I am very sorry to hear about your loss. There is really no right or wrong answer to this question. Everyone deals with the grieving process in different ways. For some people years of grieving is not enough, yet for others only weeks are needed to move on and start dating again. There are so many variables involved that the best answer to this question is that you should start dating whenever you feel ready to do so. Do not let others tell you that you are moving too fast or waiting too long.
Dating again can be an awkward experience and even bring out feelings of guilt, betrayal, and confusion. It can also be very hard for those who were close to the deceased spouse. Here are a few things to consider when you think about starting the dating process again:
Make sure you are dating for the right reasons: Take time to evaluate why you want to date again. Be careful of dating to fill the void or heal the pain that comes with the loss of a spouse. However, dating does give you the chance to open your heart to another person.
Feeling guilty for dating again at first is normal: You might feel like you are cheating on your late spouse. As you date more the feelings of guilt should subside over time. If the guilt is not subsiding you might not be ready to date again.
It is ok to talk about your deceased spouse in moderation: Answer any questions that the person you are dating may have about your late spouse, but don’t spend all your time talking about this. While it is ok to talk about the past some, constantly doing so may make it seem like you are not ready to move on and start a new relationship.
Remember that your date is not a therapist: Dating isn’t a therapy session but an opportunity to spend time with someone else and enjoy their company. If you find yourself talking a lot about the pain in your heart or how much you miss your spouse you might want to seek some professional therapy.
It’s ok to make mistakes when you start dating again: You might be a little rusty on proper dating etiquette but do not worry about this too much. Just try not to make the same mistake over and over. Learn from your mistakes and continue moving forward.
Realize that not everyone will understand why you’re dating again: There will almost always be someone who does not understand why you’ve chosen to date again. What matters is that you are ready to date again. I recommend reading Introducing a New Relationship to Your Adult Children for tips on how to help with this process.
Take things slow: It is completely normal to miss having the physical presence of your spouse. However, sometimes the feelings of missing physical contact can force you into a serious relationship before you are ready. Wait to make sure what you are doing is because you love the other person and not because you miss the intimacy that came with your late spouse.
Even though dating can be awkward or difficult at times, it can also be a lot of fun. When you feel ready to start the dating process again do not hesitate to take bold steps towards finding happiness and moving on with life.