start free today
I am I am looking for

You can add more detail about your gender in your profile

For your security, use the following password format:

  • At least 8 characters
  • Letters AND numbers/special characters
  • Must not be the same as your email address

Dating a Widow or a Widower – Everything You Should Know

by eharmony Editorial Team - October 18, 2021

Are you dating a widow(er) by chance or by choice? What should you do when you find yourself interested in them? Should you proceed with caution? Are you wondering if your partner is ready for a serious relationship? If you are pursuing a meaningful relationship, you should be prepared to face unique challenges. You must understand widowers and widows have an emotional need for companionship, but they need some time. Read on to get some advice and gain some wisdom that will teach you how to date a widow(er) successfully.

5 obstacles you’ll face dating a widow or widower

Of course, asking questions, listening to them, and getting to know them is essential while dating anyone. But while dating a widow(er), you should be extra sensitive to their feelings. Listed below are some typical challenges or problems while dating a widow or widower.

1. They sometimes refuse to talk about their grief

Your partner might feel blue from time to time. Allow them to express their thoughts and feelings about their loss. Grieving is a healthy sign, though the process hurts. It can be hard for a widow(er) to feel comfortable telling their story to you.

How to deal with this challenge? Be supportive and a good listener; never brush off conversations.

2. They can have emotional ups & downs

Your partner will have emotional highs and lows often. For example, even a movie can trigger their emotions and sadden them. Don’t get exasperated with them for feeling upset. These situations are a part of grieving and can occur even several years after a loss.

How to deal with this challenge? Be understanding and patient.

3. You sometimes remind them of their late spouse

When someone loses a partner, they usually idolize the lost partner and often talk about them. Try to understand the late spouse’s place in your partner’s life. He or she was a huge part of your partner’s life. But that doesn’t mean you are not.

How to deal with this challenge?  Talk about issues as they come up, how they make you feel, and how you can handle them together. Remember, this is not a competition – don’t try to be like them; do not feel offended.

4. They tend to think they’re cheating on their late spouse

For widows/ widowers, it is not easy to start a new relationship after being bereaved. They are probably wrestling with the feeling of guilt. It takes them some time to understand that it is possible to love more than one person in a lifetime.

How to deal with this challenge? Bear in mind, that things will improve when they believe ‘loving again’ is worth the effort and when they realize being with you has helped them cope.

5. It could be a rebound

You need to be cautious while giving your heart away dating a widow/ widower. Sometimes when someone loses a spouse, it is not uncommon they try to fill that void.

How to deal with this challenge?  Ensure you are not a victim of a rebound relationship. Mixed signals and uncanny closeness are the two unmistakable signs that you should be aware of.

You may face some of these challenges in your journey.  But by being a loving and caring partner, these challenges can be overcome easily.

3 Signs that confirm a widow/ widower is ready to date again

Mostly they’re not afraid of commitment. So, if you’re dating a widower/a widow, you may have found one of the best partners for a loving relationship. If you are questioning their readiness for a relationship, these signs will tell whether or not a widow or a widower is ready to date.

1. They have stopped living in the past

The clear sign: They are ready to open their hearts and won’t let old memories/ shrines come between you and them.

The truth is you cannot simply talk them into putting their past away. Grieving and coping should happen naturally and it takes time. If your partner is still having a few pictures of their deceased spouse around or occasionally talks about them, it does not mean they’re still dwelling in the past. It’s a positive sign when they are ready to talk about where your relationship is headed, and won’t let grief get in the way.

2. They pursue you consistently

When your partner says something and then follows through, it’s a great sign – it shows their loyalty and integrity.

It is obvious through their actions or words, that a widow(er) is ready for dating again. If they plan a date at least twice a month, call you often, and text in between, it only means they are exerting an effort to make the present relationship work. Consistency builds a relationship. Can you rely on your partner for your emotional needs? Be rest assured the relationship has the potential to last long.

3. They can see a future with you

They can visualize you two as a couple; they can define the relationship. This is a clear indicator that they are no longer clinging to the past.

Of course, they sometimes feel torn between honoring the memory of their spouse and pursuing their happiness, but they will gather the courage to move on. They will be open to honest communications on relationship goals and needs.

If your partner is showing any of the above signs, it is a positive indicator. Now, you just have to know some tips on dating a widow(er) and concentrate on building a meaningful relationship.

How to date a widow/ a widower successfully? 5 Essential Tips

1. Don’t rush the relationship

Allow for a period of adjustment and don’t rush decisions. Be fully aware of what you’re getting yourself into before committing anything. Always remember, their marriage didn’t end because they stopped loving each other, it was a death that made them part ways. Therefore, you can’t expect their emotions to shut off overnight. You may be eager, but give them some time to cope.

2. Be understanding, patient, and supportive

There will be times when your partner will have the desire to talk about their late spouse – be understanding. Keep in mind you’re dating a widow(er) and see it as something completely normal. If they are willing to share a few details about their marriage – allow them, show curiosity. Also, never use common platitudes to comfort them. Saying things like ‘he/she is at peace’ or ‘you should move on’ often fail to soothe feelings of grief. Respect the memory they have of their late spouse. That said, you’re in no way obligated to be their therapist.

3. Respect their grief during special occasions

You need to be considerate of their feelings. There could be times when all you can do and should do is be there and be respectful. Birthdays, anniversaries, or death anniversaries may be hard for your partner – ask them if there is anything you can do. If they want to be alone respect that. You can’t erase your partner’s memories of their deceased spouse but you can always create new memories and traditions together.

4. Accept your partner’s choice to keep their late spouse’s belongings

Your partner has the right to keep photographs or other memories of their late spouse. These belongings can be precious to them. You should never ridicule their ideas or beliefs or persuade them to discard the memories. Also, avoid interpreting these belongings as a threat to your relationship. If you have to share a space or move in together, you can always discuss it without hurting your partner’s feelings.

5. Communicate your relationship goals

There is nothing wrong with their baggage; your attitude towards them should be based on mutual understanding and trust. Widowers/ widows can make wonderful partners too – you just have to be a clear communicator.  Find that delicate balance and ask questions to your partner to know if they see a future with you. Express your needs and relationship goals.

Discuss the future when you’ve spent enough time together. Learn more about each other’s intentions. While dating a widow(er), don’t expect marriage to be the consequence of your relationship immediately.

Love is not a “one-time-only” deal – Find true love with eharmony

When you are dating a widow(er), it can also be hard to interpret the signals and a serious commitment might be too much to ask for at the start. Taking it slow is key! Dating them also requires patience and a willingness to embrace reality. Be mindful of the fact that, their loss will always have some level of presence in their life. If you are looking for someone special to date and fall in love with, try eharmony. We can help you in finding a compatible partner for a meaningful connection. Join today and find someone who matches your wavelength!

How it works

Your search for a great relationship has never been easier with groundbreaking overhaul of the eharmony you know and trust.