Starting a New Relationship as a Widow or Widower
Starting a new relationship after a spouse has passed may sound intimidating and scary. After all, loving someone new can pose risks and challenges, especially if you have children.
However, it’s important to remember that finding love is possible in any aspect of life—whether it comes later in life or seeing someone else after the death of your first spouse.
Nevertheless, it always helps to be at least cautious when dating someone new. Here are some tips to remember:
1. Do not rush into the relationship.
If you haven’t processed your spouse’s death or have yet to adjust to a life without your partner, it may be wise to hold off on dating first. Try focusing on things like work, family, and starting a hobby during this time. Once you’ve decided to give dating a go, be patient and learn not to dive in too quickly just because you’re lonely.
2. Be honest with what you want in a relationship.
If you’re already dating someone new, be honest with your wants and needs. Take note of anything that can be an issue and decide whether they can be solved together.
3. If you have children, consider their feelings and input.
Children who lost a parent may need more time to process their grief. It may also affect them once they’ve seen their parent date someone “so soon.” While it’s ultimately your relationship, it does help to consider your children’s feelings so they don’t feel left out. Do not force them to accept your new partner if they’re not ready, but encourage them to be civil and patient.
4. Watch out for red flags.
While society has become more open now, a few may not want to date a widow or widower for personal reasons. If that’s the case, don’t force a relationship with them, and do not settle as “second best” just because they’re lonely and you’ve managed to make them feel good. Remember, a relationship should have mutual respect, similar life goals, and compatible values. If you don’t fit into their life or feel welcomed, consider whether it’s worth pursuing the relationship.
Takeaway: Dating after the death of a spouse pose some unique challenges. Nevertheless, there’s nothing wrong with starting a new romance, provided you’re honest with your wants and needs. If your children have doubts or hesitate, allow them to express their concerns in a non-judgmental environment. Let them process this change on their terms. Avoid rushing into a relationship just because you’re lonely; always treat yourself respectfully.