Post # 1
…dating after the death of a spouse?
FI talked about it ages ago, my opinion is that once you have found the one, that’s it. You love them for the rest of your life, and dating someone else or being in a relationship with someone else after they are gone is disloyal to their memory, and in one way, cheating on their memory.
This view probably comes from both my grandmothers never once going on a date with another man when my grandfathers passed. My grandmother on my mother’s side lost her husband in 1970, just a few days before my mother’s 10th birthday. She has never dated. My other grandmother lost her husband in 1997, when I was 7. She hasn’t dated anyone either. FI’s surviving grandmother however has a live in boyfriend, who we jokingly refer to as her toy boy, as he is about 15 years younger than her. When the topic came up, he had a different view to me, but as he has thought about it more, he now agrees with me. Which is good, the thought of him being with someone else after I am gone really upsets me.
What is your view? If you think dating after your spouse (love of your life) dies is ok, what is a respectful time period? Please no attacking or insulting opinions of other bees.
Post # 3
@Jacqui90: My sister’s hubby died when she was 29. I would hate to think of her as being single for the rest of her life because a tragic accident claimed the life of her husband. She is now 33 (four years) and not seeing anyone seriously and I can see the effect it has on her: she married young, had two kids young and looked forward to the rest of her life in a committed relationship.
She has aged about 15 years. Poor thing.
I’d love to see her married again, committed again, happy again.
So no, out of experience I respectfully disagree. By all means live your life after your spouse passes because you only have one life and no one who loves you would want you to spend your time alone and miserable until you die.
Post # 4
One of my friends lost her husband, who was the absolute love of her life, about 2 years after they got married. He died tragically in a car accident and she had a year old daughter at the time. She met and started dating a guy around a year after he died and she unfortunately got a lot of slack for other people that she started dating too soon. I felt like a year was perfectly fine – you can’t always control when you meet someone (and she met this guy through a friend’s boyfriend).
One of my coworkers lost her husband to cancer when she was in her 60s. They had been married nearly 40 years. Since she was “older”, she started dating probably not even a year after he died. She wasn’t necessarily looking to get married again, but she wanted companionship.
I don’t think dating after your spouse dies is disloyal to their memory at all. I don’t know if I have a “respectful time period” of waiting. I guess if someone started dating immediately (like within 3 months) I might raise my eyebrow but who am I to judge?
Post # 5
I think its acceptable to be with someone after your spouse passes. My best friend’s husband lost his wife to cancer at the age of 28. He married my best friend a few years later and they now are happily married with their 2nd child on the way. I dont think you can put a “how many years is acceptable” because everyone is different. I’d want my FI to be with someone who makes him happy, not be alone for the rest of his life just because I’m gone.
Post # 6
@Jacqui90: I have no idea. And there’s always the question of who is the “second best”. If I lost my husband, dating would certainly be the last thing on my mind. But if I did unintentionally meet someone special down the road would it be worth the loneliness to disregard a relationship with them?
Post # 7
@Jacqui90: Everyone grieves differently and no one can truly say what’s a “respectful” time period for another person. I think it’s rather presumptious and smug to try to affix an appropriate time period on someone else based on my own experiences.
I honestly believe it’s one of those “you don’t know until you experience it” situations (and I would NEVER want anyone to have to find out, at the same time).
Post # 8
@Flanders: + 1 I completely agree.
@Jacqui90: Hmm..can’t really say I have thought about it much, but my first inclination would be very different from yours.
A good family friend lost her husband 3 days after their wedding in a tragic accident. She was only 28 years old. It turned out she was pregnant (found out two months later). It was a terrible time in her life. About 2 1/2 years later she met a wonderful man who accepted her and her daughter and they got married about 2 years later.
I think it would be incredibly tragic for her to not only spend her life alone from 28 til death, but for her daughter to continue to grow up with only one loving and caring parent. She lost her first love, but was very fortunate to find another.
As a future spouse of my FI, I want him to live a life filled with happiness, joy and love. While I am alive, I want him to spend his life with me. If I should pass before he does, I still want him to be happy (shouldn’t we all?). Therefore, I would never tell him that it would be upsetting if he found love again. I would want him to move on and find happiness because that to me is what life is about.
