Is there a new life at 70

Hi, my husband died on 6 December 2016. His death was very sudden and unexpected. We met when I was only just 17, got engaged at 18 and married at 19. I was lucky to have my 50 wedding anniversary and 70 birthday in 2016 before his death. We were a very close couple and did most things together. As soon as my husband died I went into overdrive; got rid of most of his clothes, reorganised the house, dealt with all of those that needed to contacted, organised an accountant and solicitor to deal with things I couldn’t. I’ve even organised holidays abroad and gone off on my own a few times. My friends and family think I’m amazing but I’m not! What do I do now? I’m a member of clubs and am very active in my garden. I just feel so alone and am desperate to find someone to be with me. I know that because of this I am vulnerable - I’m also obsessive - if someone is caring (especially a man) I latch on to them. Is all of this normal?

Hello Sandra, there really is no normal but what does matter is if the way you are feeling is making life very difficult for yourself. I think you need to give yourself time, remember that you had no time to prepare yourself for the shock of losing your husband. Also, you need time to find out who you are as a single person, you have been part of a couple since 17, again an enormous change. It is less that you need someone else (as I think you well know) than you need to find the you that you are now. You’ve done very well dealing with all the outside things in such a short space, now give yourself time. I lost Helen, my wife, in September 2016 after being together for 49 years and I am finding a bereavement group helps (you don’t have to talk about bereavement the whole time, or at all if you don’t want to). If you continue to feel vulnerable, find out about counselling or talk to your GP. I deliberately made a decision not to make any important decisions without talking them through with someone else first, its working o.k so far and is part of me giving myself time.
Good to talk and take care of yourself.
Alan
P.S. You could also try contacting Priscilla who has some very good links.

Thanks for your response Alan. It’s releasing the couple syndrome and going forward as a single person that’s the challenge. I know I am impatient and that I have to make a conscious attempt to slow down. I do appreciate your considered response. No one told me it would be as difficult as this!

Hi Sandra, I know what you mean when you say no one told you it would be as difficult as this, I am still struggling with my demons too, with some days better than others, some days not. Life is very much seen as the norm, which thank God it is, until it affects us directly, then (if you are like me) you think how did that happen, where do I go from here? We are all finding our way. Best wishes. Alan.

Thanks Alan, thank goodness for friends and family eh? I’m lucky to live in a smallish community with lovely folks around me - my neighbours call themselves “the Sandra Police”. Go for walks, the pub, coffee etc with them. They accept that I sometimes want to be alone. The summer’s ok golf, bowls, garden, walks but not looking forward to the winter but as a friend said live for the “now”. Thanks Alan.

Hello Sandra and Alan, I hope you are both ok today. It is utterly devastating and life changing especially after 40 or 50 years of happy marriage isn’t it? I think it is quite natural to be drawn to anyone who supports you and is kind to you.

What Alan says about finding out who you are now as a single person has a ring of truth about it and is something I’ve read elsewhere. But I don’t think it’s the complete picture. We have evolved to be social creatures, and there’s a body of evidence that shows people to be healthier, happier, and to live longer when they are part of a couple. It’s also the way we procreate and I think is deeply embedded in our make up.

Perhaps it comes down to timing. There has to be a period of recovery, of acceptance, of being single, but if it goes on too long I think there’s a danger of becoming set in our ways, habitually just pleasing ourselves, and closed to finding someone else. And I think the older we get the harder it becomes anyway to adapt to someone else’s lifestyle, habits etc. If it suits, of course it’s ok to remain single, but if it doesn’t why spend your remaining years feeling lonely and unhappy?

So I think if being on your own isn’t what you want, there’s nothing wrong with looking for a new ‘significant other’. The right person may even be able to help you through your grief. It’s just a question of when, and the timing will of course be different for each of us. Only you can decide what is right for you. With best wishes.

Hi Sandra, I lost my husband very suddenly in January. we had been married for 33 years. I feel that I had grown up with him and even if I met someone else it would not be the same as being with him. I don’t think I could start over getting to know someone else but at the same time I feel at a loss on my own. Some days I can’t imagine how I am going to cope alone for the next 10 - 20 years. I knew him inside out, what he was going to say, what he was going to do. I can’t imagine knowing anyone else as well that. The only thing I can think is that it is early days at the moment. Perhaps in a couple of years time things will change and someone will come along. I have to stay optimistic. Build a life on my own & see what happens.

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Yes Brownie, I know what you mean. Bob and I also grew up together and shared so much. Apart from anything else we liked each other and enjoyed one another’s company. I know I will never know anyone as well as I did Bob and never expect to but I do feel the need for male company and laughter. I am now 70 and had looked forward to Bob and I being together a bit longer - if anything we grew even closer when we retired and had many common interests and friends. I am a bubbly, happy person who enjoys company and I can’t just turn that off. I am off to Corfu on my own on Wednesday and look forward to meeting others and hopefully have an enjoyable week. If Bob is looking down on me I know he would be saying “go for it Sandra - I’m so proud of you”

I miss him so much and I’m not trying to replace him - no one ever will.

Stay positive. Live for the moment. X

I so agree Neil. Thanks for that.

Hi everyone my name is Patricia I lost John on 11/10/2016 he dropped dead as he was getting into the car, we were married 55yrs I feel I will never heal I’m just walking through life. I keep telling myself John is dead but can’t quite believe it when I’m out alone I keep repeating Johns dead sorry can’t write anymore