How Long Should a Widow or Widower Wait Before Dating?

For a widow or widower, the thought of dating again after losing your partner will need plenty of consideration. Having intimately shared your life with someone, and with possible plans made for the future, the prospect of finding someone else to share your life with, can feel strange and unsettling.

With this in mind, here are some useful steps to help you to work out whether you’re ready and, if so, prepare you for what’s to come:

Coming to terms with widowhood

Immediately following bereavement, you and your family have to make adjustments. This can be a challenging time for a widow or widower and coming to terms with this new life state can be hard.

They say it takes two years to experience any kind of recovery from the loss of a spouse. This, of course, is a loosely bound statement, as we all move on at our own pace.

It is hoped, however, that eventually you will come to terms with your situation. Having evaluated where your future lies, you might decide you would like to meet other singles. Joining a dating website can open up your life considerably. It’s worth noting that whilst a romantic relationship is perhaps the ideal resolution for some, making platonic friends with those who are empathetic can also be rewarding.

It’s understandable to have reservations about dating again

It’s quite normal to need time before you make your decision to join an online dating site. However, looking for someone to fill the void is nothing to feel embarrassed or awkward about. For some, wanting to be part of a couple again is perfectly natural and dating sites and apps exist to fulfil this need – to bring people together, whether for romance, companionship or friendship.

Everyone’s experience is different and there are no hard and fast criteria to make things happen quickly or more effectively. Sometimes it takes a while for the right person to come along. Taking your time and building a relationship gradually, can be a blessing and offers the opportunity to get to know someone through exchanging private messages before you commit to meeting up.

You make decisions in your own time, so no pressure!

Because you’re taking this step ‘remotely’, you make decisions in your own time and have no reason to feel under pressure about who to talk to and who to connect with. You will know when you feel comfortable about meeting up with someone and if you follow the recommended guidelines* about meeting up for the first time, you should be fine. Also, bear in mind the person you are meeting is likely to be feeling as apprehensive as you are, especially if this is early days for them, too.

If you have a friend who is also widowed, you may want to encourage them to join with you. Sharing experiences is a good way of testing the water and at the very least you can compare notes!

One in four relationships start online

Today, it is statistically proven that one in four relationships start online and this is second only to meeting a partner through friends. Joining an online dating community is accepting you’re ready to move on.

Some people who have used a dating website will tell you that, to begin with, they had their reservations about the process. This is not unusual. But with over fifteen years of bringing widows and widowers together, we can attest that once you’ve dipped your toe in the water, you will wonder why you left it so long!


*Initially, we always recommend you make arrangements to meet up with someone during day time; for coffee, perhaps; and it goes without saying, always tell a friend or family member where you are and what you’re doing. Never disclose your address or any other personal information on a first date. It is hoped you will know when you’re comfortable enough to do this.

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