Using Intimacy As An Escape
“Well, my wife died 3.5 years ago, just after my 30th birthday, we had bought a house together a year before and been married a whole 8 months. She died suddenly, it was a car accident. I was playing Lego Indiana Jones on the Wii and two cops came to the door holding her ID.
Long story short: I became emotionally dead for around a year, and slowly got my emotions back, I am now ‘normal’ although somewhat more bitter of a person than I was before.
Fooling around was the least of my worries. I hooked up about six months after she was gone. Being emotionally intimate was much, much harder because I was so emotionally messed up/dead inside. In fact, I went through a weird period where I picked up and had flings with a lot of women because I just plain didn’t care. Which was very out of character for me.
In terms of her memory, I knew that she wouldn’t care if I slept with people after she was dead, but I try to help and keep in touch with her family and friends, in part because I know she would want that.”
“If Anyone Ever Invents A Time Machine…”
“My wife died of cancer when I was 28 (that was 7 years ago). There have been numerous phases over the years. In the first few months, I wasn’t really in any shape to be in any sort of relationship. Oddly enough, there were many women hitting on me fairly aggressively at that time. Typically they had some previous connection to me or my wife. A few well-meaning friends generally kept them away from me (for better or for worse).
After that, I spent a few years without any relationships. I dated but was kind of numb in a relationship sense and I think that was pretty obvious. Any women interested in anything kind of serious were pretty easily scared away whereas before I was the guy that my friend’s wives/girlfriends wished their guys were more like. Then I went through a serial dating phase. I think that was me realizing that I was scaring women away so I didn’t even try to create anything resembling a relationship.
For the last 3 years or so, I think I’ve been back to pretty normal relationships. Nothing really long-term (6 months to a year) but long enough to get to know someone well. I find some women find it challenging that there is ‘another woman’ that I still love (despite the fact that I rarely mention my wife to them). I’ll never be the same person I was then, but in reality everyone changes over time based on their own life experiences. I’m open to getting into a really long term relationship (or married again), but I’m definitely not hung up on the idea. If it happens then great. Otherwise I’m okay with where my life is. Though if someone ever invents a time travel machine, I know where I’ll be headed …”
“I Woke Up From A Comatose State To Find Out…”
“My fiancée died five years ago. I was 21 at the time. She was visiting me overseas at my request as I had not seen her in over 6 months and we were only two months from the wedding. We ended up going on a hike and were attacked by 4 armed men who I assume wanted some easy money. Unfortunately, things became violent quickly and we were both beaten very badly. I spent 48 hours in a comatose state and woke up to find out she had died from her injuries. I fully blamed myself for failing to protect her for years and if I am honest with myself I still do to some degree.
I never had serious relationships before her as we met when we were rather young. It is difficult to put into words the feeling I had constantly trying to politely decline women who would approach me. I constructed so many walls around myself that it became difficult for people to relate to me. I could never relax and simply talk to someone until around a year ago.
I realized that simply going through the motions wouldn’t make her happy. I know that if the roles were reversed I wouldn’t want her to act as I had been acting. It took a long talk over spirits with her father for me to finally start taking steps towards finding someone else. I have spent many wasted nights wondering if I would ever love someone as much as I loved her and if it would be fair to put another person through the challenge of finding out.”
“He Wasn’t Honoring Her Memory By Being Moody For 2 Years”
“My friend lost his wife in an automobile accident. They were a great couple and he was destroyed when she died. It finally took he and I sitting down one night and having a discussion that he wasn’t honoring her memory by being moody for 2 years and he needed to move on and start enjoying life. She wouldn’t have wanted him to be a miserable person so he slowly came around and is now dating someone new.
The problem is that the new girlfriend is somewhat jealous of the old wife and that hurts her feelings sometimes when she knows that he misses her or has a memory come up. She deals with it and they have a different relationship than he had with his old wife.
The first time he kissed her was harder than when he hooked up with her for the first time. He said that he went home and cried for a while because he felt so guilty. The physical part wasn’t nearly as bad because we were all hammered at a hotel event and it was kind of a relief to him at that point.
This happened when he was 28, so it may be different with older people. He loves the girlfriend, but he also loves the memories he had with his wife. He’s the toughest person I know.
