Acknowledging International Widows Day

International Widows Day raises awareness of the plight of the estimated 259 million widows around the world, over 115 million of whom live in extreme poverty and deprivation.

Widowhood can bring with it all kinds of emotional and financial hardship, but for many it is much worse. Many widows all over the world, especially those far removed from Western society, are shunned and vilified because they do not have a husband.

The first International Widows Day was launched in 2005 by Cherie Blair, the foundation’s president, and Lord Loomba, who is associated with several charitable organizations including Barnardo’s, Children in Need and OXFAM.

International Widows Day was introduced to address poverty and injustice faced by widows and their children in many countries, spotlighting the plight of widows in USA, UK, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Syria, Kenya, India, Bangladesh and South Africa.

It was officially recognized by the United Nations in 2010 and is today acknowledged each year on the 23rd of June. This is the day that Lord Loomba’s mother became a widow and is marked as a day of observance within the United Nations system.

It’s important to remember, however, that regardless of one’s country of origin or inhabitance, all women who are touched by widowhood can be subject to the same (or at least similar) emotional struggles and day-to-day challenges. This is why it is important to highlight, and place into context, the significance of organizations, which aim to enrich and enhance the lives of widows throughout every country of the world.

Let’s use today to think about the strength and fortitude exhibited by all those women who have lost their life’s partner; especially those with children. The sacrifices they have to make to support their families and the need to remain consistently strong in the face of adversity.

For more information on International Widows Day, visit The Loomba Foundation website, where you are given the opportunity to donate and also learn more about the ‘Empower a Widow’ scheme.

The Growing Popularity Of Widow Dating

Recently, we were pleased to be interviewed by DatingAdvice.com where we talked about our principles and beliefs regarding online dating and specifically, bringing widows and widowers together.

With this in mind, here are some thoughts about widows and widowers dating each other and what to expect from the experience.

Ditching The Widow’s Weeds

Once upon a time, if you were widowed it was assumed you would stay widowed. Your black dresses – or widows weeds, as they were known, were your distinguishing feature and dressing up to encourage allure and admiration from the opposite sex was an unimagined practice.

Good news then, that today widow dating is as commonplace as any other dating experience and along with divorcees and other singles, it is OK to make the first move when you happen to meet another single who takes your fancy.

Widows And Widowers Feel More Comfortable Dating Each Other

The interest in widows and widowers preferring to date each other, specifically, has brought about a sharp increase in the use of niche, online dating sites to meet this demand. Time and again we hear that widows and widowers feel more comfortable with those who have also lost a partner. Sharing a common background precludes the need to offer any specific reason as to why you are single and is also a ‘red flag’ that you might still be feeling sensitive about your loss and not wanting to discuss your recent past in any great detail at this moment.

Widow dating can also bring about a welcome relief. Getting to know someone else who has also experienced the loss of a partner and can relate to what you are going through will make those first few dates a lot easier. Sharing stories is an important part of forming new friendships and in the early stages opening up about the need to find fulfilment because you’re missing the closeness of a partner will surely resonate sympathetically with your date.

Knowing When To Move On

Making new friends and knowing when to move on will vary significantly from person to person. Moving on too soon can cause more emotional upset if someone you meet, and whom you are attracted to, chooses not to take things further. It is important to understand that everyone has their own criteria about who and what they are looking for in their next relationship, and if as a widow or widower you have decided to start dating again, you do not want to be hurt in the process for the wrong reasons.

That being said, having a reassuring arm on your back when crossing the road or a hand to hold in the cinema is a small action that brings huge comfort. Being part of a couple again can ignite wonderful feelings of ‘belonging’ for men and women and even if not long lived, for whatever reason, will make you more determined to find that special person to share your life with.

Romance And Friendship Will Eventually Follow

Not all relationships will bring romance and lasting friendship, but establishing contact with other widows and widowers will help you to recognize that you’re not alone. Young or old, it is always good to have friends of the opposite sex, even if it’s just for platonic friendship. Widow dating may sound like a scary prospect for some, but if you have patience and determination you will find who you are looking for and the romance will follow.

Beginning a New Relationship as a Widow or Widower

Although it may be second nature to hope that you might find similar qualities in a new partner to those of your late husband or wife, it’s important not to rule out the possibility that the next person in your life may well be completely different.

