If you dated someone and lived together, built family and had kids for e.g. 10 years or more, but you weren't married, they weren't your spouse, what does that make you when they pass away?

Definition on Wikipedia says:

A widow is a woman whose spouse has died and a widower is a man whose spouse has died.

I'm a foreigner and I can't figure this out, what is the correct word, is it still widow/widower?


1 Answer 1


You are not a widow or widower, because you were not married.

You are bereaved (verb) or “the bereaved” (noun).


  • So if someone say 'I'm a widow/widower', you don't really say 'I'm a bereaver'? Commented Aug 14, 2020 at 11:12
  • Widows and widowers are also bereaved, or the bereaved, at least for a while. Commented Aug 14, 2020 at 16:21
  • Sure, they’re bereaved too. Some of them. They’re also called bereaved in press accounts and funeral and memorial services, whether or not they are bereaved.
    – Xanne
    Commented Aug 14, 2020 at 16:58
  • @user3108268 No, you don’t say I’m a bereaver. You say he/she was a dear friend and I’m very sad, and I will miss him/her greatly. You could say “We were partners” or “partners in life.”
    – Xanne
    Commented Aug 14, 2020 at 17:07

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