19 Big Mistakes People Make When Losing A Spouse

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By Jonathan Trent

Losing a spouse is one of the hardest things to go through, especially when you consider all the administrative challenges that come alongside it. Sadly, all of this hardship makes people vulnerable to making some serious mistakes when losing a spouse, just like the following 19 examples. 

Not Socializing

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After a partner dies, it can be hard to motivate yourself to get outside and meet people, but this leads to feelings of loneliness. Shockingly, the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation estimates that 162,000 Americans die each year from loneliness-related issues, so don’t make the mistake of isolating yourself.

Ignoring Grief

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Old-fashioned mindsets have brushed grief to the side in the past, resulting in people adopting a ‘get on with it’ mindset. However, losing someone so close requires a lot of mental processing, which should never be ignored; otherwise, you’ll be setting yourself up for problems further down the line.

Not Getting Finances in Order

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Understandably, it’s rather taboo to discuss finances so shortly after the death of a spouse, but it’s something that needs to be done. Getting all of your finances in order will give you one less thing to worry about, and neglecting them could cause serious problems later down the road.

Being Unaware of Income Sources

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When someone dies, they may have extra income sources that the rest of the family is unaware of, such as employer-sponsored savings or pension funds. This is why it’s important to openly discuss finances as a couple so that you can ensure that neither of you misses out.

Prioritizing Your Kids’ Finances

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While all parents will agree that the kids always come first, it’s easy to forget that you need to sort your own finances out before you treat them. This remains important when it comes to any assets you inherit; don’t hand them out too quickly, as you may leave yourself short in the future. 

Selling Assets Too Soon

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Making panicked, snap decisions is, unfortunately, a common mistake that grieving partners make after losing their spouse. The idea of holding onto property, vehicles, and other aspects of your partner’s life is tough, but sometimes, you have to let things settle before you make big decisions that you might regret.

Trusting Scammers

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The effects that grief can have on a person can be truly destructive, which scammers are, sadly, capitalizing on. According to the US Department of Homeland Security, the amount of money lost by grieving partners and vulnerable elderly people to scammers has previously exceeded $138 million in a year! 

Not Calling Social Security

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Alerting Social Security that your partner has died is one of the most important things you need to do in the aftermath of their death. This will prevent any unnecessary payments from coming out and will save you the hassle of trying to claim your spouse’s hard-earned money back.

Promising Items to Loved Ones

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Promising certain heirlooms to loved ones in the immediate aftermath of a death is not a good idea, as it can lead to family infighting. It’s best to let things settle and draft an attorney to help you hand down items to loved ones in a fair and systematic manner.

Driving Their Vehicles

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If your partner owned their car’s insurance policy, you should wait until you’ve successfully handed over all of the assets before you drive or sell it. This will avoid any issues with insurance companies and the distribution of funds you may earn from selling the vehicle.

Moving Home Immediately

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You and your partner’s home will likely feel empty and cold without them, but you shouldn’t rush to sell up and move on. This can cause major regret after you’ve processed the grief. It is recommended that you keep the house until at least a year after your partner’s death.

Giving up on Mental Health

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It’s understandable during moments of intense grief that you would feel as though there is no point in looking after your mental well-being. This isn’t uncommon; the National Library of Medicine states that around 25% of bereaved partners experience clinical depression within the first year of grief. So, remember to look after yourself.

Changing Jobs 

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The temptation to change up everything in your life after the death of a partner will be strong, as you’ll likely want to speed up the process of moving on. However, changing jobs will only put more stress and demand on your shoulders in an already tough time.

Getting a New Pet

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The loneliness of grief may prompt a decision to bring a pet into the home, which will naturally take up time, energy, and constant care. While it may seem a welcome distraction, it’s not a decision that should be taken lightly for both your and the animal’s sake. 

Canceling Cell Phones

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In a rush to sort out various administrative issues, people often cancel their deceased partner’s cell phone, turn it off, and throw it away too quickly. Don’t make that mistake–make sure you transfer all contacts, pictures, videos, and things of sentimental value before doing so.

Allowing People to Tell You How to Grieve

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No two people’s experiences of grief are the same, and there is no correct way of doing things. You should be mindful about what advice you accept, as there’ll be a lot of people trying to tell you the ‘right’ way to get over the death of a partner.

Rushing Into Dating

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After being used to having someone around every day and then having them taken away from you, the grieving mind may tell you to find someone else to fill the void. Rushing into a new relationship is a huge commitment you may not be prepared for, so it’s best to wait a while.


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TheFinancialDiet tells the tragic story of a woman who almost bankrupted herself throughout her grief. This isn’t uncommon; many people use ‘retail therapy’ as a means to cope with losing their spouse. This can lead to serious problems as debts pile up and your income source has been halved, so be careful. 

Feeling Guilty

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Finally, when your partner dies, feelings of guilt inevitably cross your mind, often completely unfounded. Maybe you blame yourself or have feelings that you never expressed. Regardless of the reason, remember: this is just part of your grief, and it isn’t your fault, so go easy on yourself.