Views about how a recently widowed man or woman should ‘behave’ have been altered immeasurably over the years. Long gone are the set periods of time for mourning a spouse, and the biblical notion that a widow is obliged to marry her deceased husband’s brother has all faded from today’s modern society.
But once the searing pain of loss subsides, bereaved men and women, widows and widowers, are often uncertain about what their future holds. Friends and family may urge them to look for another partner (or encourage them to never find another mate), or your own needs may eventually have encouraged you to dip your toe into the dating pool again.
And then once a possible partner has been found the anxieties arise again. You begin to wonder about other people’s views and expectations. So are you planning a remarriage?
It is surprising how old worries may surface. Even fears of being considered unfaithful to a loved husband or wife. And yet, if you began to date again when you felt ready, and had the fortune of finding yourself in a loving relationship again, why should you not take the opportunity of a second chance at happiness?
Give Yourself Time
Of course, this time around things will be different. Anyone who has been married already comes with memories of a previous relationship. These may be loving and happy ones, or in some cases, they may be painful or bitter. So it is important to know that you have given yourself time to grieve over your loss and that you are not simply filling a void left there by the death of a life-partner.
Just because someone begins to date or thinks about remarriage, doesn’t automatically mean that they’ve forgotten about their lost love. It’s okay to move forward and outsiders shouldn’t put expectations on the one who is grieving the loss. Instead, be supportive and if you’re the one in the middle of the transition, don’t be pressured to do anything other than move at your own pace.
HuffPost had some great advice and insight on the subject of dating after the death of a loved one:
“When you begin dating, you’re starting over. Press Reset.
You’re not picking up where you left off with your significant other. Anyone you date will be a different person and it will be a different relationship. Don’t expect them to be a clone of your spouse.
The person you date will have a different set of likes and dislikes. Don’t expect them to know what foods you like or get all of your jokes. You are going to have to tell them who you are, and you are going to have to share your feelings.
You don’t have to jump into dating, even if women (or men) are pounding on your door. You can casually chat with people you find attractive and see how you feel. Date when you feel ready. Or not.”
Dating & Remarriage
Once you are ready and you feel the excitement of dipping your toes into the dating pool, do just that. You don’t have to dive right on in. Instead, go out and have fun with a friend. Start small and work your way up to bigger nights out and more serious situations.
And then, when you’re lucky enough to find someone that you connect with, you don’t have to rush to marriage either. Instead, enjoy the relationship and fun parts of a new coupling. Keep the pressure off until you feel like it’s time to move forward. Each step is one that you are allowed to resonate with.
If you have kids, then you will, I am sure, have taken the time to help them get to know your new partner. Don’t take their acceptance for granted! Depending on their ages they will have different reactions, and don’t be surprised if there is some embarrassment about mother or father falling in love and planning a wedding! Children, of almost any age, find it hard to think of a parent as having a sexual urge.
The important thing is to talk to your intended about everything: money, children, where you will live, different habits, and routines you like. And be prepared for change. Be flexible enough to know that you will need to make some compromises too. Planning a wedding after the death of a spouse may bring up some bittersweet memories – perhaps for you both. Be kind to each other, talk to each other about the past, and recognize sensitive issues. Don’t begin to fret that your partner is into comparisons, and don’t get caught in that trap yourself.
And the wedding? This site will help you to find the answers which nag away at any bride or bride-groom-to-be. ‘What size wedding?’ And, a very important question, ‘Who will give the bride away?’ Well, no one is really “given away” anymore but rather escorted down the aisle. You may find many choices with children, and perhaps grandchildren wanting the honor.
What to wear? Well, I am sure you have every confidence in your choice of what suits you, so make sure you please yourself and look your loveliest. After all, you are the bride or groom, so look to the future and celebrate your love for each other on this special day.
Consult The Experts
If you have been widowed or are a family member of a widow or widower, and you have any questions about remarriage after the death of a spouse that hasn’t been addressed on this page, then please ask the experts.