Love After Bereavement: It’s OK To Fall In Love Again
As a widow or widower there may come a time when living without love and romance leaves you feeling as though life has become devoid of substance and meaning. Love is an essential part of life and without it the feeling that a large part of you is unfulfilled is not something you should ignore. This is not a sentiment reserved only for young widows and widowers and nor is it something that all widows and widowers experience.
If this does happen, you shouldn’t feel guilty. Losing someone we love is one of the most difficult experiences we have to face, and learning to live without your partner can take more time for some than for others. However, after a while you may find yourself quite literally in the arms of someone new.
This can happen at any age, and if it does, enjoy the experience and make the most of every minute.
It is hoped that in time your friendship will grow and a loving bond will be established. If and when you reach that point and you find yourselves considering moving-in together, or remarriage, now is the time to give your relationship some serious thought. Dating and sharing the odd weekend away is not the same as sharing a home and it is important that you’re totally aware of the pros and cons of co-habitation with a new partner.
The following points are intended as suggestions that may not be relevant to everybody, and there will most certainly be other points that are relevant to you and your partner exclusively:
When two people move in together there will inevitably be emotional and practical baggage that has to be accounted for. Children on one or both sides of the relationship will need a lot of consideration.
Accumulated wealth will need overt discussion, especially for older couples, and official arrangements put in place in the event of the death of either one of you. One thing you don’t want in the wake of bereavement is any financially driven contention from either family. You could find yourself homeless and part of your wealth being absorbed by the family of your partner. Those with children will need to ensure detailed consideration is given regarding parental responsibilities.
If you have both put money into your new home, then you should each have your name on the lease or deeds, and a will drawn up designating whom the beneficiaries are and what they are entitled to. If one of you has three children and the other has a cat – there could be a few raised eyebrows regarding equal shares of property among the remaining family.
When setting up your home together, emotional baggage on either side is to be expected and a desire to want to know all about your partner’s past life is inevitable. However, ‘snooping’ is definitely out of the question. If you’re caught prying into the other’s personal and private possessions, this will hardly be good for your relationship. Just reverse this situation!
Maintaining a degree of independence within a relationship is important. Having your own friends and past-times can only enhance the fabric of your life together; assuming you also have mutual friends and interests as well.
Being clear about who does what around the home will mean there is no imbalance with day-to day chores. You don’t want to find yourself locked in a constant demand for DIY improvements; nor do you want to be solely responsible for the cooking and cleaning. Equal shares of running the home should be paramount. It will also allow more time for you to enjoy each other’s company.
When a marriage or ‘live in’ relationship starts to go wrong, it is often the little things that have been the cause. I had a friend who married a man she had only known for a few months. Initially, things went very well, but after a while although his feelings appeared to be the same for her, she was rapidly becoming aware that her initial affection for this man was on the wane.
She told me that she found some of his habits clumsy and annoying; small things that became unreasonably irritating when happening on a regular basis. Despite trying hard to overcome these feelings, the marriage only lasted a matter of months and then the drawn out process of divorce took over.
Often, those who are bereaved can have all sorts of unresolved emotions about the death of their partner and the more they try to ignore them, the more they tend to surface. Finding yourself enjoying another relationship can help you come to terms with these feelings and meeting others who are also bereaved could make that pathway easier to navigate.
Giving your relationship plenty of time to grow and develop before rushing into something more serious and permanent is important, and will give you the opportunity to enjoy the fun of dating and fully getting to know each other.
Get to know each other really well, and enjoy all that follows!
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