Losing a partner is probably one of the worst things that happens in our lives and some of us never get over it.
One of the questions that Mila and I are often asked is when is it time to start looking for another partner. When is too soon?
It may seem like a callous question to be thinking of finding a new partner whilst still grieving for a lost loved one but some of us, many of us I believe, need a significant other, need love and almost require company.
One of the biggest obstacles to finding a new partner is guilt; the guilt of thinking that any time is too soon. The second obstacle is friends, neighbours and family. They do not share your grief in the same way and rarely understand the gaping hole that is left in your life after the loss of a partner.
So, back to the question, when is it time to start dating again after a bereavement?
There isn't of course a set or fixed timed answer for this, it all depends on a whole range of circumstances. Take these two examples:
1. Your partner had been in a residential home for a number of years and recently was even not aware of who you are.
2. Your partner died suddenly due to an accident or unexpected illness.
An onlooker may take the view that those of us that fall into something similar to example 1 may choose to start dating quite soon whereas those from example 2 may be likely to wait for a longer period of time.
Strangely this is not always the case. I know of many people who have nursed their partners though a long and sometimes debilitating illness and have almost accepted and got used to a life without a partner in the accepted sense of the word. On the other hand, those who have lost their partner relatively suddenly find it very difficult to cope on their own and can find the friendship, support and even love of another extremely comforting and beneficial quite soon after their bereavement.
So, the answer to the question very much depends on the individual, the circumstances and of course the relationship that has been lost.
One of the most useful pieces of advice around these matters that I have heard is to talk openly with friends and relatives so that you can get an idea of their thoughts and opinions and they of yours. Talking can cause some friction but the results can often be surprising and always useful.
So what of the answer to the question?
All of the options must be correct and it is up to you and those who are dear to you what time you have before dating again.