This is especially so if at the time of the spouse's death, both partners shared a profound love. Although love for the deceased spouse may increase as times goes by, a certain disengagement from constant occupation with the deceased occurs over time, facilitating attempts to adapt to the new relationship.
In this case, the survivor's love does not die with the spouse's death. The connection to the deceased spouse is likely to remain throughout the widow's life, but its nature will undergo many changes.
In the words of Dusty Springfield, after such breakup," Love seems dead and so unreal, all that's left is loneliness, there's nothing left to feel." Personal relationships without love are also often associated with death.
We speak about "dead marriages" (there is even an internet site entitled, "Married but not dead"), "cold husbands," and "frigid wives." Since love is perceived to be the essence of life, the end of love can cause some people to wish to end life as well, to sacrifice their life or to kill others for love.
And is widowhood the proper time to fall in love again?
In The Name of Love, men kill their wives and commit suicide when their wives intend to leave them.
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 it a little death.
Although the late spouse is physically absent, the widow's love for him can remain and even grow. Bar-Nadav and Rubin argue that the experience of loss and its aftermath are reflected in the fact that widows feel greater hesitancy than their peers do about engaging in intimacy with new partners.
New widows (and widowers) face a range of circumstances in which their decisions are likely to be different. These concerns about intimacy arise from the anxiety that they might lose someone again, their fear of opening up to new relationships, and their concerns about not maintaining fidelity to the deceased spouse; all these issues enhance their tendency to avoid intimacy.