This doesn’t mean you won’t be sharing interests together, more that you will be exploring new ideas and aspects of your personality which will make this relationship special in its own unique way.

Making a concerted effort to learn about your new partner’s interests and hobbies and being open about your own, is one way of building upon the relationship. It might be worthwhile to be aware of your new partner’s choice of activities and consider whether they could appeal to you. Something you have previously disregarded as not being to your taste may, in actual fact, present an opportunity for you to discover new skills. This could also be a good way of gaining confidence and help to build self-esteem.

Another way of making a mutual connection could be that you explore an activity neither of you have tried before. This may well open the door to new hobbies and interests, which you can develop together. Perhaps this is the perfect opportunity for you both to begin a new chapter of self-discovery!

If you’ve reached the point in your relationship where you occasionally stay over with each other, the next step could be to plan a weekend away.

Deciding where to stay and making plans about what you will do once you get there is bound to highlight any differences in taste. This provides an opportunity for some give and take. He might prefer a large hotel; you might prefer a log cabin. He might want to take his golf clubs and you might want to take your tennis racket. How you make decisions at this time will be a real pointer as to how you get on.

Also interesting, is how you feel when being seen as a couple in public. Are you aware that he looks at other women a lot – albeit fleetingly, but annoying, none the less? Does she seem to be constantly checking her phone to talk to her friends and family? These could be character traits that will make the relationship difficult in the long term.

In any case, the important thing is to always be who you are and open to the possibilities that lay ahead. In time, the activities you take part in will teach you things not only about your new partner, but potentially about yourself too, giving you greater appreciation for the future and what life may have in store.

Five Steps To Creating Your Perfect Dating Profile

Your profile is your selling point and must deliver in a brief, but dynamic way, your best attributes and most compelling interests. Whether these interests are gardening, walking, cooking or a round of golf, don’t be reluctant to talk about them, as they are an important part of who you are and what makes you unique.

Crucial, of course, is adding a photograph. Without an image you’re not likely to attract much attention. People are always suspicious of profiles without images as they naturally suggest someone who is not fully committed to the process or is unhappy with the way they look. The real reason is much more likely to be because you are shy, of course, but potential connections will not have time to make this consideration, they will have moved on to the next profile with a photo.

Once you’re happy with your profile, you will feel more comfortable about contacting other members, as you will know you have sold yourself in a way that is true to you and therefore more likely to attract a compatible person.

Here are five recommended steps to creating your perfect profile:

1. Be True

Don’t over-sell yourself and always keep a little something back in case you want to make an impression further down the line. Something like….’I play the piano’ or ‘I’m in the process of writing a book’, will very likely add interest on a first date.

2. Photos

If possible, get a friend to take a photograph. Pictures you take yourself are unlikely to be the most flattering. A headshot, preferably whilst you’re smiling, would be perfect and if you can, a picture in an informal environment where you look comfortable.

3. Description

If you find writing about yourself difficult, write about what your passions are: i.e. your children, your hobbies, or your work. This will help to convey something of who you are. Keep it positive and try to display confidence within your text. As the saying goes ‘confidence is everything’! If being funny is part of what makes you who you are, then say something amusing. If you’re a serious kind of guy or girl then try to express this in some way.

Avoid saying too much about your assets – or lack of them. This is the Internet after all and you don’t want to attract anyone for the wrong reasons.

4. Dreams & Aspirations

It’s not always a good idea to state in too much depth what you hope your next stage in life will be. Describe future plans only loosely, suggesting you’re open-minded about what lies ahead. For example, ‘a desire to travel’, or ‘learn a new language’. Keep things in the moment and focus mainly on describing where you’re at in your life right now.

5. Say Hello!

Don’t wait to be found. Once you’re happy with your own profile, visit the profile sections regularly and if there is someone who looks and sounds promising, give them a wink, or send a brief message showing your interest. If initial contact does not prove fruitful then try again. Someone, somewhere will be waiting for someone just like you.

Being honest and genuine when creating a dating profile makes a big difference to the outcome of any potential friendship. The more people you interact with online, the more you will gain confidence and the more enthusiastic you’ll become about the possibility of dating again.

