In person, on the phone, via the Internet, whatever. For those who maintained a social life based on interests and not just couples’ friends, the journey is a bit easier.
Likewise for those whose partner’s death was not unexpected.
“Neither of us wants to live together or get married, but it’s great having male companionship again.” Lots of people who lose their husband or wife feel like it's easier to be alone and not deal with the anxiety and other pressures associated with being social. Our well-being is based largely on interactions with others.
(The amount and kind of interaction varies, but the need is inherent.) To avoid connections is to invite depression.
According to Doreen Horan, LCPC, at the Counseling Center at Stella Maris, a provider of longterm care in Maryland, on average a man starts socializing within one to two years of a wife’s death. What all grief counselors agree on is that at some point, every widow and widower needs to get out there if life is to be meaningful once again.
Planning your re-entry to a new social life is not done overnight, says Erlene Rokowsky, Psy.
Some people take years, others weeks, and then there are those who choose never to date again. I'm including this section of the book specifically for any widowers who might be reading it.Dating again after the death of a spouse can be an awkward experience.Four years ago, Barbra Cook, now 62, lost her husband of 36 years after his 10-year-battle with early onset Alzheimer's.“Several of our couples’ friends drifted away during Morris’ illness,” she says, “but I was determined to both sustain and build a life for myself after he died.” During his illness, she continued dancing, a lifelong passion she and Morris never shared. For others, the journey may start a year or more after the loss.For those who have lost a spouse and are looking to date again, here are ten tips to help you successfully navigate the dating waters.There's no specific time period one should wait before dating again.Weathering the waves of sadness — and building a new life without your mate — may pose the biggest challenge you’ve ever faced. Your partner would want you to be happy again, so banish the notion that you are somehow “betraying” him or her by seeing someone new.One day, however — trust me on this — the will to live fully again, and even experience companionship, will arise. It’s hard to throw yourself back in the dating game after 30, 40 years or more. I tell those I counsel to look at it this way: Cherish your old relationship, but don’t let it sabotage your prospects of forging a new one. More than merely a widow or widower, you are a person with opinions, hobbies, preferences, accomplishments, social values, political views and a unique way of looking at the world.Now you’re in a different stage, with a redrawn horizon.Perhaps you’re ready to see the world and want to find someone who shares your wanderlust. The simplest is to ask friends if they know someone you’d enjoy meeting. Most people probably won’t think of suggesting this on their own (and if they do, they may hold back for fear of offending you).