When I see all the stress, anxiety, and problems caused by social media when it comes to dating a widower, it makes me glad that Facebook, Twitter, and similar sites didn’t exist when my late wife died. I didn’t have to figure out what to do with the late wife’s Facebook page and Marathon Girl didn’t have deal with reading “I miss Krista” comments being posted on my timeline by others when wedding anniversaries, her birthday, and other occasions rolled around.
Since this has become an increasing issue in my inbox and the Dating a Widower Facebook group, here are some general guidelines for GOWs, WOWs, and widowers when it comes to social media that can help strengthen your current relationship instead of killing it.
- If you’re going to keep the late wife’s Facebook page active after you start a serious relationship, please don’t turn it into some sort of online shrine that you need to comment on and update all the time. It’s just as bad, if not worse, as having a shrine in your house. Please consider disabling comments or posts on it. She’s not around to read those messages anymore. Keeping her memory alive in your heart is one thing. Constantly telling the world (and your girlfriend or wife who see these posts) how much you miss her is a sign you’re not ready to move on and start a new life.
- If you have a photo of you and the late wife posted as your avatar, replace it with one of you or one of you and your girlfriend.
- Don’t be afraid to change your profile from “widowed” to “In a Relationship.” Don’t leave it as “married” to the late wife. That just looks bad when you’re dating someone else.
- Remember that unless you’re posting in a private form, your comments can be seen by all. If you feel the dying need to post something about the late wife, ask yourself if it’s something you’d say or tell your girlfriend or wife. If not, why on earth are you posting it?
- Take control of your Facebook or other social media pages. Don’t be afraid to delete posts or comments or block users that are going to cause problems with your new relationship.
For GOWs and WOWs:
- It’s easy to misinterpret intentions online. Just because a friend or family member says something about the late wife on a social media site doesn’t mean that person is out to sabotage your relationship. Odds are their intentions are innocent though they might they might border on insensitive.
- If the widower posts or says something about the late wife on a social media site that causes you to worry about where is heart is, don’t stew over it and try to figure out some secret meeting. Either pick up the phone and give him a call or talk to him about it next time you see him. Don’t turn a molehill into a mountain. Most of the time no harm or offense was intended.
- If you feel that time social media is coming between you and the W or that he’s spending to much time memorializing the late wife, please talk to him about it and work out a solution instead of letting things build up until they reach a breaking point. You’ve got to learn to talk about these issues before you get too serious.
For Widowers, GOWs, and WOWs:
As fun as Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites can be (and yes, they are a lot of fun), they’re not a great way to grow and nurture relationships. Please spend more face-to-face time with people instead of online time with them. There’s less of a chance for misunderstandings or other problems that way.