Dating a widow with kids

This came out of the blue from my seven-year-old daughter Isabella – but then, little about our recent family life had been expected.

My children lost their mother, Carolina, to breast cancer in June 2013. When she was terminally ill, we left our house, jobs and schools and moved back to the UK from abroad.

You might find you have difficulty sleeping or you might lose your appetite, particularly in the first weeks and months after your partner has died.

You might feel like withdrawing from friends and family, or you might feel that life has lost its meaning.

The paying sites such as Match, Zoosk and Soulmates seemed far better in terms of the quality of conversation and there was a greater level of trust, gained by the security of knowing everyone had entered credit card details.

However, the difficulties of online dating in my situation were apparent very quickly: marital status is very prominent on the sites.

And for many members who aren’t ready to face social occasions yet or who have kids tucked up in bed, it’s a comfort to know that you can turn your computer on at the end of the day and connect to a community of people who can help you through the grieving process.

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After a while, though, I realised that eventually I would have to try to fill the gaping hole and I began to think about another aspect of my situation – being single again after 14 years of marriage. One day, my daughter asked me if I was going to get a girlfriend. After a pause, she asked with a hint of excitement: "Will we get a baby brother or sister?

And this is exactly what I didn't want, and indeed an issue my wife raised towards the end of her life.

"I want you to find someone else, but only if they are good for the children," she told me.

Dealing with the loss of a spouse is bad enough, but seeing your children suffer – waking from nightmares about their mum, crying uncontrollably without warning, getting upset at school at the slightest trigger – is even worse.

Mother's Day became the most dreaded day of the year.

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