Navigating Dating After the Loss of a Spouse/Partner

After a loved one dies, it’s normal to feel anxious or worried about what will come next. Grieving takes a lot of time and energy – and grieving the death of a spouse or romantic partner is especially overwhelming.

At Cypress Lawn, our caring staff is well-acquainted with the complexities of grief. We talk to Bay Area residents every day who are struggling to cope with loss. When it comes to the death of a partner, there are certain concerns that come up time and time again.

 Questions like:

  • Will I ever get over this loss?
  • Will I ever love again?
  • How can I move on when my spouse/partner meant everything to me?

We also hear comments like these:

  • If I spend time with someone else, I feel like I’ll be betraying my partner.
  • I know I’ll feel guilty if I develop feelings for someone else.
  • I feel stuck and don’t know how to move on.

These questions and comments are all valid, and we want to offer three pieces of advice to those who can relate.

  1. Dating after a death is not one-size-fits-all.

Surely you’ve known someone who has lost a spouse and remarried within a year of their death. There are others who say they never again want to be involved in a romantic relationship. Experts regularly advise to take it slow when it comes to new romances. This might mean waiting a year or even two years. A lot of healing needs to take place, and this is something that can’t be rushed. There’s often a sense of vulnerability and newfound loneliness that can drive a romantic interest, which is why it’s so important to have friends and family available for advice and support.

  1. Would you benefit from meeting with a counselor?

While getting to know someone new or reconnecting with an old friend, it may be tempting to talk about the pain you’re feeling or how much you miss your partner. It’s important to remember that a date is different from a therapy session. If you find yourself experiencing lasting or debilitating feelings of grief after the loss of a partner, we recommend seeking professional help. Our caring team can put you in touch with local grief counselors and therapists in San Francisco or the Bay Area. Contact our compassionate staff anytime 24/7 for assistance.

  1. Give yourself grace.

Spending time with a potential partner may not seem as easy as it was with your partner who died. You may feel nervous or apprehensive to get close to someone again. Maybe you’ve forgotten dating etiquette and aren’t sure what to do or say – and when. Or maybe you don’t know how honest to be about your previous relationship.

No one can replace your spouse. But everyone deserves to have love in their life. Losing a partner is one of the most challenging things a person can go through. Remember to have patience with yourself and your healing as you move along the grief journey.

We specialize in helping families at Cypress Lawn, which is where the path to healing begins. Please download our complimentary Acute Loss brochure, and don’t hesitate to contact us about our additional aftercare resources. We are here for you every step of the way.