Dating after the Death of a Loved One

Losing a loved one might be one of the hardest things someone must go through. Often, death comes like a thief in the night. When this happens, your world turns upside down. Whether the person is a spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend or life partner regardless of the time together, it will affect the person left behind dramatically.  The plans and wishful thinking of spending milestones in life with each other and grow old along with probable future grandkids are gone out the window. It can be very traumatic for the partner that was left behind.

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Finding a new love and opening yourself to dating is difficult. It’s like going back to square one again. You are making yourself vulnerable to different emotions and the possibility of loss. Also, another factor to consider is the feeling of guilt and unworthiness. The widow might feel that she/he is betraying the memories of their beloved spouse as well as being unfair to the new person since he/she will be getting the broken version of you. All these feelings are normal and typical but take note that this phase will soon pass. With active support system and counseling, anybody can emotionally survive losing a loved one.

What You Should Know

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Always remember that dating is not necessary after the passing away of your spouse. Work within your timeline. There is no appropriate timeline for grieving a loved one. In the beginning, one will usually be overwhelmed with grief, loss, and sadness; thus, dating is the last thing on their mind. It varies from person to person, but when the time is right, you will know. This could happen in a few months or maybe, years after. Grief is intense and idiosyncratic, and the response of everyone varies. For older adults who spent decades with their partners, experiencing being alone for the first time might lead to depression.

Now comes the dating part, the dilemma is how open will you be with your date. Will you spill the details about being a widow/widower on the first date? Do you share with him/her information about your late spouse?

The best guideline to follow is telling the truth. Honesty doesn’t mean pouring your heart out on the first date or pointing out details of your previous relationship in your dating profile. When relationship history comes up in conversation, you should be ready to tell him/her the truth. The death of a loved one is part of who you are. Your prospect partner should know this and be able to accept that grieving your loss will not stop upon starting a relationship. Dating will not end a person from loving, missing and imagining life about their dead spouse. Due to this, it might be unavoidable to compare your relationship with your deceased partner and new love; however, stop yourself from going that route which will only create more problems for you and your new partner. It is incredibly unfair for the other person to compete or fit the missing hole in your life – because it will not happen.

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Lastly and most of all, remember that you have the right to be happy. It is okay to love and be happy again. You are not ruining or tarnishing the memory of your late husband/wife by doing so. Humans are social creatures who need acceptance and love by others.

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