Losing a significant other can have a profound impact on your life, and getting back out there can take some time and be a process. There’s no rush, and you know your timeline better than anyone, but if you’ve decided you’re ready to start dating again, here are five tips for getting started.
Tip #1: Don’t rush into things
Give yourself time to get to know someone new, and consider starting a friendship first. Building a solid friendship can provide a better foundation if you decide to pursue something more romantic.
Tip #2: Be honest
When starting something new after losing your partner, honesty is key. Be upfront about what you are dealing with and where you are mentally so they can better assess if this is the right fit for them. Have an open conversation about how much the other person wants to know about your spouse, and agree on expectations around discussion that support both of you.
Tip #3: Try not to compare
Your new partner should know that you are widowed and that you love the spouse you lost, but they should not feel like it’s a competition, because it’s not. Treat your new relationship with patience and care, and try not to compare what you have now to what you had with your spouse. A new relationship is never going to be the same as one you shared for decades.
Tip #4: Don’t expect everyone to understand
Ultimately when and how you date is up to you, and everyone in your life may not be on board. This is your decision, and you are doing what is best for you. Be patient with others, and move at your own pace.
Tip #5: Get help processing your grief if needed
While confiding in a partner is important, you shouldn’t be using a new partner as a therapist, as that can put a lot of strain on a new relationship and make it difficult to build a foundation. Seeing a therapist who specializes in grief and loss can help you work through your grief while also focusing on building your new relationship.