Whether you are young woman or not; dating after the death of a spouse can be a daunting task not to mention an extremely awkward experience. It is common to have feelings of guilt and betrayal of your deceased husband. You may feel confused about whether it is actually possible to get back on the horse in the first place. What will your children make of it? Will your family and friends approve of your decision to start seeing someone else? What about the in-laws? I’m sure they would have a mouthful to say about the situation. Lets not forget that the dating scene of course has changed tremendously from the time you and your partner were courting so you will have to literally learn what dating looks like NOW.
The bottom line is that it is not easy. Should you feel you are ready and are looking to date again, here are 7 answers to questions majority of widows ask when they want to start dating that will make sure you’re able to successfully navigate the dating waters.
1. When should I start dating?
The truth is there is really no specific time period that one should wait before dating again. It will differ from person to person. Men generally tend to move on faster than women after the death of a spouse. The process of grieving is unique to each person. Therefore, you take your time and come to terms with your loss and your own pace. Do not be driven by what others make of your progress. Make sure that it is really something that you are ready to do before jumping into it. Sometimes you might think you are ready and then after that first date realize that you really aren’t. It’s OK to take a step back and re-calibrate.
2. Am I doing this for the right reasons?
It is important to search yourself and be honest about the real reasons behind you wanting to start dating again. Is it because you are lonely and need a companion? Are you getting pressure from your friends and other people to move on? Is it that you are looking to fill the void and emptiness left by your spouse? There are right and wrong reasons for dating and if you do it for the wrong ones in order to please society then it is bound to be a disastrous affair. No one is going to fill the void or heal the pain that you have. You have to accept that and understand where your new partner will fit in your new life. If you do it for the right reasons then it provides you an opportunity to open up your heart again to a different and unique person and a chance to experience love in a whole new unique way from your previous experience.
3. Is it okay to talk about my late husband?
Being a widow will definitely raise questions from the man you are dating about your previous marriage and spouse. They will want to know what happened? How long you have been a widow? Did you have children? How old are they? It is okay to answer these questions and talk about your late spouse every now and then however do not go overboard. Do not spend all your time talking about your past life with him. Constantly doing so makes you look like you are not ready to move on. If that is the case then consider taking some time off the dating scene. Otherwise be genuinely interested in your date and his life. This shows that you care and also sends a message that you are willing and making steps to move on.
4. What if I make a mistake?
We have all made dating mistakes even when we were single so this is absolutely normal. It’s what you learn from your mistakes that counts. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me right? I have known my husband now for about six years, married for two yet I cannot even imagine what it would be like to start dating again. There is a certain comfort level and familiarity you have with your spouse that can work against you when you start dating. Your date is not going to know you as well and neither are you. You will have to exercise patience and adjust your expectations accordingly since this new person is nothing like your late husband and it will frustrate you sometimes.
Don’t worry about it though. If you are dating a reasonable guy they will understand where you are coming from. That said don’t repeatedly make the same mistake. Learn from them and keep it moving.
5. Why don’t people understand why I am dating again?
Not everyone will understand why you have decided to get back on the horse and quite honestly not everyone needs to understand it. What they need to do is respect your decision whether they agree with it or not. Do not allow anyone to give you a hard time because of your decision. What matters is that you are ready and you don’t need to justify that to anyone. It is a lot harder to deal with if the people in question here mean the world to you, like your children whom may have a difficult time accepting your position. You will have to have a conversation with them about it and agree on the way forward even if that means agreeing to disagree.
6. I feel guilty. Is this normal?
Yes it is. Especially at first. You will wonder whether to take off your ring or not. You may feel like your cheating on your late husband or betraying him. You might feel weird when you bump into a friend of yours while on the date; like you have been busted. May sound cuckoo but it happens. These feelings will fade with every subsequent date you go on so I wouldn’t worry about it too much. However if you realize that the feelings are not subsiding it could be a sign that you are not ready to date again. Take a time out and try again when you feel you are up to it.
7. What if my friends and family don’t like him?
When you introduce your new man to your friends or family they will either like him or hate him. They may not treat him very well. They may ignore his presence at family gatherings or start talking about your late husband just to tick him or you off. Of course by the time he is getting to meet the family it means that you’re both taking the relationship seriously. This means that you have to defend him. You need to talk to the involved parties privately and let them know there is a line that they should not cross. That you will not tolerate certain behavior toward your new partner. They do not have to like him but they need to respect him as the person in your life.
Being a widow should not hold you back from dating even though it can be awkward and difficult. Dating is a great way to start living again so live and enjoy your life.
What has your dating experience been like? Easy? difficult? non-existent? I would love to hear from you. Simply leave your comment or DM me.