Dating after loss of spouse

05 Feb

Dating after divorce can be a minefield for the midlife woman.

Perhaps even thornier than pondering what to wear on a date, where to go, who pays—not to mention how you even find people to date in this brave new world of Internet match-ups—is getting over your reluctance to take a stab at it. "A divorced woman may feel very vulnerable at this stage, in part because she used to have a spouse to 'protect' her and now she has to go out into the world on her own," says Diana Kirschner, Ph D, author of .

I also wonder if it is even wise to spend precious time trying. I recently became involved with a man and the relationship has become exclusive. My problem is that he doesn't enjoy going out to restaurants, nightclubs, movies, or the like.

-- Worried in California Dear Worried: Unfortunately, I don't think it's possible to truly prepare yourself for a loss of great magnitude. And -- most of all -- feeling "seen," loved, and held up by fellow human beings. These are all life enhancements you can work on now, with the love of your life by your side. I have always been socially active, with a wide range of friendships -- both personal and professional.

Many people experience great loss and, after a time, still find a way to live rich, full, and meaningful lives — and so can you.

Michelle Bolyn is a licensed mental health professional and has worked since 2006 as a therapist.

Some survivors ask, “How long should I talk about this? ” This concern is often motivated by the fact that within a few weeks or months of the death, others seem reluctant to talk about it. But the widow or widower needs to talk about it, because it just feels unbelievable.Saying Goodbye Taking Care of Yourself Community Q&A Losing a spouse is one of the most painful experiences one can be put through.You may feel completely numb, or like you are in shock; the world may pause around you.Instead, "it's usually clear when you're not ready," says Susan Pease Gadoua, a therapist and author of .That is, "when the very idea turns you off." But you can decide that you're ready to at least try.