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Is it just me...?


Ry

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Does anyone else notice that friends treat you differently now that you are no longer part of a couple? At first, I thought it was me but no-- it's not. I feel like I've not only lost my husband but now maybe some of my long time friends too. I don't get it.

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What do you mean by "differently"? They might feel funny because they used to extend an invitation to a couple or may not know how you would respond?

It is sad that people don't know what to say (from our perspective) when they really would like to say so much.

In what context do you feel this?

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Hi Ry,

I notice that with some friends. But I also notice that I am more comfortable around some friends than I am around others (particular those who were very much "couple" friends).

I have a theory that some couples feel uncomfortable around someone newly widowed (hate that word) because they see the possibility in their own lives and don't want to face it.

I have found that I purposely gravitate toward those in my comfort zone. The people in my comfort zone always talk about Bill -- I'm never worried about making them uncomfortable. I figure those are the people I need in my life now.

Sorry you're feeling that. I think it's very common, unfortunately. I imagine with long-time friends, it might be more of a process. It's weird.

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Rochelle, I am compelled to answer.

Earl and I had an active social life with a lot of other couples. While he was sick it most definitely slowed down, but he wasn't up to it and I didn't really seem to notice. But in retrospect, I think some people are nervous being around someone sick.

When he died, I announced to the world that I didn't want to be excluded from couples events. I advised our dinner group that I was not leaving, they would have to fire me. I jokingly said, that I wasn't interested in anyone's husband because I didn't want a man that would leave 1/2 of his money behind, lol.

Many of my old friends and most of my new friends (met at my new home or on the golf course) include me in many (but not all) couples get togethers.

BUT some have disappeared or only see me at 'ladies' things. The biggest culprit is my best friend forever. I am not shy and I tell her about it often, maybe obnoxious is a better word than shy. She is not married but has a long time boyfriend. I find him dumb and would not be the least bit interested in him and she knows that.

So I have concluded that since it is mostly the women who manage the social lives in families and since you are now a single woman, like it or not, I think many women now consider you a threat.

I have invited groups of couples to my house for dinner. I tend to be a tour guide for my group of friends and when I am putting together a road trip I encourage my married friends to include their husbands, i.e. a bunch of us are going to see The Capitol Steps in two weeks. There will be 14 of us, of which 4 are husbands.

Anyway, I think us 'widows' (hate, hate, hate the word) need to educate the world. Include us, we have a lot of value and not much time for your husbands.

Now Rochelle, if we were widowers, it would be a different story. Everyone would be knocking our doors down to spend time with us and take care of us.

I think of you often and hope you are doing well. Glad to read that Christmas was doable and offered some happiness.

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Hi Rochelle,

I'm sorry that this is happening to you now. We never did do a lot of couple things, between raising kids and our large age difference. For the most part our family were our friends through the years. We were each other's best friends and did most things together on our own.

The same people who were there for us (one couple, one -- now a widower, and some family) through Tony's whole illness, continue to be steadfast. Just as some people disappeared when he became ill, the same people have vanished following the funeral obligations. I guess the term 'comfort level', that Teri used, swings both ways.

Of course that doesn't make you feel very good! I find my own comfort level changes weekly. Most times I want to be alone and my family and friends need to utilize the old crow-bar to pry me out of the house. Sometimes I don't want to be around couples because it's too painful.

Always being the oddball here, I have come to embrace the word widow, even though I hate what it means for me personally. I find that vocalizing such a harsh word is a slap upside the head and a reality check for everyone else.

Hopefully those who care for you the most will rise to the occasion and give you the love and support you need.

We all love you and will always be here for you! :D

Hugs,

Debi

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I'm so glad this topic came up, because it's allowing me to face some feelings I've had that I've never expressed to anyone --- that "thing" of suddenly being perceived as "single," and therefore a threat to your married female friends (or "available" to your single/divorced male friends). Gini, thank you for pointing this out. I haven't felt it in a huge way, but I have felt it.

