Losing a loved one can be one of the worst experiences in anyone’s life.
Finding love again can be a long, difficult process, full of bumps, trials, and setbacks, especially if your date is unsympathetic to your loss.
On the other hand, dating a widow can lead to healing, love, and companionship. While it can be tricky and tough, it can also heal a broken heart.
Here is everything you need to know about falling in love with someone who’s lost a loved one.
Widows are human just like you
Just because they’ve lost a loved one doesn’t mean widows are any different to you or me. While their life experiences might be significantly different from your own, their emotions, feelings, and need for companionship are exactly the same.
So, if you’re dating someone who’s a widow, or planning on it, try to bring your A-game.
With a little self-awareness and compassion, you could be that special person who helps them move forward. Loss can change a person forever, but that doesn’t mean they cannot love ever again.
So, it’s essential to be kind, curious, and empathetic. Even if the person you’re dating has lost someone, it doesn’t mean they can’t love again.
Like approaching any potential date, try to bring your best self, be honest, caring, and generous. Try to find out who they really are while showing them your best side.
Don’t avoid the subject
One of the key rules to dating someone who’s living with loss is to not tiptoe around the subject, pretending as if it never happened.
Being open and honest, and asking questions can be a sure way into their heart. Widows know they’re widows; don’t pretend like it’s not a big part of their life.
Another key thing to remember is that you’re not competing with their late husband (or wife if they’re a widower). Don’t feel as if you’re cheating with them somehow.
A widow looking to start dating again will be in a new place, treat them with respect and listen to what they want.
This doesn’t mean you have to bulldoze into the topic without sensitivity. Loss and grief can be some of the toughest topics of conversation.
No one’s saying it isn’t going to be tricky at times. Sure, you’ll make mistakes – but everyone’s human. If you’re nice and open, they’ll forgive you for a few learner errors.
If you think it’s a good idea, go for it. Be confident and be yourself. If you’re not compatible, it won’t take long to find out.
The most you can do is try, be sympathetic, and listen to her. You’ll know soon enough whether or not you’re new relationship will lead to something more serious.
One of the best things you can do if you’re dating a person who’s living with loss is asking lots of questions. If you don’t know, just ask!
They’ll be happy to talk about it. If not, they’ll tell you, and you can move on. Avoiding the subject will lead to awkwardness, misunderstandings, and terrible conversations.
Loss is complicated
Sometimes things will be going great. Sometimes not. Grief is messy and complicated.
Losing someone you love is one of the hardest things in life, so don’t expect everything to be nice and simple. Dating can be a messy business at the best of times. Dating a widow can be harder still.
Therefore, be patient. If they didn’t want to start a new relationship, they wouldn’t have agreed to go on a date with you.
Give them the time and space they need. Let them make the big moves and be there for them when they’re ready. Unlike traditional dating, widowed dating can be a little more complicated.
Trust me; they’ll be super impressed if you’ve done a little homework to try to understand their life. It’s not up to you to know what it feels like, but you can meet them halfway.
Dating is complicated even when death isn’t involved. Don’t assume you know all the answers. It can be hard letting go of some of the control.
However, you’ll come across way better if you let them show you and guide you instead of pretending you know what it’s like to be them.
It’s hard to be open to a new relationship after a loss. Try to make it as easy as possible for them, and they’ll love you for it.
They won’t just “get over it.”
Death isn’t something people just “get over” after a set amount of time. Trying to hurry the process or assuming they’ll snap out of missing the person is inconsiderate and misguided.
Telling them to forget their dead partner is going to destroy any chances of them loving you.
Try to learn from them about how to live with loss. It’s not about forgetting the painful past; it’s about learning to live with it.
While you can help them love again, they can help you learn about death. Ask lots of questions, give them space if and when they need it, and never tell them to get over it.
A dead spouse isn’t like having a divorce or bad breakup.
Ditching someone because you no longer love them often results in people wanting to forget the other person, distancing themselves from their painful memories, and destroying all the evidence that makes them remember them.
With a dead loved one, they’re probably not going to want to destroy all their photos, mementos, and memories.
Keeping them alive will be something you’re going to have to learn to live with. This is especially true if they had kids together or are still in touch with extended family.
Life is complicated; death even more so.
Unlike a breakup or divorce, widows might not have stopped loving the person who died.
Starting and building a relationship with someone who’s lost a loved one can mean making room for them in your life too. This means getting to know their deceased partner, not helping them forget them.
People are amazing. We have enough room in our hearts to desire more than one person. If a loved one passes away, we can still fall for someone else.
So, try to trust the person. If they’re ready and willing to go on a date with you, don’t just assume they’re “over it,” but trust they’re ready for a new chapter.
Don’t rush it
When you’re dating a widow, you’ll have to let them set the pace. Unlike other kinds of dating where both people are equally in charge, you might have to become a little more comfortable with letting them dictate the speed of things.
Even if you want to push the gas pedal all the way, sometimes pumping the brakes will help in the long run.
