Love After Bereavement: When is the Time Right?
If you’ve been happy with your partner, and their absence has left you in an empty, unremitting state of ‘love lost’, then perhaps you shouldn’t be reading this. However, if it’s been a while and you’re starting to miss having someone to share your life with, then maybe the time has come to think about meeting others who are also single.
Finding yourself in a social situation where you’re used to being part of a couple can be a very isolating experience. There is nothing worse than feeling like the third wheel in a room full of couples.
I recall only too clearly, the first time I went to a social gathering on my own after the loss of my husband. The other guests were strangers to me, and the only people I knew were the hosts who, although considerate of the fact I was on my own, were obviously busy with their other guests, as well.
I only stayed for a couple of hours and spent the majority of the time riveted to the same spot, clutching a glass of wine and wondering when would be a respectable time to go home. Although I did of course, chat to the odd person, I was not at all comfortable being on my own and was relieved when I eventually made my exit.
Similarly, while you may like the idea of getting dressed up and going out, you wish there was someone to walk down the road with. It’s quite surprising how the simplest of actions become major accomplishments when you have to do them on your own.
Gradually, your friends, or your sub-conscious, lead you to online dating and you find yourself sifting through countless faces and profiles that present a problem of another kind. There are a lot of people like you who are also searching for that certain someone and deciding whom to make contact with can be a daunting experience.
Looks of course, are important, but we all know beauty is skin deep and someone who resembles a movie star may not have the right buttons for you to push.
By studying the profiles of potential matches you will know when someone could be of interest to you. In fact in the early stages, there may be several matches you find interesting. Exchanging messages online is a tried and tested means of communication and gives you the facility to get to know someone without any commitment or too much personal disclosure.
Having made the decision to meet a virtual stranger, you need to take things slowly. My view is that meeting up with someone during the day for a coffee is a comfortable arrangement for a first date, rather than making it an evening event.
Be prepared to spend plenty of time together in situations where you are not likely to feel compromised. There are few things more embarrassing than making what you think are the right moves at the wrong time. Also, sharing the cost of whatever you’re doing is a good way to show that you like to be independent and also suggests that you do not want your date to expect something in return for their generosity.
Get to know each other well, and understand that you’re both there for the same reason and it must be implicit that neither of you are making comparisons with your late partner. Remember, this is also an opportunity to put your life experience to the test. If you’re genuinely happy in your skin and feel you have a lot to offer, then this should come across as confidence. Confidence, as we all know, is a very appealing characteristic and will make anyone feel reassured in your company.
It’s important to get to know the other’s preferences and ask yourself how you feel about them. Could you live with this person’s aversion to something you enjoy doing? Do you feel able to share someone else’s passion for an ideal or activity that you don’t approve of?
What will probably happen if the person is not right, is you drift apart, hopefully having gained something positive from the experience.
Also possible, is you find yourself sharing a friendship, which not only fills a void, but brings with it the possibility of a new partnership. Hopefully, whatever follows, will be a relationship you enjoy as much as, but in a different way, to your last.
Not all of us will want to move on with someone new, but whatever you do, hopefully you will find happiness and contentment in the process.
This article is part of the ‘Love After Bereavement’ series.