Love After Bereavement: Finding Love Again
Finding love again
As a widow or widower, there may come a time when living without the love and affection you once enjoyed with your partner finds you feeling empty, and that your life is without purpose.
Love is an essential part of life. Without it you may be feeling that something within you is unfulfilled and this is a sentiment you should not ignore. Falling in love is not only for the young. For widows and widowers of any age, finding love again is a possibility, and if you feel the need, you should take steps to find it.
If you do find love again, you shouldn’t feel guilty. Losing a partner can be 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 could 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, in time, your friendship will grow and a loving bond will be established. If and when you reach this 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. It’s important you are totally aware of the pros and cons of co-habitation with a new partner.
Finding love again and acknowledging that your relationship seems to be developing well should be viewed with optimism. The following points are intended as suggestions, which may not be relevant to everybody. There will most certainly be other points, relevant to you and your partner exclusively.
Moving in together
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 into 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. Either one of 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’ve both put money into your new home, then you should each have your name on the lease or deeds. A will drawn up designating the beneficiaries and what they are entitled is also important. 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 home, be clear about who does what. Equal shares of running the home should be paramount. It will also allow more time for you to enjoy just being together!
When setting up your home, emotional baggage on either side is to be expected and a desire to want to know about your partner’s past life is inevitable. However, ‘snooping’ is definitely out of the question. If you’re constantly prying into the other’s personal and private affaires, this will hardly be good for your relationship. Reverse the situation! A gradual sharing of each other’s background as you get to know each other is a far healthier option.
Understanding that either of you might want to reflect upon time spent with your deceased partner is an opportunity to share relevant experience and moments that were seminal during your life together. It could be the sadness you both shared following the loss of a pet, celebrating anniversaries or special occasions, or how you dealt with a financial crisis. Life experiences are what shape us and make us who we are.
Learning from each other
Maintaining a degree of independence within a relationship is important. Having your own friends and interests, can only enhance the fabric of your life together. Also important, is forming friendships and interests you can share.
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 she found some of his habits clumsy and annoying. Small things 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.
If you can be honest and open from the outset about any grievances within your relationship, be they great or small, this could be the glue that keeps you together in the long term.
Often, those who are bereaved can have all sorts of unresolved emotions about the death of their partner. 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. Meeting others who are also bereaved could make that pathway easier to navigate.
It’s important to give your relationship time to grow and develop before rushing into something more serious and permanent. This will give you the opportunity to enjoy the fun of dating and to fully get to know each other. Ultimately, long-term relationships and finding love again are best experienced when both parties are prepared to go one step at a time. Take the time and trouble to know what works and what doesn’t, and enjoy all that follows!
This article is part of the ‘Love After Bereavement’ series.