Dating as a Widower – How To Know If You’re Ready

widow and widower holding hands by the beach

Dating Again – Taking That All Important First Step

You may be having second thoughts about widower dating and wondering whether or not it is the right move for you at this moment or, indeed, ever!

Deciding you want to start dating again following bereavement is probably going to be a decision you haven’t taken lightly. Inevitably, you could be having second thoughts and feeling an element of guilt in the eyes of your late wife’s family or your children. However, these thoughts are perfectly normal and should not stop you from moving forward with your life.

You Will Know When The Time Is Right

The space between losing your life partner and your decision to date again will vary from person to person. For some widowers it will be months, but for others, a period measured in years. There are no specific rules about this and it is clearly up to the individual to know when the time is right, rather than create a timescale you consider is correct and proper.

Hopefully, there will come a time when friends, and hopefully family, will realize you still have a lot to offer in a relationship and encourage you to make changes in your life. Young or not so young, you deserve to be able to share your life with someone who can give you the friendship and romance you’ve been missing.

This Is A Big Step Which Should Be Taken With Forethought

There is no doubt this is a big step and one that should be taken with plenty of forethought. Suddenly finding yourself sharing intimate moments with someone new could prove to be an emotional experience and something you had not expected. It is a hurdle you have to negotiate before moving forward and you may decide you’re not ready yet for someone else in your life.

If your date is a widow, then it’s likely she could be feeling the same! It’s important for both of you to remember this is not about finding a replacement, but seeking someone new to share your life with.

How To Meet Other Singles?

Having made this seminal decision, you will have to decide which method you’re going to choose to meet someone. If you’re an out-going type who would be comfortable in a crowd, there are pubs or bars where ‘meet-ups’ are specifically planned for those wanting to meet other singles. Look for a venue in your area, or somewhere further afield if you’d rather not bump into local singles living near to you.

Meet-up groups are also planned where singles with specific interests go along. Reflect upon your own interests and hobbies, if you have any, and look for a group where you’re likely to meet kindred spirits and shared values. You may find yourself rediscovering an avenue that you intended to pursue, but had forgotten about.

Online dating is a popular method for meeting new people whether it’s for platonic friendship or a romantic relationship. A dating site specifically for widows and widowers is ideal if you want to meet someone who can relate to your situation and you to hers. Dating a widow can be therapeutic as it will help you to accept that you’re not alone in your widowed state and both of you will be starting out from the same platform.

If you belong to a particular faith, then it’s likely there will be various activities in which you could form friendships with others who are also bereaved and share your beliefs.

Also, a pet of any kind will help to fill a space. If you have a dog, it could be instrumental in potential friendship with other single dog walkers!

Looking And Feeling Your Best

If it’s been a while since you bought any new clothes, then this is probably a good opportunity to go shopping. You don’t have to re-configure your entire wardrobe, but buying a few items, which will augment what you already have is a good start. Ensure your shoes are clean and in good shape and check to make sure your fingernails are not reflecting an afternoon spent digging in the garden or mending your car’s rear axle!

It’s Important To Be In The Right Mindset

Preparing yourself for a first date will likely be an emotionally challenging experience and may well bring about feelings of self-recrimination. But these are inevitable hurdles you must overcome. Look at the person in the mirror and congratulate yourself on coming this far. You should be proud to have arrived at this moment. Grieving for someone you loved dearly is hard and something you may have struggled with for a long time. Taking this step is a bold statement that you’re taking control of your future. Regard the date as an experiment – if you find you’re feeling uncomfortable throughout, it might only be because you’re with the wrong person. Or it could be that you’ve taken this step too soon, but don’t give up on yourself.

If you’re truly ready to share your life with someone new, it’s all about finding the right person at this moment in time, and not about finding a replacement. Once you’re absolutely sure this is what you want, you’re opening the way for some magic to happen!

Beginning a New Chapter as a Widow or Widower

Wondering How We Will Cope On Our Own

Negotiating life’s journey alone holds little allure. Looking on at other couples whose relationships have stood the test of time and who enter middle age with the prospect of retirement together, can be hard, but you can improve your potential for future happiness.

