Deciding to date again after losing a spouse can be an overwhelming decision. It’s normal to feel a variety of emotions as you navigate this journey. You may feel conflicted, guilty, and fearful of judgment. You might also feel excited, hopeful, and future-forward for the first time in a while.
The big question is always, “am I ready to start dating?” Here are some smaller questions to ask yourself so you can find the answer.
Are You Sensitive to Triggers?
Grieving is an ongoing process that will change and evolve over the years. While time doesn’t heal all wounds, it can help. Unfortunately, there’s no clearly defined timeline for grief, and everyone has a different experience.
Instead of asking yourself if it’s been long enough, consider whether you’re still sensitive to triggers. Do you still feel a profound loss when you see flowers your spouse would have gifted you or feel lonely at every family birthday celebration? In other words, are you still actively grieving?
It’s ok to still be grieving your partner and start dating, but if the feelings are still quite raw, it might be better to wait a while.
Are You Feeling Pressured?
One of the most eye-opening lessons while grieving is that people say stupid, thoughtless things. Your friends and family might tell you it’s time to get back out there after a certain milestone— the first anniversary tends to be a common one. They might also tell you that the only way to move on is to move on. Meanwhile, you’ll have people who judge you when you do.
Deciding to date again should be your choice and your choice alone. If you’re feeling pressured to get back into the dating world, it’s not the time. Set clear boundaries with the people in your life and let them know that this topic isn’t up for discussion. Talk to a trusted friend who’s good at listening or connect with a grief support community to talk it through.
Do You Feel Lonely?
It’s normal to feel lonely after the death of a spouse. At a certain point, it’s important to consider whether you feel lonely for them or lonely for companionship— both can be true at the same time!
If you feel lonely and want someone to connect with, it might be time to start dating. Consider this factor as it relates to your other thoughts and feelings as well.
Do You Know What You’re Looking For?
Take some time to consider what you want out of the dating experience. Are you looking for a physical connection or another long-term partner? Clarifying your needs and desires before getting back into the dating world is a must. As the saying goes, “first, know thyself.”
Have You Processed Your Feelings?
Finally, consider whether you’ve processed your feelings surrounding the death of your spouse. Many widows and widowers feel anxious about meeting someone new and losing them. It’s common to feel disconnected from yourself and your identity after a death. It’s important to work through your feelings and get back in touch with yourself before re-entering the dating world.
Keep these questions in mind when deciding whether you’re ready to date after a loss. The good news is that if you try and discover that you aren’t ready, you can stop and revisit it later. Do what works for you.
Kyla is a former content writer, who decided to start her own blogging site and become a digital nomad. She managed to create a platform where all her previous clients are gathered – so they can merge and learn from each other! Her main motto is “sharing is caring” and her goal is to see the world from different perspectives!