First of all, please forgive my absence from this blog for so long! I had battle dsome major health issues, but am happy to say that I have recently been handled a clean bill of health and am back to my duties helping Ws, GOWs and WOWs wherever and whenever I can, and more often than ever before! Thank you to those of you sent words of encouragement and those who prayed for me. Prayer WORKS! :)
Now...onto today's blog:
All GOWs struggle with grief-related issues in their relationships with Ws. Some issues are small and easy to fix, and happen early enough in the relationship to not seem so impervious. Other issues seem so hurtful and insurmountable, they can cause a GOW to feel like giving up. The challenge is to know when to hang in there and when to move on, and that’s no easy task! Sadly, when it comes to loving a W, there’s no right or wrong answer for this $64,000 question! The dynamics of every relationship differ from one couple to the next dramatically, and every individual GOW handles this challenge (call it the "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" challenge) in her own way, based on her unique character traits (strengths AND weaknesses) and background (i.e., insecurity or fear of abandonment issues). But there ARE some "rules of thumb" every GOW should remember when considering the "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" challenge.
Basically, I believe you should stay and fight if you meet these criteria:
If you believe:
~that there is still work to be done in the relationship to improve it,
~that some of that work is YOUR responsibility and you are willing to try something new, be more patient, gain a new perspective, and work a little harder,
~that you are happy and MOST of your needs are being met, even though his grief issues seem to tip the balance in his favor for now until he reaches recovery,
~that you are 100% certain that your W's occasional insensitive treatment of you is solely based on grief issues and not on "jerk behaviour" and/or a lack of character or moral fiber, and that his present treatment of you is more good than bad,
~that your W is 100% committed to the relationship and is willing to heed and use The Three C's with you,
~that you are 100% convinced that your W is a moral kind of guy who would not purposely mislead, lie to, or cheat on you,
~that your issues regarding his LW are based solely on obvious grief behaviours and not concoctions manufactured by a deep-seeded insecurity you may have always battled in your life,
~that you are in the relationship for all the right reasons, and not wrong ones like fear of being alone or fear that you may never find another man,
~that you can fully and completely embrace and respect his past, his LW, and his memory of her without losing your personhood in the process,
~that you are capable of guarding your heart as you and your W work together towards his grief recovery,
~that you can capably dismiss any assumptions & expectations - and eliminate any timelines - as far as his rate of healing and, instead, let him lead,
~that you can be selfless when needed, but lay your personal boundaries when warranted.
Now, I know there are "other W bloggers" (who will remain anonymous as they are not WORTHY of mention here) who feel that a GOW should cut ties and run at the first hint of grief-related struggle within a GOW/W relationship. But it is my belief that ALL relationships - not just those with a W - are hard work, and as such, jumping ship seems foolhardy if not premature. It IS possible to "hang in there" when the going gets tough, especially if you feel your W is worth the effort.
God bless, and until next time, just keep loving your W....and if you reach a point where you are considering the "Should I Stay or Should I Go" challenge, please join the over 1000 members and me at always supportive and very interactive Official WOW/GOW Message Board, found at my website: www.juliedonnerandersen.com.