By: Maria Davies
Divorce is a traumatic life event at any time. In midlife, however, it is even more difficult. I went through a particularly painful divorce which included leaving England, returning to Chicago after nearly a ten year absence with a five year old, four suitcases, about $300, no job, being housed in my best friend’s one bedroom apartment.
In spite of all this, somehow I knew that I would marry again. The intervening four years were quite a challenge. In the days before the numerous internet dating sites that exist today, the only alternatives were friends and family introductions, bars, workplace and chance encounters. My family and friends were not helpful, bars were never an option, my workplace offered no possibilities and chance encounter was too uncertain. Then I stumbled on Chicagoland Dating Service, started by two women as an alternative to the above choices. People looking to meet and date, sent in their info – no pictures- a brief biography, what they were looking for in dates and a phone number. Men paid a minimal amount for names to match their potential dates, women received names free. The dating game was another challenge. It had been 12 years since I had dated and things had changed in that time. Women now called men, they paid for the date, and sex in mature adulthood was seen as no big deal. I adapted where I felt comfortable doing so and kept my own ways where needed.
After kissing a lot of frogs, my prince came along and we were married a bit more than a year after meeting. That was 33 years ago.
So from my own experience, here are some items for consideration:
- To remarry or not
- What criteria to use to choose a suitable partner
- How soon to introduce the prospective candidate to family, especially young children
- How to handle the prospective partner’s children and other family members, who might not be eager to accept a new spouse.
- How to handle finances
As I said at the beginning, somehow I always knew I would remarry. As to the criteria, I worked backwards from characteristics I knew I would not accept as well as focusing on common interests and qualities I wanted: loyalty, humor, an ability to let me do my own thing, ability to communicate, handle conflict without being vindictive and definitely no jealousy.
When the relationship became serious, I introduced my newly intended to my then nine year old son, who seemed rather indifferent. I met his two teenage daughters, who were very sweet and supportive. His son was away then but when I finally met him, we got along well. I’m extremely lucky that my stepchildren are such great human beings, and his mother was willing to give me a chance.
It took a while to get finances into some semblance of reason since I was still hurting from having lost everything.
It’s good also to remember that family issues may not be easy. It’s best to not try to replace/outdo/out parent the former spouse but to be easy going, accepting and offer an open heart to all concerned.
While all this is hopefully a guide, what is most important is to be open, be willing to take a risk and believe that happiness is possible no matter how painful the past experience may have been.
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MARIA DAVIES - Travel
Maria Davies has lived on the island of Grenada in the Caribbean since retiring from a successful, Chicago-based real estate practice. She keeps busy with managing her website, producing a monthly newsletter, gardening and exploring island-life activities. Her current project is videotaping a legendary native Grenadian who’s renowned for his knowledge of folk medicine and the history of the island.
September 21st is Gratitude Day, and I must say, right off the bat, that I am grateful to the people who initiated this commemoration. Ironically, it was first marked in 1965 by a group of international visitors who came together at a dinner party in Hawaii, my home for 10 years and a deeply spiritual place.
I am not surprised; after all, these visitors were surrounded by the breathtaking natural beauty and kindness of spirit that is plentiful in the Aloha State. No wonder they felt that it was important to have a day to formally express gratitude and appreciation for the many wonders we experience in daily life—both large and small. But more importantly, this day has great significance for me, and you, more than a half-century later.
By: Honey Good
The coat was the most gorgeous fur piece I had ever seen in my twenty-six years and it was a gift for me. My late husband, Michael, surprised me with a long-haired Russian Lynx coat. I was in triple shock!
By: Honey Good
“I’m not interested in dating,” I replied to my dearest girlfriend when she mentioned the name of a man she wanted me to meet. We were walking along the Hawaiian shore at sunset. She was visiting me in Honolulu seven months after I became a widow.
By Susan "Honey" Good
Before I tell you my story I want you to know that all is well in the Good home. It is now 5:00 am on Monday morning. Eight hours ago, I thought I was going to be a widow ONCE again. I felt the physical pang of loss and utter grief as I looked down into the face of my husband, Shelly, who stared up at me, unresponsive.
We spent a wonderful Sunday together. It began with our daily hot cup of freshly brewed coffee (we share the responsibility of who will make it each morning) that we sip together in our hot tub, outside our bedroom door. It is a ritual we started 26 years ago when we moved into a second home in California. We find it a great way to start our day, romantic, refreshing and peaceful.
By Arlene Bronstein
Since writing my book, HOW DID NONNIE GET to HEAVEN?, I have been talking about the subject of loss to many different groups. Although the book was written for young children, it has had an amazing resonance with adults. Perhaps it is the simplicity of the presentation. Perhaps it is the ‘heart” in which it is revealed. But young or old, we all experience loss at sometime in our life. What I have learned for sure, it that there is no prescription for how one should grieve or how long grief will last. With great respect, each individual should be allowed to go through their own grieving process.
I also can’t quantify loss. Is it harder to lose a child? A spouse? A parent? A close friend? Again, what I thought I knew, was not necessarily true. Just because the person had a long life doesn’t mean the loss is “easier.” Just because the child was not close to the parent, doesn’t mean they don’t feel the loss. When it comes to being a “widow,” I see a distinct difference in the loss. I call it a “double loss.”
Unfortunately, I have many friends who lost a husband at a young age. These widows experienced a terrible loss. Not only had they lost their spouses, often the father of their children, but in some sense they had lost their social standing.
By Susan "Honey" Good
Last night I received an email from my girlfriend, Carole. We attended school together in Kankakee by the Sea. I believe she found HoneyGood.com by chance. I don’t promote myself, though my husband Shelly pushes me to ‘put myself out there.’ He is the most important driving force in my life. Actually, he is my life. For those of you who do not know by this time, Shelly and I share everything. We are like Gracie Allen and George Burns or Donald Duck and Daisy Duck. Everyone who knows us, knows that we are glued at the hip, as they say.
Anyway, Carole found my musings online and part of her email last night made me laugh out loud. She wrote to me to comment on a story that I had just written about women bullying other women. (If you missed it, read it here.) Carole and Shelly also are acquainted having met last summer at a luncheon in Kankakee by the Sea. Shelly and I drove down to lunch with 16 of my high school classmates and we all had a great time.
Carole’s email read, “On a pleasant note, I so enjoy all your articles. It is a special treat when you bless us with ‘Shellyisms.’ He’s a rare find. Looking forward to you putting these in book form for us to peruse at our convenience… hint hint! Maybe put a Shellyism at the end of each article.”
My life has been blessed with remarkable role models. One of the most remarkable and inspiriting was my step-grandmother. She was my Tinker Bell, complete with fairy dust that made me want to follow in her footsteps.
We blend wines, spices, words, colors, ideas, and sounds all the time. Unfortunately, not all efforts mix well like oil and water or credit card bills and your budget. There can be clashing tastes in a recipe not yet perfected, a variety of hues in one room that may not be complimentary--too jarring, and the divergent, loud sounds of traffic may sound cacophonic and actually hurt your ears.
I remember the day I bid farewell to my Jenny, my eldest daughter. She was just 18, and off to the mainland for college from our home in Oahu, Hawaii. I hugged her to me, knowing it was a moment to savor and cherish, and kissed her good-bye.