Mea Culpa? Sure, Whatever.

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“Let’s trade in all our judging for appreciating. Let’s lay down our righteousness and just be together.”
Ram Dass

Does being opinionated count as “judging”?

Yeah, I kinda thought so too. Damn you, Ram Dass, for your timely appearance in my reader. And for being so “yoga” to boot.

Sometimes being yoga is very inconvenient

Apparently, though I have not bothered to ascertain the facts by actually trudging across the webosphere to take a peek, the Women Who Love Widowers site took issue with my perspective on … probably everything, knowing how that sort of thing goes – as you, dear long time readers, know that I do.

A commenter on another blog ever so kindly gave me the heads up on the “brutal blasting”  directed at those of us who, um, take a different stance on dating, remarriage and the bereaved. Never mind that once having been bereaved gives us a bit more of a leg up on the whole subject, or that by flaming out in a predictably postal way, it sort of proves my point that the GOW’s are no less mired in grief myth than their counterparts on the widow sites.

But whatever, it comes as no great surprise someone takes issue. With me. About widowhood – the blog, the movie, the book, the EXPERIENCE.  Grieving myths exist for a reason. That being that the myth is so much easier to accommodate than the reality, which requires honesty, introspection and work. Myth is sexy. And who can fight that?

Back in the day on ye olde widda board, I entered into the arena with some truly hardened battle-axes as I naively sought to point out that attitude counts, resiliency matters and that grieving is really just another life experience. It isn’t personal. It’s doesn’t make you stronger, and it doesn’t come with entitlements attached. You aren’t allowed to wallow or wail at others’ expense. It’s simply not okay. Grief should never be used as an excuse for anything. Call it whatever floats your semantic boat, but please don’t make it a life long affliction – because the research doesn’t back that up. It just doesn’t. Irritating, I know. Who couldn’t use a tragedy with lifetime pity powers? Sadly, the seemingly arbitrary year cut off that society clings to has actual basis in fact.

It’s not meant to be a career. Shit happens. You deal and move on. Most people do not come out on the other side of a life-altering experience with enough distance to be able to counsel others with any degree of objectivity or integrity. It doesn’t make them self-serving for wanting to try but when your scope is too narrow to admit other perspectives, or the possibility of being wrong, then the probability of misleading others instead of helping them is high.

And it’s not like I knew any of this going in. I learned it as I went along, so I can assure you that mistakes were made. That’s just part of the adjustment, but so long as attitudes adjust – and allow for others to adjust as well – it’s all good.

So people are angry with me because they feel judged, but I’m just saying is all. If believing that grief is a factor in a man’s not making you and your relationship a priority works for you then it works. I wonder though why one lonely opinion in the blogosphere can call up vitriol in someone who feels secure in what they know.

Over the last four plus years, I have been somewhat regularly ridiculed for my belief that grief is doable and eventually over, and my disinclination to buy into the somewhat female view that dating and remarriage is a difficult path fraught with woe. That’s not true from my perspective or my actual experience, and over time I have simply stuck to the reality of what I know and who I am. I am even friends – virtually – with many widowed who believe in Kubler-Ross and secretly think that one day I will dissolve into a puddle of latent or delayed grief due to my serious denial issues – which is nonsense. There is no evidence to support any of those ideas. But we agree to disagree and we share our perspectives and experiences in the various online venues – where I am thought to be, if not completely atheist then certainly a heretic – and we remain friendly.

Not all widowed are hysterical turf warriors or unhinged loonies.

That was a joke.

Seriously, lighten up.

Mea culpa, I believe but don’t know for sure because I ducked Latin in high school because the nun who taught it was very scary, means “my fault”. It’s “yoga” of me to take the hit for this. Very good for my karma. So I will.

But I stand behind what I wrote. I won’t be harangued (pretty anonymously really as no one seems to want to discuss it with me here, which doesn’t surprise me at bit really) out of what I believe or who I am.

I am happy. I have never been so happy as anyone who knows me for real can attest. I know who I am, as Rose would say, and I am not bothered*.

