In this study we examined the following: (1) frequencies of remarrying or becoming romantically involved for widows and widowers during the first 2 years of widowhood; (2) attitudes toward dating and remarriage among the recently widowed, and their evolution; (3) identifiable factors which predict the development of new romances, such as sex, age, income, and level of education; and (4) the psychological well-being of those widows and widowers involved in romances compared to those who were not. The San Diego Widowhood Project was a prospective study in which 249 widows and 101 widowers who were identified through San Diego County death certificates completed detailed questionnaires 2, 7, 13, 19, and 25 months after their spouses deaths. The main outcome measures for this study were marital and romance status, attitudes toward romance at several time points, demographic predictors of romance status, and self-reported measures of psychological well-being. By 25 months after the spouse’s death 61% of men and 19% of women were either remarried or involved in a new romance. Women expressed more negative feelings about forming new romantic relationships. Younger age was a predictor of becoming involved in a new romance for women, and higher monthly income and level of education were predictors for men. Greater psychological well-being was highly correlated with being remarried or in a new romance 25 months after the spouse’s death. It may be helpful for family, friends, and therapists to know that dating and remarriage are common and appear to be highly adaptive behaviors among the recently bereaved.
Schneider, D. S., Sledge, P. A., Shuchter, S. R., & Zisook, S. (1996). Dating and remarriage over the first two years of widowhood. Annals of Clinical Psychiatry, 8(2), 51-57.