Dating after the death or divorce of a spouse

Dating after the death or divorce of a spouse

The loss of a spouse through an unexpected death or a planned divorce is seldom easy. It can be difficult to cope with the new life the loss of a spouse brings, including living life without a partner — especially if a person has had a long marriage and grown accustomed to being part of a team. Many people don’t know the proper etiquette of dating after a divorce or when a spouse is deceased.

Once the pain of loss subsides and a person is left alone, he may once again look for the companionship of another person. At the same time, he may wonder what others may say about getting back into the dating pool. Is it too soon? Will it be good for the kids? Do you really want to try that again? Have you forgotten about (name spouse) already?

The rules have changed over the years. Did you know that it was expected for a widow to marry her deceased husband’s brother at one time in history? Many people entered a pre-determined period of mourning after a loss. Even after a divorce, individuals often thought that it was alright to date again only after a set amount of time after the marriage was dissolved. On average, people wait three years after a divorce before remarrying. The time varies after the death of a spouse.

What’s more, people who have been married before often come with emotional feelings, children & relationships with the family members of the previous spouse. Since these familial ties aren’t easily severed, newly single people often take their feelings into consideration before dating as well.

While there are no hard-set rules regarding returning to the world of dating, individuals should take a hard look at their situation.

They must be sure that they’re emotionally ready for a new relationship and not simply looking to fill the void left by the previous spouse.

It’s also important to note that love this time around may not feel the same as it did with the lost spouse. As an older and more experienced person, love may not be the thunderbolt, exciting, heart-racing experience that it was the first time around. Now it may be a slow simmer that takes time to develop.

For those who have decided to start dating, here are a few tips:

  • Talk about a former spouse when appropriate. Don’t spend every waking minute talking about what she did, or how she was better/worse at this. A new partner should know about the former, but not constantly be compared to her.
  • Mention sad times. If a certain date triggers sad memories, such as an anniversary or a birthday, be sure to mention why you could be feeling blue.
  • Be open with feelings. The death of a spouse or a divorce is a big part of you. Share your feelings whenever possible so that your new love has insight into what you’re thinking.