*That’s a joke too. Really. Sense of humourous perspective is a good thing to cultivate.

22 thoughts on “Mea Culpa? Sure, Whatever.

  1. Wow…talk about bashing…I cannot believe what I’m reading and feel compelled to at least reply.

    JDA has the “3 hearts” idea. If you are dating or loving or marrying a are supposed to “share” him. BS!

    Not sure about Abel…

    But, IMO the bottom line is…if you are involved with anyone…they should be ready, willing and able to be emotionally committed to YOU and THAT relationship, regardless of their past. Their past can be a divorce, a death or a trail of broken relationships..whatever lead them to you. It’s YOU that count, not the past relationships.

    Some Widowers cannot focus on the present…but seem ready to jump into the dating arena thinking they can. They seem to not hesitate to want to have someone warm their bed, hang on their arm, listen to their stories (about their loss)…but forget they are putting themselves out there to be IN a relationship..not to have a soundboard for past relationships.

    I don’t believe anyone would expect a divorced man to have his ex-wife’s clothes or toiletries sitting around. So, why would a widowed man have them if he’s in a committed relationship with another woman?

    I understand that one cannot “clean house” in one fell swoop…but really, I wouldn’t want to be in a relationship that means I have to share my man’s heart! Do I understand there would be remnants of a past relationship laying about…certainly…but after a few years, please throw out the hairspray or deodorant!

    I think what you all are missing is that our society (a generalization, I know) encourage widowers to hang on to their grief and idolize their dead spouse…when in fact, our vows almost always say, “Till Death Do Us Part” meaning Life Goes On…so let’s grieve and then move on…which means however long you need to, please grieve, but please don’t put yourself out there as ready to date, be in a realtionship, commit to marriage again if you cannot, with your mind, body and soul say you love me, you cherish me, only me! I do not deserve to anything less!

    1. I think ppl in general have a tendency to jump back on the relationship horse with only their own needs in mind after a break-up or loss. The surest cure for a broken attachment is forming a new attachment after all.

      What puzzles me is that the women (and men too) who date widowed folk cut them so much extra slack in terms of behavior and effort, and that ppl don’t stop and think about the potential emotional pitfalls of dating widowed who are only weeks or months out from the death of their spouses b/c the heartbreak factor is pretty high.

      That said, it’s an individual thing. As I stated in the post, if you think you can “patience” someone into loving you the way you deserve and are willing to endure a lot of bs – knock yourself out. But please own it. Don’t dress it up in nonsense grief speak or rationalizing. Men who are jerks, doormats to their in-laws/kids or have affections that sway with the winds and poll the audience probably were always that way. A dead wife had nothing to do with it.

      Sometimes widowhood makes ppl better ppl but mostly it doesn’t.

  2. Ann, I look forward to reading a “sparkly” article in the future.

    I agree that if you have been through something you have the right to say you know more about it than someone who hasn’t. I don’t think that it gives you the right to be negative about other people who are in a similar situation.

    It is a shame that a person can hit “publish” on a browser button and because they have put more articles up “win” the title of that with the most authority. It is especially sad if people are actually counting who has posted/published more instead of looking at the message and intent of the poster.

    I have enjoyed some of JDA’s publishing on sites other than her widower site. She has some interesting things to say. I just don’t find her DAW posts relatable to my circumstance or that they align with my own thoughts. It isn’t that I don’t think she has the right or talent to voice her opinions, merely that I wish that voice was a little more moderate in its “I am authority” tone.

    How different would this thread have been if the post would have been something PC like “Thank you for your recent visit to my website. The quiz mentioned in this thread was not authored by me. I am sorry to hear that your experience on my message board was not a positive one. Please accept my invitation to visit it again. I try to set the tone on my board so that all members feel welcome and each is voice heard.”

    1. The reality is that in the world of self-help writers, those who are prolific tend to corner the market, and I agree with you that being positive is a better approach. Honey vs vinegar, right.

