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Do widows adjust better than widowers?
Old 06-15-2015, 01:35 PM   #1
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Do widows adjust better than widowers?

This is just an empirical observation based on living in three "retirement" communities.

In general... most men tend to isolate themselves with more attachment to family, than to other widowers, and joining fewer social groups.

Women, on the other hand, seem to blossom, finding other widows to build relationships, and to join with groups of single women, to travel and involve themselves in activities that keep them busy and involved.

The basis for this observation come from some 120 individuals in our current CCRC, average age 75... and from some 150 individuals in our Florida over 55 community. In Florida, the average age is probably about 65, but the contrast in activity levels still holds.

Small sample, non scientific and subject to vast differences between the extremes... but overall I would rate the social activity level on a scale of 1 to 10...
Widowers - 3
Widows - 7
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Old 06-15-2015, 01:37 PM   #2
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We're back to talking about the pool boy again, aren't we?
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Old 06-15-2015, 01:41 PM   #3
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Women tend to be better at communicating (despite often being rather shyer) than men, so they are generally more likely to develop deeper bonds with those they contact.

IMHO.
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Old 06-15-2015, 01:45 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by imoldernu View Post
Small sample, non scientific and subject to vast differences between the extremes... but overall I would rate the social activity level on a scale of 1 to 10...
Widowers - 3
Widows - 7
From what I've heard of the new STD epidemic in the Villages in Florida, I'd say the widowers are getting around just as much as the widows.
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Old 06-15-2015, 02:05 PM   #5
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We're back to talking about the pool boy again, aren't we?
If I was put in that position, I'd be more interested in a pool girl.
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Old 06-15-2015, 02:19 PM   #6
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Women tend to be better at communicating (despite often being rather shyer) than men,

IMHO.
IMHO
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Old 06-15-2015, 02:21 PM   #7
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If I was put in that position, I'd be more interested in a pool girl.
Me too.... (Even if they don't communicate very well)
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Old 06-15-2015, 02:22 PM   #8
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If I was put in that position, I'd be more interested in a pool girl.
Hey, no co-opting us ladies' time honored stereotypes...you'll have to get your own equivalent.
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Old 06-15-2015, 02:26 PM   #9
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Hey, no co-opting us ladies' time honored stereotypes...you'll have to get your own equivalent.
OK, then it will be the young cocktail waitress at the bar where I will be hanging out most of the time.
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Old 06-15-2015, 02:29 PM   #10
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From what I've heard of the new STD epidemic in the Villages in Florida, I'd say the widowers are getting around just as much as the widows.
I think that the news of a STD epidemic was created by the Villages' P.R. dep't..
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Old 06-15-2015, 03:02 PM   #11
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Truthfully, I think that this is really a reflection more of the effect of sexism -- or some might call it traditional sex roles on women. I think this is probably especially true of the generation that is older than me (think those in their 80s more so than those in the 50s and 60s).

I remember my parents generation and going to family gatherings. Even years after the changes in sex roles among the younger generation, you still saw the women making the food, often making the plates for the men and then the women toiling in the kitchen after dinner.

Many of the older generation of women never worked outside the home or, if they did at some point, still did all the housework and caretaking at home. They were the ones who cleaned the house, cooked most of the meals, did the laundry, etc.

I am not saying this is true in every family. There are exceptions. And, I'm not saying the men didn't contribute to the household. But, they often contributed to the household by going out and earning a living. In some cases when the men retired I've seen that they engaged in leisure activity, while the wife never got to "retire" and continued to still do the cooking, cleaning, etc.

I think this is one reason why men who are widowers sometimes are very eager to get remarried, looking for another caretaker. I think that some widows, while quite naturally sad about the death of the spouse, also find that for the first time they don't have to spend all their time taking care of someone else. They have the freedom to be social on their own terms and own time. And, with the death of the spouse they may, in fact, have more free time available.

The widower, on the other hand, may have less free time available because he now has to do all the things the spouse did.

