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Widows and divorcees - and kindness

(36 Posts)
Applegran Sun 03-Dec-23 14:40:12

I have just looked at a thread full of kindness and understanding for a woman recently widowed and it was really good to see the thoughtfulness people showed in the thread, and in real life. It is not hard to see why widowhood can be a heartbreaking time of grief and readjustment and kind friends can make a huge difference in supporting someone when they lose their spouse and in the months and years to follow.
I want to add that someone who is on their own following divorce often - maybe usually - goes through a time of grief, loss, loneliness, pain and readjustment and they too have a great need for the support of friends. I think people who have not been divorced may not realise this - especially if the divorce was started by the person now living alone. It would be easy to assume that they are now free of a painful relationship and must surely be happier. This is in one way true - its a relief to be safe. But it is not too unlike being widowed, except that divorce does not elicit the same sympathy and caring responses as when a partner dies. So this is just to alert people to the pain of anyone who is alone after having had a partner, whatever the cause of their now being single - everyone adjusting to a new life on their own needs thoughtfulness and kindness. A smile, a short chat, a cup of tea, a meal, asking if they want to talk - all can make a real difference. I think too that supporting someone who may be lonely and sad can be really rewarding to the giver of that kindness and support.
Of course there are people living alone for other reasons too. People need people and thoughtful kindness and friendship can transform lives.

Taichinan Sun 03-Dec-23 16:09:59

A lovely kind and thoughtful post Applegran.

Grandmabatty Sun 03-Dec-23 16:12:21

You speak sensitively and kindly. I know only too well the loneliness of divorce and the grief at the end of a marriage which I thought would last forever. Thank you for your words

toscalily Sun 03-Dec-23 17:29:07

What a kind and thoughtful post. The breakdown of a marriage can be painful, the problems and repercussions ongoing and the sadness can linger for a long time. Those who offer a listening ear and a few thoughtful words may not realise how much it can mean.

crazyH Sun 03-Dec-23 17:39:42

toscalily I agree. The pain and repercussions of divorce is ongoing. Well said ….

sharon103 Sun 03-Dec-23 17:54:38

How right you are.
Even people who like myself who was left with three young children after my husband left for someone else at Christmas time still experience loneliness, grief, loss, and pain.
You have to go through it to know.

LadyGaGa Sun 03-Dec-23 17:55:14

Very true and perfectly put OP. When you loose the love in a relationship the grief you feel is real and true, and you can go through the same stages of grief - shock, anger, bargaining etc. I can remember very soon after my split people were trying to cheer me up - ‘you’ll find someone else, plenty more people out there for you, get out and find someone else ‘ etc. I think you’re expected to move on very quickly. Of course the big difference is that you can get over divorce, but a kind word and a bit of understanding goes a long way.

Romola Sun 03-Dec-23 20:22:39

I just want to say that I take to heart what you say about the loss of a relationship, whether in divorce or after a long affair. Thank you for pointing this up.

Chocolatelovinggran Sun 03-Dec-23 21:21:12

Absolutely Applegran.

Grandyma Sun 03-Dec-23 21:36:33

Lovely, thoughtful post, beautifully put. 💐

Serendipity22 Sun 03-Dec-23 21:46:07

Absolutely x

Beautifully put x

Peep Sun 03-Dec-23 21:47:49

Thank you so much. I have felt this for years and never had the courage to say anything.

Forestflame Mon 04-Dec-23 11:27:30

Many thanks for this kind and thoughtful thread Applegran

Tamayra Mon 04-Dec-23 11:28:31

Very true
Well done for reminding us all that a little kindness goes a long way 🙏💗🙏

Quaver22 Mon 04-Dec-23 12:04:12

Thank you Applegran for your kind and thoughtful post.
Grief after a divorce is very real especially after a long marriage. Also divorcees are more likely to have financial worries and often lose their home as well as their partner.