      It was my husband and a widow friend who commented on the quiz and I believe another widower blogger – not Abel, by the way, wrote a rant about it. I took it a bit tongue in cheek, gallows humor from the dating trenches.

      I need to write about the sister wife aspect again, sparkly version:)

  3. I was a member of the JDA board until she deleted me a few months (?) ago. In fairness, I found the JDA board helpful in that I can share my thoughts and feelings honestly and receive support and advice from other members of the board, including JDA, who understand some of my concerns and issues in dating a widower, issues and concerns that would not have cropped up, but for the fact that my boyfriend is a widower.

    While I read all of the advice given on the board, I tailored and changed them to fit the needs of my own relationship, my personality, and my boyfriend’s personality. I do believe I was deleted because JDA did not like my opinions on a certain matter and I did find that troubling. However, it is her board and she could do as she wishes and I harbor no ill will towards her.

    I think every relationship is unique and I have found that we can research to gather facts and opinions, but, at the end of the day, a relationship will only work if we communicate with our significant others, regardless of whether they are widowers. Neither JDA nor Abel Keogh, nor anyone else for that matter, is involved in your relationship. You cannot take their advice, the advice of your mother’s or father’s or your best friend’s, to make a decision about your relationship. At the end of the day, only you and your significant other are the people who have been through the entire journey of your relationship, every minute of it, together. The only way to decide what to do with the relationship is to look deep within your heart, be honest with yourself and what you want and need, see if your needs and wants are satisfied, and make a decision.

    When i joined the JDA board, my boyfriend and I were on a break after having dated for over a year. JDA and the board were very supportive. Had I read some of Abel Keogh’s posts, I probably would have lost hope about my relationship with my boyfriend and threw in the towel. JDA and her board were understanding and supportive and encouraging. I knew my boyfriend and I had a really strong bond, we loved each other, and there was a setback in the relationship. However, Abel Keogh’s columns were good in that they give advice on what a relationship SHOULD BE at the end of the day and encourage women not to settle for less. I read both of their posts and books as well as other postings and books on the internet. I took some advice here and there, gathered some facts, and tweaked and changed them to fit my relationship.

    Having been on break for approximately 6 months, I am happy to report that my boyfriend did a lot of hard work in-between. He sought counseling (something he was very resistant to previously) and did everything he could to work out the grief issues. Today, he is a changed man, very happy and content, looking forward to living every day, talking about the future, and we are back to dating. Due to everything we went through, we are taking things slowly. I am keeping my doors and options open so that I can be sure that this is what I want because lifetime happiness is a big deal and I don’t want to close doors until I am sure. I am happier, he’s happier, and there is a chance that we may work out, but there is also a chance that one (or both) of us will decide to call it quits, whether it’s related or unrelated to W issues.

    1. I am glad things are going well for you. You are right that the way to utilize any self-help/advice is by placing it within the context of your relationship. Only you really know for sure.

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment and share your story.

  4. I don’t like JDA’s writing/advice because I find her posts contradictory but that opinion alone would not have prompted me to post to this thread. What has prompted me to do so is that she publicizes herself as “professional” and yet goes to other people’s boards and quips about things in a manner that is, in my pedestrian opinion, unprofessional.

    As a guest on a radio show with AK instead of stating her own opinion she has to throw down the gauntlet and state that she disagrees with his. Why? State what you think without challenging the other guest. The topic wasn’t “Throw Down with JDA and AK” it was about being with a widower. She didn’t feel the need to challenge the third guest who didn’t say things that were 100% JDA approved. If people wanted only one opinion they would only go to one opinion giver. It’s the Internet age – we go to hundreds of sites to look up treatments for the common cold let alone who we should give our heart to.

    If JDA can’t set aside her own biased for another guest while giving advice on a radio show, then I can’t trust that her advice is unbiased elsewhere. If she was stating that she was giving advice as a woman married to a widower, that might give her some leeway, but throw the words “authority” and “professional” in there and I would hope that one would act accordingly.

