Sunday, January 15, 2006


Practical tips on remarriage in late life concern especially the case of widowhood. Grief over the loss of a former spouse, whether by death or divorce, needs to work itself out. Quick remarriage because of loneliness, economic instability, or sexual needs (rebound syndrome) may lead to negative consequences, especially when the new spouse does not live up to the former spouse's image. Any new spouse cannot be a simple replacement for the deceased, but is an individual in his or her own right with a unique personality.
In choosing a person for remarriage late in life the considerations differ somewhat from those in youth: backgrounds and tastes, habits, and values, will probably have become ingrained and approval of children may become part of the picture. Remarrying can be strongly opposed by adult children. Frequently, children view their parents as asexual creatures and therefore disapprove of any remarriage. They may also object from selfishness, overprotectiveness, jealousy, concern for inheritance, or because of their own experience of grief from loss of their parent. Because adult children often must take a responsible role following the death of a parent their own grief process may be delayed. Many problems of remarriage can be worked out by having the future partners and all their children look at the issues honestly. Most later marriages turn out to be meaningful to both parties. Perhaps success is built on the experience that older people bring to the new marriage, but the common practice of selecting a spouse from a group like one's own may also be a factor.
Deedy, J. Your Aging Parents. Chicago: The Thomas More Press, 1984.
Loewinsohn, R. J. Survival Handbook For Widows. Glenview, Ill.: AARP, 1984.


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