Love After Bereavement: Up Close and Personal
Taking those first few steps towards getting back into a relationship
For some, getting back into a relationship after bereavement will take a great deal of forethought. The mere idea of actually going on a first date will be a huge step for you. Hopefully, a huge step taken with cautious enthusiasm!
It is hoped the new man/woman in your life will prove to be a good companion, and someone you’re attracted to. If this is the case, you may find yourself wanting to take things further. With this in mind it could be you’re suddenly and unexpectedly feeling overcome with awkwardness. The idea of being intimate at some point, becoming a daunting prospect.
It’s important to acknowledge that you would have been aware a sexual encounter was likely if things went well. When the time comes to actually take this step, it could be a bridge you cross ‘in the moment’. However, talking about this beforehand and perhaps arranging to go away for a weekend would perhaps help you to get used to the idea and feel more prepared.
Questioning your reasons for having started this relationship
At this point, if you’re questioning your reasons for having started this relationship, then you must ask yourself why. This may be your first experience of a more intimate friendship following bereavement. The first time you have had to consider things leading on to something sexual. This being the case, it’s important to acknowledge you’re in this place because something has told you this is where you want to be.
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 idealise 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 won’t or 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!
So why the awkwardness?
It is presumed by now, you’re comfortable within this relationship. You 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. Maybe you’re feel guilty about 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, of course.
A couple of drinks will help you to relax
So how do you deal with this? Unless you’re tee-total, a couple of drinks will help you to relax. 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 and it doesn’t have to be too contrived. A scented candle or two; low lights and some 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. Ensuring you really want to go ahead, and you’re not under any pressure, is important. Moving on at your own pace will make the experience much more enjoyable for both of you. Getting the first time over will also move the relationship on a notch, if this is what you want.
Be guided by your emotions and instincts
There are no hard and fast rules about this experience; you have to be guided by your emotions and instincts. Make this time together special. Try and put all anxious or embarrassing thoughts out of your mind and determine to enjoy yourself.
What matters is that you both trust and respect each other, while continuing to build upon the chemistry that has brought you together.
This article is part of the ‘Love After Bereavement’ series.