Post # 9
I’ve always kind of felt the same, but having never been in that situation I can’t judge. I think it depends on a lot of things, one of which is age. If you lose your spouse when you’re retirement age and have been married decades, that’s one thing but to lose a spouse in your 20s or 30s is another and I could absolutely understand remarrying. I can’t imagine anyone wanting a loved one to live alone without a companion for potentially 70-80 years.
Post # 10
I think it is a personal choice and I don’t think you can really know until (God forbid) you are in that situation.
My mother died at 54 from cancer. My parents had been happily married for just shy of 30 yrs. At first my father thought he’d never marry or even date again but to be honest (and this will sound very selfish on my part) his not dating was EXTREMELY hard on me. I am an only child (and only daughter) and I felt like if he didn’t date again, I’d be there to take care of him forever. I was okay with this because well in my family “that’s what you do”. But once he started dating his current fiancee, I felt more free to live my own life. I moved half way across the country, which I would have never felt good doing had my father not started seeing someone. If I hadn’t moved, I wouldn’t have met my own FI.
I understand feeling like you can’t be with someone, or love someone again like you did your spouse, after you’ve found “the one” but I think that you can love people differently during different periods in your life. My father’s love for his fiancee doesn’t diminish the 30 yrs of love and marriage he had with my mom. It’s just a different type of love.
Post # 11
@MlleFabuleux: Agree with everything you said.
It is terrible to see someone go through this; it is one of those cases when we should really not judge other people.
Post # 12
I don’t think there is a set amount of time that is appropriate. It’s going to be different for everbody and this is the kind of situation that you can’t really fully understand until you are in it. I wouldn’t want my FH to feel he had to be single for the rest of his life becuase he would be “cheating” on my memory. I’m gone, it would be unfortunate but that doesn’t mean he has to be alone forever.
Post # 13
There’s not really a time. When you meet someone and fall in love, period.
I think it is both VERY unhealthy and extremely selfish to think that you can’t date after your loved one dies.
love is selfess. why would you deny your loved one of a lifetime of happiness? and why would you deny yourself? why is it better to suffer?
Post # 14
For myself I have no idea. My brain can’t even wrap around that scenario. But for someone else, I would hope that the person makes the choice that feels right without being judged. I wouldn’t look down on someone for dating again a year or two after the passing of a spouse. Romantic love and companionship are important, and the surviving spouse shouldn’t have to completely block off that part of his or her life. I would never think to consider it disrespectful, because losing a spouse early in life (before you’re 50 or so) and remaining single forever afterwards sounds like a very sad and lonely existence to me. If I try to imagine myself dying when FI and I are 30 and him staying single forever, that mental image makes me feel very sad, like the loneliness probably only adds to the tragedy. I’m all for making healthy strides to move on emotionally from a tragedy. It doesn’t have to detract from the happy memories at all.
ETA: I guess I feel like happy memories will be there no matter what, but by choosing to remain alone forever after the tragedy, you’d be preserving the sad memories of the death and loneliness rather than the happy memories of the life you had together.
Post # 15
I don’t see how I could put an arbitrary number on it. But I imagine I likely would date again, and even potentially marry again.
I don’t buy into the idea that there’s only one person out there for you. The love and family I have with my husband is the greatest joy in my life, and losing him would break my heart. But at the same time, I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect someone to live on alone and without companionship. I wouldn’t expect him to remain alone after I died – and quite frankly, what difference would it make to *me*; I’d be dead. I don’t think it’s disrespectful to move on, and it’s not my place to judge the time it takes anyone else to move on.
Post # 16
A friend of mine passed away 2 years ago from complications following heart surgery – he was 27. He and his wife had been together for 10 years (dating and wedding combined). Their son was less than a year. I hope she doesn’t go through the rest of her life without loving another man, and I can’t imagine he would want her to be ‘alone’ forever – and believe me, these 2 were the most in love people I have ever seen.
I don’t think you can say XX is the ‘appropriate’ amount of time – everyone is different.
I also know people who have divorced and the person who was left has never dated again because they felt that the one wedding was forever