Having To Be Two People All The Time
“My husband of ten years died last January, and it has been awful. He was my soulmate, my one true love and my best friend. I don’t know if it’s easier when you don’t have kids, but I have two boys to raise on my own and I feel like between them and work I don’t have time for a personal life anymore — time for me anymore. There is this huge hole torn in our lives and I can’t figure out how to fill it back up again. I have to be mom and dad, every day. How can I put my life back together when I have to be two people all the time?”
Tragedy With A Happy Ending
“I’m dating the widow of my best friend from school, Wayne. After college, we weren’t as close, had different career paths and just the same old story about how sometimes your closest friends become more of an acquaintance. Anyway, he and I both got married about the same time. We all knew each other, and occasionally did things together as young couples, then later getting the families together for parties or to watch football or something. I had an attraction to Karen that went all the way back to high school, but never considered actually doing anything about it.
My marriage ended in divorce after 17 years. That same year, Wayne told me he had been diagnosed with melanoma. He went through rounds of chemotherapy, etc., and like anybody else I’ve known personally with that diagnosis, died within a couple of years. His death hit me hard: I’ve had one other good friend die of cancer, but this was the closest. At Karen’s request, I spoke at his funeral service and told old stories about things we got into together that highlighted aspects of his personality that I most admired. After the service, I hugged her and we cried together a little.
About six months later I checked in on Karen via email, as I would do every so often. She suggested that we take the kids to a Halloween event, which we never got around to doing, but it opened a dialog. I was dating someone else at the time, so we never went out, but we did stay in touch very casually. As it turned out, my relationship ended, and I began communicating with Karen more often. Eventually, we went out for drinks, another time to see a band. We spent hours and hours talking when we weren’t out. Things progressed pretty quickly, and we ended up spending the night together after that third outing. I really didn’t think it was going to go like that.
From my perspective, it was eerie and incredibly amorous at the same time. We were both a little tipsy and high, but I couldn’t believe we were going through with this. The first time was all lust and physical release. She told me later she hadn’t been intimate with anyone since well before Wayne died, so it was intense. We continued seeing each other and finding time between my kids and hers that we could be together privately. We’ve talked about how strange it is to almost have the ghost of my friend Wayne around. Her youngest son keeps putting photos of his mom and dad back on the shelves of a cabinet in her room, and I occasionally am in bed with her there and catch a glimpse of his picture across the room…it’s weird.
She says that she can’t imagine how she would have taken the step to be intimate with another man after her husband died if it hadn’t been me: somebody she already knows and trusts. His name comes up all the time in stories or whatever, but it’s never really been awkward. I’ve rationalized it easily enough as ‘I would be happy if my widow could find some comfort and pleasure with a guy I know will treat her well.’ She’s told me that he was adamant that she not mourn over him and lock herself away. He left her well taken care of, so she has no need to find another man to support her, but she is a very sensual woman who really missed having an intimate relationship. I don’t think it would be that easy for her if I were just some guy she met in a bar or someone a friend set her up with.
In a way, it was similarly awkward for both of us: me, because I’m with my buddy’s wife. Her, because she’s with a man other than her husband, and that it’s me makes it a little weirder. But actually, that faded pretty quickly, and it doesn’t feel like an issue at all now. We haven’t really dealt with the social aspect of it as far as friends we have in common, etc. So far the feedback for her has been very positive from her family and close friends.
As it happens, we like being around each other a lot, and neither of us is in any rush for some kind of resolution to ‘where this is going.’ Her younger 2 children are slowly accepting the idea that I’m around more than just every now and then, and she’s had a long talk with her teenage son about our relationship. Actually, that deserves its own note: Her 15-year-old son told her he thought it was too soon (about a year and a half since his dad died) during a long, tearful conversation they had about her relationship with me. The next day, I sent her a long email about it telling her that I could definitely identify with him: my father died when I was about 12 and I was very resentful of any men my mother went out with, rare as that was. I said I had no intention of replacing his dad in his life, and that I specifically wanted to avoid stepping on his toes or putting more pressure in his life by my presence. I wished there was a way he could understand how much I respected his father and how close we had been as teenagers. When the subject came up again, she showed him the email from me and let him read it. He told her later that he understood a lot better, and I could tell a difference in the way he treated me after that: he seems a lot less suspicious of me now.
