I talk to many women and men who have been widowed later in life. Some had really satisfying relationships and others were quite unfulfilled in their marriages.  Many of these people are now in their 60s, 70s and 80s and were in one (or more than one) long-term relationship during their lives, sometimes relationships that lasted for several decades.

I have found great variability in how people feel after losing a partner or spouse later in life.  Some of the men and women I have spoken with grieve for a time and then have the desire to have the love and companionship of a new partner relationship.  They are not happy with the idea of being single for the remainder of their lives and whether their marriage was good or bad, they want to try again.

Some people want to try again because their long-term relationship was satisfying–they are optimistic about the potential for finding happiness again with a new partner.  Other people want to be in a new relationship because their marriage was not good.  They are optimistic that they can find a more satisfying partner with whom they can share the remainder of their lives.

Other people I speak with are quite certain that they are not interested in seeking a new marriage or relationship partner.  They are happier being in control of their time and living circumstances without having to compromise their needs and balance their preferences with the desires and needs of a partner.  It is refreshing to be independent and accountable only to one self and these individuals do not want to return to what they perceive as a more restrictive lifestyle. Many of these men and women say that they enjoy their own company. They find peace and contentment in solitude and spending time with friends, but do not need or want a partner.

Interestingly, these women and men make their choices for the same reasons:  some choose to be on their own because they were in an unsatisfying marriage and don’t want to risk repeating another version of that experience.  Others want to be single because their relationship was so good. These individuals feel that they have successfully experienced this part of life and have no need to do it again with another partner.

Widows and widowers make these choices for all kind of reasons and there is no good or bad to any of these choices.  The choice to find another partner fits for some people and the choice to enjoy being single fits for others.  There is nothing wrong with you for not wanting to date or have a partner. It is just one of several different life choices that men and women make after the death of their spouse.