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This is due both to the tendency to idealize the past and to our sense of propriety in not speaking ill of the dead. As Annabel, a widow, said to her friend who ignited in her the desire to make love: "Thank you for bringing me back to life." The widow faces the challenge of entering into a new and meaningful spousal relationship without letting the former relationship be forgotten or denied.Although the late spouse is physically absent, the widow's love for him can remain — and even grow. In a recent study by Bar-Nadav and Rubin comparing the issues facing bereaved and non-bereaved women when they enter new relationships after a long-term one has ended, the bereaved experienced themselves as having changed more, but it was the non-bereaved who reported greater meaning in life and saw their life change as more positive.(Most of the claims presented here apply to widowers as well.) Adapting to a new lover The case of a widow's love for a new person is different to that which pertains when a regular love affair occurs after a previous one has ended. These concerns about intimacy arise from the anxiety that they might lose someone again, their fear of opening up to new relationships, and their concerns about not maintaining fidelity to the deceased spouse; all these issues enhance their tendency to avoid intimacy.This is especially so if at the time of the spouse's death, both partners shared a profound love. The role of imagery and counterfactual thinking is central in widows.Similarly, it was claimed that "All animals are sad after sex." The widow's new romantic situation Is the human heart large enough to encompass more than one romantic love?There is ample evidence that this is possible, both in the diachronic sense of loving one person after another and in the synchronic sense of having two lovers at the same time. Their love to two people is more complex given the continuing impact of bereavement, even years after the loss.
In most cases of widowhood, if there was a positive attitude toward the spouse during his lifetime, this is enhanced. In a sense, the new lover brings the widow back to life.
Contrary to this view, love can perish for various reasons that arise from changes in intrinsic or extrinsic circumstances; such changes do not necessarily indicate that the initial love was superficial.
It is true that profound love is less likely to perish, but it can perish nevertheless. But that doesn't mean that it's not love." The important lesson to be drawn from Janine's moving description is that love can be different; looking for the same love with another partner can be devastating, as no two people are identical.
New widows (and widowers) face a range of circumstances in which their decisions are likely to be different. The growth experienced by the non-bereaved at this stage of life is likely to be less conflicted and more positive, and while the growth of the bereaved remains present and distinct, it lags behind that of their peers...
Here I will discuss three such central circumstances: (a) adapting to a new love while still loving the late spouse; (b) tending to avoid a new marriage or relationship, as it doesn't seem worth the effort; and (b) falling in love with another man almost immediately. Bar-Nadav and Rubin argue that the experience of loss and its aftermath are reflected in the fact that widows feel greater hesitancy than their peers do about engaging in intimacy with new partners.