When to start dating after the loss of a spouse
‘A nice Christian man is keen to start a relationship with me, and I like him too,’ said the email.
‘However, his wife, to whom he was happily married, only died a few months ago. Hopeful Girl, how soon do you think is too soon to start dating after being widowed?
In some cases, of course, the marriage won’t have been a happy one, which gives the surviving spouse a whole other set of issues to work through, which may make their recovery shorter or longer, depending on the circumstances.
I’ve heard of cases where the new partner feels like an intruder in the deceased person’s home and isn’t allowed to change a thing, even decades later.
I know of one women who slept with her husband while his late wife’s picture stared down at them from the bedroom wall. Someone who’s been widowed will never forget their spouse, and neither should they – that person will always be a part of them, and a new partner must be able to embrace that fact without jealousy or resentment.
The relationship only compounded his depression and confusion, and he now sees it as an act of desperation and loneliness.Of course, he still carries the wounds of his heartbreaking loss, but by the time I met him, he seemed genuinely open and ready for new love. It’s natural to worry that you’ll be compared unfavourably to a widow or widower’s late spouse and, sadly, this does sometimes happen.’ Once, when I was bemoaning my single status, someone tried to reassure me that ‘the widowers are now starting to come back on the market’. However, as we get older, people increasingly find themselves single again after the death of a spouse – and, in fact, I ended up dating a lovely man who’d lost his wife to breast cancer four years earlier. It’s dangerous to start making rules about when a widow or widower will be ready for a new relationship, as every situation is unique.If a loved one is ill for a long time, we sometimes do much of our grieving before they die, and may be ready to move on more quickly.But just because someone has loved one person deeply, it doesn’t mean they can’t love another person just as much.
Plus you know they’re capable of sustaining a committed relationship.