That brings me also to what Debi said about using the word "widow." That's very interesting -- because it's a sad word. Perhaps when people hear it they better realize that we're in a state of tragedy, not in the midst of a planned lifestyle change. The perceived threat is almost like one friend whose house was spared by a fire being threatened by their friends whose house was burned down.

In my case, I do know that I'm the one who is keeping distance from certain people. Both Bill and I went through radical changes through his illness -- mostly spiritual changes. I find that my comfort zone consists of people who either were there during that process and know who I am today and accept it, or are people I've gotten to know more afterwards. I do realize in that case, it's me. But I also think that's ok.

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A topic that hit me hard today.

Yes, we feel people leaving us out

because we are alone and for them

security is only in couple, a woman

alone is a threat to their well organized

life.

I'm in a different generation and

feel it even worst, I was living

in a good place when Mike died,

but after four years of pushing aside

by people that used to be friends before

Mike died I had to move out, finding

all kind of reasons with the place

when now that I'm gone I find that it

was the people that pushed me out because

I could be a threat to their couple.

I won't see those people anymore but

I resent what they did to me.

Harder at my age to make friends, not

many around in my generation that still

enjoy really living.

Ry, all answers are so true.

Hope for better days ahead.

Jackie

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I have become a loner. I resist any attempts to include me.

I am not sure why.

My sister and her husband are so kind to me and wish to include me in EVERYTHING, as do a couple of Brian's and my neighbors.

I HATE BEING A FIFTH WHEEL.

HATE IT

So I mostly decline until it becomes rude, then I accept an invitation and wish I hadn't.

I enjoy spending time w/ my neices. They are young, well educated and so far unattached. However that is probably not healthy for any of us.

I work from home and have gained weight and so feel less and less connected.

I begin friendships then back away.

Mostly I stay home, wish I had sold it before the market crashed and painfully care for it as Brian would have wanted me to. He made it his mission to pay this house off before he died and even though there is no mortgage I can not afford to live here. I just felt disloyal selling it.

Most of Brian's and my couple friends were from our church. I have been attending less and less. I hate the pity I feel and how I 'think' I am seen there. Not as a vibrant member but as someone who everyone is so 'careful' around.

I am close w/ my sons. They all have long time marriages and though we have much love among us it is different. I am less comfortable around them than I am around the grandchildren who delight me.

I know many of our couple friends backed away as Brian's illness progressed. I think it gets boring after the initial "DID YOU HEAR" phase and also is a 'bummer' to many. Very few continued to invite or visit us. Brian was sick w/ chemo most of the time so he didn't really notice or care..........I did.

Anyway, I am sure no one would perceive me to be a threat in anyway, I think I am just a burden, responsibilty and grudging obligation.

Thank God for folks here, where I feel welcomed and loved.

that is why my commune idea appeals so strongly to me.....................kindred souls supporting each other...................

Thanks for the topic, Ry.

Love and hugs for all of us.

Pat

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Boy Ginny, did you hit the nail on the head. John and I had friends as a couple that now I get to see the woman only. We would all go to dinner when John was alive, but now she and I do lunch. I am all of a sudden not allowed to spend time with them as a couple or even see him.

My one long time friend barely calls (like your friend she is with a ding dong). I think she is the one that bothers me the most.

And then, there are the friends that have really been there. The one that knows how hard it is to lose someone (she's called me every day since John died), and other long time friends that check on me. They're wonderful to me.

It's just hard to deal with.

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This post makes me sad. It just truly amazes me how when someone is lost that is so very important the whole dynamics in ones life changes. The family dynamics, the friendship dynamics. I think even me, who just lost my Dad, has a different relationship right now with my friends. They don't really want to "talk" about that with me. I guess people just don't know how to respond after something like this happens. I just lean on the ones right now that are there for me. I am sorry that all of you are going through this, as I see my mom feeling very alone right now also. How hard it is to go from the "couple" routine to being a "single". Know though that all of you are watched over by your husbands, and that they would only ever want the best for you. As you all move on, I wish you peace!

