This is especially so if at the time of the spouse's death, both partners shared a profound love. Although love for the deceased spouse may increase as times goes by, a certain disengagement from constant occupation with the deceased occurs over time, facilitating attempts to adapt to the new relationship.In this case, the survivor's love does not die with the spouse's death. The connection to the deceased spouse is likely to remain throughout the widow's life, but its nature will undergo many changes.Her love expresses the nonexclusive nature of love more than it does its replaceable nature. When C came along and we started dating, it was different. I wasn't feeling that ‘if I don't see him today I think I'll die' emotion. Which position is worse, the widow who knows that her lover cannot come back or the woman who knows that her ex could come back but might not wish to do so?Thus, one widow writes: "'Second love' is different, but it's very good. It's really hard to understand sometimes how I can go from tears for my late husband into smiling and thinking of my new guy. I love both of them, one here and one gone." It seems that we are blessed with a heart that is very flexible and can accommodate various people at the same time. I knew things would be different because he was not Jim. And so as we became more serious and had deeper feelings for one another, I started to worry. I wasn't feeling that I was falling more in love each day. And [then after talking to another widow] I began to realize that the way I was loving this second time was ‘normal'. How could this love feel the same as my first love? The pain and sadness is greater on the widow's side, not merely because of the terminal nature of the loss, but also because of the greater romantic intensity.
Although a new love might physically replace the previous one, from a psychological viewpoint the widow will now love two people at the same time. I wasn't experiencing the feelings that I had 27 years ago. Like other people, a widow yearns for her lover to come back, but unlike others, she knows it is impossible.
The widow's ongoing relationship and bond to the deceased remains a central aspect in her life.
She has to cope not merely with the new situation of loving two men at the same time, but also with the shift in the way she has loved her deceased husband: a shirt from a relationship with a person with a physical companion who provides active support and love to one who is no longer alive and cannot be active in her life. In the Romantic Ideology, profound love should last forever.
The death of a spouse places the widow in a new situation, which has similarities to other situations in which love ends; nevertheless, widowhood has unique aspects. In a sense, the new lover brings the widow back to life.
Whether a relationship is average, as most relationships are, or very good or very bad, the ending of any personal relationship changes one's circumstances. As Annabel, a widow, said to her friend who ignited in her the desire to make love: "Thank you for bringing me back to life." The widow faces the challenge of entering into a new and meaningful spousal relationship without letting the former relationship be forgotten or denied.