One thing about dating after losing a spouse is certain for every widow and widower: there is no set timeframe. When you decide to date again is entirely up to you. Some widows start dating after a few months of bereavement, while others take many years. It is unique to each situation and only you will know when you are ready.
If you have realized that your time has come to take the next step of dating, it might take you some time to find your “dating legs” again, but know that it is possible to find equal happiness in another satisfying and fulfilling relationship.
It doesn’t matter if you are a young widow or an older widower, the rest of your life is uncharted and there is still room for joy and love. When you are ready, don’t be afraid to explore.
What if you are the one dating a widower or widow? Sometimes it is hard to know how much support to give and when to stop serving as the shrink. You realize that widowhood isn’t easy and you’ve modified your expectations, but you still need to feel important. How do you know when it is an appropriate time to discuss your concerns?
This can be a very difficult position to be in, but also a very loving and rewarding relationship. The key to discussing any issues regarding a deceased spouse when dating a widow or widower is to be thoughtful. Try to tackle one issue at a time, and do so with tact and understanding. And if the grief and anxiety seem to be too strong for the widow/widower, be willing to step away and give them space. Leave the door open–if you desire–but let them finish grieving alone. That is a preferable way to ensure a healthier and stronger relationship.