Some of us will use this time to travel, if we have the resources to do so. Taking ourselves off to previously unvisited countries and landscapes can be uplifting and beneficial in so many ways, and planning such a trip can be a useful distraction from post-bereavement blues. Being away from home can also help us reflect upon the positive aspects of our lives, and the people around us, that we take for granted.

Others will be satisfied to throw themselves into the peak of their career or family life.

Inevitably, there will be those who find themselves becoming withdrawn and experiencing loneliness and feelings of frustration, but it doesn’t have to be like this.

You Don’t Have To Be Lonely

How long it takes to come to terms with being single will be different for everyone. When it happened to me I still had two relatively young children to raise and whilst this seemed a daunting responsibility at the time, it meant that I had focus and good reason to want to keep my head above water.

Whilst some quiet time can be beneficial, it is equally important to seek out friends and family to support you while you make this transition. We all experience ups and downs and being with others who are also facing challenging times, can give you the opportunity to be supportive and encouraging.

Developing New Interests And Making New Friends

Developing new interests can be inspiring and will help you to come to terms with your situation. I went on a creative writing course, which I really enjoyed. I met some great people who shared my enthusiasm for poetry and literature. It gave me a huge sense of release to go out and mix with entirely new people and at the end of the course I had met some kindred spirits. Introducing new people into your life can be an advantage and will show those around you that you’re endeavouring to move forward.

Decide What You Want From The Next Stage Of Your Life

Eventually, it is hoped you will be able to confront your future with renewed enthusiasm and make plans that will fit in with your lifestyle and resources. Asking yourself what you want from the next stage of your life will hopefully set you on a path to feeling complete again.

Having moved into the 21st century, it is becoming increasingly common practice for people to switch careers halfway through their working lives. Setting up office space at home and working remotely, enables more people to follow a path based on creative or practical ideas they would like to develop.

Study and trying new skills could eventually help you to explore an avenue of work/business that interests you. Extra curricular study with universities is readily available and could offer the job satisfaction you had not previously enjoyed.

All these can help you to discover or rediscover aspects of yourself that you had not previously had time to explore. This will stand you in good stead for the weeks and months ahead as you develop a new outlook and perspective on life.

Finding Someone Else To Share Your Life With

There may come a time, regardless of your age, when you feel you would like to start dating again. If you’re keen to meet someone who has also lost a life partner, this is a good starting point for the basis of a future relationship. What’s more, it also means you don’t have to explain away any awkward background history, which can prove difficult to share with someone who might not be able to relate to your situation.

Finding a potential partner should not make you feel guilty. Enjoy it as a sense of fulfilment. This doesn’t mean you have forgotten your previous spouse; it’s more a case that you’re moving on, but cherishing your memories as you go.

As you enter this new chapter in your life, see it as an opportunity to grow and expand your vison for the future, building upon the experiences you’ve had so far and the possibility of dreams yet to be fulfilled.

Coming To Terms With Being A Widower

Losing a life partner is bound up not only with the love borne of friendship but also romantic love. Coming to terms with this loss, whether you’re young or old, will challenge your spirit and senses more than anything.

Statistically, women are far more likely to be widowed than men. However, the older a man gets, the greater the chance he will be widowed.

The course of bereavement for widowers will be different to that of widows. If there are young children involved the experience can be quite overwhelmingly demanding which, in some ways, is not such a bad thing. Being busy and absorbed with the running of a home and the organization of children and their daily routines will definitely help to take the mind away from feelings of loss.

Most widowed men will agree the daily demands on their spouse were far greater than they ever imagined. So much of what a woman does is a convoluted support system keeping the wheels turning in a busy household, even if it was just the two of you. This is not to undermine a man’s role, of course, as he is likely to have been supportive of his partner in many other ways. If, because of a partner’s illness, the man is previously used to the daily demands of running a home, then coping alone will come in his stride; if not with a heavy heart.

With this in mind, it’s worth noting that men tend to take on a more primary attitude to the death of a spouse as they have seen themselves as the main source of protection and support. Initially, there may be the feeling that there is no real point in carrying on other than providing the financial needs of running a home. This feeling has been described as ‘being lost without a compass’ and it may well appear to those left completely alone, that a return to work is without purpose.

