17 Things You Shouldn’t Do Immediately After Losing a Spouse

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By Darryl Henderson

Losing a partner is one of the most difficult things that can happen to you, changing your life overnight. Unfortunately, this can lead to poor decision-making, so to help you stay on track, here are 17 things that you shouldn’t do in the immediate aftermath of losing your spouse.

Hide Your Emotions

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Grief is something you can’t ignore or run away from; it needs to be dealt with. Hiding your emotions and bottling them up so nobody can see is not a good plan of action and can lead to severe mental consequences further down the line.

Isolate Yourself

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Isolating yourself after losing a spouse is the opposite of what you should be doing, as it will lead to loneliness and a feeling that nobody wants to help you. As reported by NPR, loneliness can even increase the risk of premature death to the same levels as smoking 15 cigarettes a day!

Move House

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One of the most common mistakes that people make after losing their partner is to move out of the shared home to somewhere that doesn’t hold memories of the relationship. However, this is not a decision that should be rushed, as it could lead to regret, so process your grief first.

Not Organizing Finances

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The death of a spouse leaves the bereaved with a ton of responsibilities, many of them involving the organization of their partner’s finances. This is something that you should get sorted out as soon as possible so it isn’t hovering over your head. If you’re struggling, consider hiring an accountant to help out.

Find a New Partner

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You may be missing the companionship that your spouse offered, but you shouldn’t rush back into the dating scene looking to find love. This can put you at risk of hurting yourself and your potential partner, as well as stopping you from fully processing your loss.


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Different people have different vices that help them push through the pain of grief. Throwing money at material things that you don’t need is common but will, unfortunately, lead to financial issues if a lid is not kept over the issue. No material possessions will help you get through this; only time. 

Donating Belongings

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Having your partner’s belongings around the house can be painful when the grief is still fresh, but getting rid of them too soon can lead to an unhealthy healing process. It can also lead to feelings of intense regret once you have moved past the first stages of grief, so be warned.

Disregard Your Physical Health

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Physical health often gets disregarded when someone is trying to come to terms with the loss of their partner. The National Library of Medicine suggests that immune system imbalance is common during early bereavement, as are changes to diet and increases in drinking and smoking. Don’t let yourself go!

Make Major Life Decisions

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When you’re going through the process of bereavement, you shouldn’t be contemplating life’s major decisions. Grief impairs the ability to think with functionality and rationality, which could end up resulting in poor life choices being made and regret in the future. Just take some time to step back and process your grief.

Throwing Away Routines

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Routine is vitally important for people who have recently lost a partner as it helps to give them a purpose and reason to get up in the morning. Sadly, following a routine is unlikely to be at the top of the priority list for those going through bereavement, but it should be!

Not Investigating Income Sources

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When somebody dies, there is often a range of different income sources that go under the radar, such as pension funds and employer-sponsored savings. If you fail to do your research, you may end up missing out, which is the last thing your spouse would have wanted.

Return to Work Too Early

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After losing a spouse, you shouldn’t rush back into employment as it can heap more unnecessary stress onto an already tough situation. Unfortunately, many people use work as a coping mechanism, and more than half of employees feel pressured to return to work after losing someone, according to The Independent.

Changing Jobs

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Alternatively, there can be a temptation to change your life entirely after losing your spouse, wanting to move away from the life that you had with your partner. Much like returning to work too early, changing your job entirely will add more stress to your already tough situation, so maybe wait a while.

Turning to Addictive Substances 

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Turning to addictive substances such as drugs and alcohol is common among the bereaved and is used as a coping strategy, but it doesn’t work. It can easily turn from a temporary coping mechanism to an addiction, causing harm to your health in the long term.

Rush Through Your Grief

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Grief is not something that you can speed through; it will take time to come to terms with the fact that the person you loved is no longer with you. It’s important to remember that rushing things will only delay the inevitable, so take your time and grieve naturally.

Allow Others to Tell You How to Grieve

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Every individual’s grief is their own, and nobody can get through it for you. While you should certainly accept advice on how to cope with your loss, you should also allow yourself to grieve in a way that feels natural and acceptable for you. Don’t let anyone tell you how to grieve.

Blame Yourself

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Finally, it’s easy to attribute blame to yourself after losing a partner, even when their cause of death was completely out of your control. Don’t let this happen; as the NHS claims, these feelings can appear unexpectedly and can be powerful and overwhelming, but it’s vital to recognize that these symptoms are just a part of grief.