Losing the person, you love the most is incredibly painful. It can take years to process the grief and loss that arises from losing someone who has spent decades at your side. Everyone deals with their unique bereavement in an individual way and for many loneliness is a problem that looms large. Some widows and widowers will choose to search for a new relationship. And while every set of circumstances is different, this process can feel like a very delicate balancing act. Taking into account the feelings of not only the bereaved partner but wider family and often grown children.
The good news is that many widowed partners go on to discover satisfying and loving relationships as they move into the next phase of their life. Often meeting new partners in the modern world of online dating.We have brought together our top advice for dating after bereavement below.
Take Your Time
There is no right or wrong answer to the perfect time to start dating after bereavement but it’s key to take that step for the right reasons and at the right time for you. There is no precise formula for understanding when you will be ready to date but be kind to yourself and think carefully before proceeding.
Try Not to Compare a Date to Your Spouse
There is sometimes a temptation, often unconsciously, to ‘replace’ a lost loved one and this is a dangerous path to follow. If you find yourself drawn to people who are very similar physically and personality wise to your spouse, then you may need to rethink your dating strategy. Try to assess everyone you connect with as an individual in their own right.
It’s Normal to Feel Guilty
Starting to date again after bereavement can often lead to feelings of guilt. This is an incredibly common reaction and one you should acknowledge. It doesn’t mean that what you are doing is wrong. It is simply a step in processing the complicated feelings that come along with your loss.
If you do enter a new relationship then try not to rush. Enjoy dating and the positive emotions that come along with it. You should enjoy the process and avoid making large commitments quickly. Savour the new relationship and make sure it is a good fit for you – there is no obligation to put down new roots with the first person you date.
Don’t Treat Your Date Like a Therapist
It’s very normal to acknowledge your spouse and your bereavement in the course of a date and even to discuss issues arising from it. But beware of spending the whole date pouring out your grief. This can lead to a very unbalanced experience and can be overwhelming in the early stages of dating. Don’t hide your loss but remember a date is an exploration for both of you.
If you are taking small steps back to dating after bereavement then Over 60 Dating can help. Sign up today to start connecting with new people near you.