She has told me that she hasn’t felt any real guilt, but she does have to keep reminding herself that she’s not doing anything wrong. I think the hardest thing is letting herself feel real emotion about our relationship. She is scared that she’ll just latch on to this because it’s comfortable and not really difficult. We both like each other a lot, but there’s a definitely hesitancy toward real emotional intimacy even though physical intimacy isn’t really a problem.”
“Despite That, The Husband Was Remarried Within A Year…”
“A friend of my wife’s was exercising on a treadmill at the gym and collapsed. She was 28 and a brain aneurysm killed her. She had been married for 5 years I think. The hospital kept her ‘alive’ for a few days so her mom could be flown in from Europe (she was Slovakian) and then they harvested her organs from her perfectly healthy and fit body. I know she helped a lot of people. They took everything. Eyes, skin, heart, you name it. It was a really rough time for everyone who knew her especially those closest to her: her husband and mother.
Despite that, the husband was remarried within a year. My wife thought he was a prick for doing it so quickly. It’s hard to say how I would react in that kind of situation but I don’t know if I could remarry within a year. Does that make the guy emotionally stronger than me? Emotionally vacant?
This was all about 4 years ago and he’s still married, so it seems to be holding up.”
“I Miss The Notes She Would Leave Me When She Was On Business Trips”
“It was tough. Have this conversation before one of you has to figure it out on your own. Tell all of your mutual friends that if you die — that everybody should support the decision of the one that is left here holding the pieces of the life they once knew. It is NOT easy. I dated my fiancée for so many years and we lived together so it was such a major change to even consider…
I never imagined myself with anybody else until the day she died. It wasn’t until I had to view the world with a new perspective that I started to see things for what they were. I had to start over, and I knew that I would never find a true 1:1 replacement for what I had. The intimacy was spot on for what I wanted. Never had an issue with that department — so I had a high level of expectations when I started looking again.
The first intimate moments were a challenge to say the least. I had to relearn everything about the other person as well…so that ‘autopilot’ stuff — not so much.
I was 35 when it happened and the thing I missed most about her was the way that she missed me when she was alive. She would travel a bit for work and I would never feel alone when she was out of town because she would leave notes for me or text me stuff that seemed stupid at the time, but I miss that the most when she left.”
“If It Is The Right Partner, You Will Know In Your Heart And Body”
“On December 3rd, 2008 I made the decision to take my wife off of the respirator and dialysis machine that was keeping her ‘alive.’ She had been diagnosed with cancer seven years earlier but was actually dying from a rare blood disease caused by the anticancer meds. Her circulatory system was shot, and I watched her die within minutes of the disconnection. We had been together for almost 28 years and married for 24 years, 11 months, and 9 days. I had not been with another woman for those 28 years.
To say I was devastated is an understatement. I was convinced I would never be with anyone else – in fact, the thought of getting so close to someone else and then potentially going through the same pain was something I never wanted to do again. Yet, just a few months later I met someone through a chance meeting. She had also lost a spouse to cancer, so we had some things we could share right off the bat. Just six months after my wife had died, I found myself climbing into bed with another woman for the first time in almost three decades.
I thought it would be awkward. I thought I might have trouble performing. I thought I might break down crying in the middle. But everything clicked, it was completely natural, and we were completely comfortable with each other. We are still together and will be married in another year or so. I think it can be very difficult if it is not the right time or the right person. But if it is the right partner, you will know it in your heart and body, and it will be as easy as breathing.”
“The Old Saying ‘Time Heals All Pain’ Is A Lie”
“Remarried widow here. Before marrying again, I made dang sure he was okay with my past love, and understood death is not a breakup, so it never really goes away. It’s hard to explain. The old saying ‘time heals all pain,’ is a lie. The pain evolves over time, but never goes away. Nor does the love. The dead spouse isn’t an ‘ex,’ that can be gotten over, but moving on eventually happens and it is possible to love again. Intimacy wasn’t as difficult as paranoia. My late husband died of a heart attack. One minute we were talking on the phone, a few hours later he was gone. I don’t know if it’s normal, but I obsess on my current husband’s health.
