How to Start Over
Q: I lost my first wife after 44 years of happy marriage. She had Alzheimer's and I watched her decline over 3 years. For 6 months after her death I was homebound with grief. My daughter told me to get back into the mainstream of life and do things I never did before. I took up bridge and took dance lessons. I joined Parents Without Partners. Five years later, at age 79, I met a woman who was 69, at a dance. Although she was Russian Orthodox, we married civilly and have been happily together over 10 years now. So fellows, forget your age and go dancing! — George, 88
Dr. Susan: Here is my response to George's heartwarming story: Good for you! While it's horrendous to witness the slow decline of someone you've loved for so many years, it's also possible eventually to experience more good years. Of course, what you did was what anyone of any age needs to do if they're lonely and want to find a new love. You gave your grief the time it needed to become bearable. You took your family's advice to get out and try some new things. Even if you hadn't found a mate, simply doing novel activities helps lift you from despair. You were open-minded about dating someone of a different background. So thanks for the reminder that being pro-active and adaptable can get you what you want in life.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.