jocork Mon 04-Dec-23 12:17:17

I divorced many years ago and was separated for a few years before getting divorced. In the first few years of separation my in-laws continued to invite me and my children for boxing day as I spent Christmas day at home with my children and my ex was with his new partner. Then one year, after being invited by MiL I was told I was uninvited as ex's new partner thought it was inappropriate for me to be there. It was odd as she was not going to be there herself as she was visiting her own family alone. I concluded that actually my ex didn't want me there but put the blame on her, or maybe she was insecure and didn't want him spending a day with me!
As it was going to be my first boxing day alone I wasn't looking forward to it but very quickly two families from my church invited me to spend the day with them - so I had to choose which invitation to accept. Since then I have got used to spending time alone but that first time it was good to be invited. I'm very fortunate to have 2 adult children who include me in their Christmas plans and I've only once had to spend Christmas completely alone which was during the pandemic when DS and family were living abroad and DD was living in Scotland which was too far to travel for the only day we were allowed. At least we were all able to zoom and be in touch. I do admit to shedding a few tears when I realised I couldn't go to DD as planned but I realised many people were suffering much more at the time and soon got over it.

Fernhillnana Mon 04-Dec-23 12:25:10

Very true. Thank you.

Blondie49 Mon 04-Dec-23 12:27:26

Great and true post - Thankyou 🙏

Whiff Mon 04-Dec-23 12:35:36

Applegran. I have written on another thread about grief. People only think of grief in terms of death.

But like you said divorce you have to go through a grieving process. And feel the same things as a widow. Having to get used to making decisions on your own. Doing things on your own . Being single again . And it's just as hard for you as a widow. The only main difference is your ex husband is still alive.

But there are more sorts of grief

Estrangement is a living grief

Grief you feel over the death of a pet.

Grief for loss of health and mobility.

Having someone in the family with dementia or Alzheimer's you grieve for who they where. They have died but their body lives on.

You can even grieve over reduced income when you can no longer afford to do something.

The worst grief of all the death of a child or grandchild.

Grieve of not being to have children .

Grief over losing a body part.

Others will beable to think of more forms if grief than me.

I have experience of some of those griefs .

And you may have experience what I did when I was widowed. That woman became very protective of their husbands if they offered to help you eg DIY.

I found some woman think because you are widowed or divorced you are on the prowl for a replacement. Going through either of those things is hard enough without being treated like a husband stealer.

I am glad you wrote that heartfelt post . I am sure it will help other woman who are divorced or going through a divorce. They will realise all the things they are feeling is normal and they can get through it . And have a happy life again .

Davisuz Mon 04-Dec-23 12:49:14

Thank you for this - so well put. I too am divorced after a traumatic break up and it took me years to recover. Some people were SO kind but I lost quite a few friends we'd known as a couple. Others dropped away as I couldn't afford expensive meals out and breaks away. But other people were just incredibly thoughtless with one woman telling me she didn't believe in divorce ie it could never happen to HER. Ten years later - it did...

Gymstagran Mon 04-Dec-23 13:02:27

Well said everyone. I have been on my own through divorce for many years and couples drop you. However I've found that now when some of them are alone due to partners dying they want to be friends again and join me for outings. I will stay with those who have supported me.

nipsmum Mon 04-Dec-23 13:13:02

I was divorced in 1985 after my husband had slept around for years. Nobody at the time knew how to deal with it. I have never felt so alone in my life. My 2 teenage daughters were the same. It was a very hard time for us.

semperfidelis Mon 04-Dec-23 14:05:09

Bereavement is part of life whether we are widowed or divorced, or single. It does surprise me sometimes that so little thought is given to men and women who have remained single for whatever reasons: Not finding the right person, traumatic early experiences in childhood, preference for complete independence, commitment to elderly parents resulting in fewer opportunities to socialise, sexual preferences. The list is endless.

I don't really think we can directly compare bereavement experiences. The conversation shouldn't be so focused on the married and divorced.

Germanshepherdsmum Mon 04-Dec-23 14:08:30

We can’t compare bereavement or divorce experiences semperfidelis. I was very lonely in my abusive marriage, which I told nobody about. My life began again when I finally got a divorce.

Gundy Mon 04-Dec-23 16:27:42

Thank you Applegran for your thoughtful and kind words. Sometimes divorcees are forgotten about - the end of their marriages could be traumatic or a relief (which was my case since ex was mentally abusive and cruel).

Widows don’t have much choice - they either have time to prepare for loss or they have a sudden unexpected shock. A terrible cross to bear.

If you have supportive family and friends you have an emotional safety net in place, but for those who do not it’s a very lonely journey.

I hope adult children, extended family and friends remember those who are left out on a limb.