It’s not uncommon to reach a point when you want to start dating after the death of a loved one. We as humans are wired to be with others and to feel loved and needed. The problem is that when you start to date you can get inundated with feelings of guilt and/or grief. It’s important to know that these feelings are perfectly normal.
The thing you can do before you start dating after the death of a loved one is to take plenty of time to mourn your loss. Sometimes people are in so much pain that they try to rush this step.
They go back into the dating pool not because they are ready to love again but because they are looking for something (or someone) to dull the pain.
The problem with this approach is that in the long run, you are only delaying your healing process. In addition, you are also putting your feelings or your new love at risk.
If you haven’t fully dealt with your loss you won’t be able to give yourself to the new person in your life. They may end up getting hurt because they thought you loved them as much as they have grown to love you.
To avoid these issues, make sure you allow yourself the time you need to heal. And that brings me to another point; there is no hard and fast rule about how long it will take.
Everyone is different and will need what they need to fully heal. In many cases, it will be helpful to see a counselor get some help dealing with your grief in constructive ways.
A trained grief counselor can help you move past your grief as quickly as possible without pushing it down and ignoring it. Ignoring your grief will only give it power over you for a long period of time.
It can continually come up and grab you when you least expect it and that can go on indefinitely… that is not what you want.
Be careful as you enter the dating world that you don’t subconsciously try to “replace” your lost spouse. Don’t continually compare your new love with your past love. It’s not fair to anyone involved.
Instead, focus on the main character traits that you like and want to find in someone. If you are honest, you may admit that some of these characteristics that you like weren’t really present in your deceased spouse. If you do come to this realization, don’t feel guilty.
By focusing on the “things” that you like in a partner rather than your old partner, you have a better chance of finding someone you can be truly compatible with as well as diminishing the chances that you are only trying to find a “replacement”.
Take things very slowly, there is no rush. It takes time to get to know someone and to build trust and friendship. You really don’t want a relationship that isn’t based on these traits since it either won’t work or it will be very stressful… or both.
Dating after the death of a loved one can be tricky. It can be exciting and horrifying at the same time. Just be willing to take it slow and rely on your positive friends for advice and guidance during this transition.