Rushing things on November 2, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
I’m 20…and I recently became a widow…my husband was 24…and we have a one year old daughter. He and I were together for almost 2 years. Towards the end…our marriage was on really rocky ground..and I wanted out…but things changed when he all of a sudden died. What I’m curious about is…when is it appropriate to start dating again? I loved my husband…but wasn’t in love with him at the end. I’m anxious to jump out there again, but I’m really worried how my family and friends will react. How long do I live the part of the grieving widow in mourning..? Rather than the grieving widow who needs to get on with her life? Help!
Oh, my. My sincere condolences, that is.
Along with my humble suggestion that the, um, abruptness of your letter has no doubt raised a few eyebrows. But let me just answer your question. I hear and believe that you weren’t in love with him at the end. And that you want to get on with your life. And I’m glad you’re being frank about those feelings. But please, please, please take, I don’t know, at least several months! NOT just to keep up outer appearances (which, actually, is a valid concern); but rather to heal your inner widow, whether you think she needs it or not. ‘Cause I’m betting that she does. Your initial, understandable grief-defense mechanism may be kicking in and saying, “Phew!” — which might be why you seem to feel antsy so fast. He may not always have been a happy part of your life, but he was a big part … and he’s part of your beautiful daughter, too. Tears, issues, regrets, pangs — they’ll all come, I think. Maybe not in a torrent, but you do need, just in case, to be waiting up for them. Not out on a date. You will, yes, need to get on with your life. But it’s not just that you “shouldn’t” until you’ve grieved; it’s that you can’t.
Again, I’m so sorry. And I think you are, too.