The answer to this question depends from one person to the next. After losing a loved one, it takes time for someone to get back to the whole dating process, and we are often reluctant to do so. For most widowers dating seems scary, not to mention they feel like all eyes are on them, and the judgment of society is never far behind. But it shouldn’t be like that, we all want to love and feel loved and if it happened once, it doesn’t mean it won’t happen again, it is important to stay open and find the right time to start dating again.
Make sure you are emotionally stable again
It takes a lot of time to heal emotionally after a big loss, and it is important to give yourself that time. You won’t be ready for a new relationship until you do that. Finding a new partner before you are completely over your old one can be damaging for that person and for your relationship. They will feel like they are competing with your late spouse at all times, and that is not a good way to start a relationship. If you think about it, dating a widower does imply that there will be a certain level of emotional baggage involved. But you shouldn’t drop all the weight on that new person who enters your life. No, it is better to wait until you are emotionally at a place where you can love and be loved as yourself and not as a husband of a wife who has passed away.
Don’t play the comparison game
This is one of the biggest pitfalls for anyone getting back into the dating game after losing their life partner. In most cases it isn’t even voluntary, all widowers go through it at some point. What is important is recognizing that you are doing it and simply putting a stop to it. Comparing your possible new partner with your old one is never a good idea, especially after your old one has passed away. We tend to remember only the good things about them and to idolize them, and that creates unrealistic expectations from the next person in your life. So, if you think you can control the urge to play the comparison game, you might be ready to start dating again. But if your initial reaction is still thinking how this new person is not anything like your departed wife, you might want to wait a bit longer, or even seek therapy so that you can go through the grieving process the right way.
Be ready for the ‘new normal’
This is probably the best thing you can do for yourself and your future partner. Being married to someone, whether it was for a couple of years or a couple of decades, means that you have a certain daily routine that you two have created over time. Therefore, it will take some time to adjust to that being gone. Expecting someone else to simply jump into that existing routine is not realistic. You have to be ready to create the ‘new normal’, a routine that will include the needs of the new person in your life. If you are not quite ready to make space in your daily life and accommodate someone else’s requirements, you might not be ready to move on yet.
Take your time and consider everything that has been discussed in this article. Don’t rush into something new if you are not completely ready, but also don’t hide away forever. Find your own rhythm and get back into the dating game at your own pace, that is the only way you will be fair to both yourself and your future partner.