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.