Dating a widow(er): What You Should Know
Dating a widow(er) is not like dating singles or divorced men or women. Grieving the loss of a late wife or husband can take a while, and if you’re dating a widow(er) you should be aware of some of the challenges that are specific to this situation. Being the partner of a widowed person will require you to be patient and understanding, and to be prepared to hear about their late spouse.
Give them time to adjustHealing after the loss of someone you loved very much can take a while, sometimes several years. Everyone reacts differently. Therefore, if you’re dating a widowed person, it’s best to let them lead so that they can go at their own rhythm. Take things slowly - being impatient won’t make them grieve faster.
Moreover, whether you’re looking for a serious relationship or just a fling, prepare yourself to listen to them and be supportive. There may be tears and many mentions of their late spouse. Ask your date how you can help and show them that you are there for them.Also, their past relationship might have lasted for decades, and you may be the first person that they've dated since their loss. On top of that, having sexual relationships and being intimate with someone new can be quite daunting. Maybe they also have to handle new tasks their late partner used to take care of. They now have to adapt and learn new things. Finding your place after the loss of your significant other can be really complicated.
However, people who have lost their partner often find support from a good network of family and friends. You don’t have to manage their grief all by yourself.
Prepare yourself for cold reactionsIf you’re about to meet their family, you should know that their children might be jealous of seeing their mum or dad with someone new, especially if they are younger kids or teenagers. Their friends and family could also be cold with you. However, no matter how loved the late spouse was, you don’t deserve to be treated this way. You have the right to expect your senior date to be on your side and to support you.
Additionally, if things get more serious and you become part of their family, be prepared to meet two families and not just one. Many widow(er) remain close to the family of their late spouse.
Don’t take it personallyThey perhaps still love their spouse and always will do. Their children, parents, siblings and close friends might find it hard to accept that they are dating again and starting a new relationship. They may compare you to the one they loved. But no matter how difficult this situation might seem, do your best not to take it personally. Grieving the loss of someone you loved takes time. If you have feelings for the widow(er) and want to go further with them, you need to be patient. Try to understand their reactions and emotional state. It’s not because they are grieving, talking about their late spouse and looking at their pictures that they can’t find room for you in their life too.
Will they compare me with their late spouse?You might fear being compared with their late spouse. Perhaps you compare yourself to them. It’s very common to compare individuals or relationships, but don’t let this make you sad or excessively worried. It’s not a competition. Additionally, comparisons are not necessarily negative. Your new partner might find qualities in you that they didn’t see in their late spouse, who, just like anyone else, wasn’t perfect. If you are concerned or feel anxious, it's best to share your feelings and discuss this situation with your 50+ date.
How to know they are readyFor some, grieving will take a few months. For others, several years. Be aware than some widowed persons start dating too early, before being ready for a serious relationship. Some do so due to pressure from their family, or because they believe that this is the right time for them to meet someone new. Others don’t want to feel lonely anymore and want a companion.
Talking a lot about their late spouse can be part of the mourning process (which is an individual process and different with everyone), as they were an important person in their life. However, if the crying is persistent and the discussions always revolve around their late spouse, they might not be ready for a new relationship yet.
If you’ve been dating for a while and expect things to get a bit more serious, ask them directly if they are ready to enter a new relationship. If they say yes, believe them but keep an eye on their reactions. Sometimes people think they are ready while in reality they are not. That’s why it’s important that you take things slowly and don’t commit too quickly.
Can you fall in love again after the loss of your spouse/partner?Of course. There is no just one true love in a lifetime. No matter how much they loved their late spouse, it’s possible for them to fall in love again. In fact, there are more and more people who get married or remarried in their sixties or later, whether they are widowed or not. However, although falling in love after 50 or 60 does happen, feeling ready to open your heart to someone new can be a long process.
Rest assured, those who lost a lifetime partner can find love again and be willing to start a new life with someone else. There will be a time when they will be ready to make room for a new person in their heart.