Chapter 5: Your changing relationships with other people

Meeting someone new

I've been there
Dianne shares about starting a new relationship.(3:22)Video transcript
Alana speaks about how Laura is still part of her world and life, even after death. (3:22)Video transcript

I was very careful about who I chose to be with because I’d had such a wonderful relationship. Dating after he died was very hard.I loved being married. Being in a committed relationship is something I want again. Sometimes I feel that others are judging me for that.

It may be too soon for you to even be thinking about being with someone else or you may feel, now and always, that you never want to be in a partnered relationship again. It’s also possible that you may long to be in a committed and loving relationship. Everyone is different.

Being with someone new doesn’t mean forgetting about your spouse. Click on the arrows below to see some of the different thoughts and feelings you might have as you contemplate or begin a new relationship.

Bringing someone new into your life can be an easier transition for some than for others. How to best manage this will depend on several factors. If you have children, their ages and your parenting style will influence your decision. There may also be cultural considerations or past experiences involved.

Your family and friends may be supportive, or they may be in very different places from you in their grief. You may be ready to have someone new in your life, but others in your family or close circle of friends may not be. It can be especially hard for children of any age, including adult children, to get used to the idea that you are seeing someone.

If you decide that you would like to start dating, try to prepare yourself for some “false starts.” You might agree to attend a social gathering or go on a date, but suddenly feel guilty about even thinking of having fun. You might also feel disappointed because the person you meet is not who you were expecting – or not the partner you lost.

What may help

  • Follow your own instincts and take your time.
  • Remind yourself that taking some time to enjoy life doesn’t mean that you’re not grieving. You are in the middle of significant life changes. Be kind and gentle with yourself.
  • If you felt loved and cared for by your partner, you may be comforted in knowing that they would want you to be happy. If your relationship with your spouse was troubled, you have likely learned from your experience and can seek out a different kind of relationship.
  • If family or friends are finding it difficult to welcome or accept someone new, you may need to give them some time. It can be helpful to have an honest exchange of feelings. If tensions continue, you might seek out a family therapist or see a counsellor on your own. Keep in mind that it’s not up to you to solve everything for everyone.
  • If you want to go online to meet new people, exercise reasonable caution. Remember that you’re likely more vulnerable than usual at this time. For some online safety tips, see the resources below.

Helpful resources – Module 9 - When life starts to get better, Chapter 4, Am I ready to start a new relationship? - Online Dating Safety - Online Dating