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How to Know When I'm Ready to Date After Being Widowed

by Candice Coleman

Whether you and your spouse shared a few years or many, losing your other half can leave you struggling to readjust to daily life. As you process your grief, you may be interested in dating and meeting someone special again. It is normal to question whether the time is right, but there are some signs that can indicate readiness to get back into the dating world.

Analyze Your Feelings

Getting back into the dating world after the death of your spouse can be difficult. And while you may long for companionship and excitement, evaluating your feelings first can prevent trouble later. If you are still struggling with grief or compare every potential date to your late husband, it may be a sign that you need more time before you begin dating again. Going into the dating world with the expectation that you will meet, and possibly marry someone immediately, can also be a sign that you are not yet ready.

Give Yourself Time

How long it has been since your spouse passed away can also play a role in your readiness to date again. There is no acceptable norm, though in some traditions, waiting at least a year to date again is ideal. When it comes to more serious partnerships, a grieving widow may take three to five years before she feels emotionally ready to walk down the aisle again, according to TwoofUs.org.

Control Your Life

When you have adapted to the single life and are tending to your financial and emotional concerns, this can indicate that you are ready to date again, according to AARP. If you are interested in getting to know another person and not having him act as your emotional support, it may be another sign that you are ready for a night out on the town. A realistic outlook -- acknowledging that some relationships may not pan out, and that there is no perfect match -- can also indicate that you are ready to date.

Get Help

Remember that the decision to date again should be yours and yours alone. Getting back into the dating market because you feel it is expected can lead to heartbreak for you and your future partners. You may also encounter judgment from peers, who may attempt to advise you on how soon is too soon to begin dating again. Speaking to a mental health professional, like a grief counselor, can help you process your feelings about the loss of your spouse. This can also give you insight into how to pursue a new relationship in a healthy manner.

About the Author

Candice Coleman worked in the public school system as a middle school and high school substitute teacher. In addition to teaching, she is also a tutor for high school and college students.

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