Dating as a Widow

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dating as a widow

Dating as a widow can be challenging. In this episode, Susan Ways describes her journey through grief after her husband died of cancer at 49.

Susan Ways is a podcaster, blogger and an inspirational speaker and Human Resource professional. After losing her husband to lung cancer in 2017 Susan embarked on a grief journey, which inspired her to create the Tendrils of Grief podcast. Her goal is to create a space of shared relatable stories that connect grievers together in the spirit of healing, understanding and psychological safety.

In this episode of Last First Date Radio:

  • How dating as a widow or widower is different
  • How to know you’re ready to date again
  • Should you try to replace your late spouse?
  • How to grieve after losing a spouse

EP 507: Susan Ways – Dating As a Widow

What are some unique challenges widows and widowers face when dating?

The main difference is not having an ex spouse in the picture. It’s confusing to some men, because they want to know if I was in love when he died. I have pictures of my husband, Paul, and I ask people I date how they feel about the photos. For now, they work for us as a family. 

How did you know you were ready to date again?

I wasn’t ready and dated too quickly. I had a long distance overseas relationship, and I took a trip to see him for a week. I just needed a break from the grief. I thought I was ready. 

I once went on a date with someone, and I thought, “I wish he was Paul”. I clearly wasn’t ready.

I dated someone else who was emotionally avoidant, and I was thrown into an anxious attachment style. I took some time to heal. I’m ready now to share my life.

Can (or are you trying to) replace your late spouse?

I’m not looking to replace Paul. It wouldn’t be fair to me or Paul or the man I bring into my life. I want to have a reset. Paul didn’t drink, and I couldn’t share wine tasting trips and travel with him. I want to create these things the next time around.

How did you grieve?

I started my grief process with avoidance. I had an emotional affair with a man who wasn’t sustainable. The healthier part of grieving for me was doing the work – listening to podcasts, grief counseling, therapy. I started a gratitude journal, which helped me heal more. Then, I started my podcast to help people feel understood.

I have a growth mindset. I don’t want to be stuck. We have the gift as humans to renew. Who did I want to be now when I was no longer a wife?

What would you like people to know when dating a widow(er)?

I want them to know we believe in love, and many of us are open to getting married again. Don’t mess with us. If you have a lot of issues, leave us alone. Be open and vulnerable.

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