Loss of Couples
One widow humorously calls it “triskaidekaphobia minus ten.” That is: fear of the number 13 less ten, which translates to the discomfort felt by a couple with a widow.
Is there a fear? Is it the fear of contagion—one of them could actually die? Most likely, it is the cultural idea that a woman alone is “less than.” In some cultures, women whose husbands die are exiled to a segregated community of widows where they are shunned by society. Though not to this extreme, a woman alone is somewhat devalued in our society as well.
In addition, couples can be very uncomfortable with emotional honesty, and when a widow tells the truth about her despair, they need to distance themselves from the situation and not have to deal with the burden of her honesty.
Few people are equipped to deal with the despair of another— a kind of intimacy-phobia. That is when those recipes are offered as a cap on the outpouring of sadness. For some couples, it is not a lack of caring but a lack of comprehension of what you are experiencing. Remember that when you were with your husband, you may not have grasped the despair of loss. It is rare that individuals have a high enough E.Q. (emotional intelligence) to understand what they have not personally experienced.
“I have lost some of our long-time coupled friends—the
couples with whom we went to films, concerts and traveled. Each couple took me out to for the obligatory dinner after my husband died and then they seemed to vanish. I am now relegated to lunch with the wife of each couple, but no longer included in twosomes or foursomes. I do not understand why I am ‘dropped.’ Maybe it is because I told them how sad I am and how much I long to see my husband. They told me that I should try to move on, join a book club or get a new hobby. They said that's what my husband would want me to do.Their successions were hollow and denied my grief. Maybe they just don't want to be with me because I'm "a drag." It's a double loss: my husband and now our friends. I am hurt, angry, and perplexed. Do they think widowhood is contagious?"
"Am I a lesser person without a man? What happened?
Read on: Being with Couples