For some, getting back into a relationship after bereavement will take a great deal of forethought. Going on a first date with someone new, although exciting, will be a huge step, but one you will hopefully approach with cautious enthusiasm.
If, over time, the new person in your life proves to be a good companion and someone you’re attracted to, you may find yourself wanting to take things further. With this in mind, it could be you find yourself unexpectedly overcome with awkwardness, and the idea of your friendship becoming a more intimate affaire could be a daunting prospect.
Arranging to go away for a weekend
It’s important to acknowledge that a sexual encounter could happen if things go well. If and when the time comes to actually go ahead, it could be ‘a bridge you cross in the moment’!
However, talking about this beforehand and arranging to go away for a weekend would perhaps help you to get used to the idea and feel better prepared.
At this point, if you’re questioning your reasons for having started this relationship, then you must ask yourself why. If this is your first experience of a relationship following bereavement and the first time you have had to consider things leading on to something more intimate, be sure to recognise you’re in this place because something has told you this is where you want to be.
Losing a spouse does not mean you can’t grow to love someone else
Experiencing a second love does not mean it has to be second rate or in second place to your first. In fact, because we tend to idealize situations, it’s quite possible the memories of your first life partner are likely to be somewhat over-romanticised. Losing a spouse does not mean you can’t grow to love someone else. Nor does enjoying a loving, sexual relationship with someone new, mean you have to forget your previous partner!
It is presumed by now, you’re comfortable within this relationship and have allowed yourself to reach this situation with equanimity: so why the awkwardness? It might be that you’re making subliminal comparisons to your deceased partner or you feel guilty accepting that you’re ready to move on. Perhaps you’re worrying about what your family might think.
Whatever the reason, it’s important you share this with your new partner. If he or she is sympathetic and understanding, then they’re likely to be someone worthy of your affections. They, too, might also be feeling awkward.
You may find what comes next, comes naturally
So how do you deal with this? Unless you’re tee-total, a couple of drinks will help you to relax, and if the moment comes at the end of a day spent in each other’s company, and you have both been enjoying the experience of just being together, you may find what comes next, comes naturally.
Creating the right atmosphere is also important. It doesn’t have to be too contrived, but perhaps a scented candle or two; some low lights and soft music could help you to relax.
Acting upon any advice you might give to a friend, follow your own code of conduct. Safe sex is essential, and ensuring you really want to go ahead, and you’re not under any pressure, is important.
Taking things slowly will make the experience much more enjoyable for both of you. Making love for the first time will also move the relationship on a notch, if this is what you want.
What matters is that you both trust and respect each other
There are no hard and fast rules: you have to be guided by your emotions and instincts. Make this time together special and try to put all anxious or embarrassing thoughts out of your mind and determine to enjoy yourself.
If all goes well, make sure to tell your partner how much you enjoyed the experience.
After what is hoped was a romantic encounter, your connection will have moved on a notch, and having been together on such an intimate level will have put your friendship on a higher plain and one that now shares the added enjoyment of a physical relationship.
If, for whatever reason, the experience was something less than perfect, it doesn’t necessarily mean you stop seeing one another. Perhaps the mood wasn’t quite right or embarrassment got in the way. Talk it over before you do anything rash.
What matters is that you both trust and respect each other, while continuing to build upon the chemistry that has brought you together.
Founder of Widowsorwidowers.com. Writer/Blogger. Publications include Huff Post UK, Esme, High 50 and Living Better 50.