How Long Should a Widow or Widower Wait Before Remarrying?

‘How long should a widow or widower wait before remarrying’, is a frequently asked question, bringing with it many other important reasons to be introspect.

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

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.”

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, both for yourself and your new partner. 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 forcing you, or there is pressure from friends and family to move-on and remarry, 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 to ensuring you don’t make the mistake of entering into a long-term commitment against your will.

This being said, finding somebody with whom you feel connected and who understands your loss, is certainly somebody to hold 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, your new partner can potentially fill the parental space (to a certain degree) left by your previous partner. While they won’t be able to completely fill the space left by a father or mother, there’s definitely something to be said about the benefits and stability this can bring. A second marriage to someone who genuinely loves you and embraces all aspects of your life is definitely something to nurture and which you can feel confident about.

When a widow or widower remarries, there are also important questions to be made about any financial assets you may have. As much as this is an area that should never get in the way of genuine love and connection, 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 for the next period 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 of yourself and your previous partner.

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