In spite of the inevitable concerns on the reliability of childcare, if necessary, and the day-to-day responsibilities of running a home in the back of your mind, it will be good for you to concentrate on something else. Going back to work, especially if you really enjoy your job, will come as a welcome relief. Use this time to think about your own physical and emotional needs as well.

Anything involving exercise is a good way to enhance your mental stability. Joining a gym or sports club, for example could very likely bring you into contact with others who have experienced the loss of a partner. Comparing notes is a good way to measure your recovery. Look outside the routine you may have followed for years and see what there is on offer to broaden your horizons.

As time goes by and you find yourself settling into a different routine, you may even find you’re hankering after a relationship – even if it is only for companionship. This is nothing to feel guilty about. In fact widowers have a greater tendency to want to seek out another partner sooner than that of widows.

Dating again if you’re still relatively young may not have the same amount of foreboding than for those who are older. However, a bit of moral support from friends and family could make the exercise that much more lightweight. It could be that one of your friends will know someone who could well be an interesting proposition for you. There are, of course, many social avenues for you to investigate; or you may even want to explore the possibilities presented by online dating. It is the norm these days for people, young and not so young, to seek out friendship on dating websites. This way you can take your time and not feel pressured in any way.

When, and if you do feel ready to date again, try to think positively about the experience. Whilst there may be a bit of uncertainty to begin with, have confidence in what you have to offer. If you have enjoyed a happy relationship with your partner, then there is nothing to say you cannot enjoy the same with someone new. If it takes a while to meet that certain someone, be patient and don’t stop looking. You never know what the next chapter of your life has in store for you!

How Long Should a Widow or Widower Wait Before Dating?

For a widow or widower, the thought of dating again after losing your partner will need plenty of consideration. Having intimately shared your life with someone, and with possible plans made for the future, the prospect of finding someone else to share your life with, can feel strange and unsettling.

With this in mind, here are some useful steps to help you to work out whether you’re ready and, if so, prepare you for what’s to come:

Getting Your Life in Order

Immediately following bereavement, you and your family have to make adjustments. This can be a challenging time for a widow or widower and coming to terms with this new life state can be hard.

It is hoped, however, eventually you will come to terms with your situation and having evaluated where your future lies, you might decide you would like to meet other singles. Joining a dating website can open up your life considerably. It’s worth noting that whilst forming lasting relationships is the ideal resolution for some, making platonic friends with those who are empathetic can also be rewarding.

It’s Normal to Have Reservations

It’s understandable and quite normal to have reservations about online dating, especially for widows or widowers, who will very likely have shared a safe and secure relationship for many years. Looking for someone to fill the void is nothing to feel embarrassed or awkward about. For some, wanting to be part of a couple again is perfectly natural and dating websites exist to fulfil a need and this is to bring people together, not only for romance, but for friendship, too.

Everyone’s experience is different and there are no hard and fast criteria to make things happen quickly or more effectively. Sometimes it takes a while for the right person to come along. Taking your time and building a relationship gradually, can be a blessing and offers the opportunity to get to know someone through exchanging private messages before you commit to meeting up.

You Make Decisions in Your Own Time, So No Pressure!

Because you’re taking this step ‘remotely’, you make decisions in your own time and have no reason to feel under pressure about who to talk to and who to connect with. You will know when you feel comfortable about meeting up with someone and if you follow the recommended guidelines* about meeting up for the first time, you should be fine. Also, bear in mind the person you’re meeting is likely to be feeling as apprehensive as you are, especially if this is early days for them, too.

If you have a friend who is also widowed, you may want to encourage them to join with you. Sharing experiences is a good way of testing the water and at the very least you can compare notes.

One in Four relationships Start Online

Today, it is statistically proven that one in four relationships start online and this is second only to meeting a partner through friends. Joining an online dating community is accepting you’re ready to move on.

Some people who have used a dating website will tell you to begin with they were unsure about the process, but most will tell you that once you’ve dipped your toe in the water you will wonder why you left it for so long.

*Initially, we always recommend you make arrangements to meet up with someone during day time; for coffee, perhaps; and it goes without saying, always tell a friend or family member where you are and what you’re doing. Never disclose your address or any other personal information on a first date. It is hoped you will know when you’re comfortable enough to do this.