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The Loss of a Spouse: When is it okay to move on?

When Is It Okay To Date Again? By Christie Flynn

You are deep in mourning. You can’t sleep, eat or maintain any focus. You are overwhelmed and stressed out. You feel as though you can barely function.

Maybe you’ve been mourning for a long time or your spouse has been ill for years, then passes on after a difficult battle. At some point in time you begin to wonder and ask the question, "When is it okay to think about meeting someone for a date, or companionship? And just when you feel that things could not get worse, friends say, “So when are you going to start dating again?” Or perhaps they say, “Why are you moving on so quickly?” You may not have considered any of these things—but now, it's possible that you feel pressure from your friends who want you to get out and meet someone new or even family who feel they get to decide when it’s okay for you to move on.

When people are in mourning, there are others who feel it is somehow acceptable to judge and criticize them for the way they mourn. Much of this behavior stems from people’s own discomfort being with someone who is grieving. Or even discomfort with the speed at which you're moving forward.

I read a great book by Sheryl Sandberg, Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy. It talks about experience around the loss of her husband, moving on in all aspects of her life including…dating.

When is the right time?

There is no specific time frame for dating after the loss of a spouse. We all grieve differently and must respect our own process. Some will decide never to be in another relationship. Others may want a relationship but are afraid of getting attached to someone new; the relationship doesn't work out; it results in yet another loss.

But, then there’s loneliness.

Loneliness is one of the key factors in deciding to seek out a new companionship. Part of the loneliness includes physical connection such as a hug. It may seem overly simplistic, but connection is an important part of the human experience along with feeling loved and safe.

The pain from the loss decreases over time, many individuals decide to become re-involved with life. Many may begin by meeting with friends, volunteering, or joining clubs. At some point, however, some begin to feel the need to connect with someone on a deeper level to combat the loneliness. In my experiences with many clients during readings, they say that the days are not so hard to get through, but that evenings and nights are lonely and painful for them.

“Will he or she forgive me for moving on?”

Loved ones that pass on into spirit don’t share messages riddled with shame or guilt. It’s all about love and understanding. In every single experience while sitting with a client that has lost a spouse, the messages always indicate that moving on is a positive and healthy direction. They just want us to be happy.

Remember, too, that grieving and moving on can happen at the same time. This has nothing to do with forgetting. Your guilt will lessen in time. Keep in mind that when you begin the process of seeking out a new relationship, friends and family members may offer their opinions (often unwanted) as to whether you should or should not start the dating process. I'm sure you can think of a few people now.

This is your life and your relationship. Do what is most comfortable for you.

Let me know if this has helped in some way or maybe you know of someone that needs to read this message.

With great love,


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