Tips for the widow who is ready to start dating again

 

 

Whether you are young woman or not; dating after the death of a spouse can be a daunting task not to mention an extremely awkward experience. It is common to have feelings of guilt and betrayal of your deceased husband. You may feel confused about whether it is actually possible to get back on the horse in the first place. What will your children make of it? Will your family and friends approve of your decision to start seeing someone else?  What about the in-laws? I’m sure they would have a mouthful to say about the situation. Lets not forget that the dating scene of course has changed tremendously from the time you and your partner were courting so you will have to literally learn what dating looks like NOW.

The bottom line is that it is not easy. Should you feel you are ready and are looking to date again, here are 7 answers to questions majority of widows ask when they want to start dating that will make sure you’re able to successfully navigate the dating waters.

1. When should I start dating?

The truth is there is really no specific time period that one should wait before dating again. It will differ from person to person. Men generally tend to move on faster than women after the death of a spouse. The process of grieving is unique to each person. Therefore, you take your time and come to terms with your loss and your own pace. Do not be driven by what others make of your progress. Make sure that it is really something that you are ready to do before jumping into it. Sometimes you might think you are ready and then after that first date realize that you really aren’t. It’s OK to take a step back and re-calibrate.

2. Am I doing this for the right reasons?

It is important to search yourself and be honest about the real reasons behind you wanting to start dating again.  Is it because you are lonely and need a companion? Are you getting pressure from your friends and other people to move on? Is it that you are looking to fill the void and emptiness left by your spouse? There are right and wrong reasons for dating and if you do it for the wrong ones in order to please society then it is bound to be a disastrous affair. No one is going to fill the void or heal the pain that you have. You have to accept that and understand where your new partner will fit in your new life.  If you do it for the right reasons then it provides you an opportunity to open up your heart again to a different and unique person and a chance to experience love in a whole new unique way from your previous experience.

3. Is it okay to talk about my late husband?

Being a widow will definitely raise questions from the man you are dating about your previous marriage and spouse. They will want to know what happened? How long you have been a widow? Did you have children? How old are they? It is okay to answer these questions and talk about your late spouse every now and then however do not go overboard. Do not spend all your time talking about your past life with him. Constantly doing so makes you look like you are not ready to move on. If that is the case then consider taking some time off the dating scene. Otherwise be genuinely interested in your date and his life. This shows that you care and also sends a message that you are willing and making steps to move on.

4. What if I make a mistake?

We have all made dating mistakes even when we were single so this is absolutely normal. It’s what you learn from your mistakes that counts. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me right? I have known my husband now for about six years, married for two yet I cannot even imagine what it would be like to start dating again. There is a certain comfort level and familiarity you have with your spouse that can work against you when you start dating. Your date is not going to know you as well and neither are you. You will have to exercise patience and adjust your expectations accordingly since this new person is nothing like your late husband and it will frustrate you sometimes.

Don’t worry about it though. If you are dating a reasonable guy they will understand where you are coming from. That said don’t repeatedly make the same mistake. Learn from them and keep it moving.

5. Why don’t people understand why I am dating again?

Not everyone will understand why you have decided to get back on the horse and quite honestly not everyone needs to understand it. What they need to do is respect your decision whether they agree with it or not. Do not allow anyone to give you a hard time because of your decision. What matters is that you are ready and you don’t need to justify that to anyone.  It is a lot harder to deal with if the people in question here mean the world to you, like your children whom may have a difficult time accepting your position. You will have to have a conversation with them about it and agree on the way forward even if that means agreeing to disagree.

6. I feel guilty. Is this normal?

Yes it is. Especially at first. You will wonder whether to take off your ring or not. You may feel like your cheating on your late husband or betraying him. You might feel weird when you bump into a friend of yours while on the date; like you have been busted. May sound cuckoo but it happens. These feelings will fade with every subsequent date you go on  so I wouldn’t worry about it too much. However if you realize that the feelings are not subsiding it could be a sign that you are not ready to date again. Take a time out and try again when you feel you are up to it.