    Regarding the JDA and AK posts here, I have to presume that both were posted in a heated moment. JDA stating she is married to a FORMER widower might possibly be incorrect. But if true then her next book might well be ‘My Sister Wife the Sparkly Vampire’ which I might buy because she does write some great humor articles. It would have been the professional thing to do to check facts? Is this a professional publication? I must have missed that. Is it professional when someone can’t attack the person they are really upset with to go to their supporter’s site and quip at them? Kinda like beating the dog when you are mad at the master?

    Was AK correct to post a response here in the manner that he did? In my opinion no, but he isn’t the one spouting “professional” everywhere. He lost some points with me for his post, but also gained some sympathy because it would seem that JDAs personal goal is to say everywhere she can that he isn’t the “authority” and she disagrees with his ideology. By the way, do you know what kind of publicity sales more books than being pompous? That is right, sympathy. Just ask Matt Logelin. Okay, being on Oprah didn’t hurt either. Point is, he had to be likable for her to invite him on right?

    JDA is touting the number of people on her site/message board as part of her right to authority on a topic. History will teach us the number of followers that a person has doesn’t make them an authority on a topic, nor does it make their “ideology” correct. Pick someone the world saw as evil and you will find people that thought they were sane heros at one time. Having any number of people following what you say gives you a greater opportunity to either do good works with those people in a professional way or not be professional and have people act in your own interests in an attempt to have them prove loyalty to your “ideology.” Great power and great responsibility and all that.

    JDA is touting that her book published in 2003 has been translated into 7 languages as what gives her “authority.” Having things published and translated doesn’t make one an authority, it makes their work published and work translated. In 2003, how many books were on the market for the DAW or WOW topic? I am guessing not many and therefore there would have been little competition for sales for a book with that topic. Although I don’t see how many books sold as mentioned in any of JDA’s posts, so that is merely a mute point. As far as translation, I could go to right now and use the translator to translate this post in 13 languages, it still doesn’t make it right or wrong, or me an authority on whatever topic this is. It just makes me published and translated.

    Starting this process I originally would have preferred a female point of view that I could identify with but that isn’t what I found at JDA’s site. As it turns out, I am not trying to understand a woman’s point of view of a man’s point of view. I am trying to understand a man’s point of view and then choose how I will allow myself to be perceived in that view.

    I don’t know what is best for everyone else and thankfully I don’t claim to. For me, right now at this point in time, I’ll stick with the guys.

    Hey Ann, first time here. Great site.

    1. My Sister Wife the Sparkly Vampire LUV IT! Seriously tempted to steal that for the title of a post – give you credit for it, of course.

      But to the authority question, the moderator of the radio show basically said she found Abel and Donner-Andersen through Google search, and they are about all you can find on the subject b/c they’ve written the most. He/she who is the most published wins as far as wearing an authority mantel goes. Anyone who goes through an experience and comes out successfully on the other side has earned the right to claim they know a little bit more than the average Joe, imo. Perhaps writers need a credo like the AMA – first do no harm.

      Thanks for your take, Norah. I appreciate your taking the time. And thanks for the thumbs up:)

  5. I also add that my husband concurs with Abel’s views from the standpoint (and “authority”) of … well … being a MAN. He finds the idea that there are so many women waiting around for their men to get their stuff together appalling. There may be a fine line that must be walked when dating a Widower, but knowing when you have crossed the line from “respecting his past” to “becoming an enabler or carpet liner” is essential. Not all Ws are jerks … But the ones who are, are not diamonds in the rough, just waiting for the most appropriately patient woman to go along with their “stages” and “setbacks.”. Yes, DH and I had a few W and LW issues early on, but if they had interfered with the overall forward motion of our relationship – or made me start to doubt my own worth as a woman – then we would not be married today. It takes two to resolve issues. It takes two to move forward. And it takes two to stall out … one to do the stalling, and one to accept it or go chasing after the staller with their toolbox in hand, determined to save him.

