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Widow Dating Success: 5 Tips to Embracing New Beginnings

When you are a widow dating for the first time after the loss of your husband, it can feel overwhelmingly hard. Everything on the dating scene has changed.  Not only that, the loss of a spouse is one of the top stressors in life.  You have been through a lot!  So in that transition after the loss and before you plunge into the dating pool,  it can be very hard to sort out all your feelings of loss and get your mojo back.

But once you do, widow dating can also become quite exciting—trust me!  Here are five tips to help you take those first steps with confidence and a growing sense of new beginnings:

Widow Dating Tip 1. Give Yourself Permission to Move Forward

It’s key to acknowledge and honor your feelings about your late spouse. Moving forward doesn’t mean forgetting them or diminishing the love you shared. Allow yourself to grieve while also recognizing that it’s okay to seek happiness and companionship again. There’s no set timeline for when you should start dating; it’s a personal decision that should be made when you feel ready. Trust your instincts and please be kind to yourself during this transition.

Example: Sarah lost her husband, John, two years ago after 25 years of marriage. The first year was particularly tough, and she focused on healing and taking care of her children. She often felt guilty about the idea of moving on, as if it meant she was betraying John. However, with the support of her friends and a coach, she began to understand that finding new happiness didn’t mean she loved John any less. Slowly, Sarah started to engage in activities she enjoyed, like joining a book club. This allowed her to socialize in a low-pressure environment. Eventually, Sarah felt ready to try dating again and went on a coffee date with a fellow book club member, enjoying the experience without any expectations.

Widow Dating Tip 2. Take It Slow and Be Open to New Experiences

Re-entering the dating world can feel overwhelming, especially if it’s been a long time since you’ve dated. Start slowly by engaging in social activities that interest you, whether it’s joining a club, attending professional or sports events, joining a new high-end gym.   Make sure there are lots of men in whatever activity you choose.  This will help you practice relating to guys.  Be open to different types of relationships and don’t rush into anything serious right away. Give yourself the space to explore and discover what feels right for you.

Example: Linda, who lost her husband five years ago, felt the urge to reconnect with people but was intimidated by the idea of dating apps. Instead, she signed up for a local pottery class and began attending community theater performances. Through these activities, she met a diverse group of people and started forming new friendships. One of her classmates, Tom, asked her out for coffee after a few weeks. They enjoyed each other’s company and began going on more casual dates. Linda appreciated the slow pace, which allowed her to feel comfortable and rediscover the joy of companionship without feeling rushed into a serious relationship.  She started to really enjoy Tom’s company.

Widow Dating Tip 3. Communicate Your Feelings and Boundaries

Clear communication is crucial when starting to date again. Be honest with potential partners about your past and current feelings. It’s okay to share that you’re a widow and talk about your late spouse when you feel comfortable. Setting boundaries is equally important—know what you’re looking for and what you’re not ready for yet. This will help ensure that any new relationship you enter is built on mutual understanding and respect.

Example: A client of ours, Maria was a widow for three years who decided to try online dating. She met someone named Paul through a dating site, and after chatting online, they decided to meet for dinner. During their first date, Maria felt it was important to be upfront about her past. She shared with Paul that she was a widow and that her late husband, Michael, was a significant part of her life. She also expressed that while she was open to finding love again, she wanted to take things slowly and wasn’t ready for a serious commitment immediately. Paul appreciated her honesty and reciprocated by sharing his own experiences and boundaries. This openness laid the groundwork for a respectful, understanding and close relationship.  Maria is now having loads of fun traveling to the South Pacific with Paul.

Widow Dating Tip 4. Create an Empowering Nickname for Yourself

One of the baseline challenges in handling grief or loss is that it tends to make us second-guess ourselves. Did we do enough for our loved one? Did we get them the best quality care? And, did we get to say goodbye properly? As you sit on the couch crying and binge-watching shows, you may find yourself being angry with yourself, second-guessing what you said or did that was wrong. You know how these self-punishing thoughts go—and they cause lots of suffering.

A great way to overcome this is to give yourself a nickname that empowers and validates you, even if you don’t feel like you can do that right now. This is just a small door that can help you move forward into the light. So just try this exercise.

Think about adjectives and/or phrases that connote strength, courage, empowerment, resilience, right action, and/or forgiveness. Create a nickname using that adjective or phrase that makes you feel good.

Empowering Widow Names

Read the list below and feel into each one to see what is a good fit:

  • Empowered
  • Courageous
  • Protected
  • Clever
  • Resilient
  • Who Can Handle Things on Her Own
  • Beacon of Strength
  • Who Performs Right Action
  • Who Expresses Her Anger Constructively and Creatively
  • Triumphant
  • Who Cleverly Uses Her Anger as a Force for Good
  • Unstoppable
  • Strong, Whole, and Effective
  • Forgiving
  • Who is Divinely Protected
  • Who is Under God’s Protection
  • Who Feels Her Feelings and Lets Them Go

So once you have your adjective or phrase, think of an empowering noun to use for yourself, like Goddess, Angel, Wizardess, or Heroine. Next, add it to your adjective and/or phrase from the list above.

So your empowering healing name could be Empowered Goddess Who is Divinely-Led to Her New Love or Triumphant Angel Who Finds Great Love Again. Write down your empowered nickname and put it where you can see it every day. It will grow on you, I promise.  And help you feel better.

Example: After a tough day filled with self-doubt and sorrow, Jane decided to try this exercise. She chose the phrase “Resilient” and paired it with “Goddess.” Her new nickname became “Resilient Goddess Who Finds Strength in Every Challenge.” She wrote it down and placed it on her bathroom mirror. In fact, seeing her empowered nickname every morning, reminded Jane of her strength and capability. Then gradually over time, she navigated her new life with much greate self-confidence.

Widow Dating Tip 5: Seek Professional Help

Dating these days can be very challenging—with many apps and sites and lots of people, including scammers, who make it hard to navigate the dating scene. In fact, a coach can help you process any remaining grief or guilt. They can also help you navigate the tricky terrain of modern dating so that you can find a new happily-ever-after.

Example: Emily, who had been widowed for four years, felt overwhelmed by the idea of dating again. The last time she dated, there were no dating apps, and now the landscape seemed foreign and intimidating. She sought the help of one of our knowledgeable coaches who helped Emily process her lingering feelings of guilt and grief. The therapist also provided practical advice on how to safely and effectively use dating apps. With this support, Emily felt more confident and re-entered the dating world. She eventually met a loving top-tier guy through a dating app and began a new chapter in her life—she says it is her happiest ever!  Emily and her new love go for walks on the beach at sunset and have romantic dinners and so much mor!

Conclusion

A widow dating after the loss of her spouse is a deeply personal journey that involves a balance of honoring the past while being open to new possibilities.

In sum, by giving yourself permission to move forward, taking things slow, communicating your feelings and boundaries, creating an empowering nickname, and seeking professional help, you can navigate this new chapter with confidence and grace. Remember, it’s never too late to find joy and companionship again, no matter what your age, weight or other circumstances! We know because we have helped so many widows find new life and a new love that meets the calling of their hearts.

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