7. What if my friends and family don’t like him?

When you introduce your new man to your friends or family they will either like him or hate him. They may not treat him very well. They may ignore his presence at family gatherings or start talking about your late husband just to tick him or you off. Of course by the time he is getting to meet the family it means that you’re both taking the relationship seriously. This means that you have to defend him. You need to talk to the involved parties privately and let them know there is a line that they should not cross. That you will not tolerate certain behavior toward your new partner. They do not have to like him but they need to respect him as the person in your life.

Being a widow should not hold you back from dating even though it can be awkward and difficult. Dating is a great way to start living again so live and enjoy your life.

What has your dating experience been like? Easy? difficult? non-existent? I would love to hear from you. Simply leave your comment or DM me.

 

Stop doing these 6 things if you want to be a good stepmom

” I want to be a good stepmom”.  This is the number one reason given by the women who walk into my office for one on one coaching sessions. They yearn to have great relationships with their stepchildren. They want to have a functional family so badly despite all the stuff that is going wrong. I have learnt from my own experience as well as that of other women that the ones who make it are the ones who stick with it despite swimming against the current. The hard headed, relentless ones who fail and pick themselves up time and again. Those are the stepmoms who reap the fruits of love and happiness and acceptance.

How can I be that woman you ask? well you have to be prepared to roll your sleeves up and go get it. It will sure as hell not be given to you by anyone. You will have to earn your stripes. The only way to do that is by changing course and tact. You have to stop the things that are holding you back in the first place. Quit doing these 6 things this year and start experiencing that change that you yearn for.

 

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Stop giving up

Step-families are not the kind of thing where you’re in today and out tomorrow when things do not go your way. Remember that they are born out of loss and everyone is subconsciously hoping that they do not have to go through another one. Purpose to check in and stay in no matter what curveballs come your way. No one is asking you to be super woman. Its absolutely human to feel hurt, drained, like giving up, to want a break or change of scenery. Do whatever you have to do to get rid of the negative thoughts and get into a better mental state to continue with your journey. Remember, those who succeed are those who stick with it.

Stop thinking you are alone in this

The stepmom journey can be a very lonely one. First of all people around you do not understand or relate to what you are going through. You might have low self esteem feeling like you don’t belong or second guessing yourself and your abilities or you may be down playing your success. All these can make you feel like you are all alone. The truth is you are not. I have always been vocal about my stepmom journey even when I felt like crawling under a rock and living there for the rest of my life. Over time I realized that the more open I was about it the more others shared their stories as well. Trust me, there are so many other women just like you and I out there who have made it. So you are not alone. Surround yourself with such people who are not ashamed of their truth. Being able to openly share your experiences also lifts the burden of perfection off your shoulders.

Stop focusing on everything you are not and start shining the light on everything you are.

At the beginning of my journey I really struggled with this one. I would think and really marinate over all the things I was not. How I was not a mom, how I was never going to give my partner his first child, basically very many family related firsts for me would not be the same for him. It bugged the hell out me and overthinking it definitely stole my joy. Then I realized what I was doing to myself and to my relationship and decided if I was going to make this work I needed to accept the things that I could not change and embrace all the Wendiness that I was bringing to the table. I am a unique individual with my own unique talents, gifts and experiences that I could share with my new family including my partner. That yes, while some things were not a first time for both of us, it was the first time he wa doing those things with me and that meant something. I embraced these truths and shifted my focus to who I was and believe me it paid off big time with my relationship with my partner and stepchildren as well.

Stop being so hard on yourself

No one ever dreams of being a stepmom. Its not on any woman’s bucket-list. Prince charming has no children. For this reason no woman who ends up as one has a blueprint for navigating this journey. You will make mistakes so don’t punish yourself for them. Learn from them and keep it moving. Remember the goal is not perfection, it’s progress.

Stop running away from your problems

Problems will not disappear simply because you have chosen to sweep them under the rug and pretend they don’t exist. Every family has its own problems, not just stepfamilies. Whatever issues arise, own them and deal with them together with your partner. Make sure you come up with a solution that works for everyone. Otherwise the more unresolved issues you pile up on your self, your marriage and your children the messier it gets later on.

