There can be so many reasons a person ends up moving into a widow’s home. Maybe you’ve just married one (or are seriously dating them), or maybe you’re supporting them while they grieve.
Chances are, no matter who you are or your reasons for moving in, you’ll need to tread a little carefully around certain topics. The topic of a deceased partner can be difficult – and it can be challenging for a widow to welcome someone new into a space that used to be shared with their deceased partner.
So, without further ado, here are our top 5 tips when living in a widow’s house:
Respect their space, and give them time to heal
Depending on how much time has passed, it’s possible that the widow will have photos, artwork, clothing and belongings of the deceased in their home. While this might make you feel uncomfortable (it’s totally normal to feel uneasy about this, by the way), it’s important you allow them to grieve in whatever way feels right for them, never pushing them to get rid of their partner’s belongings. Patience and understanding is key here.
Talk to them, and have open conversations
It sounds obvious, but we often actually forget to have open conversations with one another, especially around serious or sad topics. If you’re nervous about moving in or want to make sure you both have the same expectations of each other – chat to them, and be honest. Chances are, they’ll want to speak to you about all-things ‘moving in’ and ‘boundaries’, too.
Create your own identity, separate to theirs
It’s important to keep living your own, independent life, even if you’ve just moved in with a widow (permanently or temporarily). While it’s important to somewhat revolve your day-to-day around the other person, it’s also important to retain your independence and keep living your life in the way you used to prior to moving in.
Keep exercising, socialising, working and practising your hobbies – and try and ensure they know they can do the same, too. You don’t have to be tied to the hip (and you shouldn’t have to completely change your lifestyle) simply because you’re living with them.
Create new memories with them
It’s possible that the widow’s home is also home to many memories and moments they shared with their deceased partner, so creating new traditions with them could be a great way to connect and help them slowly rebuild their life. We’d even recommend trying to incorporate new activities and rituals into your day-to-day life, allowing you to create new shared routines and happier memories.
Some examples might include:
- Starting a new DIY project, like growing a veggie patch or painting some artwork to hang around the home.
Going for a walk every afternoon around the same time.
- Grabbing a coffee at the local cafe every Sunday morning, and reading the newspaper while you sip on your favourite brew.
- Set a cooking challenge to complete together, like making a new type of soup or cake every Wednesday night.
- Start a new TV show together.
Invite friends and family over
Making the house truly feel like a ‘home’ is important for both you and the widow you’re living with. If their grief is recent, they might not have invited many friends or family members over – and who can blame them? Chances are, they haven’t been up to entertaining.
But if their grief isn’t recent, and the home just feels a little quiet, it might be worth inviting your own friends and family over to check out the place and spend some time with the two of you.
Sometimes a little social activity is all you need to feel ‘normal’, so inviting loved ones over can be a great way to boost the mood and make the place feel a little more like your home too.
As is often the case with anything grief or death-related, there’s no ‘right’ way to live with a widow. What works for some, doesn’t always work for others, and it’s important to remember that! Our biggest tip of all would be to have open conversations with each other – always – because clear communication is essential, especially when you move into someone else’s space.