How to Start Dating Again Amid Grief

Who’s right for you? Should you only date fellow widowers? And when are you ready for sex?

Joan Price
Forge
Published in
5 min readOct 9, 2019

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An older couple dances together at a party.
Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty

There may be tears and fears and ghosts when you start — or attempt to start — dating after the loss of your partner. But I assure you, if you keep at it, it will get better.

I’ve learned a lot from my 11 years of not dating, dating, withdrawing from dating, dating again, not having sex, having sex, crying, laughing, and finally enjoying new partners. The emotions sometimes felt out of control, and I didn’t know which “me” to present to another person when I didn’t know which “me” was true or would be true the next morning.

Take every first date as an opportunity to practice dating again as you seek to resolve these quandaries.

How do I meet people?

There are basically two ways to meet potential dates. The first is to get out socially: Do the activities you enjoy, and try new activities that appeal to you. You’ll meet others who have interests in common.

  • Advantage: If you don’t meet someone, you’ll still enjoy what you’re doing.
  • Disadvantage: Even if you meet people who attract you, you have no idea whether they’re available or interested in dating you.

The second is to use online dating. That’s where to find the people who are definitely looking to date.

  • Advantage: You can see their photos and read their profiles before choosing whom to meet.
  • Disadvantage: There’s a learning curve if you’ve never done it before, and it can be time consuming and discouraging to wade through the people who are not right for you as you try to find the ones who are.

I suggest you do both. Think of it this way: If people who would be a good match for you are trying to find you, where would they go? They wouldn’t go searching coffee shops in your town at the same moment you happen to be sitting there waiting. No, they’d join an online dating site and hope you find each other. Give it a chance for three or six months. Ask an experienced friend who knows you well to help you with your profile.

How do I keep an open mind?

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Joan Price
Forge
Writer for

Joan Price, award-winning author, writes and speaks about sex and aging. Her latest book is Sex After Grief. Find her at https://www.joanprice.com.