While women and men both feel grief over the loss of a spouse, widowers often have a unique set of needs. This typically stems from the fact that while a woman may have many friends she can lean on following the loss of a spouse, a man may have lost his best friend and closest companion all at once.
Perhaps the saying “Women mourn – men replace” has its roots in intense loneliness caused by a lack of previously established close friendships. It has been frequently asked whether a widower would be as driven to hurriedly replace his wife and best friend if he had someone with whom he could share his grief.
Men face unique problems as widowers. Many of their everyday needs were probably provided by a wife. Because they are not as likely to be able to take care of themselves as widows, their health and well-being can be severely affected.
Widowers may be immersed in feelings they never knew existed and may exhibit painful physical and psychological symptoms. Because women are more frequently the primary caregiver to children, men may face changes in their relationship with their children, resulting in feelings of isolation.
Because of their unique needs, widowers, particularly those who lack close friends and family with whom they can talk about their loss and grief, are urged to attend support group meetings or find a counselor with whom they can share their feelings.