Are you getting ready to think about dating? Alternatively, maybe you’ve already put your toe in the water?

Many widowers feel quite divided at this point – between the life they had with their late spouse and the new life they’re moving toward now.

I believe it’s possible to honor your late spouse and a new love at the same time. Let’s take a look at each one of these.

How to honor the memory of your late wife

There’s a good chance that you haven’t gone through her personal items yet. For some of you, the house may look exactly as it was on the day she died. My recommendations:

  • Go through the personal items slowly. Clothing, jewelry, toiletries, medications, letters, cards, photographs, etc.
  • Take as much time as you need. It may be harder than you think to do this; you may experience lots of emotions. Sad and angry all mixed up with fond memories. It can be quite a rollercoaster.
  • For some widowers, the sorting process is easier if you include others (close friends, family, or even a professional organizer). Moreover, don’t forget that other people may appreciate receiving some of her treasures. 
  • Giving her things to a charity is also a wonderful gift to others and honors your wife’s memory. 

You might be wondering what’s appropriate to leave in the house as you enter this new chapter of your life. My recommendations:

  • It’s fine to keep a few pictures that include your wife and your children on display. This is important for your children and an honor to your marriage. I suggest displaying them in your living areas and not in your bedroom. 
  • Keeping a few precious items in a drawer or a special box is also fine. 
  • If you have a special container of her ashes, displaying this in a meaningful place is just fine. It’s very important not to create a shrine though.

How to honor a new love in your life

You will always miss your wife. She may have been your soulmate. Your best friend. Your confidant. Be aware that it’s common for widowers to feel some guilt when they begin dating. You took vows to love, cherish and be faithful to her forever and you haven’t stopped feeling that way. 

With that said, there are ways to embrace and honor a new special person:

  • It’s important not to compare a new relationship with the one you had with your wife. It will be a different love, as it should be. 
  • You will love this new person with a love that is unique to her. She deserves a love that’s based on who she is.
  • Love is like a candle – it doesn’t lose any power by lighting another. If you have more than one child, you know that loving one still permits you to love another. It’s the same thing as having multiple friends. This principle applies to a new love in your life – it will not change the love you had before.

Where are you in your widower journey? Are you finding it tricky to honor the past and the future at the same time? Do you have questions about dating? I’d love to hear from you.


Coach Christine

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