As someone who’s lost your partner—be they a long-term love, a companion, or even someone you hadn’t known long but made a deep connection with—there will likely come a time when the sharp knife edge of pain eases up, if even for a few minutes. Before you know it, you will start to have more good days than bad. The good news is that there is no timeline on grief; the bad news is that there is no timeline on grief.
There may even come a time when you ask yourself if you’re ready to meet someone new. Of course, only you know the answer to that question. Again, there is nothing that says you should be ready to meet someone in six months, a year, five years. Only you know when you are truly ready to open your heart to someone new. Essentially, there is no right or wrong when it comes to loss; everyone mourns in their own way and time.
Let’s say that you are considering meeting someone new. It may be in your best interest to find someone who knows what it is like to have loved and lost someone. They know what you have been or are going through and can potentially offer insight, advice, or even just a shoulder to lean on. One way to find people who’ve been there is to turn to a site like All Widowers, for example. Such sites offer a population who—like you—have gone through one of life’s greatest losses.
If you’re thinking it’s time to consider ‘getting back in the saddle,’ professional grief counselors recommend that you keep the following in mind: Humans are social creatures and social connections are vital to a person’s emotional health. Research has shown that people who have these social connections with others tend to recover from trauma quicker and yes, that includes even the trauma of losing your life partner. Sure, the idea of dating may be scary, but for many so is the idea of spending the rest of your life alone.
Understand that people will probably ask you if you’re thinking about dating again or if you’re ready to meet someone. They are asking from a place of good intention. Typically, these questions will come from those who are closest to you or care greatly for you. They only want your happiness and, to them, perhaps having a new companion is what they think will make you happy. Don’t take offense as they mean well but do feel free to inform them if you’re not ready for that next step.