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Finding Love After Loss
Moving on from losing a partner is one of the hardest things to deal with. As psychotherapist Hilda Burke explains, everyone’s experience is different and there are no hard rules about when to move on. That said, the right advice can definitely help you along the way. For widows and widowers looking to date again, here are some things to consider when taking the first step.
When a relationship ends, many of us liken the experience to a bereavement. Indeed, the process of grieving and gradual recovery can follow a similar pattern to that of bereavement. So when a partner dies, the grieving is not only for our beloved but also for the relationship itself. It’s a double loss.
Moving on at Your Own Pace
Yet, feeling the pain of loss doesn’t have to mean giving up on love. Armed with the right mindset, it is possible to begin to respectfully move on. Widow dating doesn’t mean replacing beloved memories. Instead, it’s about learning to make room in your heart for both your treasured past and your bright future.
Each person’s experience of bereavement is different and unique. To try and quantify an ‘average duration’ for grieving and recover is futile. I recently met the mother of an acquaintance of mine in the park. During our brief chat, she revealed quite a lot about herself – she explained how she had been in a very loving marriage for over 40 years until her husband died suddenly of a heart attack. Within a year, she had become involved in a serious relationship with another man, something that she did not expect.
Does this mean she loved any less than if she still wore the mantle of grief? For some of us this may be hard to fathom but moving on is a deeply personal experience and what feels right for one, may feel inappropriate for someone else. I think the most important thing about ‘moving on’ is only to do it when it feels right for us. And this may not always match the expectations of our family and friends. It’s something we can only know in our hearts. That said, once it does start to feel right, there are a few tips that might make it easier to take the plunge with widower or widow dating.