New Love After Loss

For those of you who’ve been widowed and were fortunate enough to find love again, your grief has probably benefitted greatly from having a new relationship. But remarriage after the death of a spouse also comes with some unique complications. Raised eyebrows – or the expectation of them – are among the puzzling complexities of this special kind of love. Here are a few others worth studying as you prepare yourself for the next stage of your romantic life.

Judgments of Others
Children, in-laws, friends, relatives and even grief support peers may all have opinions about your new relationship. I met a widow about my age who’d been alone around the same length of time as I had but she seemed to find it shocking that I was already remarried. I felt judged in several ways. Did she think I was too weak to stay alone, not in love enough with my deceased spouse (as another widow suggested) or just a trollop? I don’t know, but I was happy and felt fortunate to find new love again and that was all I needed. The death of my spouse taught me that love was the biggest joy in life and if I could find it again, I’d be a fool not to. So would you if that’s what you want. Let your decisions be uninfluenced by the opinions of others.

To Marry or Not
Finding new love after the loss of your spouse is fortunate enough. Remarriage isn’t required to continue enjoying each other’s company. My new husband was also widowed and we both missed our happy marriages and chose to marry again. But living together, or maintaining separate homes are all good options. Whatever you decide, your commitment to your deceased spouse has already changed. He or she will always be a great love that stays with you but marriage is for the living. Imagine what you would want for your spouse had you been the one to die. Probably, you’d want happiness.

Treasured Possessions
Filling your home with the belongings of your deceased spouse is your decision when you live alone but you’ll have to reconsider how and what you keep if you’re making room in your life for someone new. My late husband made beautiful furniture and I was fortunate that my new husband also appreciated its beauty so we gladly use it in our home today. Had I wanted to keep all his clothing and personal items, he would have reasonable worry that perhaps I wasn’t ready for new love. If it’s important to you, keep it but take your partner’s feelings into consideration.

Fear it Will Happen Again
I don’t know if all widows feel this way but I admit to being haunted by the fear that I’ll be widowed again. I catch myself preparing for it in all sorts of ridiculous ways. I’ve accepted this as a kind of PTSD for the remarried widow. I have no advice for you on this point but know that if you’re also experiencing it, you’re not alone. And if that’s the price of having love in my life again, I’ll take it.

Loving Two People
I wonder if some widows and widowers worry that remarriage is a show of unfaithfulness to their deceased spouse. Love for that person will never die, and that means that when you remarry, you will be loving two people at once. It can cause feelings of disloyalty towards your living and deceased spouse but in time, you come to accept it. There is no cheating on a deceased spouse. Cherish the love you have in your life in all forms.

Most who’ve found new love agree that it diminishes grief enormously. When you’re ready to love again, welcome it. If you've found new love, how did it happen?