“It Was Hard Getting Frantic Phone Calls Because She…”
“I am coming from the other side of this story, I was the one dating (now married) to someone who lost their spouse/fiancee. My wife lost her fiancee in a car accident, and I started dating her about 1 year after this happened. She had gone out with a few people but nothing serious. I met her at a party her friends dragged her to so she could get out of the house.
It was a challenge to say the least and it wasn’t easy for the first year while we were dating. I know it was hard on her emotionally but it was hard on me also. The hardest thing I had to understand was how she could still love him and start to love me, I felt like I was always being compared to him. Another hard part was to get the frantic phone calls because she hadn’t heard from me for an hour and she thought ‘It’ happened again. And every once in a while she will call me non stop until I answer to make sure I am O.K.
But all in all, I am glad I stuck through the beginning. We wouldn’t be where we are today and we’re both very happy. And as crazy as this is going to sound, I hope I don’t die first, I don’t want her to have to go through that experience again.”
Mom Had Trouble Dating Again
“My dad passed away almost 6 years ago, when I was 15. It was fairly sudden and unexpected. I know that my mom had absolutely no interest in dating for at least 3 years afterwards. She was too worried about taking care of her kids, and thought it would be too painful for all of us if she dated. A couple of years ago, with some prompting from a friend she started dating again. It was a bumpy road. Although I knew she was lonely, it was difficult to put herself back out there again. She came home from several dates in tears, having broken down on the drive home. It took a long time for her to let someone become close to her, but now she has found someone that she loves, and she is now engaged. Now, I don’t want to know about how difficult it is for her to be intimate with someone new… she is my mom after all. But I know that she is very happy with her new man. At the same time, no matter how happy she is, there will always be a hole there. This isn’t the way she thought her life would turn out, but she’s coping quite well.
“I Am A Lucky Man, To Have Had The Love Of Two Wonderful Women”
“My first wife died suddenly, of a brain hemorrhage…she was only 30, and we had a 4-year0old child. I was devastated. I was lucky to have the support of family and friends, but I would cry alone in grief at night, when my son could not hear me… I thought that I would not marry again, or even have any relationships with women…I just didn’t feel any yearning for that. I was too wrapped up in my sorrow.
But a woman, a co-worker that I had known for seven years, understood. She was divorced and had had a string of boyfriends in the several years after. But she was caring, and funny, and liked many of the things I did…we started dating, and within a year we married. That was 26 years ago.
We are still together, and she has been a marvelous mother to my son from the previous marriage. And now she is a marvelous grandmother to my son’s two young girls. I am a lucky man, to have had the love of two wonderful women.
“It Is Only By Her Excellence As A Partner To Me That I Am Able To Be Intimate Again”
“My wife will have been dead for one year this coming 13th of November. Skipping all of the details, she was sick for a long time, and died from a subdural hematoma. She is the most amazing person I have ever met in my life, she was my best friend, and she is the love of my life. Recently, I met someone with whom I feel an incredible bond. She makes me feel alive again. One of the things I find remarkable about her is her compassion towards my relationship with my wife. Aside from that, she is also an incredible generous, beautiful woman.
I am honestly still very sad, and moderately depressed. I am not sure exactly how to express it, but I guess I would like to say that my being depressed has not had an effect on my new relationship. I am able to share myself with someone but I still very much love and miss my wife. I was not looking to start dating by any means. I think if I had not met this new woman in particular, and that just by random act of the universe, I would not be dating. It is only by her excellence as a partner to me that I am able to be intimate again.”
“My Love Didn’t Stop Because She Died”
“I lost my wife of 16 years to cancer this past July. It has been a nightmare. Friends and family want me back to ‘normal’ but I will never be like that again. Not interested in dating or starting a new relationship. Maybe that will change in time. A family member talked me into joining eHarmony (what a mistake that was.) Ended that after the first month. I was looking for my wife.
It as only been 4 months since she passed. Sometime it feels like forever and sometimes it feels like yesterday.
We were a perfect fit for each other, bringing out the best in each other, we shared so much. I can’t even imagine being that intimate with another ever again. I was in love with my wife. I am in love with her still. I don’t cry every morning and every night now like I did at first. But I am not the same and probably never will be. My love didn’t stop just because she died. And I know she loved me to her last breath.
I am grateful for the 16 years I had with her. I hope that when you go through this (provided you don’t go first) that it is far, far into the future after many years of happiness together.”