This is my term I use to describe this other indescribable shit aspect of young widowhood.
Generally among the widows when their spouse dies they usually follow one of two paths:
1. “Wid-ho” (not making this up):
This route includes screwing everything and everyone. It could be months after or even days. The desire to feel something, anything, is so strong one can get even “reckless.”
Going from having love and comfort to *snap* all gone is extremely difficult. A decent amount of widows respond this way.
This is normal. It doesn’t fill the void but it’s something to do. Literally.
2. Virgin Widow (yes this usually means before consummating a marriage but I also use it because starting over after years and years also feels like being a virgin):
This route is where the widow completely recluses. This may be why you see a widow single for 25 years. I say virgin widow because they are clearly not a virgin, yet when you have been with the same person for years- it kind of feels that way. Also, you didn’t divorce or break up. So it intensifies the awkwardness. Its like your first time all over again. Yay?
Unfortunately I am pretty sure I am in category 2. I say unfortunately because I am 30 and I used to like having sex. Actually I still do. Actually I think about it constantly.
But the person I want it with is dead. So what a mind fuck right?
So I am sitting here for 3 months simultaneously crying and having whatever other emotion I have but also reflecting on my sex life constantly. I miss being wanted by my person and in the way he wanted me. To quote he would say:
I’m going to spend more time talking about section 2- just because thats the one I relate to. But I am telling you section 1 is just as common.
My spouse was great and this is probably why I was pregnant 6 times in 13 years. He was able to make me feel loved and lusted after at the same time. I think most men are only capable of one, if any.
He made me feel like we were in some stupid cringe movie about a girl’s first time while simultaneously making me feel like it was also a porno.
I am solidly aware, because of prior experience and conversations with girlfriends- that if a man is any good you keep that. Because many of them think they are and have no idea. They don’t actually listen or sometimes even care. They are in it for them. Short term this may work, but long term I promise it’s nicer to have a happy wife.
When my friends would talk about their husbands not being too great- I could not relate. Ever. I was always satisfied.
So yes. I often think who is going to actually love me. Worship me even. Without being lame and cringey. *sigh*
It’s interesting I went to category 2. I say this because I’ve never been shy. Jesse and I were pretty open- minus being swingers- I could talk to him about other men that were attractive and vice versa. I had the “freedom” to wear little clothing and go out and he would say “you are so hot.” That is it. I had the freedom to dance around a fire nearly naked and in front of people and he would just tell me I was beautiful.
There wasn’t jealousy.
In the beginning there was. Because I associated jealousy with love (thanks past abusive relationships!) but Jesse showed me that was wrong. He said he wasn’t jealous and if he did get jealous he wouldn’t tell me. My freedom to make choices was more important to him than him being uncomfortable at my clothing choices.
Anyways. Now that I’ve outed myself as category 2 let me explain why it’s garbage.
If a man even looks at me the wrong way I lose my shit. I used to come home and tell Jesse and feel good to some degree like “haha I still got it.”
Now I say: “how dare you stare at me?!” And then the guy is like “sorry lady you just had something in your teeth.”
Jesse died. We never broke up. I cannot tell him anything. I cannot get his input.
This, to me, feels like the ultimate form of cheating. I will never ever be able to tell him what happened. The person I told everything to, will have no idea how my date went. That doesn’t even sound right.
A date? Why would I date I’m in a relationship… Except I’m not… Except I am, it didn’t end… Except it did because he passed… Except it didn’t because he doesn’t know?
Like I said widowhood is garbage in a million ways. Trying to figure this out is horrible.
Okay so yes he’s never coming back (except what if he does!?) what if I am like in that movie Cast Away with Tom Hanks and Jesse is stuck on an island somewhere and I remarry. Then boom one day 5 years later he makes it back to the house only to find me and my new husband sitting down to dinner?
He’s not going to. But I fully expect he will.
So let’s say I really get over the fact he’s not coming back. I get over my absolute disgust with men and I try to date. This person will probably not even have a chance because I will scrutinize everything he does. I already know I’m going to do this.
Even if he seems great, has a great job, hes nice…I will be looking for key qualities of Jesse’s like how passionate he was or how he just thought I was the most amazing being on the planet. I doubt that will be replicated.
Also this new man has to let me talk about Jesse whenever I want. I won’t compromise, I will only include. I will not take down Jesse’s photos- I would only add photos of my “new life.” This is also common among the widows and their “chapter 2,” (another term I can’t stand, it means your husband or wife you have after your late husband/wife. It just doesn’t sound good to me).
Would it take some getting used to? Sure. It takes a very special person to be with a widow (ironically I know Jesse would have excelled at being a chapter 2) but what needs to be realized is there is no competition, because the competition is a dead person.
I have already had a few men reach out to me and I was extremely sensitive about our conversation when I normally would not have been. I ended up not returning messages and nothing objectively bad was even said.
I know theres no deadline here. No ones rushing to put me on the market. The issue is that I am thinking about my life now- of course I am- and this was a big part of it. So now what? It’s weird.
I want something I can never have again. I don’t know what to do with that. It cannot be replicated. If I thought it could I would try, because thats what I do. I try to fix things quickly. But I know this time its not going to work.
So then I think “yikes. You may just be a virgin widow.” If Jesse could see how prudish I was right now I don’t think he would believe it. So many things have changed in such a short period of time and it sucks. I am worried that part of my life is over because it is so painful. How am I supposed to kiss someone who is not my children’s father? Like I said, if we agreed to it I would have some understanding that it just didn’t work out. We did not agree to that though, we agreed to be together forever and retire. To see grandchildren and weddings.
