Dating after death.

After writing this article about dating after divorce, I was asked how it might be different to date after the death of a significant other.

First, I’d like to say how sorry I am for your loss. Losing a loved one is never easy. There are so many emotions that go along with that loss. Sometimes it is so devastating that the grief seems never ending.

The major difference in moving forward and starting to date is dealing with any feelings of disloyalty and guilt. Be mindful of these feelings – they are always there until you deal with them! Feel these emotions and then let them go. It is also important to give yourself time to get to know yourself as an individual rather than a couple. This is an adjustment that will take time.

After you’re feeling confident on your own, dating as a widow or widower is pretty much the same as dating after divorce.

1. Meet new FRIENDS.

You want to start out meeting new friends. Most of your couple friends will genuinely want you to join them. Don’t let your feelings of intruding stop you from joining others. The purpose of this friendship is to have fun and meet other people. You will be surprised how someone knows someone else and then someone else. Have a number of people you can call and make plans with. Having plans and looking forward to fun things is so important to being happy. Make sure you have good boundaries with your friends. You need to learn to be by yourself some of the time and you need to start working on dating.

2. Evaluate and address your mental well-being.

Be aware of your thoughts! Notice the things you are saying to yourself. If they are mostly negative then you need to work on changing those thoughts. Check in with yourself and make sure that most of the time your mind is focused and clear. This means that you are able to do your work. That you are able to concentrate and complete tasks.

3. Evaluate and address your emotional well-being.

When you come back into the dating world world as a single person, you’re coming with more baggage. Look at your moods and your level of peacefulness and your self-esteem. If you are really depressed you need to address it. If you have a lot of anxiety and fear you need to deal with these emotions, they are natural and normal. You may need to consult a therapist for a time. You may need to look into medication for a period of time. If you don’t sleep well and you don’t have an appetite these are signs of a chemical depression. There are other symptoms of depression and if you aren’t able to do the things you need and want to do, then get evaluated.

4. Evaluate and address your physical well-being.

Are you eating healthy? Are you exercising, playing sports, being active? You need to keep up on yourself physically. This is so important for a number of reasons. The first being that physical activity helps with anxiety and depression. Another important aspect is feeling good about the way you look! It doesn’t mean you need to look like a model or a 20 year old, but you want to be realistic and look the best you can. We all know that part of being confident is feeling healthy and good in our own skin.

5. Re-set your expectations.

No matter how you meet someone, the most important thing is your attitude and your expectations. The good news is, you control both of those. Research shows that the happiest people have NO EXPECTATIONS! You read that right! No expectations. This doesn’t mean that you settle and expect the worst. That would be an expectation. Don’t expect to meet the perfect person on your first date. Do not date to mate. You are out there to meet people. You want to expand your horizons. That’s it.

Good luck to you and your new future!

— Karen