Dating and Grief

Sandy Clendenen

About a year after my husband died I began feeling extremely restless. Grief kept my mind skittering from one thing to another. Although these restless feelings were confusing, they were at least a bit of a relief from the heaviness of grief’s deep sadness and depression.

Somehow, from this agitated state of displaced energy, I decided to try internet dating.

It took me awhile to figure out the mechanics, since I knew very little about computers at that time. I spent time organizing my profile information and coming up with a catchy tagline. I posted my profile and waited for responses.

Well, I really didn’t wait. I was out there looking for my perfect companion in cyberspace.

I boldly responded to profiles of men that seemed like interesting dating prospects.

The emails led to some actual dates and even some more serious dating.

But something just didn’t feel right. I realized that the restlessness which originally led to my decision to try dating was really but another phase of the grief process.

My decision to try dating was really about my missing my spouse in a more deeply physical way.

I wasn’t looking for another man. I was looking for my deceased spouse in other men. I was blinded by grief masked as dating energy. And I believe this was even more evident to my dating partners than it was to me.

I realized that my restlessness was a form of protection from a deeper layer of my grief process. I was still lost in grief. It was simply wrapped up in a different package.

The pain of feeling my grieving body was so overwhelming that I believe my mind was searching for a way to disengage and somehow feel “normal” again.

While the desire to date can definitely be part of the move beyond grief, there is a need to really explore where one’s feelings are coming from.

The desire to date can really signal that a new transformational process has occurred in the life of the griever. It’s a powerful sign of willingness to move your life forward.

Ask these questions to gain greater clarity about pursuing dating.

• Do I still feel constantly lonely?
• Am I able to be comfortable just spending time alone with myself?
• If I am asked to describe my ideal dating partner, would all the characteristics really be a complete description of my deceased spouse?

There is no right or wrong answer to these questions. They are simply questions to provide you with more information about your most authentic feelings about dating as an option when healing from grief.

Author's Bio: 

Sandy Clendenen provides resources for widows who are feeling stuck in their grief and actively seeking to move forward to the next phase of their life.

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