    Every relationship is unique, bit every relationship should have this in common: that it includes two (not one and certainly not THREE) vested people who both have the best interests of the relationship at heart. My biggest problem with Ms. Donner Anderson is that she seems as unable to tell the difference between a relationship issue/challenge that two people are working on, versus one person causing problems while the other frantically tries to mop them up, as many of the women who are counting on her “expert” advice.

    I don’t agre with everything I have read from Abel, but I will say this for him: it sure seems like a lot of men do. And since they know far better than any woman how things go on “Mars,” I am inclined to believe that he is closer to the truth when it comes to whether the guy a woman is dating is a man who happens to be a W, or a jerk who happens to be one.

  6. Ann,
    Just a quick comment or two…it’s refreshing to see a “third” view of things. The perspective that grief is perhaps an ‘event’ vs a life long way of living is so positive!! I also believe that everyone’s journey is unique. The one size fits all attitude is not helfpul at all. If my personal journey and experience doesn’t follow the usual pattern or grief journey, I’m tossed aside like some kind of freak! If I say all the right things such as ‘I’m at this stage, progress but then am thrown back into that stage again when the DOD anniversary arised, etc’., then I’m praised, accepted and supported. I guess I’m just more tolerant than others. I believe there are many perspectives and I can take home something from many.

    Now with that being said, I don’t do well with intolerant people, nor arrogant people. No one person has all the answers. We all have something of value to contribute regardless of certification, published author or just a person who has experienced loss. There is no need to bash someone, tell them that their POV is worthless simply because they see something from a different POV. Ms. Donner has dated and married a W. She has experienced that POV personally. Mr. Keogh has been a W who dated and remarried after the loss of his first wife. Those are totally two different perspectives. No one is wrong, no one is right. Both are published authors and have authority on the subject. Why is there need for hostility and conflict? Well, it’s a money issue. after all both do want to sell their books and perhaps a competitive issue or an arrogance issue? I respect both for their perspectives and for putting dialogue out there. I also respect you for your unique perspective…I do believe a person who has lost a SO and then marries someone of like circumstance has another unique perspective and perhaps trumps a W who remarries a divorced or never married woman AND a WOW who was previously divorced or single. Thank you for your POV.

    1. I agree that ppl are more likely to be praised and supported for toeing the accepted line and that multiple perspectives are valuable – but only for comparison sake. There is really no way to justify game-playing, for instance, as a dating strategy because it’s based of the idea that one person can manipulate another into circumstances that are not optimal for them. There is also no good reason to encourage women to accept bad behavior in hopes that the more understanding of it they are, the more likely the person abusing them will love them for it in the future. And that last, is all I am “just saying”.

      The idea that some men are “fixer-uppers” is a Hollywood inspired fairy tale for grown women and it benefits men – not women. It also falls along the lines of “exception to the rule”. There are certainly exceptions, but not enough to warrant pushing the idea that patience and long-suffering wins the race (or the wedding ring in this case). I have known more than one woman who has wasted years of her life on a man’s “potential”. I’ve even been her back in my younger years. And as I have said, if a woman wants to be more frustrated and unhappy than not waiting for someone to get his shit together – then by all means, go for it. I just don’t believe anyone should be encouraging this.

      Abel sees things – quite clearly – from the male point of view. My husbands – both late and current – concurred with this view too. In fact, Rob has more than once told me that from his perspective the world is not overly full of stand up guys and that if women took less crap, less would be thrown at them.

      I don’t know anything about Donner-Andersen other than her blog and the few chapters of her book I skimmed online. I do know that she has slagged me viciously in her forum, a personal attack that had less to do with my holding different opinions and more to do with that fact that I dared to express them in writing.

