Dating Tips for Widows

At Chick’s Night Out we widows talk about everything and the last couple of months dating has been a subject of interest.  For those who have lost a spouse and are looking forward to dating again, here are some tips to help you successfully start dating again.

There is no specific time period to wait before dating again
Grieving and the process of moving on is something that’s unique to each person. Whatever you do, don’t let others tell you you’re moving too fast or waiting too long. Make sure it’s something you’re really ready to try before taking that step. There will always be someone who will not understand why you’ve chosen to date again – their opinions do not matter.

Dating for the right reasons
Take some time to understand why you want to date.  If you’re dating because you think it’s going to somehow fill the void or heal the pain that comes from losing a spouse, it’s not going to happen. Dating does give you the chance to experience the joy that comes with falling in love again but it has be right for you.

Feeling guilty
The first time you go out with another man you may feel like you are cheating on your late husband. You may even look around to see if there is anyone you know, as if you are doing something wrong. That feeling of guilt should lessen after you have gone on several dates. But if the guilt’s not subsiding, you may not be ready to date again. Give dating a break and try it later when you are more up to the task.

It’s okay to talk about the deceased spouse—just don’t overdo it
It’s okay to talk about the spouse when you’re first dating someone. Answer questions he may have about your marriage, but don’t spend all your time talking about the past. Showing a genuine interest in your date and his interests shows you’re ready to start a new life.

It’s okay to make mistakes
If you find yourself forgetting simple dating etiquette, don’t worry about it. Most dates will understand if they know it has been awhile since you dated.

Take things slow
We miss the kisses, having someone’s head resting on our shoulder and the warm body next to us in bed. This lack of physical and emotional intimacy is enough to drive us to the dating scene. We want that warm body next to ours and to have the words “I love you” whispered in our ears. But it can save you a lot of emotional heartache if you wait to make sure and take it slow.

Make your date feel special
It’s a basic dating rule, but it’s often forgotten by widows and widowers. Because we already had someone special in our lives, it’s easy to forget to make our date feel special too.  Even though dating can be awkward and difficult at times, it can also be a lot of fun. Part of the reason we’re here is to enjoy life and dating is a great way to start living again.

10 Responses

  1. eila Becker
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    Although I am lonely at times, I find the idea of dating scary. Most men have some kind of “baggage” and I don’t want to come between adult children and grandchildren, but I also will not be 3rd, 4th, 5th etc. on someone’s list. Expectations are also so different from when I last dated. From the rising no. of STD’s in the over 50 age group, unprotected sex appears to be common. Sex seems to be expected after the 3rd date[ if not before] and I would be very uncomfortable thinking this is expected of me. Also how can you be sure of someone’s motives- are they after money or looking for a caregiver? Unless I was introduced by a friend who knew the man, I’d be very leery. Thinking of all the potential problems, maybe being alone isn’t so bad! Now, if I meet George Cloony …

  2. sandra
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    My husbsnd has been gone for three years now and I find the thought of dating terrifing. But I’m lonely and would like some companionship , So I cmposed what would be the most importnt characteristics I would look for in a friend – Humor, self assurance, independant, healthy, etc.- that seemed to help – I find it easier to judge the people that come across my path

  3. Carole
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    It is 10 days until what would have been our 18th anniversary (on Valentine’s Day), and 20 days until the one year mark of my darling husband’s unexpected passing. Tears rolled when I read your remark about missing the easy loving intimacy, “We miss the kisses, having someone’s head resting on our shoulder and the warm body next to us in bed. This lack of physical and emotional intimacy is enough to drive us to the dating scene. We want that warm body next to ours and to have the words “I love you” whispered in our ears.”

    Even though a year has passed for me, this painful longing does not drive me to consider the dating scene. The thought of it seems revolting somehow. I used to shake my head in wonder at the one-year-mourning-rule. How silly and pathetic it seemed to me (of the formerly unsuccessful relationships group) at the time. Wouldn’t you want to just get back on the horse and try again? Oh. Now I get it. A year where you get formal permission to hole up socially without making excuses.

