Tuesday, February 25, 2014

From Fiction to the Real Deal- Post #4

Women going solo. Making it in a paired world. 

Whether your widowed or divorced, when your status changes so does the world around you. Society views you and treats you differently. 
Transitioning from a wife to a single female can be daunting and alarming at times. 
Coupled friends that you and your once, significant other used to have, recede into the woodwork. The smooth grain of a past life becomes abrasive, filled with deep ruts, often mirroring this difficult transition. 
There are reasons for this. 
Some may not know how to integrate or socialize with you anymore, feeling they have to guard themselves, ensuring they don't mention an ex, or deceased spouse. The pressure that this strain creates often has them pulling away due to indecision.
Becoming single can also be viewed as a threat by other females in your circle. Due to their insecurities you become a sort of adversarial distraction that can raise suspicion. This in turn has the widowed or divorced female yanking back on the reins of her conduct, afraid and even paranoid of acting in such a way that could be viewed as inappropriate or disrespectful to the paired female friend or acquaintance. This restraint causes an unnatural environment, adding an unnecessary awkwardness to all who may be present in a group situation.  
These possible scenarios can cause great anxiety to the now single woman who's trying to salvage what's left and navigate herself forward. 
The ineptness of others can also cause great frustration to the recently widowed or divorced. One finds themselves preparing what to say when or if certain comments are made pertaining to their newly, acquired status. 
For the widowed, your new status was not a choice, yet a life-changing event that you've been forced to accept.  It's vital to keep these things in mind when attempts are made to re-enter a social circle that was once occupied by you and your deceased spouse.   
I myself, from personal experience have learned which of my friends are secure in their relationships and those who are not. I've often found myself censoring what I contribute to a conversation. If someone mentions my husband I provide a polite reply and try to steer the conversation back to comfortable ground for all those involved. 
Dating? That's another obstacle in itself. Though I have not started to date yet, I've been told by grief counselors that one should again, answer inquiries but refrain from talking about the deceased spouse. 
No one wants to be compared or over-shadowed by a spirit of the past. As a widowed  individual we can reflect and answer questions without inflicting the pressure on another with the need to compete.
I feel it's also important to try and not get offended by certain inquires. If you've lost your spouse due to a tragic accident or illness many you come into contact with have not been through an ordeal of this magnitude. They simply just want to know how you've dealt with your loss, and may know someone else who has endured a similar tragedy. One can't learn without asking questions. Some have the courage to, but many do not. 
I salute the ones that do ask. It shows a strength and willingness to face life's harsh realities and gain knowledge by hearing about these catastrophic events from others.  
I've found that rebuilding your social circle takes time and much patience. When we need to count on the understanding of others our own timetable cannot be implemented. 
   Some of these points can certainly relate to singles as well, people that are still searching for that one, special person they can connect to. For me, dating is entirely different then it was back in 1996 when Mike and I first met. I think I'll save those hurdles for a future post. 
  For me, I will quote Joyce Meyer, a great life teacher. "There is no drive-thru breakthrough." These adjustments in life take time. We learn as we go. 
I surround myself with secure, supportive and understanding people. The others who struggle with my situation will and have handled things to the best to their ability. I have to accept that. Though I may see that as unfavorable for me, I have to acknowledge that I am powerless in changing the reactive behaviors in others. I can only pay attention to my own behavior. One of my greatest life-lessons since my husband, Mike's death has been not to be impressed by the negative. I surround myself with the people who are caring and supportive of my journey. I know they only want the best for me. They have also given me license to find, and obtain happiness again without ridicule. These individuals become the root of your new social garden so to speak. Through their unbiased actions and appropriate reactions, I'm confident that my new life will grow and thrive, leading me into a brightened future. I know that's what Mike wants for me. Seventeen hours before his death he told me so. 

Justine Cerrigone Szot

JC Cerrigone- Nonfiction works

JC Szot
Author of Fiction romance 


  1. I admire your strength Justine and your positive attitude! <3

  2. What a positive post to give others some direction. We don't want to exclude those single women we love but need to know how to include them. :) I wish you all the best!!