#254 – The special challenges of dating when you’re widowed. Part 1
You’re widowed and thinking about dating again.
Even if you’re not widowed, please follow along. We all have friends that have lost a spouse so it might be beneficial for you to read on or watch the video and get a little better understanding of what they’re going through and the challenges they face.
Dating as a widow or widower is quite different than dating as a divorce’. Some will argue that dating as a divorce’ is much harder because your ex is still around and you run the risk of seeing them or having to deal with them after your divorce.
To some extent that is true and I have experienced the frustrations of dealing with an ex. Through my experience in dealing with widows and widowers, I find they have a whole different set of problems to deal with.
Very few widows have ever told me that they were glad their spouse was gone. In fact, more have told me that they had a great marriage and overall were very happy.
There is a year of firsts.
The first year of being widowed seems to be the toughest for most people. You’re missing your mate and trying to recover emotionally and then you realize it’s your first birthday, your anniversary, and all the holidays without them.
Each time you think you’re making progress during that first year, your hit with another first. You’re invited out to be with friends and they’re all married. It feels a little awkward because you’re there alone, single.
In the beginning, the two of you shared household and family responsibilities. Now it all falls on you. You have to make all the decisions. You have to get the cars fixed, call the plumber, mow the yard, and pay the bills.
All of this on top of the grief and loneliness. It may even feel as if you are floundering or even drowning in a sea of overwhelm.
Your life has changed forever.
I know, I’m being mister obvious. Yet there are things that you’ll need to think about especially if you’re newly widowed.
From my years as a financial advisor, the worst thing to do is make any major changes in your life, especially financial ones. Just sit on your money for the first year. What seems like a logical decision today will usually be the wrong one next year.
If you have a mortgage on your home, don’t pay it off right away. If you have investments, don’t change them yet. Give yourself some time to get through the emotional fog before you make any major decisions.
All of your future plans are now up in the air. The things the two of you had planned for in your future are now up for review. Vacations, retirement, travel, and anything else you had planned for together is now different.
Financial resources need to be reviewed. Do you have enough income to retire and or maintain your present lifestyle?
Your friends and family want you to be happy.
After a period of time your friends will start to encourage you to get out and start dating again. They are very well meaning but have no clue what you’re going through.
You’ve lost the most important person in your life and they want you to start dating! My one single best piece of advice for you is DON’T DO IT. You’re not ready. Take your time to grieve and heal from this emotional trauma.
It’s not something you get over quickly. When you’re ready to date you’ll know it. When you’re ready for another relationship, you’ll know that too.
One of the hardest things to do when you feel you’re ready is to make sure your kids and the rest of your family are on board with your decision. Children…even adult children, may look at your dating as disrespect to the parent they lost.
The key is to take your time. Have conversations with your kids, your family, and even your late spouse’s family. Keep everyone in the loop and let them know how you feel and what your emotional and companionship needs are.
All of these things I’ve mentioned today, and many more, will have an impact on your dating life. It is important to take care of YOU first. You are of no use to anyone, including your family if you aren’t physically and emotionally healthy.
Take your time. There’s no urgency to make major financial decisions other than to make sure the day to day expenses are taken care of. There’s no urgency to start dating. Give yourself plenty of time to grieve and heal from the loss of your spouse.
One of the worst things you can do is to start dating to early and be emotionally vulnerable to the wrong people and wrong relationships.
I hope today’s topic is helpful. Join me next week for “What will it be like the second time around?”
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