Reader Question: I lost my soulmate to cancer several years ago and I haven’t been able to find anyone that compares to him. People keep telling me I need to get out and start living my life and dating again, but I’ve had the best and don’t think I will ever find anyone like him. I was there for him as his illness got worse and it drew us even closer than we’d been before. I just don’t think I will ever find that again and I don’t want to settle for less. I would like another relationship, but it doesn’t seem likely that I can find another soulmate like I had. Should I settle and have a relationship with someone that I don’t have that closeness with as I had in my last relationship?
I’m so sorry you’ve lost your darling husband. Losing someone you love is incredibly difficult. Even believing that they are still with you in spirit isn’t all that comforting when you’re missing the daily and momentary interactions.
On the other hand, it sounds like you are beginning to consider what your own life can be from this point forward. Of course, it can be anything you want. The question is, “What do you want?”
We live in a world of infinite possibilities – people, experiences, circumstances, you name it. All unique. The very foundation of all those possibilities is constant change. Sometimes, we are keenly aware of the changes – they are big, momentous, major occurrences like the death of your husband. Most are too subtle to notice.
And all those possibilities are distinct, not a one of them the same as anything else. You yourself aren’t even the same person you were a year ago or even a moment ago. Every second of life is filled with a dozen tiny decisions, both conscious and unconscious, that alter our course and remake us and everyone around us over and over, moment by moment, day by day. There are billions of people on the planet, no two exactly alike. No one is just like your husband, and as an ever-evolving human being, he wasn’t even the same from one moment to the next. What a miracle it all is!
Which brings us to your question. Will you meet someone else like your husband? No. But that doesn’t mean you have to remain alone or lonely. It only means what comes next will be different. Not necessarily better or worse. Just different.
It sounds as if you and your husband were fortunate to grow together as your marriage progressed. Maybe you grew in similar ways or maybe you supported each other in whatever direction you each grew. Either way, that mutual support was the secret to your happiness and it is possible for you to meet someone else who shares that perspective.
But first, consider this:
Just as you want to be appreciated for your unique self, so do all your potential future relationship partners. I doubt you would want to become involved with a widower who was looking for a clone of his deceased wife no matter how nice she was, and the men you meet are going to feel the same way. Comparing is the kiss of death to ever finding or nurturing a new relationship, especially if you firmly believe you have already had the best and don’t believe you’ll ever find anyone else like your husband. No one can ever live up to his ghost and few would want to try. Putting his memory on a pedestal prevents you from living fully and it’s like a force field around you deflecting potential loving partners. It’s highly doubtful your darling husband would want that for you. What if he is on the other side grieving for YOU keeping yourself stuck?
Begin by changing your own mindset. Since you are already know that you will never meet someone else just like your husband, use that belief as your catalyst for opening to other possibilities. You will likely meet many people who share some of his qualities and characteristics, and will bring qualities and characteristics and interests of their own.
Looking at the wording of the question itself, there are some big clues to how your current mindset is affecting you. How many times in this question did you begin a sentence with “I don’t think….”? How many times did you indicate that accepting anything different would be "settling"? Those firm statements of belief will prevent you from seeing the possibilities in any new potential relationship. Turn those statements around and begin expanding your mindset. Try on some new statements like:
- I believe there are a lot of nice men out there.
- I believe that happy healthy relationships can come in many shapes and sizes.
- I am ready for a new adventure in love, one that fits who I am and where I am in life now.
Your second step is realizing and becoming OK with the irrefutable fact that you yourself will not feel exactly the same way about any new man and the relationship you create together. Nor should you. Even trying to would be incredibly unfair. It will be a brand new thing being invented by you and your new love. As such, it will stand on its own with its own beauty and challenges, its own feelings and dynamics. Every relationship is unique and worthy of being appreciated for exactly what it is. If you continue to compare, you will end up hurting good people who simply want to bring love to you.
You can’t replace your husband. What the two of you created will always stand on its own, a dear treasure in your life. You also can’t replicate him. Trying to will only frustrate you and alienate the good men you do meet. And you can’t recreate the same marriage you had before. You are at a different place in your own life. You have grown and changed since first meeting your beloved husband and certainly since he passed. You will never love anyone else like you loved him and that’s as it should be. If you so choose, you can and will learn to love someone else for exactly who he is and what he brings into your life. And the two of you can create something just as beautiful and valuable in its own way.
Right now, you are one of those dreaded “emotionally unavailable” people. You may have already met several men who would be interested in you, but what they see is your walls, your lack of availability, your judgment that they are not him which makes them somehow not quite good enough. The good news is when you open yourself to new possibilities they will come flooding to you. You have the power to choose.