      But c’est la vie. It doesn’t matter to me if you agree with me or not. I am right. Women in our society are raised to expect and be okay with mediocre relationships that hinge upon them accepting bad behavior and making excuses for it as well. We are not encouraged to expect or set high standards or to value ourselves as beings deserving of good relationships. It’s all about the “potential” and the distant pay-off that all our suffering makes so much sweeter. I’ve been married twice. Both men treated me like a queen from day one. I never had to tip-toe or be anything other than myself. The “potential” was always realized.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  7. I enjoy your blog, and I agree with a lot of your views. I have never been widowed, but I watched my mother lose her husband of 25 years when my dad died. She never wallowed or wailed; she conducted herself gracefully and did not expect the world to stop for her. She went back to teaching after a brief leave, involved herself with her friends and activities, dated some, and has now been in a relationship for around ten years. I am not nuts about the guy lol …but at least she has continued with life in a productive and mostly positive way.

  8. Speaking of checking “facts” before posting them, the “Cosmo Quiz” was not written by Abel “Keough” [sic]. It was written by someone named “AshLynn” on the Women Loving Widowers site (

    If the plan is to challenge everyone who has ever questioned your opinions and ideology, you have a long row to hoe. Last I knew, your much-translated self help book has been such a raging success that you frequently requested your “1200” devoted members make PayPal donations to cover the costs of running your website and forum. It would appear to me that Rob is not the only person who takes issue with claims of authority on relationship issues where there are as many different answers, opinions, problems and solutions as there are people involved with them.

    Personally, I prefer a more “this is what I have lived, hope it helps” attitude toward self-help/memoir type writing, but hey, that is just me. I am certainly not a certified bereavement counselor, partly because I have not had a free weekend to go take the course here in Dallas that would enable me to claim that title.

    Incidentally, even though I am not a titled expert, I would say that I have to agree with Ann that being widowed yourself would absolutely make it easier to understand the perspective of a widowed boyfriend or husband. I have never seen Ann make the claim that widows make BETTER WOWs, simply that they get things intrinsically that non-widows have to learn and try to figure out from square one. If, God forbid, I should ever lose my husband, I would certainly bring far more insight into another relationship with a W than I brought into this one.

    1. Thanks for clarification on the quiz and the link, Caitlin. So officially, neither Abel nor Julie wrote it. Glad that is cleared up.

      And thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  9. I am Julie Donner Andersen. The “Cosmo Quiz” is not mine. Rather, it was created by its author, Abel Keough, whose ideology I do not agree with. Had you contacted me to get the facts, as would have been the courteous and professional thing to do, I would not have had to post this and ask you to please retract your error.

    By the way, since you question my “authority”, please note that I have dated and been been married to a former widower for over 15 years and have been a certified bereavement recovery counsellor for almost as long. My website-based message board for wives and girlfriends of widowers boasts over 1200 members worldwide, and my self-help book, published in 2003, has been translated into 7 languages.

    As for your seeming requirement that a widow would be the only expertly qualified spouse of a widower, allow me to refer you to a new concept: fact. It is a fact that widowers happily remarry women who have never lost a spouse, and we do quite well, thankyouverymuch.

    1. Well, consider it corrected.

      However, if f you had read the “offending” authority question (or the whole post really) correctly, you would have seen that it was my husband, not I, who was offended by the quiz (which I do not believe I attributed to you) and that it was who he questioned your authority. Not me. I just think that you are wrong. And I think that b/c I have read the most recent research and it debunks a lot of what the grief industry ( of which you are a part) promotes, and I also know that becoming a grief counselor – is pretty darn easy. You can get certified through weekend seminars or a month long course through your local hospice even.

      Also, I never said you had to be widowed in order to have a good relationship with a widower. I just noted that my personal understanding probably made things easier for Rob and I to understand about the other and that I understood why unwidowed would perhaps find widowed baffling.

    2. For the record, I have no idea what the Cosmo Quiz is nor did I create it. Any attribution of that quiz to me is false, misleading, and a total lie.

      And my last name doesn’t have a “u”. It’s spelled Keogh.


    3. I never heard of this Cosmo-type quiz until stumbling across it in this discussion. And it clearly does not give any attribution to Abel Keogh at all so I am curious as to why Ms. Andersen was so quick to assign it to AK in such a firm manner (except to cast aspersions on a fellow writer, which is rather unprofessional, especially considering the subject matter, dear people. We’re talking about death here, not politics). . Even if AK’s name were on it I would be led to suspect that it was a prank to put his name on it since anyone who has read more than four or five paragraphs of his writing (fiction or non) can readily tell that’s not his stuff. No way.

