The Dilemma of Young Widowhood

Paul had hard words for young widows. Geesh.

Paul had hard words for young widows. Geesh.

“To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain unmarried as I am. But if they are not practicing self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion”
1 Corinthians 7:8–9 (NRSV).

No one ever expects to lose a spouse – especially if you’re young and just starting out in life. I’m no spring chicken at 35, but I still consider myself relatively young. As a young widow, navigating through the grieving process hasn’t been easy. Primarily because no one in your circle of friends or demographic can relate. My grandpa, who lost two spouses and one girlfriend in the last 20 years, is the only person who has been able to truly speak to the pain. It’s not like I’m a “9/11 widow,” and there’s a group of us going through the pain together and sharing the different issues that come up with our new way of life.

One of the dilemmas I’ve discovered with young widowhood is the juxtaposing feelings of missing your deceased spouse and longing for a new source of companionship. Since I am still relatively young, I still have the strong desire to hang out, have fun and enjoy the company of the opposite sex. At the same time, my heart still yearns for my husband and my old way of life. If my husband was still alive, I would be very much satisfied and content staying at home, watching movies and chilling. I didn’t have the desire to “hang out.” However, now my only source of adult conversation comes from my time out, so I’m more inclined to want to be in the midst of people my own age. This is the dilemma – reconciling the settled mother of two with the young woman who now yearns to “go out” and be in the company of other adults.

“It’s going to take a special dude.”

So, I already kind of dipped my toe into the dating pool just to gage what it’s going to be like, and it was OK. The conversation, innocent flirting and attention were good. Telling my story was a little awkward, but I had to say something. My kids were making noise in the background during the first telephone conversation. I didn’t want to lie. What could I say anyway? I’m at Chuck E. Cheese? He was cool about everything. He was a good trial run or practice as I tell my mom. However, I did feel a little guilty, which I read is common for widows and widowers. You feel guilty when you share company with someone new. After all, you were just married. It’s not like you voluntarily left. The other person died, so in a way, you still feel kind of married. I know it’s going to take time.

My brother and my male friends think it’s a good idea for me to “get back out there,” but I don’t think they understand the dilemma. They tell me to get back out there, but in the same breath say things like, “It’s going to take a special dude” and “You need to date a widower.” Date a widower? A 35 year old widower? OK…

Anyway, it’s all a learning experience. It’s the dilemma that many young widows face. I don’t have the answers. I know God will work it all out in his time and for my good.

Thoughts? Any words of wisdom for the young widow and widower?

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