How Soon Should You Start Dating After the Loss of a Significant Other?

It’s normal and usually expected to feel lonely and long for companionship after the loss of a significant other. For many, their spouse is their best friend, caregiver, lover, companion, and hand of support during difficult times. Desiring love and a life with a partner to share the next chapter of your life is by no means selfish or wrong. And when it comes to determining the proper time and length to start dating again after the loss of your significant other, only you will have the correct answer. 

As you heal from your grieving process and begin to consider the idea of dating again, keep in mind that no two people grieve the same and everyone’s journey is individual with its own ups and downs. Regardless of what we cover in this post or what someone demands from you, at the end of the day, whether or not you’re ready to find another partner will always depend on your own convictions. If you take anything from this post, please know there isn’t a wrong or right answer when it refers to dating after the loss of a significant other.  

Losing a Significant Other

First and foremost, losing a significant other is without a doubt one of the most difficult goodbyes anyone can experience. Nothing can fully prepare us for the reality of losing the person we once promised to share our lives with. As we consider the heart-rending nature of this inevitable part of life, it’s also important to mention that eventually moving on after a significant other’s loss is appropriate and is what our loved ones would’ve wanted for us. They would want us to find new love and be happy once again. 

When losing a significant other, before you start dating again, allow yourself to:

  • Feel through all your emotions during your grieving journey: grief, loneliness, sadness, shock, denial, acceptance, and eventually important healing.
  • Get help and support whether from close friends and families or even professional help if needed.
  • Put yourself first before other people’s demands on how you are to act or feel
  • Be cognizant of your children’s emotions during this difficult process and when you begin to date again as you all emotionally recover 
  • Give yourself time, grace, patience and self-love.

No matter what you are confronted with or made to believe, it is not wrong to find yourself emotionally ready to move on at some point after the loss of a significant other. However, it is also not wrong to continue grieving for a longer period of time or to choose not to date again after losing a lover. Whatever you feel is right for you, proceed with caution as you begin to invite the concept of a new relationship to your life. 

How Long is Too Long and How Short is Too Short?

As we have covered so far, when it comes to grieving the loss of a significant other, there is no period that is too long or shorter to grieve. How long it takes for you to feel comfortable with moving on will depend on a variety of factor.

As you cope through your own grieving process, you’ll likely encounter numerous opinions from those around you on how you should behave or even what you should be feeling. Unless these opinions come from those who have your best interest at heart, only take into consideration that which you find to be helpful and set aside those that do no service to you as you navigate your process. 

Things to Consider Before You Start Dating After The Loss of a Significant Other

Several factors should be considered when making the decision to date again after a significant other’s passing. Many times, this is not even a decision but something that happens without our full awareness. Regardless of the situation, it’s important to take some time to consider the following before you start dating again.

  • Consider whether you need time to continue grieving or mourning the loss of your significant other. It’s not fair for anyone to enter a new relationship in which they are still carrying the burden of someone who is still emotionally grieving and who cannot fully give their best version of themselves due to a heart that is still in need of mending and healing. 
  • Consider whether or not you have accepted that a new love will never be able to replace or be the same as the one you had. When starting a new relationship, whether it is after a loss or a breakup, it’s crucial to acknowledge that it will never be the same as the one that ceased to be. You are now entering a new experience with a whole different person, with their own likes and dislikes, passions and hobbies, and unique way of loving. 
  • Nothing can be more detrimental for you and someone else than starting a relationship based on the fear of being alone. Once you accept that it is ok to be alone, once you can once again find joy and peace without having to rely on another person, then and only then should you consider dating again. 

Signs You May Be Ready to Date Again

With time comes eventual healing, especially when surrounded by those we care for and love. Finding yourself at a place where you can begin to love life again and others without feeling guilty, or when you have the strength to honor memories of your deceased loved one without being overcome by unwavering sorrow are signs that you may be ready to date again. 

Final Thoughts on Dating After The Loss of a Significant Other

We’re meant to be loved. As humans, we love fellowship, companionship, and most abundantly we love being loved and loving back. After the loss of a significant other, it’s normal to take some time to grieve and emotionally process the loss. It’s normal to even feel hopeless and like the pain will never end, but a broken heart always finds its way back and begins to long for love again. Just like it is ok to start dating again after a period of grief, it’s also ok to have no desire to find another partner. Remember, this is a personal decision with no wrong or right answer, 

While everyone will have their own individual timeline, it is usually recommended for the bereaved to wait a period of one to two years before dating again. This is so they can have sufficient time to go through the stages of the grief process and find themselves ready to love again. 

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