2562. The Widow’s Dilemma

Everything is relative, interconnected and interdependent deep within the psyche. Widows have more than the usual difficulty making life decisions. You ladies should start thinking ahead. Younger widows have it easier but not worry-free.

The elder widow and even the 20-year switch-and-ditch dumpee face their concluding years with multiple dilemmas. She can appreciate her narrowed responsibility and reduced work level, but feels less essential and uncomfortable with newfound independence.

Having no mate to care for, her interest in life begins to fade. Not wanting to be dependent on another, she fears lack of support when she needs it. Not wanting to live with what amounts to a stranger-mate, she regrets her aloneness. Anticipating aches and pains that await her, she yearns to be held often. Her loneliness seems to grow unhindered. She loves herself, but yearns for affection to frequently confirm it. Her imagination wanders all around her options vs. values and the unacceptable seems most practical.

Her libido becomes more active, but she’s reluctant to satisfy it with another man. She needs a new relationship to fulfill herself, but fears what commitment might bring. Still loyal in spirit to late husband, she feels it to be disloyal and cheating to bed someone else.

As loneliness and need for companionship grow, hormone changes expand her libido, of which perhaps she is unaware. She compensates with self-induced sexual pleasure. As anxieties grow out of the turmoil of aloneness, she turns such pleasure  into habit, which makes her more deeply dependent on it. The more dependent on herself, the less she needs a man. Then guilt emerges, is she doing ‘wrong’?

Confusion deepens with each dilemma. Her desire for a companion conflicts with her ability and flexibility to be pleased by men with whom she has learned to do without. Self-induced sexual pleasure reduces her interest in a sex partner, whether shack up or new husband. She has herself. Why go through all the adjustments required to capture and settle in with a strange man?

Women think that sex drive dissipates later in life. Not so for women, although it does for men. In fact, the female libido later in life can exceed her earlier drive. It is a function of the loss of female-centered hormones that increase the ratio of male hormones.

As we age late in life, we regress back into childhood, when self-development and self-interest are the motivators of life. Old folks fade away easily as they narrow self-interest and weaken self-development.

So, for both the widow and switch-and-ditch dumpee, I encourage taking in a lover, shacking up, or getting married as soon as she gets the opportunity. Widows have to adjust in life one way or the other. Given where she can be a year later with or without a man in her life, a reasonably good man seems the better. As they age, men become more easy to live with. Time will heal taking in a man. Or else give her a new set of dilemmas to resolve with a reformed self-interest and ability to self-develop.

She just needs to quit thinking that she can’t take in a man and just do it anyway. Trust her experience. Of course it’s risky as to quality of any man, but she has plenty experience at screening them so long as she doesn’t become desperate. Solving dilemmas has been her life. It is a new form of self-development, aka growing in life, and widows and dumpees are not too old, unless they choose to die alone.

The morality of whatever she chooses is a personal matter, and women have lived all their lives with morality haunting their behavior. Widowed, it’s the final hurdle in the string of her numerous dilemmas.



Filed under Dear daughter, feminine, Her glory, How she wins, marriage, sex differences, The mind

12 responses to “2562. The Widow’s Dilemma

  1. Meow Meow

    Thanks Sir Guy. This is truly what Women Never Hear. As someone who married a man much older than myself, I am enjoying the busy times with my husband. But unless a bus hits me first, statistics say i will likely outlive him, (especially considering his bad habits) and these dilemmas are haunting to think about, and help explain the various living arrangements I see in women who are widowed/divorced at 60+. Some live for their kids/grandkids, others find comfort in a second love (or at least a lover.) I don’t judge such ladies, for I can’t say how I would feel. Their reality is very different than that of a young married girl….I personally doubt I’d marry again, saving that honor for my man alone—(he was/is my first and only one)—it brings me to tears really to think about it. I would say however that young love is its own thing, and older divorced/widowed men and women need to do what works best for them (as long as it isn’t hurting anybody) when their life as the head of the family is over. I’d hope to be able to be there for my children, and whether another man fits into my life in some way I will see when or if that time comes….

    Your Meow Meow,
    Think ahead, it’s the best way. Surprises are not that devastating.

  2. “Women think that sex drive dissipates later in life. Not so for women, although it does for men. In fact, the female libido later in life can exceed her earlier drive. It is a function of the loss of female-centered hormones that increase the ratio of male hormones.”

