Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Assessing Readiness to Date After a Loss


Excellent questions!

You are being a savvy single- that’s for sure!!!

And no, you should NOT have given him more of a chance.

His behavior is speaking loud and clear: “I’m NOT ready for a real relationship.”

And since that’s what you want, you move on, no time to waste here.

Because you’re definitely right: It sounds like this man is not really emotionally available and thus, not truly ready to be dating (at least seriously).

AND you noticed three huge red flags that tell you so: He’s still using “we”, he talks a lot about this wife, and he admits to thinking a lot about her.

All of these things give you an idea of how much MENTAL SPACE his wife still has in his brain. And in this case- there is no room left for you to be on his mind!

In fact, I think assessing mental space and these 3 signs are a great way to tell if someone is ready to date again.

Plus one more thing: Do they seem needy and clingy? Many people who have lost a spouse haven’t really stood on their own two feet for quite some time and they long for their needs to be met. When they meet someone, they come on too strong and you feel overwhelmed by them. Big Red Flag.

Signs that Someone is Ready to Date After a Loss:

How much do they use we?
How much does the partner come up in conversation?
How much do they still think about them (it’s ok to ask about this!)?
How needy and clingy are they?

Just check in on those four things and see what your gut tells you about it.

Any special guidelines for someone who’s spouse has died?

You know, in general it’s similar. But I do think there is something that is different if you have lost your spouse versus broke up with an ex.

If you have been married to someone for a long time, it’s normal to still talk and think about them. It’s normal for a large part of your identity to have been wrapped up in the past relationship.

It does take time for these things to shift.

And in the meantime, it does make sense to honor their partnership.

It was important to them, and you can show that relationship it’s proper respect. Occasional stories or thoughts are ok- it’s natural.

But these should decrease over time as the person develops a more separate identity.

If it happens more than you are comfortable with, or you feel like you are in a 3 way relationship- it’s a sign that you may not be a good match, at this time.

How long does it take?

The time it takes to grieve a loss and really be ready for a serious relationship varies widely due to circumstances and individuals.

In general, if someone has been married for awhile it isn’t unusual for it to take up to 2 years (or more) to really be emotionally available.

You really need to assess such things on a case by case basis, with the keys mentioned above!

Smart radar- it’s important to catch these things early and NOT ignore them, but realize that they would take you down a very different path than the one you want to be on to find your soulmate!

Readers: What others signs have you noticed that tell you that a widow(er) isn't ready to get serious?

Please share!

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