When you've lost the person you loved, the idea of dating again can seem almost unthinkable. Some WAY members make the conscious decision that they will never date anyone else again, because they feel that nobody could ever live up to the partner they have lost. Other WAY members feel ready to move on quite quickly – and are open to the possibility of finding love and a new partner.
Everyone handles grief differently. And only you will know when or if you feel ready to move on. But a word of warning. Dating after you've been widowed can be fraught with perils, particularly in the early months of bereavement, when you may still be feeling very emotionally raw. You may not have been out on a first date for many years. The slightest emotional rejection could plunge you back into the depths of despair. And you may also be plagued by feelings of guilt and uncertainty. And then there’s the reactions of other people to deal with – not least your in laws and your own children, if you’re a parent. So the best advice is to proceed with caution and to make sure you’re ready before you take the plunge. You can always dip your toe in the dating pool and take it out again if it doesn't feel right.
Other WAY members can provide an invaluable source of advice and a sounding board for people who feel ready to start venturing out into the dating world again. There are discussion threads about new relationships on our Members’ Only website and on our closed Facebook page too – dealing with topics ranging from telling the in-laws about a new romance to when is the right time to take off your wedding ring.
Many WAY members do find love again – some WAY members are even now happily married again. But it can be a long, slow process to find a new partner who understands and accepts what you have been through. And there will inevitably be some guilt, some practical hurdles and some emotional highs and lows to navigate along the way.
One WAY member who recently remarried after nine years on her own said that falling in love again has actually made her miss her late husband even more than she did before: “Life is undoubtedly happier, less lonely, richer and more exciting,” she says. “But it can be complicated too – and the swirl of emotions can sometimes be quite overwhelming.”
If you do decide you’re ready to find love again, there’s a whole host of Internet dating websites out there – some are specially tailored to single parents or to people who've been widowed. Be careful about sharing any personal information on these websites until you know more about who you’re talking to. Some WAY members choose not to reveal that they've been widowed straight away, as they worry that it might make them feel too vulnerable. Others report that potential dates run a mile when they say they've been widowed.
Follow some basic on-line dating rules: Always meet up with someone in a public place the first time you meet. And tell a friend where you’re going. Get them to call you during the date in case you need an excuse for a hasty exit! Who knows? You might even have some fun.
WAY member Shalini Bhalla-Lucas has written a book about online dating after being widowed. Here she shares some words of wisdom on the challenges of finding love again following bereavement... Read more
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