when do I start dating

When do I start dating again after loss? Everyone has A LOT to say about this when you start considering entering the dating scene again. Maybe more than any other thing! BUT nobody has lived your life, so I don’t think it’s their choice! Even if they have been your best friend throughout your whole life they haven’t been in your marriage or intimacy or grief. 

Friends and family members told me so many different things and I had to realize it was all just from their perspective. It’s too soon to date. Why are you waiting to date? How dare you? Don’t you feel guilty? When will you start dating? Your kids need a dad. Isn’t dating disrespectful to Jay? It seems like an insult to me! Do you feel like you’re being unfaithful? Opinions, opinions, opinions! ~Seriously! What in the heck was going on here?

The right time to date again really depends on you and following your gut. It’s really complicated especially if you have children. Some people suggest your kids don’t meet the people you are dating, some people think that blending families is huge and they should absolutely meet each other at the beginning so you know whether to proceed. There is no right or wrong even though the people surrounding you may make you think so. Consider if those with opinions have gone through this before. And if so, was it exactly the same? Probably impossible. Your kids may also have strong opinions on this- whether they are young or grown. Set boundaries with yourself and your loved ones on what they get to help you decide and what they don’t.

One of my personal needs is just being held. This was a big part of what was missing in my life when Jay passed away. I could hold all of my little kids or hug my mom or family members but it obviously wasn’t the same as hugging your husband. The role of a husband isn’t easily transferred to another man. It’s not like changing the filters on the furnace. It’s a physical and emotional thing.

Intimacy is a part of life, so it was also a piece of grief. It wasn’t even sex, it was about a connection that I missed. In the beginning, sex didn’t even cross my mind. Daring to talk about this with anyone is uncomfortable. It’s one of the taboo topics I guess. Even talking with my counselors about it was embarrassing. But it was a huge part of my loss, so NOT talking about it isn’t reality. One thing to seriously consider if you do talk to someone about it is – have they ever really gone through something like this?  It’s so different once you’re living it. 

Now that I got the point across that you get to decide about dating and intimacy all on your own, now it’s easy to judge yourself and have some of those same thoughts. Having feelings of love, sex, connection, and intimacy are normal! What I did was I had to get in a very quiet space to listen. I had to try to figure out how to trust myself again. It’s not easy to do. I made mistakes. I learned that I was doing the best I could with the tools I had to cope. So- do your best and don’t let others put you on a guilt trip. You got this!