Three Tips for Dating After Loss
When I decided to start dating again after my husband died it was almost like guilt started screaming at me so loud that I felt sick to my stomach.
I literally had to sit down and think this decision through.
It was not as simple as a yes or a no answer. I was a 34-year-old widow, with two little girls by my side. When I sat down to think it through, along came some ”friends.”
Guilt sat at one side and shame at the other.
They were not happy with me contemplating dating, and they were not going to let me even consider the option of being with someone else.
They were telling me, “It’s way too soon.
And that I should not be so selfish.”
“I have little kids to think about; what am I doinggetting all dressed up and going out on a date?”
“How dare I think of me?”
With heart palpitations and a very strong nauseous feeling in my stomach, I got up and left guilt and shame behind me.
Grief started following me around, telling me to just go to bed, rest, and watch a movie. Tomorrow will be another tough day.
I shut the door on that voice.
At that moment I saw myself for the first time trying to emerge from all the fear that I was so used to living with every day.
I remember going on that date and not telling anyone about it.
It was almost like a secret mission.
It was my secret mission of getting me back.
Getting me out of the grief, the shame and the guilt that had been surrounding me every day.
And for a couple of hours, I got to walk into the life Istarted to build again.
Even though that date did not bring me a soulmate or someone to fall in love with, it did bring me the courage to step out of the shame and guilt that had enveloped me since grief walked into my life.
I have to admit it wasn’t easy to even pick what to wear for that dinner date. The prettier I looked, the louder the voice of shame yelled at me.
So, I put earplugs in my ears and stepped out into the world.
What I am here to ask you today is:
When will you take that chance and go on a secret mission with earplugs along the way?
Here are three tips that will help you not only survive dating again, but thrive:
1. No matter what heartbreak you have gone through, always listen to your intuition. Use your earplugs, and listen within. Put shame and guilt aside, and march forward toward your next chapter. It will be OK.
2. The only way to feel beautiful again and get your confidence back is to get yourself out there again. But make sure that in your mind you are not planning a future with your date—just be present, and enjoy the evening. Your identity and who you are will shift as time goes by. Your date might not be your future perfect match, so enjoy the present moment.
3. Don’t try to replicate your previous relationship. Date someone completely different. I promise you, you will be surprised.
Technically speaking, Christina Rasmussen is a grief counselor. But she prefers to call herself a strategist for life after loss. She’s crusading to change the way we cope with grief, devastation and longing. Her website is a global coaching portal for reinvention and transformation—devoted to helping people step out from the shadow of excruciating loss and come back to life.
Photo credit: flawijn .pix