How To Fall In Love Again: Widower Edition
The death of a spouse is one of the most traumatic events that can befall a person. Be it due to an illness, or suddenly in an accident, it leaves a painful hole behind. Although most people eventually recover from this terrible loss and rebuild their lives once more, not everyone finds it easy to start dating again.
There is a whole process of recovery that needs to be completed in order for a person to feel up to getting emotionally involved again after such a devastating blow. Although these things cannot be rushed, there are some guidelines to make it easier and recognize the right moment to get back on track.
The Guide To Helping A Loved One Recover From Their Loss And Find Their Way Back Into The Dating Zone
There are many challenges widowers have to face when thinking about dating again. The first one is themselves.
Most widowed people report feeling guilty about dating again, as if it were somehow a betrayal of their departed spouse, even in those cases where they knew their spouse would want them to be happy again. This is perfectly normal. However, the feelings of guilt should recede over time, until the widow or widower is completely comfortable with dating again. If the guilt does not go away, it probably means that it’s too soon.
How soon is too soon?
Another important thing in widower dating is timing. Every person has their own grieving process, and the circumstances of their loss are also a major factor. The pain of losing someone may be the same, but the grieving process may be different in sudden death cases and in cases where the married couple had time to prepare, talk, and have some closure. A widow or widower should wait until they feel ready to date again, and they should not be rushed or discouraged by other people.
There are situations where the person is not advancing through the grieving stages at all, and is just stuck in terrible pain all the time. In this case, there are several options to seek help. Widowed singles might benefit from joining a support group, so they can have an environment where they can freely share their grief and experience with people who are going through the same thing. Another option is to go to grief counseling, as there are therapists who specialize in this area. Of course, this is not to say that the late spouse shouldn’t be mourned, on the contrary, mourning is a normal, healthy reaction, but it should not be prolonged indefinitely, as it is taxing both on the widow or widower and his family.
Support is the key
Another extremely important factor in widow or widower dating is the support from their family, or lack thereof. A widowed person will be extremely reluctant if they find that their children are opposed to them dating or entering a new relationship. The same goes for the rest of the family: in case they face resentment, they will be discouraged to go on dating.
Sometimes it is hard to explain to younger children that dating and becoming an item with someone again is in no way a betrayal of the late spouse/parent, and that moving on is not the same as forgetting. They may perceive this new person as an intruder at first, but with some good communication skills and enough time, it is possible for them to come to terms with the situation.
Widowed singles have to be sure they know what they want, and that they know what to expect. It is important to remember that no one will ever replace the person they lost. And that is fine. No one should ever be someone else’s replacement. It is better to look at it as a fresh start, an opportunity to start over with someone new, not a way to recreate what they once had.
Once a widow or widower comes to terms with this, it will be far easier to date and decide on a new partner, as the new partner will not be feeling like they are competing with a ghost.
Many widowed people are left to be single parents after their spouse’s passing, so many feel the need to provide a new parent to their children, or feel like they need some help raising a family. Some widowed singles, on the other hand, never had the chance to become parents. These two types of people can be a good match for each other, given the right circumstances. A big part of the success of any relationship is sharing the same priorities as your partner; the same applies to widow relationships. Not everyone is looking for a new family, some are simply looking for love and companionship.
So, how does a widowed single know that they are ready to date again?
Well, as with a lot of things, one has to rely on their feelings. If they feel ready, they should try. Maybe the first date they have after their spouse’s passing won’t go smoothly, but it can also turn better than expected. There are a few things to know before they sail into the dating waters again:
Dating a widowed man or woman is different to dating a divorced one. Why? Because in this case the relationship was not ended because somebody wanted to, it was almost stolen from them, and it is therefore harder to recover.
It is perfectly normal for a widow or widower to mention their late spouse to their date, and there is no reason for jealousy. It isn’t wrong or inappropriate to talk about the departed, but if they are all the widowed person can talk about, it can be a red flag that it is too soon for them to be dating again. A date should not be a therapy session.
Widowed singles may be a bit rusty when it comes to dating skills. Maybe it has been more than a decade since they last had a first date, maybe they feel a bit awkward talking to a stranger after a long time, or maybe they are used to their late spouse’s ways and manners, and it takes them time to adjust to someone new.
Going through a terrible ordeal such as losing a spouse is devastating, and it takes a long time to fully recover from it. The late loved one will never be forgotten, but is it truly a good idea to remain alone forever after? Finding a new love can be a great advancement for widowers who are looking to rebuild their lives and their futures. Believe it or not, there is such a thing as second chances in life.