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Forever Alone in a World of Couples
By Arthur N. Gottlieb, LCSW, CSA

It took her a year after her husbandís passing to muster the bravery to go to the movies by herself. Itís not that she was afraid of going on her own. No, it was the terrible sadness she felt, being forever alone in a world of couples.

Her marriage of fifty years had been emotionally trying. Despite this, for the last ten years of that marriage, she steadfastly cared for his needs while his mental and physical functioning steadily declined from terminal illness.

She was by his side always, seeing to his doctorís appointments and medications, making sure his shirts were clean, his hair combed, selflessly and continuously demanding that others treat him with dignity. All the time knowing, as she gently kissed him, that whatever was wrong with their relationship would forever remain. The time for dialogue had passed. It was simply too late.

When looking back on it all, she is torn by a sense of betrayal for her only love, for justly remembering his cruelty and cold-heartedness toward her, and for questioning why she had put up with it for so long.

For years, she wandered about, trying to imagine what she had missed while watching couples young and old as they held hands and laughed together like lovers.  It saddened her to realize that, even in a couple, she had spent much of her life completely alone.

And now, a year since her long caregiving vigil has passed, she wanders still. A few hours of television during the day, coffee shops and diners at night. Always watching and wondering if it really was her destiny to be forever alone in a world of couples. 


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