Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Second Chances

It is common for spouses to grieve for quite some time after their life partner has passed. (Especially when the passing is sudden and intense) In time the pain of losing the deceased lessens, though it never really disappears all together. The best we can hope for is that the deceased is remembered fondly and with love. In that way we are free to move on with our lives and try to find meaning within a new relationship. We really never "get over" the lost love, the pain fades over time. It is common for those who have lost a spouse to try to find someone who reminds them of their prior partner, especially if that relationship was a happy one.

When we do move on and begin a relationship with a new partner we may encounter obstacles we did not anticipate. Being involved with a new partner has its difficulties, but it is quite another matter to be a step parent. The loss of a mother or father is nothing like the loss of a partner. Children feel acute pain that is not lessened by the arrival of a step parent. Often the step parent is largely resented as another barrier in the childrens relationship with the surviving parent. Even if the children are older, this can be the case. Step parenting is extremely difficult under the best of circumstances and can be a nightmare when the biological parent is away working a good deal of the time, allowing children to feel further abandoned in addition to the death of the primary caretaker.

In addition, fear of intimacy may add to the discord. Losing a life partner can cause emotional wounds that may be difficult to heal. If fear of intimacy applies, it may account for erratic behavior. It is common for those of us who have intimacy issues to run when the going gets tough. Intimacy issues can be thorny ones to work through even with the best of counselors, but it can be done with enough compassion and effort.

Healing from the loss of a life partner will take time and patience. Once we have moved through the grieving process and have begun a new relationship, we will need our heart and head to be balanced and centered to deal with the challenges that may arise. We use our tools and practice self care being certain to allow others to do the same.

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