Our Story Begins:
A Case for Companionship
I had a very long discussion just this past weekend with someone about misconceptions. I certainly know there are a lot of misconceptions about people who lost their spouse. They certainly know a lot of misconceptions about living with divorce or breakup.
No, we weren’t a miserable pair.
There are a lot of things dissimilar about being a divorcee and being widowed. Don’t get me wrong. Losing a spouse is certainly hard in that you never get to speak, in-the-flesh, to that person again. Ever. You can speak to them, have monologues you hope they will hear; but the reality is unless you’re the Long Island Medium (and I question the veracity of that, by the way) you’re not going to get a response. For those going through divorce, good or ill, the former spouse is there.
But the similarities we found were interesting.
The biggest is the loss of companionship.
Related: 10 From GEM: 10 Ways To Support Someone You Love Who Has Lost Someone They Love
The misconception most people have is that when we say “companionship” there’s always a sexual component there. I have to be honest, I actually wish sometimes that was truly the case. If the thing that was missing was purely sexual, well, that’s a simpler problem to address.
Companionship, as I see it, isn’t just about attraction or physical intimacy. There’s a much simpler, much baser component there. The two of us talked about how hard it is to have something happen in your life – it could be winning the lottery, a bad day at work, even seeing something like a goat standing on the back of a cow as you drive down a country road – and your first instinct is to call that person.
That person is the one you’ve spent your marriage or relationship with. My friend and I both had the same reaction: your instinct is to pick up the phone or race home and tell the person. “Good God, do you know I saw a goat standing on the back of a cow?!” But for both of us, that instinct is one we now have to fight. I don’t have the option to call. For my friend, calling brings a whole mess of questions that are hard to maneuver.
Most people don’t get that the difficult thing is just not having that person to share your life with. The dumbest, silliest, most mundane parts of life are things you want to share with someone that you can no longer share. Sure we are both surrounded by family, and for me, my children.
Reality is, though, that there are tons of topics, discussions, and things you don’t talk to your daughter, son, parents or family about. It’s not a matter of comfort. There are just things you talk with a companion that you don’t talk with others about.
Being without that person has a whole mess of adjustments. You wake up and put your hand on their side of the bed to say good morning and then realize…they’re not there. You reach for the phone to inform them of something that’s happened…and you catch yourself before grabbing it.
It’s not just love or sex. Those really are easy things. Love is easy, friendship is really hard. So given that, losing a companion and friend, even if it’s because you fell out of love with them or they passed away . . . that’s just an adjustment you don’t want to make. Still, you make it anyway. You have to.
Even today, though, a few years later, that void is still there. You might just be a little more cautious about filling it.
What about you? Do you think more about love or intimacy, not companionship? What are your thoughts on divorce or companionship?