Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Immobilizing Fear of Another Loss

I often hear from GOWs who say their Ws love them but cannot commit to a relationship for one reason: they are afraid of losing the GOW to death like they did their LWs.

If it were any other man, I would say this is a classic case of commitment phobia, coupled with "cold feet". But alas, we are talking about a W (widower), and therein lies the rub: many are simply scared out of their minds to lose another person they love to a tragic death. Let me reassure you that this is a VERY common side effect of grief among widowers.

When other people (the non-widowed) experience break-ups, of course they are shattered and brokenhearted...and many adopt the ol' "once burned, twice shy" motto. They are afraid of getting hurt again by falling in love once more. They don't want to risk the pain, but in doing so, they are also closing the door of opportunity when it comes to love, and the joy that comes along with it. Some even subconsciously feel that they cannot make another move in life without a guarantee that life will not once again break their hearts.

Unfortunately, life does not come with guarantees, no matter how much easier life would be if it did! Life requires us to take chances and have faith i nour life choices. Otherwise, we lose out on sooo much happiness when we give into fear.

It is hard to trust again after one has been hurt. It is immensely difficult to love again after one loses a loved one, especially a spouse. If your W says he cannot commit because the risk of losing you outweighs the joy he has with you – joy that will no doubt grow into something more beautiful as time goes on – then ask him: How much worse would you (W) feel if you DIDN'T take a leap of faith and lost me anyway?” Now that WOULD be tragic!

It may sound simplistic, but it’s really not. Taking a leap of faith and loving again after loss takes an extreme amount of courage and a positive belief in something uncertain. This is when a GOW can reinforce what IS certain by constantly reassuring her W of her love for W and her own commitment to the future of their relationship.

Taking a leap of faith means believing is all that is good, especially the love you share. When a W feels secure in his GOW’s love, more often than not, he is more willing to let the chips fall where they may when he realizes that the alternative - living life alone, in fear, and without love - is simply no way to live at all.


  1. My husband, a W, assured me that losing me would be a piece of cake as compared to his sense of loss of his first wife. Nice sentiment, don't you think? (sarcasm)

    1. That sounds like mine whom I am just dating and he said"you know if she was alive there would be no competition"...well DUH, if she was alive I would have never even looked at him because they were married. talk about words that "hurt". The sad part is that most men seem to say things then "don't remember saying them".

  2. Dear Anonymous,

    I can certainly understand how devastating that must have been for you to hear....if that indeed is what your W meant. It occurs to me, however, that the meaning behind this statement was that every loss after the first gets easier (which, of course, is untrue). Or...he may have said this during an arguement, knowing that it would indeed hurt you, which is very immature and rather cruel. Without knowing more about your relationship, I can't put a finger on the reasons behind your W's statement, but I encourage you to join The Official WOW/GOW Message Board at my website (http://www.juliedonnerandersen.com) to "fill in the gaps" and allow the other members and me a chance to help you.

  3. Hi, Really great effort. Everyone must read this article. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Hi A lot of people that comment on here are in a relationship that came about shortly after a death. Does anyone have anything to say about relationships that develop after several years?