What is proper?


#1

What would be the proper waiting period, after a spouse dies, to start dating?

And why would you give this answer?


#2

Gosh, I think it would vary greatly depending upon the specific circumstances. For example, the age of the widow/widower, the length of the illness, if any, the personality of the widow(er), if there are any children, and their ages....

But if pressed for an answer, I would say 1 year.


#3

[quote="StJudePray4Me, post:2, topic:201320"]
Gosh, I think it would vary greatly depending upon the specific circumstances. For example, the age of the widow/widower, the length of the illness, if any, the personality of the widow(er), if there are any children, and their ages....

But if pressed for an answer, I would say 1 year.

[/quote]

Any particular reason for the year timeframe?


#4

I would think one could start dating as soon as the grieving period is over. I would say a minimum of a year, depending on several factors. If it was a long, drawn out illness with death not just expected, but welcomed by all (to end suffering), then it may be as short as six months. But that may be a little bit rare of a case. And if it was a sudden, violent death, it may take longer. But, by and large, I think a year would probably be average. The key, though, is that the surviving spouse should have gone through all the stages of grief. Otherwise, there's too much baggage, and guilt may creep into an otherwise hopeful relationship. Of course, this is just my opinion. :)


#5

I’m guessing because after a year you have your life somewhat back together and a little bit of perspective. The real danger, of course, is looking to replace that gaping hole in your heart and soul so quickly that you’re unable to really see a new person for who he or she truly is. I’m certainly that in the months after a spouse dies, there’s almost ability to get any perspective and make somewhat rational decisions about who you’re dating. But after a year passes the pain will still be there, still be fresh, but at least time brings some perspective and clears the mind somewhat.

Personally, I don’t know what I’d do. I’m just contented by the fact that men have shorter life expectancies and so I’m more likely to die before my wife.


#6

Thank you Scooby and TB, those are two thoughtfull answers!


#7

[quote="The_Bucket, post:5, topic:201320"]
I'm guessing because after a year you have your life somewhat back together and a little bit of perspective. The real danger, of course, is looking to replace that gaping hole in your heart and soul so quickly that you're unable to really see a new person for who he or she truly is. I'm certainly that in the months after a spouse dies, there's almost ability to get any perspective and make somewhat rational decisions about who you're dating. But after a year passes the pain will still be there, still be fresh, but at least time brings some perspective and clears the mind somewhat.

Personally, I don't know what I'd do. I'm just contented by the fact that men have shorter life expectancies and so I'm more likely to die before my wife.

[/quote]

Bucket, yeah, men die, on the average, about 7 years before their wives.

But you never get over her. It is a hole in your heart, but you are able to love again, because the essence of live is service. It's just different. Good, but different. It would be a mistake to try to "replace" her, because every individual is precious, unique, and totally irreplaceable. :)


#8

I think the focus should be on God and not on time. Marriage is a vocation. Dating is the process of discerning whether you have that vocation with a particular person.

If one is a widow or widower, and still feels called to the vocation of marriage, then the action taken should be to pray frequently - especially before the Blessed Sacrament - and ask God to confirm your vocation and, if that vocation is to be married, to send you your spouse. That time period could be the very next day (unlikely, but I can think of circumstances where it would be conceivable) or in ten years or even more. If you make yourself available, then God will provide for you in His time, as it His plan for your life.

In turn, it might be that through frequent and earnest prayer before Jesus that you will discover that your next vocation should be to the religious life! :eek::D:thumbsup:

God Bless,


#9

Good thread, which I hope more responses will come.

[quote="Scoobyshme, post:4, topic:201320"]
I would think one could start dating as soon as the grieving period is over. I would say a minimum of a year, depending on several factors. If it was a long, drawn out illness with death not just expected, but welcomed by all (to end suffering), then it may be as short as six months. But that may be a little bit rare of a case. And if it was a sudden, violent death, it may take longer. But, by and large, I think a year would probably be average. The key, though, is that the surviving spouse should have gone through all the stages of grief. Otherwise, there's too much baggage, and guilt may creep into an otherwise hopeful relationship. Of course, this is just my opinion. :)

[/quote]

THe whole "stages of grief" stuff is utter and complete non-sense.

There are versions of it used to describe how a terminially ill person copes with the knowledge of oncoming death somewhat described here : en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%BCbler-Ross_model. I don't think it represented my wife's attitude about death at all. She never went through a period of denial. While she did have "goals" with respect to what she wanted to live to see, it was never expressed in the form of any bargaining. She was always accepting, but at the same time went through peiods of being afraid. I don't ever remember here angry about it.