    This is actually true! Good news for women as we age. Although men’s libido does decline (and there are health issues that can make it much worse) keep in mind that they begin with a pretty powerful sex drive, so a “decline” is all relative. People can have a healthy, happy sex lives long into old age.

  3. Anonymous

    Something worries me that Sir Guy might be leaving us soon. 😦

    Your Highness Anonymous,
    Thanks for a good chuckle.

  4. Miss Gina

    Though I completely understand the temptation in later years, I’m not sure I agree that settling is the best way to handle any situation. I would suggest the same process for a widow or dumpee as any other unmarried woman: after a short time for grief, set aside negative thoughts. Gather up every bit of courage and resourcefulness, be as attractive as possible, spread joy and love all around. The rest should take care of itself. Isaiah 54, which reminds us that our Maker is our husband, is a precious resource for the widow and unloved wife.

    Your Highness Miss Gina,
    Thank you. You never fail to rise above the common and pose ideal role models.

    • Miss Gina

      Just wanted to add that this is not from experience, but what was modeled by a number of wonderful ladies who outlived two and even three husbands (three ladies widowed three times each come to mind). The words courage, resilience, spunk, and joy come to mind to describe them.

      • Meow Meow

        These ladies of Miss Gina’s acquaintance clearly wanted and enjoyed male love/companionship after their first husbands died or they would not have married again multiple times and although that is certainly ideal, I can’t be too hard on elderly women who do not marry their “beau” for less-than-ideal reasons (the needs of previous children, illness, inheritance issues, or they do not want to be tied together legally, etc.) ….although I also wouldn’t compare that kind of pragmatic relationship to young wedded life or even that of a married couple growing old together and still maybe being there for grandkids. I agree with Sir Guy that it seems to be its own thing and something different! It just seems that as we age, some will stick to the romantic ideals of marriage, and hold out in hope of meeting a partner who also feels the same way, (bearing in mind how many more older ladies there tend to be then men) and others have to be (or are) happy with something else after marriage ended one way or the other and children grown. A loving relationship of sorts, and/or as MHW posits joining a group of others who are out doing good and volunteering and becoming each other’s support system! That sounds like a lot of fun and use of positive energy and yes, as I get older and am losing hearing, eyesight, strength despite my very best efforts, I can easily see why being alone/needing help must be a challenge for many of the elderly. Its also a reminder to stick together through life as women helping one another even though our husbands may not always understand our friendships (mine gets grumpy when I want to go have lunch or meet with girl friends very much)

        Exploring these ideas about later love is challenging and I think trigger many of us younger/middle aged people into black-and white views and can even frighten and shock us. But at least here we can wonder and discuss these thoughts and start to sort out what we would do if we were to outlive our husbands. I for one find admitting that we will not live forever and considering what kind of person we want to try to be as we age and what we will always value freeing. Old age and love late in life has severe challenges from what I can see and I am intrigued by Sir Guy’s compassionate view about widows and widowers—-he holds them to a very different standard then the youthful husband and wife, who need to set examples for little eyes in their immediate family—so I’m guessing he speaks from earned experience, his own and what he may have seen friends and family go through. I haven’t seen these ideas discussed anywhere else!

    • My Husband's Wife

      I agree with you, Miss Gina. That’s how I would approach being a widower or divorcee at any age. I personally would not want to devalue the institution of marriage in favor of temporary convenience/pleasure for myself—especially in today’s society that we’re trying desperately to encourage faithful men and marriages as a way to strengthen our families and society in general.

      Since I believe that being alone and needing help is real problem for elderly women (not so different from younger single ladies), I advocate for the elderly widow or divorced to find a church in which one can serve and be active. In my church, we have a club of six widowed ladies aged 85-95 (and they are fun!) who currently live on their own. They are what you mention: well-dressed and very busy as they go out to eat, travel, quilt, do community missions, visit the sick, and prepare church dinners, etc. These ladies are fun to be around and are having a blast. I aspire to be as they are if something were to happen to my husband. I might even go back to college to become a deaconess 🙂

      Your Highness My Husband’s Wife,
      You would make a good deaconess. Lord knows the churches today need womanly input to restore integrity and character into the leadership.

  5. My Husband's Wife

    Sir Guy,

    Thank you for bringing up this topic of the “Widow’s Dilemma.” It’s a subject that I don’t think has EVER been discussed, anywhere and worth the dialog here on this site. I’m learning much from the new information and it’s definitely provoking my thought.

