After the sadness, the anger and the grieving period passes – if it ever completely does, when is the right time to start dating and thinking about love again? Those are the types of questions we’re confronting today.
The Question: How long should you wait to date after the death of a spouse?
“When is it okay to remarry?”
Everyone is different in how they go about the grieving process. And although there may be times where one could say that jumping into a new relationship is “too soon,” there really is no 100% right way to go about the next step.
What’s important is that you are comfortable and take as long as necessary to start dating. And once you do start, you take as long as you need to feel confident and secure in your decision to recommit your life to someone new.
Other Expert Answers
“All couples should ‘date’ until they are both sure that they want to make a giant leap together into marriage. Talk, talk and talk. It’s always the best way forward until you both know when the time is right. You must also listen to your feelings inside and, there again, you will know when the time is right to marry again.” – Jill Curtis, Author Of How To Get Married … Again (A Guide To Second Weddings)
“No one can tell you when you should begin dating after your spouse dies, as that’s an individual decision that will depend on various factors. It’s important that you take the time necessary to heal and let yourself feel whole and complete before jumping into a relationship.” – Livestrong
The Question: Are there any support groups out there for husbands of widows?
“I knew that marrying a widow would have some pitfalls. One thing I never anticipated is her inability to tell me I’m the best thing that’s ever happened to her. She is still in love with her late husband (which I understood beforehand). This came out after I had told her that she was the best thing that ever happened to me and her lack of a response was deafening. I need to work this out, but it kind of sucks realizing your wife would rather be with somebody else.”
“Keep in mind that we can, and do, love different people in different ways. Perhaps you caught your partner by surprise and she couldn’t think quickly enough how to answer. Remember she is understandably loyal to the memory of her husband, and loyal to you now in the present by promising to marry. I don’t think her silence did indicate that she would rather be with someone else – but putting the past behind you and taking hold of the future can be difficult and takes time.
As a widow myself, I can tell you that, although I probably will always love my first husband in some ways (after all, he IS the father of my two children) I also love my new partner in many different, but still very meaningful, ways. Especially since I am older now (and hopefully more mature!), I think I am capable of loving at some deeper levels than I did when I was younger and married for the first time. Please discuss all of your feelings with your love. I think she will probably tell you that she loves you too but maybe in different way.”
Other Expert Answers
“There is a lot to talk about from the letter you posted. But above all, remember that you both are the people you are today because of the past. Good and bad. You both come to this new relationship with a ‘history’ and both of you have memories – how could it be otherwise. But love and understanding of the other will see you through.” – Jill Curtis, Author Of How To Get Married … Again (A Guide To Second Weddings)
“Your concerns and misgivings are certainly understandable. Grief is an enduring emotion that will be a part of your relationship together for years to come. My mother died over 25 years ago, and there are certain days and anniversaries that get to my father as if it was just yesterday.
And, I’ve also experienced this from the standpoint of a second wife to a man whose wife is still alive and who left him with a lot of pain and grief in the process.
My husband used to call me by his ex wife’s name whenever I’d remind him of something she used to do. After I’d get over my initial reaction of shock and hurt, I could then be with him and be curious about what I did that reminded him of her, and what it was like when he was with her. By choosing to understand him and what his loss was like for him, what he missed (and what he didn’t), we got closer and more connected. By not needing him to be different than who he was, I got to show him that I loved him completely, no matter what he called me (within reason, of course).
You may want to acknowledge and own the fact that you’re getting confused by his continued connection with his dead wife, and that you’d like to understand what it is like for him to be present, loving you, while missing her and loving her.
Do your best not to take his feelings for her personally, as some sort of reflection about how he feels about you. Just be with him, and focus on what you are grateful for with him. Most of all, be grateful that you are alive together and that you know how important it is to not take any moment for granted. You both know how precious life is, and what a gift you have to share it together.” – Emily Bouchard, Author, “Conquering Conflict: Techniques And Strategies For Resolving Blended Family Conflict