3 Simple Rules for Going to the Funeral of an Ex-Spouse

Divorcing someone doesn't mean that there is a lack of love between two people. Sometimes couples who deeply love each other simply cannot live together. Some couples find that letting each other go is the best thing for both parties. No matter what your relationship with your ex evolved to be, the passing of someone you once loved is inevitably painful. It is understandable if you want to go to their funeral. If your ex has passed on, here is what you need to consider before going to the funeral.

Rule #1: You Need Permission Before Attending the Funeral

Although you may trust that your ex-spouse spoke lovingly about you to others, you don't really know what was said out of anger or frustration in the aftermath of your divorce. To avoid hurting mourners' feelings and disturbing the family in their time of grief, reach out and ask permission before going to a funeral. If your ex has remarried, it is especially important to contact the widow or widower to make sure that they're okay with your attendance at the funeral.

Rule #2: You Ought to Send a Memorial Gift

If you decide to attend the funeral, first look at the obituary to see whether the family has expressed a preference for donations to a cause or memorial fund over flowers. Otherwise, unless your ex-spouse's religion indicates that flowers won't be traditional at the funeral, send a floral arrangement with a note that expresses your condolences.

Rule #3: You Should Not Offer Advice Unless Asked

Since there was probably a time when you knew your ex better than anyone, it could be extremely tempting to offer advice on the memorial. Whether your advice is simply providing feedback about a color choice at the funeral or an offhand comment about what you think should have been included in the memorial service, it is better to keep these comments to yourself. If you feel like something absolutely needs to be said, save it for another time and place. If you won't be seeing those people again, write it in a letter, but don't send it for at least a month. Give mourners their time of grief without unsolicited advice.

Finally, keep in mind that you may feel a bouquet of emotions at the funeral. This is not likely to be an easy experience, and the possible conflict between the family may add to the pressure. If you feel that you need to attend the funeral of your spouse and get no objections from the family, do so. You may find that doing so is the best way to honor your ex and the memories of your relationship that you will continue to carry with you.