Dating After Widowhood – What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?

Widow sitting alone, looking calm and thoughtful

When someone you love dies, it can feel as though part of you has died with them. The life you shared together is over and coming to terms with this hard fact can be difficult. Memories of happier times can cloud your vision and in the early days following the loss of a partner, these feelings can cause a great deal of heartache and frustration. However, it is these memories that can help to keep you going. Knowing you have experienced being in love is a vital component for your recovery. Not everyone is so lucky.

Every individual is different in the way they handle the hurdles of life’s journey and losing a partner is surely one of the greatest of all hurdles. Looking towards the future is hard, as you see yourself coping alone. However, it is hoped you will eventually come to terms with your loss and adapt to the new life ahead of you.

Reflections arousing sadness and longing

The love you once shared with your partner is understandably a treasured experience and there will always be occasions, which evoke special memories. Even those reflecting upon very basic experiences like cooking together or working in the garden will be recalled as special moments.  

Inevitably, you may find yourself looking on at couples and longing for what they have. Missing having someone to hold your hand, or to bring you tea in bed, are typical inner reflections arousing sadness and longing. It is the every day common place experiences, that are missed most of all. 

These are the moments most likely to cause an emotional reaction and confronting these feelings can be a complex issue. At times like this a bereavement counsellor may be able to offer conciliatory help to guide you through these challenging times.

Reminding yourself how lucky you were to have found love

The time it takes to come to terms with being a widow or widower will be different for everyone. There is no set schedule for this and some will recover their motivation sooner than others. 

If you were together for a long time, it is hoped there is a bank of fond memories to remind you of how lucky you were to have experienced the love you shared with your partner. These memories are your ‘armour’ and you can recall them whenever you feel the need to reassure yourself that you have loved and been loved and nothing can take this away.

The vision you create for your future, whatever your age may not be quite how you imagined, but it can be a time in your life where you step out and challenge yourself to discover pastures new. If you find you’re missing having someone to share life’s experiences, whether physical, spiritual or mentally driven, there is no harm in at least dipping your toe in the water to see how it feels.

Are you dating too soon?

Seeking others also looking to form new relationships can be a daunting prospect, but with the right initiative and encouragement you will find there are plenty of others hoping to find love again.

Family and friends may well be able to introduce you to other singles. There are meet-up groups for widows and widowers, as well as special events organized exclusively for singles. There are, of course, dating apps and websites, which abound online, offering various matching options, including widows and widowers.

If and when you meet someone you think you would like to get to know further, enjoy the moment. However, if you find yourself feeling uncomfortable and as though you’re under-valuing the relationship you once shared with your partner, you may need to take a step back. This is the time to ask yourself if you’re ready to be involved with someone new.

If it doesn’t feel right, then you may need to think again about whether you want to actually pursue another relationship at this time. It is important to know that having a partner in life is not a pre-requisite for happiness and being single is also absolutely fine. For some, remaining single is the best option.

Embracing your independence

Your independence, even if it was unexpected, can provide an opportunity to step out alone and discover aspects of life you had not previously had time to explore. Travel or study, for example, will give you focus as you get used to being single again.

If you have young children of course, your plans will have to be flexible, incorporating them as well.

In summary, as you gradually come to terms with being alone, you know you have at least experienced sharing love. With this in mind, you have achieved what some others may have never achieved and if this is the case, you have reason to be thankful.

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