49:49

gosh OP even if your 'closest' friend was indeed grieving for your DH too given that he was such a major part of all your lives, I just cannot see past the comments about your mastectomy/dating/that she wouldn't have bothered if she'd know how 'quickly' you'd got over your DH.

so insensitive, so cruel and incredibly hurtful. this person is not coming across as a good friend. helping a good friend through a difficult time is what we do to our friends, without ever expecting any obligation in return.

whether it has been three years or not it neither here nor there, what matters is what is right for you. am sorry for your loss and I wish you well and hope you have a great next date.

Your DC sound amazing, as do you.

sonjadog Sun 11-May-14 21:19:40

I think she liked it better when you were sad and she could be comforting you. I realised recently that I have a "friend" like this. I've recently come out of a depressive phase and he is always trying to bring me down and make me feel sad again. I realised he actually likes sad me better than happy me. Too bad for him.

Three years is plenty of time. As long as your kids are okay, then no-one else should get a say. About six months after my dad died, my mum made a comment about it being odd never to be in a romantic relationship ever again. My immediate response was that she should go out and meet men if she wanted and if she met a man then I'd be pleased for her. You want people you love to be happy.

FantasticButtocks Sun 11-May-14 21:06:15

if she had known I would get over DH ( I never will) so quickly she wouldn't have bothered <That stood out in your OP for me, Agggghast. Nasty.

Does this mean she wouldn't have bothered being supportive?
She wouldn't have bothered being your friend?
She wouldn't have bothered giving you the time of day?

Speechless about the mastectomy comment… angry

Will you tell her DH/your friend what she said, do you think? I'm not surprised she didn't tell him about your conversation, it would not really show her in a very good/caring compassionate light towards his old uni friend (you) - she should be ashamed of herself.

Stalinssister Sun 11-May-14 20:16:18

She sounds horrible. Even if she was helpful to you, she has no right to rain on your parade now.

I hope this relationship works out for you. Of course you deserve to be happy. As others have said, it is you and your children who are important here, not this person who isn't actually your friend.

I was widowed six years ago. It is very hard, and if the chance of happiness comes along you should take advantage of it. Your husband would have wanted you to be happy, I know it is hard but try not to worry about her and what she thinks, I agree with Onlyjoking that a bit of distance may be a very good thing now.

onlyjoking Sun 11-May-14 19:19:31

Sorry your DH died and that you've had such a nasty response from her.
The real people who matter in this are yourself and your children.
I know you have a shared history, one you probably don't want to lose as they are a link to your DH and the shared memories.
I think a little distance may help.
People can be strange about widows, on the one hand they say, isn't it time you moved on, then when you do, they say, it's a bit soon to be moving on.
I was widowed almost 6 years ago, I started seeing someone 18 months afterwards, I could filter out the unimportant people by their reaction.
Most people were, and still are happy for me. The ones who said, you couldn't have loved your DH if you're over him so quickly etc, are the ones I have no need for.
With regards to the comment about your mastectomy, that was plain nasty and further highlights her shallowness. You are allowed to be happy.
So when's the next date?

Itsfab Sun 11-May-14 19:00:59

If she had known you would get over your husband's death she wouldn't have bothered what?

sarinka Sun 11-May-14 18:55:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Agggghast Sun 11-May-14 18:11:03

I am really grateful for all the support it has helped me feel better about the situation. On reflection I feel maybe she always was the 'outsider' DH, her DH and I were at uni together and lived together after uni until DH and I got married. We stayed close and it was through DH they ended up living here. I suppose she enjoyed on a certain level being needed. However I will be always be grateful for her help at a terrible time and I don't feel she is a bad person just perhaps not the right friend for now. Her DH texted me earlier asking how last night went so I don't think she has told him about our conversation. He seems very cool about it, even mentioning the night I met DH and was so drunk I kept on saying orgasm instead of organism.....sad but true!

