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Tuesday, June 11, 2019

6 Ways to Support Your Widowed Girlfriend or Boyfriend

What can you do to support your widowed girlfriend or boyfriend

In this article, we give you six ways you can understand and support your Widowed Girlfriend or Boyfriend. We hope it helps you see us a bit differently, and gives you the tools you need to navigate our world.

Photo by Gregory Hayes on Unsplash

6 Ways to Support Your Widowed Girlfriend or Boyfriend

Here's what you need to know about us widow(er)s... we're different. We are simultaneously grieving the past and pushing ourselves forward into this new life that was forced upon us. We want to pursue you while honoring the past. Here's what you need to know and what you can do.

Allow us to feel guilty

There are many firsts after our spouse died when it comes to a new partner in our lives. Among others, there is the first date, first kiss, first time sleeping with and first time developing feelings for someone else. There’s a good chance that we will experience feelings of guilt around the time that any of these things happen. The reason is that we did not divorce our spouse and we didn’t choose to be single. They died, which means that we still loved them very much and still wanted to grow old with them. At first, we may feel as though we are cheating on them, or we may be upset that the only reason this is happening is that our love has died. You can help us through these times by allowing us to feel the guilt and offering your kind words. Embrace us in a hug and remind us that it is understandable that we would feel this way and that you are here for us and we can talk about these feelings with you.

Expect us to worry

Depending on how our spouse died, we will probably worry about that with you. If our spouse died from a heart attack for instance, and you experience any heart-related issues, you should expect us to worry and maybe even panic. This is because we know the life-shattering pain of losing a spouse and we are afraid that it can happen to you as well. No matter their cause of death, you should expect us to worry. Don’t ever disregard this or push us away because of it. We are worried because we have feelings for you and want to keep you in our life. Allow us to express our worry to you and find ways to help us to overcome it for the moment. You probably won’t cure us of it for the future, but for this moment you can help to calm us.

Expect us to love hard

Once we get to a point where we care deeply for you and begin to fall in love with you, it’s important to expect us to love you deeply. We know all too well how fragile and short life can be. We know the guilt of taking someone for granted and not always expressing the love in our heart. Because of this, there’s a good chance that we will love you like you’ve never experienced unless you’ve dated a widow in the past.

Embrace our spouse

Depending on how long it’s been since our spouse passed away, we will have some of their belongings in our home. We aren’t going to clear them out until we are ready to do so, not because someone else wants us t ho. When you’re in our home and see these things, we want you to respect them. Look at the pictures we have on the wall and ask about our previous life. Notice the urn and tell us how you think it was a beautiful choice and tell us how you’re sorry that we have to live with the pain. Don’t obsess over the items in the house, and don’t be jealous of them. If you pick something up and we say it belongs to our spouse, put it down and say that you respect that and don’t want to mess with it.

Don’t be jealous

Along the lines of jealousy toward our spouse’s belongings, also don’t be jealous of our spouse. We still love our spouse, but you already know that based on how we talk about them and we need you to respect that love. It’s easy to almost idolize a loved one who has died, and that may be intimidating for you. We don’t want you to think that we can’t love you with the same ferocity, and we don’t want you to think that they were the perfect person either. In order to honor our spouse, we are more likely to tell the good stories than bad ones, therefore it looks like everything was perfect all the time.

We can be super awkward

Some of us widows were married for a decade or more, and some were not so established in marriage before our spouse died. The commonality between us all is that our love lives were set. We never needed to date again and we were able to be goofy and comfortable with our partner because they were ours forever. Now in the dating world sometimes it seems as though we wear a sign on our forehead saying, “Hi, I’m new here!” We forgot how to act and what to talk about on the first few dates, and we have the ability to turn any conversation grim very quickly. “I loved that movie, too! My husband and I saw it at the theater and then a week later he died.”


Thank you for spending time with us today.

We hope this helps you either process your own grief or understand those in your life going through it. Please check out our Resources page for more articles and some links to the tools we've found helpful. For more about who we are, click About Us.

Adrianne and Darrell, fellow Widows/Widowers