First relationship after being widowed? Here are 5 tips to help you navigate it.
The death of a spouse is an extremely life-altering setback that is difficult to overcome. The memories and grief never really leave you, but with time, you do begin to heal. Dating again can seem overwhelming and almost impossible. Remember that companionship is a basic human need and give yourself grace throughout this process. We came up with 5 tips to help you in your first relationship after being widowed.
How long should you wait after losing your spouse? The short answer is, as long as it takes for you to view your new relationship as a separate entity and not as a replacement or compensation for what you have lost. Before dating anyone after losing a spouse, ensure that your grief period is truly over.
The worst thing you can do in a new relationship is to view it as a replacement for what you have lost because it isn’t fair to the other person, nor is it fair to yourself. Getting in relationships too early after losing someone can lead to mistakes such as being in the wrong relationship for fear of being alone. Be honest with yourself and take the time to heal and grieve your loss.
Whether you are dating as a young widow or someone who has been married for decades, you need to first let go of any feelings of guilt or regret. It is normal to feel weird kissing someone for the first time after being widowed, being intimate, or even just accepting attention from someone other than your partner.
These feelings are okay, accept them for what they are and allow yourself to go with the flow. You deserve love and happiness, and holding on to feelings of guilt and regret keeps you from this happiness.
Taking your first relationship slow after being widowed allows you to find what you are comfortable with, discover what you want out of this new relationship, and allow yourself to continue to heal and grow with this new relationship.
There is no one size fits all solution to how fast or slow you should take your new relationship. Take time to listen to yourself and your feelings and control how quickly you would like this relationship to progress.
Communication is key to any successful relationship. It is especially important to communicate with the new person in your life about your needs, desires, and wants out of this new relationship.
Communicate to your partner what your intentions are. Are you a young widower who wants to get married and have kids one day? Do you have no intention of a serious relationship whatsoever? Let this new person know so that they know what to expect out of this new relationship as well.
If you have attempted dating for a long time and have decided to cement your first relationship after being widowed, take special efforts to ensure that your previous marriage does not overshadow your new one. Start with a clean slate.
This doesn’t mean that you have to erase the memories of your previous spouse or forget about them, but you should make a conscious effort to not bring them up every other conversation or compare your new partner to them. It can be reassuring to find a new partner who is sympathetic to your grief, but don’t let your past hold you back from creating a new fulfilling and meaningful relationship.