Dating After Losing a Spouse or Partner

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By Wendy Bailey

Dating after losing a spouse or partner can be very difficult for the new widow or widower. Grief is the biggest obstacle to dating. The feeling of loss can create a deep void in the person.

During these times of difficulties, loneliness would set in. The idea of dating someone new and establishing another relationship can become a source of tension and fear. Feelings of guilt may also overwhelm the person.

Grieving Process

Death of a loved one is the most devastating feeling of all. Moving on means to go through the grieving process and decide to pick up the pieces all over again. This may prove to be a real challenge to most new widow or widower.

The grieving process varies for each individual. There are various elements that come into play to determine how long the grieving will last. These elements include:

  • the kind of relationship you share with your partner
  • the manner of your partnerís death
  • the culture and family background of the widow/widower
  • individual psychological reaction to grieving

The right time to start a new relationship after the partner passes away will be determined by the above mentioned factors. The closer the couple were, the more time the widow or widower may need to recover and move on.

Coping with Guilt

Feelings of guilt could signify that you are not done with the grieving process yet and dating is still premature. You need to be able to accept the loss before you can finally move on. Without acceptance, your new relationship might cause you to feel guilty.

Going through counseling can help you get over the guilt. But if the guilt is really severe, it will be wise to postpone dating until you are done with grieving.

Sometimes dating can be a defense mechanism for the person. It could be a way of escaping reality. Dating can provide a welcome reprieve from grief. However, if dating is used as an escape it will delay rather than speed up the recovery.

This move might prove to be counterproductive because instead of getting over the loss, you will actually fuel the feelings of loss midway to the new relationship. Grief may re-emerge.

Moving on does not mean you will forget your spouse. What it entails is you just learn to accept the situation and learn to handle it well. However, it is not unusual for grief to reoccur even when you are in a new relationship. This is a normal part of the process and the grieving is only temporary.

Family Matters

The familyís reaction to your moving on and finding a new partner may affect your decision to date. If their thoughts bother you, then it is important to talk to them before you see someone new.

Family will always understand if you just approach them. Also they might be able to provide you valuable insights as to how to date again and find suitable partners.

Children and Parent Dating

The child might become confuse when the parent starts dating. The child might not be able to comprehend the entire situation and will find it hard to understand why his or her parent is back to the dating game.

It is not unusual for children to develop intense feelings against the parent going on a date. Communicating with your children and helping them express their feelings will ease up their strong emotions.

Sometimes, you might notice behavioral changes in young children. This is an indication that they are bottling their emotions. They have a hard time expressing what they truly feel so they modify their behavior to signify their intense dislike for instance.

If you notice behavioral changes especially in younger children, family counseling will be very helpful. This will help both you and your children how to cope with intense feelings.

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