Sex and Dating for Widows

As a widow I have learned many things, but none more important than the things I have learned about myself. I once lived as if I had all the time in the world to get it right. I was insecure in a thousand ways and I didn’t understand what it meant to be kind to myself, to go easy on myself, and to own who I am. I have a wonderful group of young widows, they are some of my dearest friends. Most of my ladies have children and are learning to do it all. We have recently started into the discussion of dating. Some of us are dating, some of us aren’t ready yet. But all of us have agreed that there is one thing no woman, widowed or not, should have to go without… Sex.

All of us have found ourselves in a precarious situation. We were all married (whether by formal title or otherwise) and we had all been quite happy to leave the dating world behind. None of us expected to find ourselves back here, but here we are. A group of widows talking about dating and sex. This is, by the way, a conversation that I would not have expected myself to talk about publicly. Despite my writings, I am a fairly private person. But this is important. So I am talking about it. We are all human, we were all married, and all of us love our husbands and wives more than I can express right here. But we also need to live, and to our collective dismay, this means dating.

I met my husband 8 years ago, which means it has been 8 years since I have dated a new person. I am not looking forward to starting this whole thing again. The last time I dated I was 23, single, and I was just looking for a good time. Now I’m 31 and raising a small child alone. Eventually, this will complicate the dating scene when I am looking for a serious connection with someone that I want to allow my child to meet. But right now, the complication is a pretty simple one – getting a night out!

A night out without my child is not as easy as it sounds. I need to find and secure a babysitter, then I need to pay the babysitter. Nights out are not cheap! And I have only one babysitter; and she has a job, other families she sits for, and a life of her own. This means when I go out, I make sure it is worth it! It is absolutely worth going out with my girls, we have a fabulous night each time. But now I’m thinking about dating again. Dating means taking the risk that the one rare night out this month may end up a complete dud, and the babysitter costs the same no matter how my night turns out. On top of that, I don’t actually know what I’m really looking for, or what the hell I’m doing! Do I want a relationship or just a good time? Am I ok with getting hurt if I put more on the line than I should have? Can I manage to keep my expectations reasonable? Am I looking for my husband in places that I won’t find him? And what about sex? I have been married since I last had sex with a new person. I donated a kidney and had a child. I have stretch marks and scars, and I am not as small and fit as I was the last time I was out dating. And, as if that weren’t enough, I have a small child and that alone narrows the market.

I don’t have any answers about this topic. (If you do please, for the love of all that is good in the world, please share them!) I am just starting to think about all of this. I imagine that dating is hard for any single parent, but for a young widow it seems like such a big and complicated part of life. And yet, that is what it is… part of life. It is part of learning to live again. Our loves want us to be happy, and yet it feels so lonely without the ones we 0nce married and loved and dedicated our lives to. Life is for the living, so I intend to live, and play, and have fun, and be happy. I won’t be happy without my husband. Instead, I will be happy with him in my life and in my heart. But he is not in my bed anymore, and I am just as human as anyone else. So after a year and a half, I think I am ready to go out and have some fun. If I am lucky, I will eventually find someone that I will introduce to my daughter. But in the meantime; I intend to be human, have fun, and start to live again.


Published by

Becky Nolan

I a widowed mom to my young daughter. I lost my husband suddenly at the age of 29, leaving me with a one year old child to raise on my own. I live in Connecticut, where I met, married, and lost the man that I am still proud to call my husband. Every day I struggle. Every day I learn. Every day I am grateful for the time I had with him, and for the little girl he gave me before he left. I have found comfort and healing in writing. I have found purpose in sharing my story, knowing that so many others have been through it, too. Knowing that everyone has experienced loss and struggle. Words can be healing when they come from that deeply honest place within the soul. Grief is too lonely a road to walk alone, so I aim to give comfort and company on that lonely road.

20 thoughts on “Sex and Dating for Widows”

  1. Thank you so much for writing this. I’m a little over two years out, also have a young child, and after going through almost a solid year of “No, I’m never getting married/dating/etc ever again,” I’ve come to be a little more realistic. It’s really nice to know I’m not alone! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As still relatively new to all of this and working my way through my life without the man I’d spent the previous 32 years with, I still wonder if I’ll be able to live the rest of my life on my own. I never really dated as my husband was my high school sweetheart and I dread the thought of my one seeing this body naked. Yet I also do not see myself being abstinent for the rest of my life. Thank you for opening the door for discussion on this topic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I too married my first love. Married 35 years. He has been gone 4 now. I have been dumped now at 57. Not something on my bucket list. I do well on the casual meet and not casual electronic with the same person but after a year I wanted more. We had a great old fashioned “make out session ” on my couch he kissed me on the neck and has disappeared
      Now back to looking again.

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  3. Let me just say that our stories are very similar. My husband passed when I was 29 and I am currently 31. I also have a young daughter. 8 months after the passing of my husband I became very lonely and sought comfort from a man I had known since age 7. At first everything when great but he soon starting being very controlling and Jealous trying to Alienate me from my family and friends and started to micro manage me like a child (which I don’t need I’m successful at life all by myself.) any who I ended up breaking up with him and soon after that found out I was pregnant and he has since decided that he wants nothing to do with our child. I said all this to say guard your heart. Us widows have enough to worry about as is and these things can really complicate the situation really quick. Things don’t always seem as though they are, be careful about who you let in your bed and in your heart. Good luck with dating I still hope that one day I will find love again and I haven’t given up on it yet.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your story. I think it is very important to remember that we need to protect ourselves, and our hearts. There is a difference between being lonely and ready. It is important to be aware of yourself, all of yourself. Thank you so much for sharing your story and giving us all something to think about. I am glad you recognized that relationship for what it is, and I hope you find whatever it is that makes your life feel fuller and more complete.


