Replacement vs. Succession
"If only I could find another person, then I could once again feel complete."
Let us immediately make a distinction between succession and replacement. While we cannot find a carbon copy of a lost spouse of clone him, we may succeed in finding another husband, companion, or lover. This successor is a new and different person, and your relationship with him will naturally be different from your previous one. This relationship may make you very happy, or it may instead fall short of expectations and you may stay with it to fill the lonely hours.
Some women have said that they choose to remain alone, especially if they have spent many years as caregivers. Many women have an innate or learned habit of nurturing and form groups of close friends who self-nurture, share thoughts, and spend times together at films, museums, or just being close and laughing. However, women also tend to feel that they are incomplete without a make counterpart, and the resulting feelings of inadequacy as a single woman are hard to shake.
This feeling is often underlined after couples take a widow out for the dutiful one-time dinner and later forget her as their coupled lives go on. The feeling of being incomplete without a man may launch a furtive, rewarding, or unrewarding search.
Men more often choose a successor, perhaps out of a different need than women. The need for a homemaker/nurturer can be more profound in men; the bond with the mother figure is still the most profound of one's life. It has been said, "women mourn, men replace."
Certainly there are gender differences, with the usual allowance for errors of generalization, but in either case there should be recognition that replacement is more common (and speedier) in men, and that women, being more self-nurturing, may decide to remain alone of may make a conscious compromise on a successor.
Read on: Deification and Guilt