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Friday, June 7, 2019

Dating a Widow(er): What NOT to say to your widow girlfriend (or boyfriend)!

A widow is a different breed; if you're going to date us seek understanding not comfort.

In this article, we discuss the things we Widow(er)s have actually heard from the people we've tried to date in our new life and how it made us feel.

Photo by Huy Phan on Unsplash

Things NOT to say to your widowed girlfriend/boyfriend, or you risk getting dumped

"I’m uncomfortable with your spouse’s pictures in the house."

Our spouse was our past, present, AND our future. Our love didn’t end when their life ended, and the pictures show my life as it was. It’s important for you to understand and honor the late spouse because their death is the ONLY reason you’re able to get to know this person that you clearly enjoy spending time with.

"I don’t like to see the giant urn in the living room, can you put it in a closet? "

Do you want to live in a closet? If not, then you should realize that that urn contains the last physical bits of our spouse that we will ever have. At some point in the future, we may choose to put it in a bedroom or our children’s room or on a shelf where it isn’t so much on display. However, right now isn’t that time, and you can see that by the fact that it is still where we placed it to begin with.

"You need to get rid of your spouse’s belongings and clothes so it doesn’t look like you’re still married."

We will keep as much or as little of their belongings for as long as we need. You should understand pretty quickly that there will never be a time where every item of theirs is out of the house. Grief takes time and letting go of objects is a part of that process. We are inherently capable of experiencing two different processes at the same time, so if we are enjoying your company then the process of grief and the process of getting to know you will coincide.

"I don’t like that you still cry about your spouse. We are supposed to be in a relationship but you’re stuck in the past."

Just as stated above, our processes can coincide. If we are dating you, then you should consider yourself to be lucky because our heart was shattered into a billion pieces when our spouse died. We are opening up to another person and we are probably very apprehensive about it. The best thing you can do with most widows is hold us during our tears and let us know that you’re here for us. It’s not okay that they died, and life sucks during major grief, so don’t tell us otherwise. Be here for us and support us through the moments of sheer anguish.

"You should cut ties with your spouse’s family because they’re not your family anymore and it makes me feel uncomfortable."

When we got married, their family became our family and we love them as such. Asking us to cut off communication with them will seem heartless to us because these are the people we spent the last several holidays and birthdays with. They were devastated with me and for me when my spouse died. They may even be happy for us and glad to know that we are dating you because they don’t want us to be in pain forever. Give them time if they are uneasy about meeting you. If we love them then we want you to love them as well.

Seriously... This isn't about you. Death is NOT Divorce. 

We are an entirely different breed of single and you must be seeking to understand more than to feel comforted. In time, as we are slowly open to you, we will find ways to incorporate you into our lives just like in any other relationship. In the beginning, you need to know we are probably more hurt but also more capable of appreciating love than other single groups, and you'd be lucky to have us if you can stick with the program and not get selfish.

There are many more things NOT to say to us, but the takeaway from this is that we have been hurt to an extent that we never imagined possible.

If we are dating you, then we need for you to be supportive of us and our grief. We enjoy spending our time with you and get excited to talk to you and tell you about our day, just like anyone you may date, but we have some emotional pains that won’t go away quickly. They may even make us more afraid to open up, or more hurt if you leave.

Those hurts can and will soften over time, and having the care and support from someone we trust will help that process immensely.


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