Skip to main content

Loss of a Spouse or Partner

Grieving the Loss of your Partner or Spouse

The loss of a spouse or partner creates a grief with many layers. The companionship and daily routines of a core relationship are lost. The surviving partner may feel adrift and unable to manage the tasks and duties the partner used to do. The very person they would have shared their darkest moments with is now unable to provide comfort or support.

For surviving partners who were caregivers during illness, the caregiver role is lost along with the other roles in the relationship. Surviving caregiver partners often enter grief already emotionally exhausted.

When loss of a partner occurs in early adulthood, a future with the partner is lost. The surviving partner may be challenged by single-parenthood and supporting their children emotionally on their own. Loss of a partner in midlife brings financial changes, the necessity of addressing needs of teenaged or young adult children, and the loss of half a lifetime with the partner. Loss of a partner when aging can cause the surviving partner to face financial setbacks, dependency issues, and a higher risk of physical illness and social isolation.

The loss of a life partner means the loss of a companion, lover, friend, and helpmate. The one with whom was shared burdens, pleasures, decisions, and the details of daily life. One’s personal sense of self is most directly associated with that of the life partner. The death of a partner may bring significant changes in one’s identity.

Caring Connections offers grief support groups focused on the loss of a spouse or partner.