      1. Abel does have a post detailing how to tell if a widower is serious about a relationship and perhaps she confused it with that, but clearly, she didn’t research it before making the claim. I think perhaps she thought I knew who’d written it but falsely assigned it to her. I didn’t assign it to anyone and it was my commenters (one of whom is my husband) who found it offensive. It was my husband again who called her advice into question. And she was offended by that – who wouldn’t be – and perhaps just reacting. It’s the Internet. We react. And then it’s forever. I know that one.

        The authorship issue has been cleared up.

        Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  10. I finally went over to check out this website, which I hadn’t bothered to do the first time you mentioned it. I didn’t see the “brutal bashing” you mentioned, but maybe that’s because I was too flabbergasted by what I did see. The “Cosmo quiz” on whether or not a widower is ready to date floored me.

    Points against you for every item of clothing that you still have? Regardless of whether or not you might be saving it for the kids? Points against you if you have more than one family photo of your dead spouse on display? Even if you have kids? Extra points against you if there’s a single photo in your bedroom? Points against you for every special date you that you remember — you know, like your wedding anniversary or the date your spouse died? Extra points against you if you actually go to the cemetery on that date?

    Really? I will heartily agree that someone whose home is a veritable shrine to the late spouse or someone who weeps weekly at the cemetery is not ready to date. But I suspect that someone who has swept every vestigial trace of the spouse out of the house, who has erased every shred of evidence that the spouse existed from home and from memory, is not particularly healthy either.

    This little rant is not exactly on topic with your post, but it segues into the comment that I wouldn’t be at all bothered by anything the people at that website say. They obviously have a very narrow set of criteria for what is right and wrong, and it’s not a particularly useful set at that. Plus, they have their arses where their heads should be.

    1. I believe the bashing takes place on the message board that’s associated with the site. You have to register to view it, but I would imagine that it operates in a manner like the YWBB – although instead of just knowing who your friends are and blocking those who irritate you, you can label people – kinda like FB lets you distinguish friends from family. The only designations are Friends and Foes, which bodes ill, you don’t think?

      I am not bothered. My life is not a popularity contest. I am sure that – like the board – something of value occurs between ppl on a micro level. The macro is a bit stilted. And I do know about the quiz. A widower, the same one that Ms. Donner Anderson snarked all over in her most recent post – posted it on his blog a while ago. He took issue, correctly really, with many of the same things you noted.

      There’s nothing wrong with sharing your experiences. Offering them as a touchstone for others, so they don’t feel alone is important. I find it troubling that the site puts so much energy into what the widower should or shouldn’t be doing and offering assessments without any factual basis and encouraging women to read into it. That’s no better than those awful women’s magazines peddling nonsense about what relationships are and how women can weasel their way around men. It’s somewhat manipulative.

      Of course, you and I know that being widowed is not a one size fits all experience and that, generally, people move on when they have something to move on to and when they want to. Able makes the point – and he is a man and more qualified to speak for them than I am – that for the RIGHT women, men will do anything. In our society though, girls are raised to believe that we must coerce men and contort ourselves into relationships. Life would so different if women just spoke up, expected and proceeded from there.

      One of the things that made Rob and I a “success”, imo, is that nothing we encountered where grief was concerned was a surprise. It has to be hard not really having first hand experience and having to base your opinion on the rather sketchy grief industry, but common sense is a better guide as is open communication. Of course, being secure in the knowledge you are loved is key. When you are not sure – regardless of the man’s designated status – all manner of angst is assured.

      Quick Update: Rob found out about the “quiz”. “I’m offended. It’s generalizing. What authority does this JDA person make claim to?” She married a widower, I tell him. “Is she widowed?” he asked. No, I tell him. He rolled his eyes dismissively.

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