Again -- I know this isn't true for many couples but I think it is true for a lot, particularly in the older age group that had the economics to have a household with more traditional sex roles.
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Old 06-15-2015, 03:07 PM   #12
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I think this is one reason why men who are widowers sometimes are very eager to get remarried, looking for another caretaker. I think that some widows, while quite naturally sad about the death of the spouse, also find that for the first time they don't have to spend all their time taking care of someone else. They have the freedom to be social on their own terms and own time. And, with the death of the spouse they may, in fact, have more free time available.
I saw that among widows who were left with enough financial security that they didn't need someone else to support them. They were truly independent for the first time. My grandfather, OTOH, married a woman who had been left with almost nothing when her husband died (that's when she found he had NOT selected the Survivor benefit on his pension- it was the days before the wife had to consent to that). Her adult kids told her that if she wanted to continue to live in the manner to which she'd become accustomed she'd have to find herself a husband. Nothing like desperately seeking a husband when you're over 70.
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Old 06-15-2015, 03:12 PM   #13
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Totally agree with Katsmeow on this one. Seen it quite a few times and it is exactly as you've described. The two widows I worked with were like "heck no" when asked if they'd remarry!
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Old 06-15-2015, 03:33 PM   #14
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My mother who is near 80 really blossomed when my father past away 20 years ago. More of a wallflower before his death, us kids were all astonished with the change. As well, she always said that to remarry would take a certain type of gentleman to match up to my father. In her case, although she has dated, I think she is terrified of going through the pain of loss again.
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Old 06-15-2015, 04:01 PM   #15
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Katzmeow has it nailed for the older generation. My parents were like that until the end. I am living in a 55 + community in The Woodlands, TX and, quite frankly, surrounded by 70+ year old widows.

Since I walk our young dog daily (DW's knee is currently needing replacement), I have gotten to know several of the ladies a bit as they walk their dogs about the same time I do. They socialize a lot and don't want to remarry as they can afford not to and really don't want a crabby old man to take care of. Their biggest worry, besides their health, is making sure their dog has the best of everything.
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Old 06-15-2015, 04:37 PM   #16
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Totally agree with Katsmeow on this one. Seen it quite a few times and it is exactly as you've described. The two widows I worked with were like "heck no" when asked if they'd remarry!

That's me...the "heck no" part. I dearly loved my husband but I now enjoy my time as I please. My meals are very simple and I only have to please myself and I can be pleased very easily. The housework may or may not get done and certainly not on any schedule.

The time I had with my husband was a different time in my life. I can look back and enjoy memories. That will be enough for the rest of my life. I can also look forward...another part of my life that I haven't lived yet.

Btw, I'm not one of those socially inclined widows either.


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Old 06-15-2015, 05:19 PM   #17
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Katsmeow describes the phenomena my dad experienced... after caring for my in her last 3 years of having terminal cancer, he was ready to find someone fun and possibly get serious with. (He'd started mourning, in some ways, from when they realized she was terminal.) He wanted to meet women his own age so he joined every bridge club he could find. He met lots of nice women who wanted NOTHING to do with dating - but were happy to befriend him for coffee, etc. Most said they had zero interest in getting involved in a relationship or marriage. It was a rough period for him till he met my step mom at one of the bridge groups.

Widowed (and divorced) men seem to want to recapture the comfort of marriage. Widowed women (and divorced) often want nothing to do with that because they equate it with more work.
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Old 06-15-2015, 05:35 PM   #18
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Totally agree with Katsmeow on this one. Seen it quite a few times and it is exactly as you've described. The two widows I worked with were like "heck no" when asked if they'd remarry!
I agree and saw it in my own family. The widows really bloomed when they no longer had a husband to tell them what to do and what to think.
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Old 06-15-2015, 05:35 PM   #19
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Seems like it to me based on a lot of anecdotal evidence. Widowed men seem much more likely to either (a) seek to remarry or (b) let themselves "go" and die fairly quickly.
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Old 06-15-2015, 06:00 PM   #20
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It has been my casual observation that widowed and divorced men tend to remarry more often than women in the same situation. I think men that have been more or less happily married for years miss the social aspect and cozy domesticity of being part of a couple more. I have been widowed for almost a dozen years now and no way would I consider remarrying even if my soul-mate turned up on my doorstep with a bow around his neck. I have become accustomed to doing what I want to do when I want to do it, and I stay busy enough with friends, family and activities to suit me. I am very happy I was married for 26 years and that I have a son to show for it, but this is a new chapter and I would not care to have to make any of the compromises that inevitably come with making a relationship work.
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