Recently I was having a conversation with a woman that had lost her husband within the past couple of years. She asked, “How do I have a different relationship after having my everything?” This struck me as a very profound question.
The first thing for her to recognize is that she has an advantage over about 85% of us. She’s experienced extraordinary. She’s had a soul mate relationship!
What will make it difficult for her is that she has to come to the realization that no one can replace her late husband. Everyone is different and since science isn’t able to clone him, she’ll have to start over.
It takes time to recover from the loss of a spouse. Most people don’t recognize how long this healing process can take. Usually it takes three to five years. Men typically move through the grieving process a little more quickly than women.
Everyone grieves differently and some do it more quickly than others. I believe that this is a process that can’t be rushed and it can’t be avoided.
If you try to avoid it or dive back into everyday life due to obligations, you’ll be repressing grief that will bubble up in your life in ways you don’t expect.
After taking time to grieve and heal from the loss of her husband she can then move forward and start an honest search for a new relationship.
Dating again may feel awkward at first.
Your first few dates may feel like you are cheating on your late spouse. You may feel guilty for wanting to enjoy the company of another person, especially on a romantic level.
This may be a sign that you are a little premature in testing the dating waters. Take your time. There’s no rush or need to push your dating life along faster than you’re comfortable with.
Another sign it may be too soon is if your primary topic of conversation is your late spouse. While it may feel good for you to share your feelings and experiences, it can be very emotionally draining on your date.
Dating will be different the second time around.
If you’re like the woman I mentioned previously, you have some challenges ahead of you. The first is to recognize that you can’t replicate what you had with your late spouse. That was a unique relationship.
I believe that we all have the ability to have more than one soul mate relationship. Your next soul mate relationship can be just as extraordinary as the first. It’s just going to look and feel different. If you try to replace what you had, you’ll get frustrated, and be sorely disappointed.
As you date, you’ll find new characteristics that you find attractive in a mate; characteristics that you never knew you would want or desired. Make sure you add these to your Must Have list.
Learn to be open to new experiences.
When we’ve been with someone for a long time, we tend to get set in our ways. I find the older I get, the more I have to push myself to be open to new things, experiences, and ideas.
One of the most important things to do as you start to date again is to re-examine your circle of friends. Odds are that most of your friends are married. While it’s great to have these friends, it can get awkward and maybe even uncomfortable after a while because you’re single.
You may even notice that some of your friends become a little jealous and protective of their spouses when you’re around for fear that you may be hitting on them.
This is a great reason to start expending your circle of friends. Even before you start dating, start connecting with other singles. There can be great therapy and healing in connecting with those that are traveling the same path as you.
You’ll discover that you’re not alone on your journey. That, alone, can be of great comfort.
Here are the main take-aways this week.
After the death of your spouse, take your time getting back into the world of dating. It’s important to remember that you can have extraordinary again. It will just be different. Expect it to be different!
Cherish the memories of and experiences with your late spouse. Just don’t make them the focal point of all your conversations as you start dating again. Recognize that it’s okay to move on and to find that special someone that can bring you the love and connection that you so deeply desire.
I hope today’s topic is helpful. Join me next week for “Holy Crap! If you’re going to date, get serious about it!“
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