Sunday, April 26, 2009

Getting A Widower To Open Up

WOWs and GOWs write to me all the time, asking me, "When you were first dating how did you get your widower to talk about his loss and his grief feelings?" I assume this question comes from women who are having a hard time getting their men to open up and share. How does a woman get ANY man, widower or not, to spill his guts? Men can be quite emotionally-constipated creatures, so bringing them to a woman's level of chatty communication is never an easy task. Difficult, yes...but not impossible.

I suppose the answer to this question for me, personally, is based on the kind of person I am:

I have diarrhea mouth. The only time I ever shut up is when I'm chewing my food. Heck, I even talk in my sleep! I have chronic bronchitis, so losing my voice is a twice-a-year thing for me. That doesn't stop me. Post-It Notes and dry-erase boards are my best friends during speechless illness.

I am also fearlessly opinionated but tactful. I am one of those strange people who could care less what others think of what I have to say, and I don't let other people's subjective opinions hurt me one bit (which came in handy when I worked as a lobbyist!).

I also love honesty, regardless of how it's wrapped: I don't care if it's delivered brutally or gently, just give me the truth!

Thus, getting Hubs to talk about his feelings was a matter of asking the right questions, constantly and without fear, with the goal of honest feedback, even if his answers weren't what I had hoped to hear.

You see, it's MUCH easier to deal with the truth than to sit and worry about assumptions. Quiet men unnerve me. Left to their own devices, most womens' assumptions about a man's unexpressed thoughts can provoke insecurities. They rarely assume positive things, only negative. I hate negativity and insecurity. So, to combat them, I have to be forthright, direct, and inquisitive just for my own peace of mind. And I won't rest until every stone has been turned.

It's no picnic asking "the tough questions" from a widower you love. But before you begin to do that, you have to ask a tough question of yourself first: Would I rather allow my fears to control my destiny, lead me to negative assumptions, and constantly worry and wonder about what my widower thinks and feels.......or would I rather face my fears, ask the questions I need answered, and deal with whatever truth he gives me? The choice, my friends, is up to you.

When you make decisions about what truth you can live with and which you can't, it's easy to find the strength to do what it takes to put your mind at ease. When your mind is at peace, you feel more confident about who you are. And when you feel confident, asking a widower to share his innermost thoughts with you is not as hard as it seems.

3 comments:

  1. I just met a widower whose wife pasted on 6 months ago. We met a week ago. We r both christians. I am divorced 4 two yrs now and am ready to love again. He is mature and hv 2 kids looking after. I also hv 2 kids. I hv realised that he hasn't gotten off the grieve coz he stirs on me with smiles bt cnt tell me he loves me nor beautiful bt he always want m by his side. Yes he talk a lot about his wife and I let him do it. We engaged sexually bt we both agreed that it was rong since we dnt hv a base to engage sexually esp as christians. We agreed to take it slow. I also realised that I mite be invisible to his church members, kids and family which I dnt mind and I will also do the same. Only my Pastor knows about Him. I love him and do not want to loose him. Pls advice me on how to handle this widower

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  2. Hi Ju,

    Widower or not, you only met a week ago, so I doubt that you're in love with this man, nor he with you, in such a short time. It's easy to be infatuated with a W (widower). After all, he has a proven track record of love. But yours is only 6 mos. into his grief journey, and ther eis not way he could possibly be ready for a relationshuip at this point. Taking it VERRRRY slowly is a godo idea. There is a LOT you need to know about grief, grief triggers, and Ws in general. For more on these subjects, I encourage you to join me and the membes of the Official WOW/GOW Message Board, which can be found via my website at juliedonnerandersen.com. Registration is free, and all our "sisters" walk in your shoes and are ready to help. :)

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  3. Sorry for the typos! My typing hand is bandaged from an accident.

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