How Long Should a Widow or Widower Wait Before Remarrying?

How you’re feeling and what you want from the future

‘How long should a widow or widower wait before remarrying’, is question we are asked often. If you’ve been widowed, it is a topic which brings with it many important reasons to be introspective about how you’re feeling and what you want from the future.

Seeking a relationship to specifically help you work through your heartache is unlikely to be a solution for your grief. Far from helping you, it will not be good for the other person you have involved in your post-bereavement blues.

How long should you wait before you remarry

In general terms, a space of at least one year should elapse before considering marriage, or indeed, a romantic attachment following bereavement. Yet someone could be quietly recovering from their loss and find themselves swept off their feet within six months. This might not happen that often, but it has happened! In either case, what matters is that you feel in a stable position with regards to welcoming somebody new into your life.

When the time is right, romance will most likely present itself when you’re least expecting it and without having looked for it. Letting yourself enjoy the warmth and affection with someone new is fine; take your time and make the most of every minute. You deserve this upturn in your life!

Allowing appropriate time to grieve

Before the prospect of marriage is even brought into the equation, however, you have to be sure you have sufficiently grieved for your previous partner. While it might be easy to convince yourself you are adequately healed and ready for someone new, the reality of being in another serious relationship can stir feelings that may lie deep within you and, which have yet to be confronted.

Waiting until you’ve reached a place of balance and relative peace within your head and heart is a much better platform on which to consider dating again. Asking yourself what you want out of the next phase of your life is an important step, and you will need to give an honest appraisal about what your immediate needs and priorities are. If you rush into a new relationship without having grieved, you may make choices that are not a true reflection of what you’re really looking for.

As author and speaker Carole Brody Fleet touches upon in her book ‘Happily Even After’, “It is possible to create a new life without forgetting about your past. Treasuring the memories you shared with your previous partner and carrying their legacy forward into the next phase of your life will ultimately lead to richer and more meaningful relations.”

Moving forward with your new partner

To remarry out of a desire to fill a void left by your partner, will most likely lead to confusion and suffering further down the line. Spending time discussing the prospect of marriage and the changes it may involve will help create a clearer picture of what might be in store.

Obviously, if you feel your partner is putting pressure on you, or your friends and family are keen for you to move on, you need to speak-up and express any concerns you may have. It can be easy to get carried away and to convince yourself something is right for you, when deep down your heart may be telling you something else. Asking to be given space to work through these feelings is crucial and should ensure that you don’t make the mistake of entering into a long-term commitment against your will.

This being said, finding someone with whom you feel connected, and who understands your loss, is certainly someone worth holding on to! If they give you the space you need when significant anniversaries or dates come up, then you can be sure you’re involving yourself with somebody who genuinely loves and cares about you.

This could also mean, if you have children, especially young children, that your new partner might potentially fill the parental space left by your previous partner. While they won’t be able to completely achieve this, there’s definitely something to be said about the benefits and stability this could bring. A second marriage to someone who genuinely loves you and embraces all aspects of your life is a situation worth nurturing and treasuring.

When a widow or widower remarries, there are also important arrangements to be made about financial assets. As much as this is an area that should never get in the way of love and friendship, it’s important to approach this side of your life squarely to ensure you protect anything of lasting value to you and your family’s long-term security. Your partner’s future security is equally important and must also be considered.


Remarriage after becoming widowed is definitely not about forgetting your previous partner. Making sure you have grieved, and asking yourself what you want from the next phase of your life, as well as considering any practical needs crucial to your well-being, will allow you to come to a decision reflecting the best interests for all concerned.

Trying to imagine being married or committed to someone else will no doubt have its difficulties. If your partner is also widowed, then he/she will most likely be sharing some of your concerns. Hopefully, you will be able to talk about these anxieties and reassure each other and finally reach a happy outcome.

With or without re-marriage, enjoying a loving relationship again is something to cherish and enjoy. You will both have your own ideas about the future, and will hopefully reach a happy medium as you build a new life together.

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