  4. I plan on starting dating in the near future. Been a widower for 18 months. I have young children which are my charge, my reason, and what keeps me going every day. I am human but I hope to be able to follow God’s guidelines and be married before having sexual relations with a possible future wife. Less hurt for both of it does not work out. Besides the sin part of it. Choose wisely, especially if you have children. God Bless you!

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  5. Thank you for bringing this to light……
    It’s now 2 years 9 months since I lost my husband.
    I keep looking for him in places I know well I’d never found him. At 27years, I am not sure if I am just lonely or ready……..
    I keep comparing …….I hope I’ll find one maybe someday.
    Be blessed

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I was married just a month shy of 30 years. I’m five years out and he was sick two years before that. I totally relate to the stretch marks and bits of flab. On top of that I bring the complications of being, ahem, a small woman. (insert extreme blush here). That equipment hasn’t seen um, use, in 7 freaking years! Can I even do this again? (I know bicycle and all that.) If I can do that, can I manage to find someone that, ahem again, fits? All I really know is that I’ve recently found a good, joyful and giving man. We are moving as slowly as I can because SEX, at least for me, is not the be all-end all. I NEED companionship. I NEED to not be in charge some of the time. I NEED to use adult thoughts and words. I have great hopes for the future. [One concern I have and want to bring up is protect not only your heart but your assets – and that includes your children. Have we made living wills, advance directives, guardianships and got those all in place? Is there a need for a prenup to be sure your credit and any tangible assets are safe from “poaching”? Just some thoughts I’m now working through too.]

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Great thoughts! Some of which I hadn’t even considered, and I’m glad you have earmarked some of these considerations in my mind because they are, without a doubt, things that need to be thought through. And thanks for the chuckle! I am sure you will find that all moving parts fit in where they are supposed to! 😉


  7. Hi, I’ve now been widowed for 8 years, and after 5 years of being on my own a friend suggested I try online dating, which I grudgingly did.
    This gave me the platform to learn how to talk to men after so many years of not dating, find out what they wanted, the protocols of dating in this era as it had been a good decade since I had dated, and it was great to have people to chat to on those long lonely nights when the kids were tucked up in bed.
    I was lucky that I had the support of family when I started stepping out and dating again, so it was an endless supply of babysitters making themselves available in the hopes that I would no longer be a hermit.
    I have ended a relationship recently after being with a man for a couple years, and it was not because we hated each other, but rather because my needs at the time were too basic…I just wanted sex. We are still friends and talk and meet for coffee, but it had to take me that long to figure out that, I didn’t want to share my children with another person, I didn’t want to co-parent our children, have another set of in-laws, as I still have all my previous lot. I didn’t want to check my messages all the time, I wasn’t ready to compromise, I didn’t want to concern myself with the feelings of someone else, as I was only used to concerning myself with my children and our family. For me and probably him too, it seemed like I was just making up for lost time when I was celibate for 5 years, it just took 5 years for me to be ready to be intimate again.
    The point is, I thought I knew what I wanted at the time, but when I got what I wanted, ( a kind loving man that was already a good father ) I realised that it wasn’t exactly what I needed at the time. So I’m single again, though am happy to be for now, as I know what it is I want in my next relationship, whenever that may be.

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  8. I’m kinda of in a unique relationship with a guy that I’ve known since elementary school…the strange part is that he and my late husband were best buddies. I was married almost 19 years…I’m now 45 and almost 4 years out since his death. So this guy has been by my side since the first moments….he has seen me through the pits of hell and back. He is my best friend…we are very affectionate with each other…have ‘slept’ together in the same bed many times but we have not had sex. We are taking it VERY slow….by choice on both parts. He still kinda thinks of me as his buddies wife….and honestly at times so do I. I am slowly beginning to feel single instead of a widow. And I know that I don’t want to be alone for the rest of my life. He has never been married and neither of us have kids. So that’s my weird story….lol We do plan on being together until our last days….I feel like God put him in my life for a purpose. Thank you for starting this discussion!

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  9. I have been a widow for almost 4 years. After 23 years of marriage..25 years with one man. Though his ptsd he left me many years before that. A year after my mother gave me for I say I met the good, the bad and the ugly. I got lucky I thought and met Mr right. 2 years later I had to end it. Now dating again I have made stupid mistakes. I just wanted not to date anymore.
    Well I failed to always use protection…ladies please..please..get your own carry it with and I don’t care how long date.use them. Last January met a Country singer…what was I thinking. Within 2 months he was gone but he left me with HEP c. I’m old and had hysterectomy so it was failed to be diagnosed early. I’m writing this because, I’ve been there..the pressure of everyone does it…but I do love you…wanting so much it to be right. Well use protection..even if can’t get pregnant.
    Don’t be afraid to date…I am my best when I get to share my life with someone..but don’t foolishly will be ok. There is no way to tell in many things they can have. I am lucky, hopefully will recover perfectly but now I will be confident in my hell no.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you so much for writing this. December 2016 will be three years since I lost my husband. This gives me hope that maybe I will want to date again. We were married 32 years.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. It’s been almost 2 years since my husband’s death. We were together for 15 years and I have a kindergartner. A few months ago I got together with an ex-boyfriend because I too felt like sex was important! There isn’t much between us other than that. Logistically nights are too hard for either of us to manage (he’s divorced and has full custody of his kids) so we meet up during the day, when our kids are at school. I haven’t told anyone because I think people would be shocked but I’m a grown woman and touch is important. I think it’s doing me a world of good. This feels right for now and I don’t see our relationship turning into anything bigger. Plus, I don’t think I can handle solo motherhood, a career and another relationship. Of course I would love to meet a second Mr Right but that feels like a statistical improbability.

    Liked by 1 person

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