  6. 1jarofclay

    Very thought-provoking article and responses. Loved to read what Miss Gina, Lady Meow Meow and Lady MHW had to say. Each has a valid point.

    It has been said that “A woman marries the first time for love and the second time for security (or some say money).” I’ve even seen people who add “and the third time for companionship.” That is *not* necessarily a cynical statement. Sir Guy understands women and what we face and need at different stages of our lives. He “gets” us.

    When I read the post I remembered a woman from whom I rented a room when I moved to my town a few years ago. I was trying to save money and that arrangement worked out. It was just the two of us.

    Four years prior she had suddenly become a widow after being happily married for almost thirty years. She was in her early fifties and she and her husband were never able to have children. She told me that she was absolutely devastated when he died. She also told me that she was “sick of being alone.” Dated here and there but with no luck. I remember her telling me how some of her friends had made good matches online and married, so she was pursuing the same.

    I completely get Sir Guy’s point about being practical later in life to keep from being lonely, but her mistake was, again, as Sir Guy said, becoming a little desperate. One Saturday out of the blue she informed me that her long-distance boyfriend was moving in that very day!! I didn’t even know that she was in a so-called “relationship.”

    I was upset that she didn’t tell me before. That wasn’t what we’d agreed on, but I decided to stick around for the time being. She also had the audacity to tell me that if I decided to go she understood, but that she didn’t want to lose me in case things didn’t work out with him. Said that he put pressure on her and asked why she didn’t want him to move in, was it because she had someone else?? Troglodyte red flags went up immediately in my head, of course.

    After a few short months, it was obvious that he was trouble and I needed to move out. One day they came home at two o’clock in the morning arguing and being very loud. I could tell that they were drunk. Anyway, they fought, he shoved her, she played victim and he was arrested. She said that he really never was like that but when he was drunk. That he just got “jealous.” Otherwise he’s a great guy, don’t ya know. I told her that night that I wasn’t used to all that and that if he came back, I was out of there.

    I’m not kidding you, the very next day at around 1:00 p.m. when I came back from church, she had already bailed him out and they were in bed. He stepped out sometime that afternoon and she talked to me and told me some nonsense along the lines of how she thinks that “everyone deserves a second chance.” I said that she needed to do what she thought was best for her and I would do what I thought was best for me. I moved out a couple of weeks later.

    Sometimes I wonder whether they are still together. If they are, I’m sure he still treats her badly. Those patterns become very ingrained and people don’t break them just like that. Even the cop told her after they arrested him. In the end, we all make choices that affect our future and have no one else to blame for the outcome but ourselves.

    This is a cautionary tale. Often, women have a very difficult time being alone (I call it Eve’s curse). Be practical, but at the same time choose carefully. We shouldn’t give our precious gift to unworthy men. And no, it’s absolutely not true that the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know.

    I hope this will help someone. Ladies, don’t settle!!


  7. Meow Meow

    “Trust her experience. Of course it’s risky as to quality of any man, but she has plenty experience at screening them so long as she doesn’t become desperate.”

    Whether eager to marry or enter any relationship, Sir Guy says it best here—we still have to screen a man, and dump those who treat us with disrespect. Desperation is our enemy. (Widowers too! I remember how after Sir Paul McCartney’s wife died he rushed into marriage with a younger woman—but ended up regretting it almost immediately, as she turned out to be a gold digger!)

    Again I’m glad the widows Miss Gina spoke of above found marriageable men, but statistics show that there are far more elderly ladies than men—and some of those men may be players, or users. After all, the odds are in their favor!

    I teach an exercise class for senior citizens at my local community center, and its a great, positive place to stay active and support one another. Women far outnumber men, and those men get more than their fair share of attention! There is a lot of good humor, flirting and joking. I have volunteered there for many years.

    You see a lot of things. One of the saddest things i remember happening in that group was the swift death of a relatively young, fit and vivacious woman in her 70s, from leukemia. She was her 68 year old husbands beloved second wife and they had been such love birds and everyone in class had envied their spirit of fun and flirtatiousness. Her husband was devastated—they had saved up for a happy retirement but never got to go anywhere together. We did all we could to support him and cheer him, but he was just sad and a year later he passed away too. They were remarkable, unforgettable. I felt honored to have been in the presence of that kind of love.

    • 1jarofclay

      Yes. I was just reiterating what Sir Guy said about becoming desperate and giving an example of what not to do. I felt sad about my former landlady, but again, we all make choices and then need to live with the consequences that come with them.

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