Starting Over After the Death of Your Husband

by C. Giles

Perhaps the death of your husband left you feeling devastated and the idea of growing close to another man seemed incomprehensible; however, because time does heal wounds, at some point, it's natural to begin wondering whether romance could be part of your future. Keep in mind that it certainly is possible to start over and find happiness in love while still treasuring the memories you made with your late husband.

Loving Two People

As a widow, you may struggle to accept the possibility of loving a man who is not your husband because the reality is that you never stopped loving your late husband. This is a common concern, writes professor of philosophy Aaron Ben-Zeév in the Psychology Today article, "Love After Death: The Widow's Romantic Predicaments." You might feel that falling in love again is a betrayal of your late husband. However, remember that the human heart is flexible and can accommodate more than one person at once, notes Ben-Zeév. Take comfort in the love you feel for your late husband and give yourself permission to love another man.

A Different Kind of Love

If you were married at a young age, perhaps you never experienced romantic love other than what you had with your late husband. Keep in mind that a first love can be very different from a love later in life. When you fell for the man who was to become your husband, maybe he quite literally swept you off your feet -- and you felt constant butterflies, a loss of appetite and a desire to be with him during every waking moment. The next time you fall in love may be very different. You might have young children and a demanding career, or you may have grown-up children and are enjoying your retirement. Because your life is full -- and rich with experiences -- you are no longer the same person that you were when you first fell in love. This means that love may not feel the same, but it can still be love nonetheless.

A Matter of Time

Nobody can tell you how long you should wait after the death of your husband to embark on a new relationship. Listen to your instincts, and don't follow anyone else's rules, advises widow Jackie Dishner in the Huffington Post article, "7 Dating Tips for Widows (From a Widow)." You may be surrounded by well-meaning friends and relatives who want you to "get back out there" and "have some fun." They may try to set you up with eligible bachelors or suggest you try Internet dating. These are good ways to meet people, but don't do anything until the time feels right for you. It may take years before you are genuinely ready to explore the possibility of a new partner.

Be the Best you Can Be

When you take your first tentative steps into the world of dating, make a commitment to being the best version of yourself you can, advises Dishner. This will increase your chance of connecting with people who appreciate your strengths, passions and values. As well as taking advantage of all opportunities to expand your social circle that come your way -- such as party invitations, local clubs and community singles events -- make plenty of time for fun and relaxation. Take up a hobby or activity you always wanted to try, like yoga, photography or tennis. This will help you meet like-minded people, reduce stress and boost your self-esteem.

About the Author

C. Giles is a writer with an MA (Hons) in English literature and a post-graduate diploma in law. Her work has been published in several publications, both online and offline, including "The Herald," "The Big Issue" and "Daily Record."

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