There are versions of it used to describe how people deal with the loss of a loved one, roughly covered here recover-from-grief.com/7-stages-of-grief.html. From what I have been through so far, it too is way off base. A priest, whom I have a lot of respect for, said anything on the local bookstore's shelf that is about grief is at best a waste of time and money.

I am fairly certain that the grieving period is never over. That does not mean one is unhappy or that one is not able to "move on". But waiting for the all of the baggage to be gone or the "hole to be healed" will take forever.


#10

I am an RN and worked for Hospice for a few years. We were taught, in nursing school and in Hospice training, that the Kubler-Ross description is a "model" for grieving. Some people may experience all of the "stages", some may only experience a few of them. Some may move throught the various stages in a 1-2-3 manner, while others get "stuck" in one stage for the duration of their illness or the illness of their loved one. We mostly used the model as a way to help people understand they were not "weird" or "different" for feeling the way they did.

That said, I feel that the hole in the heart made by the loss of a spouse does not go away either. It just grows scar tissue over it so that the pain is less. And the person is able to live fully after the "scar" forms. That may take a year or much more or the rest of their lifetime. One year, I feel, is an important timeframe because it allows the grieving spouse to experience all those "firsts": the First Birthday after the death, the First Wedding Anniversary after the death, the First Christmas after the death.....etc. It seems, both from personal and professional experience, important to get through all the "firsts" before entering into a new realationship.

Hope this helps. God Bless.


#11

RazzsMom, with respect to terminal illness, my experience are that none of the stages are accurately defined and even the terminology of "stage" is wrong. I suspect everyone goes through it differently, and for some, one or two of the stages may be kinda correct, but not much beyonud that.

As for you thoughts on "firsts", that is probably very good advice. Perhaps, the best I have heard on the subject. Simple and concrete. I don't think one can determine anything based on advice about being over the grief or filling a hole. But making though the "firsts" one time on your own is easy to understand.


#12

In times past, in many cultures, the mourning period was described as "a year and a day". As is often the case, I suspect it has some wisdom behind it.


#13

[quote="DCNBILL, post:3, topic:201320"]
Any particular reason for the year timeframe?

[/quote]

Others have posted more eloquently regarding the one year time frame -- I think one definitely needs a year to really begin to get your life together, to find a place of peace. Some people will of course take longer, and sadly, some may never find it.


#14

I know two men (post retirement-age) who lost their wives due to illness. Both remarried in about a year or less. They had previously casually known the women they ended up marrying.
I know two younger men who were widowed a few years ago, neither of them have married again as of yet.


#15

[quote="RazzsMom, post:10, topic:201320"]
I am an RN and worked for Hospice for a few years. We were taught, in nursing school and in Hospice training, that the Kubler-Ross description is a "model" for grieving. Some people may experience all of the "stages", some may only experience a few of them. Some may move throught the various stages in a 1-2-3 manner, while others get "stuck" in one stage for the duration of their illness or the illness of their loved one. We mostly used the model as a way to help people understand they were not "weird" or "different" for feeling the way they did.

That said, I feel that the hole in the heart made by the loss of a spouse does not go away either. It just grows scar tissue over it so that the pain is less. And the person is able to live fully after the "scar" forms. That may take a year or much more or the rest of their lifetime. One year, I feel, is an important timeframe because it allows the grieving spouse to experience all those "firsts": the First Birthday after the death, the First Wedding Anniversary after the death, the First Christmas after the death.....etc. It seems, both from personal and professional experience, important to get through all the "firsts" before entering into a new realationship.

Hope this helps. God Bless.

[/quote]

I agree about the firsts. After one year, you have been through all of the holidays, the seasons and the first anniversary of the death. Before that I think a rebound relationship may be more likely.


#16

This makes alot of sense. Thanks RazzsMom!


#17

So they both most likely started dating much less than a year after the death of their spouse. About what age were these gentlemen?


#18

IMHO it is whenever God puts the right person in their lives. However, I personally believe there should atleast be one major season of Penance (Advent or Lent) and a season of Joy and Celebration (Christmas or Easter) before dating - just as a "Martha Stewart" thing.

Now for deacons it is never as I believe depending on the Rite most of them have taken a vow of celibacy not to remarry in cases in like these and what is the point of dating except to discern marriage - but I was assuming this was hypothetical.


#19

oops, did not mean this to be misunderstood. The question was not concerning me, it is more about my ministry. Also thought it would be an interesting conversation.:thumbsup:


#20

Oh and the reason I gave my answer about one season of penance and one season of celebration is that it gives the widow/er a chance to work out the sins/perceived sins against the spouse and then the season of celebration to spend all that time around family dealing with the remember when....stories. After all that would be very uncomfortable with the new date sitting there.


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