Since the dawn of time, and even before that, we’ve been asking ourselves the same old question. Is it worse to be widowed or divorced?
Let’s look at divorcées first, and of course a lot depends on the circumstances. For those enduring divorce, it matters what side of the divorce fence you find yourself sitting on. If the divorce was your idea and you just feel compelled to leave your lazy, good-for-nothing spouse who won’t take you hunting/shopping, then the age-old question doesn’t even apply to you. Especially if you happen to have a third party waiting in the wings who totally “gets” you because you have so much in common, like NFL football/Downton Abbey.
But what if the divorce wasn’t your idea? What if you foolishly thought you’d be married to this person forever? The person who’s now hastily packing bags, saying good-bye to the dog, and canceling life insurance policies? The one who can’t back out of the driveway fast enough? In this case, you might prefer being widowed. Yes, lying, cheating spouses who fall off cliffs or accidentally pour drain cleaner over their cereal can’t hurt. Well . . . it can. But it will hurt the deceased a lot more than you.
Now, our hearts go out to those who lose a much-loved partner to death. Such a loss is painful and unbearably sad, and no matter how many times people tell you they understand, they just don’t. But the widowed will have a circle of folks rallying around them insisting they must grieve in their own time, absolutely no rush, and life will eventually get better. The divorced people who’ve been wronged will probably get the same advice, but for a much shorter time period, and it will be peppered with instructions to get over it, move on, get out there.
Whichever heart-wrenching situation you find yourself burdened with, it will be life-altering, and recovery can be agonizingly slow. The widowed and those divorced against their every wish and effort will both feel pain and loneliness. But the good news is that life will eventually return to some kind of normalcy for the suddenly single, no matter how they got there.
Perhaps the difference is that the widowed can look back on a lifetime of good memories and remember the husband or wife with love. The divorced, after cutting the spouse’s clothes into tiny pieces and removing his/her face from five thousand photographs, can hopefully come to the conclusion one day that too much time was wasted missing the departed one.
And as for the spouse speeding out of the driveway, let’s hope that at the very least, he/she gets a ticket for bad behavior.
In our latest novel, DRESSING MYSELF, our heroine faces much of the above, but the conclusion of her story might surprise you.