Dating at any age, at any time, can be stressful, emotionally draining and a test of a person’s faith, confidence and will.
If you combine the typical annoyances and concerns that come with dating, with being a widowed spouse then you might be tempted to just throw in the towel and get cats.
And, truth be told, isn’t that what people expect? The little old lady all alone in the house… only going out for groceries and BINGO.
But, is that who you are? Is that who you want to be? Does the fact that your spouse died mean that your life has to end too? No! You have the right to be happy, to enjoy life, to have companionship, fun and, yes, even sex.
You have the right and the responsibility to move on with your life. What follows are 3 tips that you should consider when getting back out there… and you really need to get back out there… when you are ready.
Tip # 1 – Grief is Powerful
Grief is powerful and, if ignored, just rears its ugly head in unexpected ways. You have to move through it. You have to deal with it. In short, your husband’s death was devastating and you have to grieve, cry, scream, yell, talk about it and ultimately… move on.
Once you have given yourself time to grieve you will need to consider that a new person you are dating may not understand your grief. You will never get OVER it. You will simply learn to deal with losing your husband. You must be honest, open and ready to explain your feelings to anyone who you date.
Tip # 2 – Don’t Compare
Your husband was your rock, your friend, the love of your life and, likely, the father of your children. You had a lot tied up with that person. You built a life with that person. That was an important chapter in your life. You can and should remember your deceased spouse with fondness and love.
You, however, must not compare every new person you date to them.
If you compare you are setting the relationship up to fail. You will cause anger, jealousy, resentment and pain that is undue. Your new boyfriend is, just that, new. They speak, live, act and react in ways that are probably very different from your spouse’s behaviors.
It may be difficult to adjust to that but you owe them the courtesy of getting to know them without bringing a third party into the relationship.
Tip # 3 – Family and Friends Will Need to Adjust
Family and friends loved your spouse as well. They will have their own feelings, concerns, comparisons and fears in regard to your new relationship. They may not like it. They may not like to see you with someone new or they may feel like you have chosen someone too different from your prior love.
The truth of the matter is that it doesn’t matter what they think. If you are comfortable, happy and enjoying spending time with your new love interest then you have that right. You deserve your happiness and you don’t owe an explanation to anyone.
Tip # 4 – You Don’t Have to Look for Love
Many widows feel great trepidation when contemplating getting back into the dating game. Just remember, you don’t have to look for love or romance or sex or anything of the sort. You just need to make new friends.
If you approach dating as a chance to make new friends who MAY end up being something more then it will be much less intimidating and adjusting to the idea of someone new in your life will be easier for you (and your friends and family).
You lost the love of your life. You got married and you didn’t think you would ever have to date again and now you have been thrown back into a world that is probably scary and bizarre.
Just take it slow, allow yourself (and your friends and family) time to adjust and grieve and know that no one could or should ever replace your deceased spouse. You are dating to find someone new to love. There is nothing wrong with that.