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Mom experienced this a lot, when I was growing up, and I remember talking with her about it. My dad died very suddenly, and it may have made other women feel vulnerable. She also felt like some thought she was a 'threat' (what a laugh--Mom as a harlot! :lol: ).

I will tell you that several of her strong, confident friends stood by her for the last 30 years of her life. It became a 'quality, not quantity' thing for Mom, and after the initial sting, she didn't miss the ones who left her behind.

I am sad to see the world, and insecure women, haven't changed in 30 years. Oh well....their loss!

Kelly

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It is a much smaller thing, but I actually get the same response during deployments. Suddenly I can only hang out with 'girlfriends.' Couples feel obviously awkward around me.

I have even found myself doing the same thing to girlfriends who have their husbands deployed, and focusing more on the 'girlfriend' things. For me, I guess, that happens because I am afraid that it rubs salt in the would for people to see me with my husband home when theirs can't be. Reading responses here about this same thing in the past has made me try to be mindful of that both in the deployment scenario and with my friends who have lost a spouse (Thanks guys!).

So in my much lesser situation (and I am in no way minimizing the heartache all of you ladies are living through--I know it is world's different) I guess I wonder if people are afraid of hurting me? or maybe it's just an awkward thing that people don't know how to navigate so they just don't? Or maybe we've all just watched "When Harry Met Sally" one too many times and bought into the 'Men and Women can't really be friends," myth so people don't even try without the 'couple factor.'

Whatever the reason, I know it must hurt tremendously, and I am sorry for that for all of you.

Hope it's ok that I chimed in. I do know that deployments are a much smaller and much different scenario.

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Rochelle,

my mom got this alot after my dad passed away.

In fact, she lost her small circle of friends entirely and focused on family almost completly those 3 years.

Those women who had been her "friends" for 35+ years called occasionally and only visited 2-3 times a year to check in with her. It made her angry, and it made her really sad....

I guess in the end it was good for me since I only had her a short time after dad died, and we became closer than ever- inseperable best friends...but still, I'll not understand or forgive them for being the way they were to her when she was at her worst and needed support the most.

Lots of great advice here from those going thru this now...take the advice and surround yourself with people who really care about you- and forget the rest. You'll make a new circle, and those who really care will be there too.

(((hugs)))

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Hi Rochelle,

Sorry to be chiming in on this so late, been away for the Holidays. I understand how you feel. I really no longer have any communication with the "couple" friends Bill and I had; but am very grateful for my wonderful, loving, caring gal-friends who have never let me down. The one thing that I can't understand is my own family. It seems like the loss of Bill created a huge void in my family to the point where my parents and my siblings (and their spouses) will plan dinners out and not bother to call me to invite me. At first I really didn't want to go because I felt like a fifth wheel, but after a while, it just hurt. I remember the summer after Bill's death and my family (adults only) rented a huge houseboat down on a Kentucky lake for a long weekend. It was six couples and myself for the weekend. One evening I had too much sun (among other things) and went "to sleep" early. When I woke up everyone was up on the upper deck playing a board game version of the Newlywed Game and boy could you hear a pin drop when they realized I was awake and on top deck. Anyway, I understand and I am sorry for you and the loss you feel for your couple friends. It only takes one really GREAT gal-pal to make up for those that aren't as compassionate, for whatever their reasons! My prayers are steady for you Rochelle...and your children.

Much love and peace for you in 2008.

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Perfect example of "the difference":

I had planned on just staying in tonight for New Year's Eve. I went to the movies yesterday with some good friends (a couple). They asked me if I wanted to maybe join them for dinner out tonight. I said "sure, but don't feel obligated if you guys would like to just go out together." Now it's 4:20 and I haven't heard from them yet. But I don't want to be the one to call, because I don't want to put them on the spot to have the "extra" person along! If it was Bill and I, I wouldn't think twice about making the call. I don't even care if I go out tonight, but I do care that I feel like I have to wait to find out! :?

Roll on 2008...

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