When you have lost your significant other, the inclination is to avoid starting a new relationship. It’s easier to just stay with group socialising. You may be afraid of upsetting your family and friends who might think you are disrespecting your deceased partner. You may even feel you are too ‘long-in-the tooth’ for another close relationship. However, you may find you have a natural affinity with a member of your social group which opens up the opportunity to spending time alone with them. This can initially lead to feelings of guilt and wondering if it’s right to enjoy this new relationship.
It really is allowed – of course it is! You are just trying to cope, and socialising is a way of coping. One client asked me if it was okay to go out for dinner with someone about 5 to 6 months after his partner’s death. And of course it was, as long as he felt comfortable.
However, please understand the timing is totally a personal choice – it might not happen for months, or years. It doesn’t matter because you are in control of the ‘when’. You may choose that there can’t be a ‘when time’ and you are happier in a group.
And that’s fine as well. It’s your choice.
Don’t forget though, as women and men we are generally a ‘social lot’ and some personal ‘one on one’ company, at some stage can be, well, just really nice.
To illustrate this point further…
One widower had moved on to describing himself as ‘single’, which was quite a big step in itself. It demonstrated how well he was coping with his new role in life. After about 7 to 8 months, when people asked, he felt calling himself a widower just seemed to bring him attention he didn’t want. It didn’t affect his grief, just how he was perceived. When he got home after going out to dinner with someone he felt guilty. “OMG what am I doing?” However, he needed to survive as a human being and keep strong as a Dad to three teenagers. His kids were pleased their Dad was getting out and trying to get on with his life. It helped them to see their Dad was trying to cope, and in turn it helped them to cope too.
One amazing lady lost her daughter and after a few years, her daughter’s husband started to go out with someone else. Both the mum-in-law and new partner met regularly over the next few years – Christmases, birthdays, general family get-togethers etc. After a while the couple moved in together and a few years later they got married. This amazing lady had already fully and totally welcomed his new partner/wife/daughter into her family. She attended their wedding and is still an essential part of their new life together. It helped her to cope with her own loss by seeing her son-in-law find happiness again, while obviously never forgetting his first wife.