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Why is the pain of losing a partner so great?

The pain of losing a Claire seems so massive at the moment, I’m hoping that listing the reasons why would help myself to understand them better and perhaps help others to also.

Losing a life partner is like losing part of yourself.

When we got married I gave myself so entirely and completely to Claire, I gave up my right to being an individual, two people became one. Without her here it feels as though one of my major organs is not functioning properly and that I am chronically ill in some way.

Making decisions.

When you lose a life partner you lose part of your decision-making process. We made decisions together, even if it wasn’t an explicit joint decision it was always a joint decision nonetheless. If I wanted something to happen I would hint about it to Claire, she would then let me know if she agreed… And so the joint decision was made. Nothing explicit, everything implied, we just knew.

Off loading.

At the end of the day we used to tell each other what had happened, the good, the bad and the ugly. It was a coping strategy, after all, a problem shared is a problem halved! It was the way that we finished the day, the day always finished by sharing what had happened, enjoying the good things and resolving the bad things. Without her here that resolution is harder to reach.

Enjoying the good things.

When you have a life partner part of your strategy for enjoying things is to share with that person. If you see a beautiful sunset or taste a glorious bottle of red wine it always seems that much better when you share it with the person you have given your life to, so when that person is taken away from you your ability to enjoy those things declines.


Many people are either internally referenced or externally referenced. This means that they either intrinsically know that a decision they have made is a good one, or they need external verification from other people. Highly successful business people are often internally referenced, they just know they are brilliant and don’t need anyone to tell them. Well I was ‘Claire’ referenced. Yes, I know strictly speaking that is being externally referenced, but it is linked to a specific person. If I was a little unsure about what I was doing, whether it be in business or life I would ask Claire. She would be my barometer, and if the barometer pointed in a negative direction it meant I had to stop and vice versa. Without her I have no idea if I’m doing the right thing.

For everything that we do in life we have a strategy, we have a strategy for making decisions, coping at the end of the day, enjoying things, resolving things plus thousands more. When you give yourself so totally to another person your strategies for life become intertwined, so when that person is taken away it leaves you almost unable to function. When you live with someone for 22 years they become part of you, they become who you are and when they die it challenges you in absolutely every aspect of your life. I have been challenged over these past nine months and I continue to be so more than ever.