19 Big Mistakes People Make After Losing a Spouse

Losing a spouse is one of life’s most tragic experiences, and when we’re overwhelmed by grief, we might make some decisions that we’ll later regret. Here are 19 mistakes people make after losing their spouse.

Isolating Themselves

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According to the National Institute of Health, nearly 70% of older widow(er)s identify loneliness as the single most difficult aspect to cope with. After losing a loved one in death, many make the mistake of isolating themselves and withdrawing from their friends and family. But this only makes the person feel more alone.

Ignoring Grief

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Another mistake that grieving people make is suppressing or avoiding the grieving process. Wise counsel from Empower Your Mind Therapy says that healing from grief can only happen when we acknowledge our grief. Suppressing feelings only makes it harder for a person to heal. 

Neglecting Spiritual Health

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The figures from Pew Research say that more than 80% of Americans older than 75 are Christians. But one mistake that people make when they grieve is to abandon their spirituality because of the demanding pressure of their new circumstances. However, it’s at this time that they need their spirituality the most.

Making Major Decisions Too Soon

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Many grieving people tend to rush into significant life decisions, such as selling a home, changing careers, or committing to a new partner. But a grieving person actually needs time to make major life changes and time to consider the best course of action from here on out. 


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According to Bare Cremation, emotional spending is a common response to grief. Spending lots of money at this time can be a distraction for those who grieve and can make them temporarily forget their pain. But overspending in this manner can have terrible financial consequences. 

Neglecting Physical Care

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When people begin grieving, they tend to ignore their self-care because they’re so wrapped up in grief. This can lead them to stop eating and exercising, stop practicing basic hygiene, and feel mentally disoriented. It’s very difficult for them to find structure in their lives. 

Putting Off Mental Care

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When people suffer a tragic loss, mental health care is essential to helping them get back on their feet again. But, according to the Mental Health Foundation, there’s a strong stigma around mental health. This stigma often prevents those who grieve from seeking the help they need. 

Financial Mismanagement

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People who grieve often struggle to make good financial decisions. When left alone to make decisions about financial matters, they may mishandle them or ignore them completely. Handling financial matters in this way can have disastrous consequences that the person will have to deal with for years to come. 

Ignoring Legal Matters

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The National Institute of Health says that the death of a loved one is recognized as one of life’s greatest stresses. Because of the overwhelming stress, many grieving people put off talking to an attorney and addressing legal matters such as transferring assets and planning for the future.

Overdoing It

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Because of the overwhelming circumstances and all the details they have to process, many grieving people overdo it by taking on too many responsibilities or commitments. Because of this, they tend to feel burned out and overworked. Delegating tasks to family members is essential at this time. 

Avoiding Future Plans

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Those who grieve often find themselves avoiding future plans because they don’t want to move on without their loved one. This can have a lot of consequences, as there are a lot of decisions to be made at this time. Those who grieve will need help in planning for the future. 

Suppressing Memories

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A person who grieves will often try to suppress the memory of their dead loved one because the memory of them is too painful. But it’s much healthier for the person to embrace and cherish these memories, as this will help them heal faster. 

Unrealistic Expectations

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The grieving process is different for everyone. Some people will begin to feel okay again after just a few months, but for others, the process will take years. Some make the mistake of comparing themselves to others who grieve and then are disappointed with their personal progress. 

Ignoring the Family’s Grief

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When someone loses their partner, they often become so overcome by grief that they can forget that the rest of the family is also suffering the same loss. They forget that the family also needs support and that this is a time for you to come together and help one another. 

Neglecting Personal Routine

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When you lose someone to death, there are so many things to do that you can forget about your own personal routine. This includes time to participate in activities you enjoy and for recreation. Getting back into a normal routine quickly can help you with the healing process. 

Relying on Social Media

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In today’s advanced technological world, it can be so easy to rely on online communication and forget that we need human contact. When people grieve, they are more reluctant to meet people in person and want to maintain communication over the phone. But this is a time when face-to-face contact is most important. 

Not Sleeping Enough

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People who grieve tend to not get enough sleep because they’re troubled at night with thoughts of their deceased partner. But this is a time when the body, more than ever, needs time to wind down and recuperate energy through sleep. Just resting, although you cannot fall asleep, is good.

Neglecting Their Environment

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People who grieve can feel at a great loss and that nothing is important anymore. This can cause them to neglect important tasks around the house. If the tasks were often taken care of by their partner, they may not know how to complete them and need help.

Setting New Goals

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Grieving people often put off making new goals as they don’t want to feel like they’re being disloyal to their mate. But those who grieve need to set goals to have fulfillment in their lives and rediscover their sense of purpose.

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