After a loved one passes away, widows and widowers may feel as though they will never love again. It may take you a long time to get over your former spouse because you did not have any say in this parting. But, as time progresses, you may find yourself ready to find love or companionship again.
It's logical that you may feel as if dating is a betrayal of your former love. Just because you are dating someone new does not mean you no longer love your former spouse. Dealing with feelings of guilt and betrayal is a normal part of the grieving process. Talk through your emotions with friends, family or a therapist. They can help you know when you are ready so you don't push yourself into a situation that only makes you feel worse.
If you find yourself looking around at other people or feel ready to rebuild your life, you may be ready to try dating again. Always take things slow; dating will be hard because you have many more emotions and thoughts to navigate, and you want this to be a positive experience.
Talking About the Past
You may not necessarily want to bring up your former spouse on the first date, but, if you do, keep the discussion brief. Simply say that you are a widow or a widower, and handle any questions your date may have. Part of the challenge of dating for the widowed is that you want to show your date that you are ready to move forward.
As you get to know a person, be ready for questions about your deceased love. Dating for the widowed is tricky because you want to talk about the past, but you do not want the past to overshadow the future. Choose your timing wisely: Avoid talking about your former love on your current love's birthday or on an important anniversary. You don't have to be completely silent about your late partner, but the subject should come up naturally. Once you've decided that someone you are dating will be important piece of your life, then you can share more memories with them.
Dating for the widowed, while complicated, involves talking about your past, but you should think about this information in terms of other personal things you might share with someone, such as fears, expectations and hopes for the future.
When you are ready to date again, the situation might be even more complicated because you may be craving intimacy. But you don't want to move too fast because you'll be more likely to get hurt. Rebound relationships rarely work, and, if you are re-entering the dating world, you need to do so slowly.
If all you can do is compare the person you are dating to your former spouse, yet you continue dating because you think it might make you feel better, give yourself more time. You need to let yourself heal so the memory of your former love doesn't eclipse your new life.
Part of dating for the widowed involves a fresh start. You should not be looking for a replacement or twin for your former spouse. This will only lead to trouble, and the person you date will resent having to meet an impossible standard. If you are looking for a mirror image for your former spouse, then this is not only a sign that you are not ready to date again but that you also need to work through your emotions. No one can replace a person outright, and you need to accept meeting new people and taking them for who they are.
Dealing With Memories
Dating for widows and widowers is a balancing act. You don't want to forget about the past, but you don't want to allow it to overshadow your new relationships. Thus, if you are going out on a date with a new person, don't wear items that remind you of your spouse. For example, if you're going on a coffee date, do not wear your old wedding ring. A new date might not be aware of your situation, and that person might think it means something else. However, you may want to carry the ring with you or wear it on another finger.
Additionally, if you invite a romantic interest to visit your home or office, think about taking down some of your photos and mementos linked to the old relationship. You do not have to take down every memory of the past, but you want to leave room on the mantle for mementos of a future relationship.
Mature dating is complex enough, but when you add children to the mix, it can grow even more complicated.
Have you ever heard the saying that people are like a fine wine; they get better with age? When it comes to dating, many men and women are drawn to the older and more mature opposite sex. Beyond the excitement of partaking in a new experience, dating older men or women has both its own benefits and drawbacks.