But why the strong reaction? Does it a feel like a sense of betrayal to the deceased? Is just the thought of having to start over, to put ourselves out there just too overwhelming or too exhausting? Is it that the endeavor seems worthless as there will simply never EVER be someone as perfect for us as the partner we lost?
Just as every person is unique, so is their reaction to the losses they face. The fact is we all come from different backgrounds. Even within our own family, our experiences within that family can be so unique that we have a completely different set of morals, values, and coping mechanisms than our siblings.
In the larger world, we need to think about where we were raised, what part religion played in our life, as well as so many other factors like money, education, etc. What is right for us? So instead we look to the opinions of those around us and seek validation in what they think is right for us. This idea of dating after the loss of a spouse, for most, comes much further along in their grieving process.
Not interested in dating again — perhaps this should be broken down into the not interested in dating again EVER or the not interested in dating right now. All of those things? My answer would be to tell them just that. Of course how you answer may also be determined by who is asking and how are they asking.
Is it a beloved friend gently asking if you may be ready? Let these people in your life know that you love your spouse, that you are grieving your spouse, and that you simply are not ready, nor are you sure you will ever be ready to welcome another person into your life in that way. There is nothing else to say, do, or prove. And most importantly try not to let the questions or statements get to you easier said than done, I know.
Remember that in most cases they come from a place of love and concern. People like to see their loved ones happy and they may feel that if you were happy when you were part of a couple, than the key to getting you happy again is to encourage you to become part of a couple again. Where am I in my grieving process? Have you returned to work or your usual activities volunteering, babysitting grandkids, etc?
Are you sleeping and eating better than you were in the early days? Have you begun reconnecting and socializing with friends and family? Are you mostly feeling comfortable both in public and home alone? Just remember and this goes for anyone at any point in their life we should only want to add someone to our life when we know we are strong enough to stand on our own. What do I hope to gain in meeting someone new?
I think most people who have lost a spouse find that while in time they may be coping well enough, it is the loneliness that lingers long after their loved one is gone. Loneliness is practically an epidemic in our world today, and few people will feel this more acutely than the griever. Joining clubs or taking classes. Spending more time with the people already in our life or finding places to make new friends.
How do my loved ones feel about me dating? So if after answering all of the above you have decided you may be open to the idea of pursuing a romantic relationship with someone new at some point, remember a few important things: What are your interests? What is your background? Where have you traveled? If asking your best friend, what would they say is your best characteristic or what do you have to offer? This new person has the potential to add great joy, satisifaction and fulfillment.
But there is no one else in this world who is responsible for our happiness besides us. So while we may hope that some light and happiness can come from adding someone new, know that all of those feelings need to be originating from within us in the first place.
Be sensitive to the feelings of those in your life who may also be effected by the loss of your spouse, specifically your children young or grown. Know that they may have very strong feelings about you dating, and they are entitled to them. Create an open dialogue where you each get to share how you feel about the idea of you dating again and make sure to listen as well as to be heard.
So they may just need a little more time to understand. You are allowed to want this. Respect the individuality of this choice, and try not to judge yourself or others for whatever they decide. Know that it is possible to be committed and devoted to your late spouse while still wanting to grow and move forward and find happiness again. At the same time recognize that companionship and joy can come from many many places, and that a romantic relationship can be a very big step.
It is not an easy answer, and like every relationship before, it will take work and devotion, and that may or may not be something you feel you have the energy for at this point in your life. Dating after the loss of a spouse may never feel right, and that is okay too. Just as you knew before. Dating Again After the Loss of a Spouse. This is not a place for judgment, but a place to explore the thoughts and feelings that we may be afraid to admit to ourselves.
There are people here who understand.