    I have relocated to another state to be near my children (their idea, I agreed). I am happy to be able to make some new friends at some group activities I enjoy. Easy and some fun. That’s enough for me, at least for now, but probably long-term I feel. Sort of like “once you’ve had the best, you don’t want the rest.” True enough, you can’t go back. As you said, “that’s not gonna happen.”

    Thanks for caring, and listening,

    C

  4. Michelle
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    I lost my husband 18 months ago tomorrow and the worst part of all this is he’s not here at night. I’m dating but I’m still “iffy” about it. I still feel at times (not all the time) guilty. We talked about this happening years before he passed and also again shortly before he passed and talked about finding a new companion. We were married 18 1/2 years and together for 21 years and I feel like I was cheated out of more years. I know in my mind that this is stupid to feel this way but my heart isn’t listening to logic. He was my second husband (first one I divorced after 27 years of marriage) but the love we shared made us feel this was our first, if that makes any sense. At times I feel lost and don’t know what to do. I haven’t been dating long (only a couple of months with a nice gentleman who is also widowed) and I want to ask him questions about his feelings after his wife passed but I’m still guarded as to what to say…wondering if they changed the dating scene since my husband and I dated. My children (even step children) are very encouraging. I’m tying to move forward but I’m finding it hard.

  5. Mary Francis
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    Hi Michelle Thank you for sharing. I think dating again has to be the most scary thing to do (at least for me). I admire ladies that are open to the idea of dating and are willing to at least give it a try.

    It’s great that your children and step children are encouraging – not all widows have that support.

    Good luck with your future. Mary Francis

  6. Michelle
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    Thank you for responding. Yes I’m scared to date. You never know what they might do. The gentleman I’m dating is very understanding. But I remain cautious. I won’t live with anyone or get married again. At least that’s my feelings at this time.

  7. Michelle
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    Thank you for responding. Yes I’m terrified to date but life continues. Right?

  8. Gordonschick52
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    I too find it terrifying, the idea of dating, but I really do miss companionship. I feel that if I date someone, I will be betraying Gordon, my husband, but I have to realise that he is gone, in the flesh. I also don’t want to date a man who is expecting sex. What would be a nice place to meet a gentleman?

  9. Mary Francis
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    That’s the # 1 question all widows have “Where can I meet a gentleman?” The truth is that what one widow considers a gentleman another widow may not. We all have different tastes and standards.

    I think you should become more sociable, doing the things that you enjoy. Just being out there will expose you to available men and if it’s doing something you both enjoy than that’s a bonus.

    I’m sure the widowed men feel the same way. I’m told that some widows are too forward and this is scary to a recently widowed man. Remember they haven’t dated in years either and so it’s uncomfortable for everyone.

    I find that the ladies who are comfortable with themselves, have self confidence, seem to be the ladies that the gentlemen are drawn to. Take some courses, learn something new and enjoy life. The rest of your life is before you, don’t live it based solely on being with someone else.

    Take care, Mary Francis

  10. Michelle Clines
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    I understand that terrifying fear of dating. You wonder if they changed the dating game (that’s what I call it).
    I was so terrified but my husband and I had talked of this and acknowledged with each other that the other one should have a companion. My husband even said to remarry and I told him I wasn’t going to. But to have a companion would be the thing to do.
    I went on several dating sites (you can join for free and you don’t really have to pay for it to just look and see if you would be interested) In my opinion you the widow have the control. Some of them were talking about sex and that through me for a loop and scared the crap out of me at the same time. I would not correspond with them when they did that. I even told one of them that they just lost a wonderful opportunity to meet a very special woman.
    I am dating someone from one of those dating sites and he’s very nice and very understanding. We are still in the early stages only because I’m still cautious and he doesn’t care.
    So just understand Gordon would want you happy and content and if you never find a companion that’s perfectly ok. He loved you very much and wants you comfortable with your choices. Ma’am you are not betraying him or cheating on him. I know that feeling. There are times I still feel that way with the gentleman I’m seeing. TAKE YOUR TIME!!! If you don’t feel right about it then back away and get your thoughts and confidence clear.
    But above all know that whatever you decide I as a widow will back you up and support whatever decision you make.
    You will in time feel comfortable again and confidant again. May God Bless You.

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