Dear Dr Jules
My husband passed away four years ago. I am 68 and living alone in a quiet village in France where we moved together, and increasingly I feel lonely and wonder about looking for love and another relationship. However, I am a more old fashioned lady and don’t believe in dating websites, nor do I like to go places like pubs alone. I don’t have many friends. Can you help?
I imagine you must indeed feel lonely. You have had a lot to deal with in losing your husband and I wonder where you found support during that time? You must be a very strong lady to have got through that and stayed living in a foreign country where you are fairly isolated. I would be interested to find out what resources you have that got you through and made you so resilient? The reason I ask is that this is what will help you move onto the next stage of your life … that is moving forward and deciding how to paint the blank canvas that you now have before you.
Take some time to think about what you want that picture to look like. Do you imagine a wider social circle, hobbies or voluntary work, a relationship? Decide what would make the next stage of your life meaningful and satisfying. Finding love might be part of that dream, and if it is then you will need to find a way to connect with more people so that you can create the opportunity to meet someone. People tend to find love in many different places, sometimes through their existing social group, or work, or through mutual interests, or increasingly as we lead busy lives through the internet. While I understand the last option is not so appealing for you, it is maybe worth considering, even if it is just finding online groups to expand your social network. I wonder if you have thought about finding classes in a subject you are interested to learn, or maybe you could get involved in organizing meetups for anything from reading groups to seed swaps? You might be surprised to find how many other people are looking for ways to fill their time and get out there to socialize.
The bottom line is to know you are a valuable person with a great deal of life still to live and enjoy. Fill your life with interests and people you like having around you, and then you will start to create the right environment for a new relationship to come along. I wish you much luck on your journey!
If you are feeling stuck with your life and can’t see a way forward, then counselling can be helpful in providing support and a non-judgmental space to explore your options. Contact me to request an initial free chat on the phone or Skype to consider if counselling is for you.