When you’ve loved and lost, how do you know you’re ready to love again?
When you fall in love and the person who is your soulmate, it will feel like you’ve finally found the missing piece of the puzzle. In your eyes, you have the perfect package: a loving and supportive spouse, your best friend and a loving parent to your children.
However, when the love of your life is gone forever, it may feel like a part of you is gone too. This is one of the most difficult experiences you’ll ever have to go through in life but there is hope.
When you’ve grieved the loss of your spouse and you’re ready to start life once again, a new romantic relationship is something to consider.
However, many people have a number of concerns such as, “Will I forget my spouse?” or “I would like to have a companion but will I be able to love someone else?”
Starting a new relationship with someone else does not mean that you no longer love and cherish the relationship between you and your deceased spouse.
Starting something new
Every individual goes through a different grieving process. Some may take more time compared to others. How you cope with grief also differs. For example, some people would rather lead a more private life as a way of dealing with grief and some might prefer having company.
The decision to make a change and start a new relationship in your life also changes from person to person. You might want to take a few years before starting a new relationship or you might feel ready after a year. A new relationship does not necessarily mean marriage. It could simply be about dating and companionship.
According to a research published on NetDoctor and conducted in 2015 on adults aged 65 years, it was found that 15 percent of widows and 37 percent of widowers have started showing interest in dating 18 months after the death of their spouse. If you are considering starting a new relationship, here are points you should take note of.
Is it too soon?
There’s no rule as to when you should start dating or looking for companionship. However, in general, you should only start after you have accepted the death of your spouse. Take your time to grieve and when you’re ready to move on, it is a sign that it is the right time to decide if you would like to go ahead with a new relationship. Getting involved in a new relationship just to avoid the pain of your bereavement is not healthy and there is a high possibility that the new relationship will not last.
Love thy self
Before getting started in a new relationship, you should first take a step back and find some time for yourself. You’ve gone through trying times when you lost your other half and you may feel incomplete. Therefore, it is important that you find yourself again and feel whole before getting involved in a new romance. It is time to learn, what makes you feel complete once again. Here are a few steps you can take:
- Surround yourself with old trusted friends or new acquaintances who enjoy and appreciate the true ‘you’.. With their help and guidance, you will soon learn and re-discover what you like, who you are and what you want to do, once again.
- Reclaim your life by taking on what your spouse did. For example, if your spouse was in charge of the finances, learn to take on that responsibility and rely on yourself. Trust yourself and your judgements but of course, ask for advice from others where necessary.
Do not allow anyone to stop you from finding a new companion as nobody has the right to judge how you’re coping or dictate your future. Be aware that going public with a new relationship after the death of your spouse might receive mixed reactions from your family and friends. Some might comment that it is too soon to start anew or some might not accept your new partner. The most important thing is that you are happy with your decision.
A different perspective
Your loved ones including your in-laws and your children might not see eye to eye with you on your decision to start a new relationship. They might feel like you have forgotten your spouse or that you did not treasure the relationship you had.
If you are facing challenges like this, the key to it is communicate calmly. Reassure them about how much your late spouse means to you and that he or she will always be in your mind and heart. You should also reiterate that your new relationship will not replace the relationship you had with your spouse. Remember, they too are dealing with the loss of their loved one, which is why it is important to communicate well.
It is good to try new things in life and this includes starting again with a new romance after losing your spouse. If you have decided to start again, remember to take things slowly and go at your own pace.
Are you ready for sex?
After the death of a spouse, some people vow to never be sexually active again. However, most people often feel their sexual urge returning after awhile. This could lead to all sorts of difficult emotions, such as guilt, as you may feel like you’re ‘cheating’ on your deceased spouse.
If you are feeling this way, it could lead to physical symptoms such as difficulties with erection and vaginal dryness. If you are not ready for sex, explain and speak to your partner about it. Your partner should understand and respect your decision if you are not ready for sex just yet.