This came out of the blue from my seven-year-old daughter Isabella – but then, little about our recent family life had been expected.
My children lost their mother, Carolina, to breast cancer in June 2013. When she was terminally ill, we left our house, jobs and schools and moved back to the UK from abroad.
If you are dating or planning to marry a widow or widower, here are some suggestions and thoughts to consider.
Widows dating children
Even adult children may need time to adjust to the idea of their widowed father dating again after the loss of their mother. Psychologist Phyllis Silverman suggests that the idea of mourning is not an illness from which someone can recover -- and may be a process that impacts individuals for the rest of their lives.
Let your partner know that he can talk about his deceased spouse and his feelings concerning her passing. Strive to fill a new role in the lives of your partner and his children instead of attempting to replace the wife and mother that they lost.
TALKING ABOUT A LATE SPOUSE: SHOULD YOU ASK QUESTIONS? If a couple were married at a young age, married a long time, or have children/grandchildren, it is going to be very difficult to talk about his/her life without mentioning a late spouse.
This can only be threatening to you, if you allow it to be. He or she is not coming back, so you are not going to lose your new mate to him or her. In general, when you get to know someone you want to share your past with him or her. This time it just happens to include a person that is no longer alive.
Know what to expect on anniversaries, birthdays and other days that were special to your new partner and his/her late spouse.
Being aware and understanding about another person's feelings allows you to be gracious and sensitive to your new partner.
Trying to involve yourself in their lives too quickly or too aggressively may have the adverse reaction of pushing your date away as he tries to cope with his feelings and help his children cope with theirs.
If you sense that your partner needs time alone, give him that time. Give your new partner the freedom to dictate how the relationship will progress, including when and how you will interact with his children.
Your previously prudish mother who ran background checks on your high school boyfriend (and his parents) may decide it's a good idea to invite a man she met online to fly across the country and stay at her house for two weeks.