Dear Barb—In the Company of Companions

Dear Barb:

Hi, I am a man in my fifties who recently lost my wife to cancer.  We were married for 25 years and have three adult children who are on their own.  Our marriage was happy, having all the normal ups and downs that most marriages have.  My wife has been gone for almost a year and I am beginning to feel lonely.  The odd part is all I really want is someone to go out to dinner or vacation with.  I do not believe I will ever experience the love and passion my wife and I did.  I don’t know if what I am looking for is possible.  What are your thoughts?  Is it possible to have a relationship based solely on companionship, or am I just wasting my time? 

Thanks for your response, Derek. 

Hello Derek:

I am so sorry about the loss of your wife.  You are in a very sensitive place right now, and are likely feeling lonely and want companionship, but perhaps you feel you will be betraying your wife if you were to become involved in a serious relationship.  It is possible to have a relationship based only on companionship.  First, let’s define companionship versus a relationship.  A companionship is two people who enjoy spending time together and support each other through life’s ups and downs.  Companionship can occur between coworkers, friends, and close family relatives and can last a lifetime.

A relationship is a close intimate commitment between two people that involves love, affection, and deep devotion.  It seems you desire a companion at this point, but that may change in the future.  It’s important to be honest from the beginning of any relationship you enter.  Explain that you are only interested in a companion to share activities with.  If the other person is not willing to begin with a companionship it is best to discover this right away, then you will both be on the same page.  That’s not to say that a companionship cannot evolve into an intimate relationship or even a marriage.  These are all possibilities.  A true friendship is an important part of life and can last a lifetime.  Having companionship and a relationship are vital aspects of life and something that we all need in times of happiness, or sadness.  I believe you are on the right track by not rushing into a relationship, but rather beginning with a friendship and seeing where it leads.

Best of luck in the future Derek.