This is especially true if their husband died recently or if they had children together. You might feel like things are going perfectly, then a setback happens.
Instead of brushing it under the rug, give them all the time they require. Sometimes, they just need some space, so give it to them and be there with open arms when they return.
Pushing someone who’s dealing with grief can set them back and make things much worse.
Remember, you’re not trying to make them forget about the fact their partner died. You’re trying to build something new, incorporating their previous life into a new relationship full of new love.
Be prepared to give them space – emotional and physical. Even if you want to take things to the next level, sometimes it’s better to let them move things forward when they’re ready.
Trauma, pain, and grief are going to be real things that you both have to deal with. If you’re in it for love, don’t try to rush it.
Communication is key
Everyone’s different. The way people deal with grief is different for everyone.
Two people won’t necessarily move forward at the same pace. These facts can make it especially hard for someone looking for love after loss.
It’s imperative to keep your communication channels open and as clear as possible.
Every relationship is new and different, and while there are suggestions and rules of thumb (be kind, empathetic, curious, etc.), there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to widow dating.
You’re going to have to pivot, improvise, and learn on the fly. Bottling things up is a recipe for disaster.
Timelines will change, especially as they adjust to a new life and a new relationship. If you’re ever uncertain or unhappy, make sure you tell them.
Asking a painful question earlier than later can be the key to saving any relationship.
Try not to assume what the other person is thinking. As your life experiences will vary pretty widely, be as empathetic as you can, and work at your listening skills.
Let the other person tell you what they want, instead of assuming you always know what’s best.
Communication is a two-way street. Listen when they’re talking and try to onboard what they tell you. Similarly, tell them what’s on your mind.
If you’re unsure how to navigate the tricky waters of a widow date, ask them a question. Try to be kind, but more importantly, try to be honest. Ignoring your feelings will lead to more pain and misery.
Embrace friends and family
Just because they’ve lost their partner, they haven’t lost their past life. They might have children, in-laws, friends, and family of their late husband or late wife.
If you’re entering a loving relationship with them, you’re going to be introduced to every aspect of their life, not just who they are in the bedroom.
Acknowledging this earlier than later can be a great way of improving your relationship in the long run.
Pretending like the other person never existed might work for you in the short term, but it will definitely create more difficulties in the future.
If the person you’re dating had kids with their deceased partner, things can get even trickier. Their family is obviously going to compare you to the previous partner.
While you might think you’re the best thing since sliced bread, they might not want someone coming in to replace the person who’s gone.
Love can be tricky even at the best of times. You’re going to have to learn how to live with your partner’s friends and family as well as the memory of the departed.
This might mean you see their picture around the house, live with their children, and meet all their family.
It might seem easier to avoid all these tricky situations by ignoring them. However, if you do fall in love, you’re going to have to do it sooner than later.
Try to treat everyone with the same respect that you treat the widow. If you’re open, honest, kind, and compassionate, you’ll soon win them over.
If you want to build a new relationship with a widow, be respectful of the other people in her life. Ignoring them won’t make them go away. It can make you stronger, more open, and an overall better person.
Reintroducing love into people’s lives who’ve lost someone they love can be one of the most rewarding things in the world.
Don’t forget to be yourself
Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. This goes for all kinds of relationships but is particularly relevant when it’s with someone who’s lost a loved one. They’ve lost a huge part of their life; losing again might kill them.
No matter who you’re going out with, lying can destroy them. There’s a special place in hell reserved for people who lie to widows.
Pretending to be someone you’re not doesn’t help in any relationship. It gets you into all kinds of trouble as you try to keep up with the lies and maintain the facade you’ve created.
Try to show your best self on your date, but make sure it really represents who you actually are.
If you’re struggling, let them know. While you might be the one helping them overcome something difficult, that doesn’t mean that you have to be made of steel and never show any weakness ever.
We’re all human, and your partner will expect you to be one.
You don’t have to okay all the time. It’s okay for you to ask for help too. In fact, they’ll probably be glad to support you after being asked how they are ten thousand times a day.
Your job isn’t to fix their fried – it’s to help them build a new chapter full of love and life.
See Also: Signs a Widower is Ready to Move On
Frequently Asked Questions:
Dating Widows and Widowers
1. When should a widow start dating?
It’s up to the widow. While the grieving period can take anything from a few months to a few years, everyone deals with death differently.
Most people won’t start looking for a new partner within a year of their loved one’s death.
2. What to know about dating a widow?
Be kind, compassionate, empathetic, and patient.
Getting over a loss of a loved one can be one of the hardest things in the world. If you’re in it for the right reasons, you can help them along their journey.
3. Is it okay to date a widow?
Absolutely. Widows aren’t written off forever. While there are certain differences, just because they’ve lost someone doesn’t mean they’ll never love again.
4. How do you make a widow fall in love with you?
Be yourself and treat them with love and respect. You can never make someone fall in love with you.
We’re all free agents. All you can do is put your best foot forward and hope they like what they see.