The perils of dating
When you’ve lost someone you care about, the prospect of dating again can feel almost impossible. Some WAY members make the conscious decision to never date anyone else again, believing that no one could ever replace the spouse they’ve lost. Others in the WAY are eager to move on – and are open to the chance of finding love and a new companion.
Everyone deals with grief in their own unique way. Only you will be able to tell when or if you are ready to move on. But first, a word of caution. Dating after a bereaved spouse can be dangerous, especially in the early months after a bereavement when you may still be emotionally raw. It’s possible that you haven’t been on a first date in a long time. Even the tiniest emotional rejection might send you spiraling back into misery. You can also be troubled by thoughts of guilt and apprehension.
You can also be troubled by thoughts of guilt and apprehension. Then there are the reactions of others to contend with, not least your in-laws and, if you’re a parent, your own children. So the best advice is to proceed with caution and make sure you’re prepared before diving in. If something doesn’t feel right, you can always dip your toe back into the dating pool.
Other WAY members may be a great source of guidance and a sounding board for folks who are ready to get back into the dating scene. On our Members’ Only website and on our restricted Facebook page, there are discussion threads about new relationships, with themes ranging from alerting the in-laws about a new romance to when the correct moment is to take off your wedding band.
Proceed with caution
Many WAY members rekindle their love lives, and some are even happily married again. However, finding a new partner who knows and accepts everything you’ve been through can be a long and drawn-out process. Along the process, there will definitely be some shame, some practical challenges, and some emotional highs and lows to overcome.
One WAY member who recently remarried after nine years on her own claimed that falling in love again had made her miss her late husband even more: She claims her life is “unquestionably happier, less lonely, richer, and more exciting.” “But it may also be complicated – and the whirlpool of emotions can be rather overwhelming at times.”
If you decide you’re ready to start dating again, there are a slew of Internet dating services to choose from, some of which are specifically designed for single parents or widowed people. If you don’t know who you’re talking to, don’t give out any personal information on these websites. Some WAY members prefer not to announce their widowed status right first, fearing that it may make them feel too vulnerable. Others claim that when they disclose they’ve been widowed, potential dates run a mile.
Follow these simple online dating guidelines: When meeting someone for the first time, always meet in a public place. Also, let a friend know where you’ll be heading. Make them call you throughout the date if you need an excuse to leave early! What are the chances? You could even enjoy yourself.
WAY member shares advice on online dating
After being widowed, WAY member Shalini Bhalla-Lucas wrote a book about online dating. Here, she offers some advice on the difficulties of finding love after a bereavement.