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Life After Dating – Post-Divorce or Widowhood

| TJ Gibbs |

If you are finding yourself a divorcee or widower in later life the question of remaining alone for your future years may well have crossed your mind and those of others around you who may want you to move on and find happiness again.
Both divorce and death mean not just grieving the loss of a loved one as you would a friend or a parent, but also the grieving of the loss of your future dreams, possible financial security as well as that elusive intimacy and connection…this kind of loss resonates on so many levels.
Some will not entertain the thought of dating or falling in love again and are content to reflect on the love they have previously received, switching the outpouring of their love on to their children/grandchildren, pets, gardens or communities. All these are authentic ways to both give and receive love. But for some having that special someone, be it for companionship, sex, fun, laughter or sharing common interests, is an essential part of what makes them happy.
So when is the “right time” to start dating again after the death of a partner or divorce?

There are 5 stages of grief that occur with any loss. Namely Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Sadness/Depression followed by Acceptance. When someone knows that the partner is going to pass, ie a long term illness, then the anger, denial and bargaining stages may already have been experienced – leaving the “one left behind” experiencing depression and sadness.

Dating and letting someone else back into your life is not a matter of time but of where you are on the grief journey. When the sadness or depression begins to lift, acceptance that life has changed and goes on is where considerations on what is next can healthily take place. However, there may be another emotion that may affect the ability to be ready to love again – Guilt.

If your partner has passed on some will find themselves feeling guilty about wanting to love again, even if their partner encouraged them to move on, if they knew they were about to pass.
So how do you deal with the guilt? Here are a few tips about moving on and dating that might help you face the dating scene after the death of a partner

  • Don’t date whilst in the anger, bargaining or depression phase of grief – you are too vulnerable
  • Do not try replacing your previous partner. Don’t look for someone like them to fill their void be open to someone and something new. That way you can hold on to your memories and l honour that special soul mate that has passed while appreciating your new one.
  • Make it clear that your past soul mate is still a part of your everyday thinking and that you want to be able to (should you want to ) talk about them openly, just like you would do with anyone who is very special to you
  • Watch out for comparing someone new to your past partner. It is only natural that it will happen but that should be in your thoughts rather than in your words. This is a new time with new people and new experiences

Whether you are moving on from divorce or the death of a partner dating, in general, has become less organic and much more proactive than when you probably last dated. Of course, you can still meet people out and about, at work or via friends and mutual interests, but be also open to the dating apps.

Whether you are feeling like a teenager on Tinder, bouncing back on bumble or an “Oldie Worldie” on Ourtime (dedicated to young people over 50) setting up a profile means you are back in the game. I am not recommending Tinder for the more mature person as it is much more of a casual dating site and the paid sites might work better for you such as Ourtime or Eharmony.
No one actually likes “Dating Apps”, except maybe a seasoned narcissist who loves the chase and demands supply, but they have become somewhat of a necessary evil. If indeed you are a more mature catch why not approach it as a bit of fun and something different to do. I always advise clients to take the apps at face value just like you would someone’s CV. It’s the initial starting point of talking to someone if you decide you have a vacancy to fill in your social or love life.
A word of warning for all if they look too good to be true, sound too good to be true, chances are they are not true. Approach the apps with a cautious mind. I would highly recommend a video call before you even consider meeting someone or letting people into your private world. If they have your number and become a nuisance blocking is easy nowadays and part of the dating game if you don’t behave. Many of the apps allow telephone calls or video calls within them.

An additional word for the ladies – do not be shocked when you are approached by someone young enough to be your son (or sometimes even grandson!) The more mature woman seems to be very much in demand by younger guys nowadays – yep it’s a “thing”!!!

Having discussed this preference with a number of younger guys the usual response is “older women just know what they want and don’t play games”. From a man’s point of view, if he has always wondered what women really want, now he feels he does not have to guess. That obviously doesn’t mean they have something that might interest you but don’t think for one moment that you are too old for dating.

VMusic2016, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

So if you are called an Oldie Worldie it’s meant as a compliment. It means you are a “fittie over 40 or 50. Prime examples would be Carole Vordeman, Tom Jones, George Clooney or Jane Seymour.

Some people feel that life is too short and grab new opportunities, Others feel life is too long without their partner and really struggle to live each day with joy. Honour where you are at, accept what love really means to you right now. Whether the love goes to your pet, your parish or a new partner make sure you save some for yourself.

Thanks for Visiting TJ's Blog

Articles that TJ writes for Life & Love cover all steps in the cycle of love and include tips and advice for many dating or relationship issues. Her experience as a Love Therapist, Love Coach and Life Coach bring a real-life approach to everyday situations.

Remember life is for loving – that includes yourself!

Tj x


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