First Relationship After Being Widowed: Problems, Rules and Tips
You might think that you are ready to date again, but you probably also feel guilty, as if you are disrespecting your deceased spouse by moving on too soon. Here, learn about how to handle the first relationship after being widowed, as well as ways to tell you’re ready to date again.
3 Signs you are ready for a relationship after being widowed
It can be challenging to determine if you are ready to start dating after becoming a widow. No matter how much time has passed, you are likely to have thoughts of your spouse still, even if you are ready to begin dating again.
If you’re considering when to start dating after the death of a spouse, here are the following signs a widower is ready to move on:
1. You’re no longer consumed by grief
Everyone has their own way of grieving, as well as their own timeline for grieving the loss of a spouse.
While grief is a normal part of experiencing the death of a loved one, if you are still consumed by grief and actively mourning the death of your spouse, you are probably thinking about dating too soon after the death of a spouse.
On the other hand, if you have mostly returned to your normal level of functioning, are actively engaged in work or other activities you previously did, and find that you can get through the day without crying for your former partner, you may be ready to date again.
2. You’ve learned how to live life on your own
Suppose you jump into your first relationship after being widowed out of nothing but loneliness.
In that case, you may not be ready to date, but if you’ve spent some time alone and found happiness participating in your own hobbies and spending time with friends, you’re probably ready to jump into the dating world.
Dating after widowhood first requires you to have confidence in yourself to not rely upon a new relationship to fill any voids in your life.
3. You have reached a point where you no longer feel a need to compare everyone to your former spouse
One of the signs of a widower dating too soon is that they compare everyone to their spouse. If you are set on finding someone identical to your spouse who has passed, this means you aren’t ready to date yet.
When you accept that your new partner will be different from your spouse, you will find that you’re more open to dating new people.
How long should a widow wait before dating?
Many people wonder, “How long should a widow wait to date?” after they’ve lost a spouse, but there isn’t a “one size fits all answer.” Some people may be ready to date after several months, whereas others may need years to recover.
Whether you are ready to date will depend upon when you feel ready and show signs that you have moved on to the extent that you can open your heart and mind to someone new.
Most importantly, you should not let other people dictate when you’re ready to have your first relationship after being widowed.
6 Problems that occur while dating after being widowed
When you’re wondering, “When should a widower start dating again?” you should be aware of some problems that can occur when you enter your first relationship after being widowed:
1. You may feel guilty
You loved your spouse and shared your life with them, so you may feel guilty as if you are unfaithful by moving on to another relationship after their passing.
This seems to be a normal reaction because when a loved one dies, you don’t stop loving them or feeling a sense of obligation to them.
2. Your children may not be happy with you dating again
No matter their age, your children will likely have difficulty coping with you moving on to someone else. Have a conversation with them about why you’re dating again, and be sure to explain to younger children that no one will ever take the place of their deceased parents.
Ultimately, when your children see you happy and thriving with a new partner, some of their reservations will fade.
3. You feel that you have to stop loving your former partner
You can continue to feel positive about your former spouse, even when finding love after being widowed. Your new partner should not replace your deceased spouse, so it is okay to continue to have a passion for your former spouse.
4. You may have a hard time learning to love again
It’s easy to get caught up in your grief and tell yourself that you’ll never love someone again, and this is something you can overcome with time.
Once you open your heart to the possibility of loving someone else, you may be ready for
dating after widowhood.
5. You might find yourself talking too much about the past
Your former spouse will always be part of you, but your new relationship may take a turn for the worst if you spend all of your time with your new partner talking about your sadness over the loss of your spouse.
6. There may be some uncertainties
There may be some uncertainties when defining the new relationship and deciding upon where it will go long term. If you choose to enter the world of dating after becoming a widow, you may eventually find yourself in a serious relationship.
This will require you to make tough decisions, such as whether or not to get married again,
and whether you will move in with your new partner.
You may have to consider giving up the home you shared with your former spouse, or moving your new partner into the house you shared during your previous married life.
3 Things to do before entering your first relationship after being widowed
There is no specific timeline for when you can begin dating again after being widowed, but you will need to ensure you’ve done the following before dating after widowhood:
1. Let go of guilt
3. Establish connections
Ask friends if they know someone interested in dating, or try to make connections at church or through activities you participate in. You might also consider online dating.
5 Tips for dating after being widowed
Once you’ve decided when to start dating after the death of a spouse, there are some tips to keep in mind for your new relationship:
1. Be honest with your new partner, but don’t share everything with them
Your status as a widow is essential. Most relationships involve discussing previous partnerships, so it is vital to be honest with your partner about your history and that you experienced the loss of a spouse.
Just be careful not to share too much and allow the entire focus of your relationship to be on your loss.
2. Don’t allow your new partner to be your therapist
If you need time to process your grief, you should do so with a professional, not your new partner. The relationship likely will not be successful if your time spent together involves you lamenting the loss of your spouse with your new partner consoling you.
If your grief is so severe that you cannot refrain from talking about your loss every time you and your new partner are together, you’re probably dating too soon after the death of a spouse.
3. Don’t rush into things
If you’ve been feeling lonely since your spouse passed away, it is only natural that you’ll want a new relationship to fill the void; however, you must take things slowly.
If you are so quick to find a replacement for your deceased spouse that you rush into a new committed partnership, you may end up in a relationship that isn’t the best fit for you long-term.
4. Ensure your new partner is comfortable with the situation
Ensure that your new partner will be able to handle the fact that you’ve been married before and will continue to love your former spouse. Some people may feel insecure over the fact that you’re mourning the loss of your previous spouse and still have feelings of love for that person.
This means that for a successful first relationship after being widowed, you will need to have an honest conversation and ensure that your new partner will be able to cope with your lingering feelings toward your former spouse.
5. Avoid creating competition between your former spouse and new partner
While it is natural to miss your former spouse and have lasting feelings toward them, you should avoid creating a competition or making your new significant other feel like they have to live up to the standard that your former spouse set.
For instance, you should never make comments such as, “John would have handled this better than you.” Remember, your new partner won’t be a replica of your former spouse, and you have to learn to accept this.