Saturday, February 21, 2009

Identity Crisis - So Who Am I Now?

One of the reasons I have been dreading the finalization of this divorce is that now I will be forced to add the label of "Divorcee" to my already complicated persona. I liked the label of "Widow." If there is any perk at all to being a widow it is that label. Say it and it immediately garners a certain level of respect from others. It is also a relatively simple label to describe. "I am a widow." Response - "Oh, really. You are so young. How and when did he die?" This is far less complicated than what I imagine the exchange now to be. "I was a widow but then remarried and now I am a what? A widdiv? And the marriage didn't work because it was very messy and complicated because my husband had never been married and it was hard for him to accept my teenaged boys and my mom was dying when we were supposed to move to his home out-of-state, and then he got mad that we didn't move, and then I got mad because he wasn't supportive of my mom dying, and we were both stubborn middle-aged people (probably a little selfish), and it was hard for us to move from our community, and we probably got married too soon, and I didn't know he was so controlling and inflexible, and he also had a sexual disorder (but that really didn't bother me), and he refused to communicate with me or work on the marriage" and on and on and on. When you are widowed it is cut and dry. You could have had a terrible marriage but it doesn't matter. The widow title disguises that. But as someone who is now almost divorced I feel a sense of failure in addition to loss and that there is a need to explain/justify why the marriage failed.

I never really gave up my identity as a widow, even when I remarried in 2006. Because I was still living on my own the majority of my time since we had a long-distance marriage it always felt like I was still widowed. My husband commuted to our home on weekends and we spent all vacations and school holidays with him. But I never felt married and we never really cohabited together as a man and wife.

So what am I? I am not ashamed that I fell in love and remarried. I still believe in the great power of love and am proud that I took a chance on love. I would not go back and do it any other way. I remarried because I had hope and faith in the future. If I washed away my remarriage I would be getting rid of those heartfelt beliefs that I still cherish.

So I am a woman who was widowed at age 44, remarried at age 47 and divorced at 49. A widdiv. I will google the question of what you call a widowed divorcee and see if I come up with any more clever responses. But I think that I primarily view myself as a middle-aged-widow and I started calling myself Widow-in-the-Middle right after Husband #1 died.


  1. You've probably said, but I don't recall exactly how long you were married. And as you say yourself, you lived apart for most of that time, and he was never really engaged in the marriage. I say, it never happened. Go back to being a widow and don't mention the last few years. Chances are you will have another opportunity for love. . . just take it from there.

  2. That was pretty much along the same lines I was thinking of. Thanks for your comment - it means a lot!

  3. We were only married 2 years and the majority of that time he was wanting a divorce. The first time he asked for the divorce, my mom was dying and we'd only been married 9 months.