The French famously refer to orgasm as "la petite morte," or "the little death." Once orgasm is reached, it is in a sense the end of the loving experience preceding it and, hence, a little death.Similarly, it was claimed that "All animals are sad after sex." The widow's new romantic situation Is the human heart large enough to encompass more than one romantic love?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 physical companion who provides active support and love to one who is no longer alive and cannot be active in her life (see here).In the romantic ideology, profound love should last forever.The end of love is taken to indicate that it was superficial in the first place.Contrary to this view, love can perish for various reasons that arise from changes in intrinsic or extrinsic circumstances; such changes do not necessarily indicate that the initial love was superficial.This is especially so if at the time of the spouse's death, both partners shared a profound love. The role of imagery and counterfactual thinking is central in widows.In this case, the survivor's love does not die with the spouse's death. While the deceased spouse ceases to disappoint and irritate us, the living new partner continues to do so; he reminds us of the richness and the difficulties of ongoing living relationships.
This is due both to the tendency to idealize the past and to our sense of propriety in not speaking ill of the dead. 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.
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. Realizing the difference in circumstance enables a widow not to feel that she is compromising or settling.
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. Despite the fact that her late husband raised the bar very high, she may believe that there is now a different bar.
There is ample evidence that this is possible, both in the diachronic sense of loving one person after another and in the synchronic sense of having two lovers at the same time. Their love to two people is more complex given the continuing impact of bereavement, even years after the loss.
The widow's ongoing relationship and bond to the deceased remains a central aspect in her life.