Stop dwelling on the negative

You need to stop swimming in negative thoughts or keeping the company of negative people. This will only make you have a negative mindset and attitude towards everything and it will drag you down. Life is such that you have good days and you have bad days but if you choose keep a positive attitude , you accept what life throws your way and make the best out of it. Stay positive

 

 

 

 

Single moms dating single dads, are you prepared?

 

I can’t count the number of times a single mom has declared that it is easier to date a single dad than it is to date a single man especially if you are looking for a long term commitment. I always wondered is it really? Sure it’s easier to hit it off, understand each other and bond over kid-talk but when the warm fuzzy feelings die down and you now have to focus on partnering to raise a blended family is it still easy? Well I don’t think so and here is why. There are far too many issues that get overlooked and yet need to be carefully considered before taking the plunge whether you are a single mom or a single dad. If you deal with these early enough then you will be in a much better position than letting the issues creep up on you unexpectedly and creating fertile ground for serious conflict in your family. What exactly do then look out for and need to know well in advance before you take the big plunge?

 

 

It’s a complex family

Think about it, two parents, two sets of children who now have to accept and adjust to new siblings, two exes to deal with, two extended families or four if we count your exes family has close tie with the children, four homes that the children will be shuffling to and from, and that is just on the relationships side. Add on to that schools and church, visitation schedules for the other parents and finances. It’s a lot to handle not just for the couple but for their children as well. This complex dynamic needs to be addressed by the couple because it will definitely not be a seamless fit. Ask yourself the following questions;

  • What is the current custody agreement and how will you manage as a couple in future?
  • How old your children? This is important because it will alter the order of birth in your new family and the children will have a hard time adjusting. For example a child who was first born child when with the mother is now a middle child because moms new partner has an older child.
  • How are the exes involved with the children? Are they active or passive?
  • How will you handle your respective exes?
  • Where are you going to live?
  • Which schools will the children attend?
  • Child support? Who is getting it or paying for it, how much? how frequent? What does it cover?

Make sure you are the right fit

Take time to observe the relationship between you and your partner as well as between your children and his. It has to be more than just love if you want a successful long term relationship.  Ask yourself

  • Are you the right fit?
  • Do your children get along and are they OK with having new step siblings?
  • Are you  willing to share responsibility over all the children not just your own?
  • Do you intend to have children with your new partner?

Get involved at the right time

All children regardless of their age love their parents and dream of them being together again one day. Introducing someone new to them kills that dream and so it is important that your new partner gets involved at the right time. Introduce them gradually so that your children can get used to the idea of them. Get to know them better and form their own relationship at a slow pace. This also gives you time to have private chats with your children and find out what they think about the person and address any fears or concerns they might have about your new partner.

The older the children the harder and longer it will take for them to adjust

Set new boundaries

You have been raising your children now for ‘x’ number of years now. You have your own style and know whats best for them, what works and what doesn’t. All this changes when you have a new partner who is now a new parent to your children too. You will have to trust him to do right by your children and yet he has been raising his children in his own style with completely different set of boundaries. You will therefore need a new approach to parenting that is inclusive of both of you. A new set of boundaries for you and the children to live by. The boundaries are not just with regards to the children but also apply to your exes, communication with them and visitation for the children, extended family involvement, basically on every matter. You will need to operate a team and the only way to do that is by playing by the same rules. Make time to come up with your new family rules.

Couple time

Your blended family will only be as strong as your couple’s relationship. Its easy for couple time to be sucked up by parenting duties. Too much time spent on making sure the home is running smoothly and that there is peace and harmony among all involved. You will need to be very deliberate about setting time apart to spend with each other as a couple, away from the children. This keeps your friendship and bond strong. The stronger your relationship the more capable you are of positively driving your family onto the path of love and happiness.

Parenting Styles

This is a biggie. You need to look out for signs that that your parenting styles do not conflict. Does how you approach your own children work well on his children and vice versa. Who is the strict disciplinarian and who is the liberal? Once you have these details then sit down and discuss on what the best approach will be for all the children.

Are you single mom dating a single dad? what was your experience like and what lessons have you learnt from it? I would love to hear about it. Drop your comment below