My perspective is unlikely to change also. Maybe I will be able to date one day but I will still have these thoughts present. They cannot be undone. I am not an ostrich in the sand, I will torture myself looking at reality.
Sometimes there is a tendency to think husbands can be replaced and parents/children cannot be. This is because we choose our husband, but not kids and parents. This is because we can get a “chapter 2,” but a new baby will not replace another child.
This is wrong. Jesse cannot be replaced for me. I can go have sex with someone else sure- but I cannot replicate the person who helped me give life to 4 children of ours. That is a bond that cannot be replaced. Our DNA mixed. This is the person I agreed to mix my DNA with. Sometimes I think this may be the worst pain, because I was able to choose it. Not just have to deal with it because it’s “family.” We chose each other. Grief isn’t a contest but I feel as though since we can have a “new husband,” it sometimes diminishes how we feel.
Jesse and I agreed this was our last baby and my one remaining tube would be “tied.” Bittersweet but it was fine. We do have 4 children and I am 30, he was 32. It was just this part of life is over. The OBs took my decision and were fine with it. Just sign the form.
Until the other day, I got the “well, since everything that happened- are you sure?”
I replied with “are you asking me if I want a 5th c-section at 37 as my children’s only surviving parent?” I got a quick no. Of course I did.
But again, I cannot even fathom a date let alone carrying a child that is NOT Jesse’s. What a mind fuck. So no. I’m done and so is Jesse.
I’d like my little stressful loving life back. The one where some days are bad and others are great, not this one where its horrible all the time. Not this role in a tragic film I didn’t sign up for. I’m not a movie character, but that’s all I feel like anymore. I got the lead role in a shitty D film.
So yes- I did just admit I haven’t had sex in 3 months (sorry family and Catholic law school). I am also admitting I don’t see anything happening any time soon and yes this bothers me.
I debated talking about this part and then just decided to, like I do with everything because what’s the worst that can happen? Most of it did already minus something happening to my children.
This needs to be spoken about though because I know a lot of widows feel strange about it. I also know my worldview prior to widowhood was “If Jesse died I would be crushed!” I couldn’t fathom this conundrum nor did I think I would handle it this way or feel these complex things such as being in sex limbo.
I will miss everything about you forever Jess.
7 thoughts on “Virgin Widow.”
I feel like I’m a virgin widow. I’m 51…and the only man I’ve had sex with is my husband. He’s been gone now almost 6 months. We were 15 when we met. We share the same birthday. I can’t imagine being that close to anyone again…. yet I’d like to be. But in a different way. I miss the companionship…the idea that someone knows me better than I know myself. sigh….
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I hope it changes but I’ve spoken to a lot of widows in “category 2,” and the consensus is pretty much the same.
It just messes with your brain so badly.
I don’t want to be alone either but the disgusts is overwhelming.
Some comments from the medical profession are insensitive and I can tell it hurts being asked for a 5th child somewhere in the future with another man you may want to marry. But, that is not where your heart is right now because there is no other. I understand the feeling of tragedy and not having feelings of love for the man you want. I have gone twenty-seven years without a relationship with a man and literally gave up. I am not attracted to women so that is not an option. My female friends have only been that but when you are forty and over, you just sink into finding yourself and what makes you get up in the morning. I have not fallen in love again, yet…and I can not have children and this is a depth you have never treaded above. So I can say, I know what it feels like to find category 2. Love may or may not find me again but if it does, I hope he likes traveling. Love you,
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I feel as though I will lead this same life. I now know because of Jesse what I will not put up with. I doubt anyone will go to the lengths he went for me. So it will be such a challenge to find anyone. 💔
I’ve volunteered in a hospice and a walking group for people grieving the loss of a loved one and if one thing has been made clear to me over those years is that grieving is complicated, individual and overwhelming. In my experience, I am sad to say, there is no easy way through grief. No thought process, no activity, no insight that makes it less so. I think of grief as love fractured by the refracting lens of loss. The more intense and deeper the love, the more profound the grief and the longer it takes to scrabble around trying to put the pieces back together. The good news is, you Will put it back together and the though different in shape and texture, the love you have for your husband will still be there for the rest of your life. You will not lose him.
When a fellow I knew engaged in a relationship six months after his wife of many years died of cancer. It became very clear to him that, it wasn’t the sex he was after, he said it was that he was missing the relationship, the companionship and the quiet closeness. You can’t get that with a hookup. Only the person doing the grieving knows what they are going through. So, if it feels like one wants to hookup, only the griever knows what need that hookup fills. Give yourself permission to hookup or not to hookup. Sex involves two people and there are emotional risks that come with such intimacy that inevitably will affect the fabric of your grieving process, not always for the positive.
In chatting with this chap, I think this quickie relationship was about an attempt to regain control, as the death of his loved one stripped control right out of his life. Grief dominates. That is what it does. But one learns to let it pass. As the old saw goes, you can’t go around grief, you have to go through it. Which ever route you choose, that is the right route for you. If you are going through grief, not attempting to go around it with drugs, alcohol, or sex – please know that whatever you are doing, is the right thing for You. There are no rules to ‘proper grieving’.
Very true. I wish I did not know grief so soon. Our love was so intense and I think that has made it so very hard for me.
I love how you worded that “not going around grief with drugs, alcohol, or sex.” I am finding many struggle with this. 💔
You are a strong-willed woman with purpose “going through grief with Chloe, Oraia, Raiden and Wren.”
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