Who am I without my husband?

Thinking prematurely about what happens when my husband dies has made me realize that I’m not totally sure who I am without him.

I’d like to discuss that with a therapist, but so far all the therapists I’ve called who accept my insurance are not taking new patients. And I can’t afford to pay out of pocket.

On the one hand, it seems understandable that I wouldn’t know who I am without my husband. I met him when I was so young and married him when I was 20. By now, I’ve spent more years of my life married to him than not. But on the other hand, it’s obviously a problem to be so dependent on him.

We’ve also worked really hard on our relationship and neither of us makes thoughtless decisions that affect the other. Most of the time, neither of us cares enough to stand in the other’s way. When we do care, we can arrive at a compromise pretty easily most of the time. There’s not a lot of conflict, especially at this stage of our lives. At one point, there was conflict that we chose not to deal with, but that hasn’t been the case in several years.

But who will I be without him? I’ve caught myself many times saying “my husband thinks…” or “my husband likes…” even when I haven’t been asked for that information. I volunteer it, as though I think his likes and beliefs are more important than (or equally important as) my own.

I recognize that this is a problem. But it’s one that I don’t know how to fix. I know that I’m a little bit different when I’m by myself without him, based on how I was when I was down here by myself before he moved down. I was much the same, still pretty introverted and homebound most of the time, but I did seek out more opportunities to hang out with people.

The one area where I’ve really had to stake out my independence is in regards to religion. That was the first really major difference we’ve had that I could not conform to be like him and ultimately I still struggle with that. I still feel like it would be better if I could be more like him with regard to religious faith.

It should be noted that he’s never controlling and he never stops me from having my own opinions. Most of the time, our opinions are pretty similar anyway.

But I will have to figure out who I am without him and I think that’s going to require some therapy.


  1. Dawn says:

    Re., finding a therapist. Open Path Psychotherapy is a collective of therapists who will take 30 to 60 (I think?) a session. There’s a small membership fee that you don’t have to pay until you’ve found a therapist on the list and connected with them to make sure they’re a good fit. I believe it’s thirty or forty dollars. I let my clients who come to me through it set their fee within that range but other people will say it has to be this much or that much. Also when my friend was ill there were services through the hospital that was treating her that included support for herself, her spouse and her kids. I know it’s hard to call around trying to find the right fit therapist but if you do that (or email if that’s more comfortable) you can also ask them for help finding the person. I mean, having a referral list is part of my job so if someone calls me and I can’t see them I do have a list of therapists who I like/trust and their specialties. At my consultation groups we’re always trading the names of therapists with openings so we can give them to people if we’re not the right fit. Finally some therapists that are full do have a wait list or if they don’t, they may still be able to squeeze you in if they specialize in your concern. There are clients who I’ll work really hard to get onto my schedule even if I’m absolutely full because I know there are very few therapists in town who will work with that particular issue. In other words, don’t give up!


    1. Holly says:

      Thanks, Dawn! I’m supposed to follow up with someone who may be able to see me. But if that doesn’t work or isn’t a good fit, I’ll look into the resources you suggested. Thanks for taking the time to offer all the advice and suggestions!

      Liked by 1 person

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