33 - A Conversation About Dating, Relationships and Grief: An Interview With Cindy and Merle Meyers

Welcome to Untethered: Healing the Pain from a Sudden Death. I am Dr. Jennifer Levin, and I specialize in traumatic death and helping individuals through the struggles, pain, trauma, and chaos of an unexpected death. 


In today’s podcast I interview Cindy and Merle Meyers who reflect on their dating experiences and invite us to into their marriage after Cindy’s first husband, Dan, was killed coming home from work one night. When a new couple begins a romantic relationship after one of the partner’s has experienced the death of a loved one, it is not just a relationship of two. Circumstances depending, the presence, and in many cases the family, of the previous partner who died is a very real part of the relationship with needs of their own that must be honored and addressed. Today’s interview explores Cindy’s early coping with traumatic grief after Dan died, and her initial dating experiences with Merle. We then delve into the myriad of issues the couple had to face throughout their marriage including communication, family dynamics, coping mechanisms.


Key Points:

Cindy and Merle provide insight regarding the true realities a new relationship encounters after the death of partner. We are able to see how their grief evolved and changed over the years. They have also channeled their grief experiences into other aspects of their life, especially their vocation, as they have dedicated their lives to volunteering and pursuing Chaplaincy paths to help others who are also grieving, especially grief from sudden and unexpected death.

Every relationship will have their own unique challenges specific to the partners involved.  However, there are themes that we saw today that I believe the overwhelming majority of all new couples will face. The previous partner who died will always be part of the relationship and their presence will impact the relationship as a whole and not only the individual who is grieving but the new partner, associated family members, children, friends, everyone. Whenever possible, I encourage you to consciously invite the deceased partner into in your relationship or include their presence in the relationship when appropriate. If the death of the individual who died becomes a taboo subject, if it is a topic that is uncomfortable, avoided, or swept under the rug then it will most likely become the root of friction or tension. Over time, this relationship will be much easier to manage and often their presence will fade into the background once it is acknowledged and integrated.

Communication about grief, idealization, comparisons, or coping mechanisms in new relationships is important. Communication is the key to any relationship, but this communication is different, it can be so hard, but it is so essential.

To learn more about the professional work and bereavement support programs that Cindy and Merle are involved in please visit our Facebook group “Talking about the podcast Untethered with Dr. Levin” where there is a link to their website and programs. 

Thank you so much for joining today’s episode of Untethered Healing the Pain After a Sudden Death.  To learn more about hope and guidance after sudden or unexpected death please visit therapyheals.com and sign up for my monthly newsletter Guidance in Grief at www.therapyheals.com.


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