Shockers Sun 11-May-14 17:33:31

I missed the 'wouldn't have bothered' bit too! Good grief...

Ewieindwie1 Sun 11-May-14 17:16:43

Those who have had the joy of a happy marriage or relationship do seek it out again, I've heard that too.

Your 'friend's' comments were designed to stop you making a new start. She must be very controlling and a little bit odd. You however sound bloody amazing. Good luck with the dating and laugh in the face of the ex friend.

FiveExclamations Sun 11-May-14 17:08:54

Okay, so she and her DH had a very personal relationship with your DH. Perhaps what she isn't seeing is that it isn't really a burden for her/them to hold onto that relationship exactly as it was, there is no need to move on because people are expected to have lots of different friends, even if they regarded DH as a "best friend", other friends wont "replace" him as (in her head) your new boyfriend might.

It sounds like she's seeing your moving on in very black and white terms, as a betrayal of the love you had with your husband, which of course, it isn't.

I recall reading an article by a Psychiatrist when some celebrity became seriously involved with a new person within a year of their wife's death, the upshot was that it was completely natural for people who've had happy and successful relationships to seek that again.

The point of what I'm trying to say is that she may still be grieving for her friend because there is no pressing reason to move on from that grief, it's perfectly allowable for her and her DH to have other friends, her life in that regard has not stopped since his death so she's having an empathy failure at your desire to move on whilst still loving and missing your DH.

Also might she feel threatened by a new relationship? Maybe she thinks you will move away or develop a new circle of friends and she will lose the closeness you have had. It may be that she has been as reliant on the relationship as you have been.

Hissy Sun 11-May-14 17:05:50

I missed that 'wouldn't have bothered' comment on first read!

That really is scathing! How dare she!

This is the same kind of friend that undermines someone who's overweight from being thinner than her isn't it?

But much worse. Her comments about the mastectomy are just beyond unacceptable.

Wouldn't have bothered what exactly? angry

Were you friends only as a bi-product of your respective husbands jobs?

Trillions Sun 11-May-14 15:19:35

Your "friend" sounds horrible. What did she mean by "she wouldn't have bothered"?

lycheechoc Sun 11-May-14 15:10:04

Not to encourage you to be paranoid, but perhaps you are lucky she HAS shown her hand, directly, now. Rather than as things progress.

I remember the beginning of the end for me with my toxic one was when I invited her to an event soon after my divorce: if I'm honest I didn't really want her there, but I felt I "owed" it to her, I pride myself on loyalty, I didn't want to be the kind of person who just drops people and moves on to better things.

She hung round with a cats bum face all the time, insisted someone gave her a lift home early, and she couldn't possibly eat any of the food others were eating.

She saw me chatting to a guy, and decided to "accidentally" join in the conversation and mention things about me to out him off (I still got asked on a date by him, I'm gawgeous like that, but the poison on her part was just vile).

If you decide to stay in touch, like eighty says be very, VERY wary about attempts to sabotage things for you, and any dates, and any new friends you make. Be careful what she says to them.

brdgrl Sun 11-May-14 15:08:42

I'm sorry, OP, that's really awful.

I suspect this is about her sense of control. She was able to 'look after' you in the immediate time after your husband's death. She doesn't want to lose that sense of herself. You are also disrupting a particular story of tragic loss which she is personally invested in.

My DH was a widower when we met. Some people were lovely and supportive of him developing a new relationship. Some were not. My in-laws had been close to his first wife, and had a very well established 'narrative' about her death and my husband's tragedy (in which they of course played key parts!).

At my wedding to DH, my FIL stood up and gave a speech about how everyone there should be thinking of First Wife and how wonderful she was.

(First Wife's best friend took me aside at our wedding reception to tell me that I must never feel awkward with him and that he was glad to see DH happy again, and I should never think that anyone was comparing me to First Wife - I think he knew I was feeling a bit traumatised by my FIL's speech!)

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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