Back from Black: Widowed and Dating

When you're looking for love and trying to define what you want, some categories seem safer than others. Widows and widowers are not always the target group. For the uninitiated, meeting a dating prospect whose spouse has died can be tricky territory.

When you're the widow or widower re-entering the dating pool, you unfortunately have a lot of explaining to do. First you have to tell yourself that you're ready. If your body disagrees with you and you're sick to your stomach at the thought, give it a bit more time. Nervousness is natural, but that telltale knot is not.

Get Ready
Give yourself an emotional and physical boost as you scout out prospects. New clothes and a spruced up haircut can work wonders on your self-confidence. Ask for advice from single friends if you're unsure what look you want to sport.

Then you need to give your friends and family a heads up that you're back on the market. Whether they jump to help or jump down your throat, continue to follow your own instincts. But do let them know in advance. That way if they're really on your side, they can introduce you to eligible friends or be your wingman or woman.

Keep It Light
Then there's the dating prospect. You'll have to tell them why you're single. Find a low-stress way to break the news. A sense of humor, which can be tricky in your situation, should lighten the mood when you disclose your loss.

When you finally make it out the door for a night on the town--or maybe just a coffee--remind yourself why you're doing this. Dating should be fun, not stressful. So put on your best smile, lighten up, loosen up and take a step out there again.

Bounce Back
Keep in mind that there may be times when you embrace the excitement and then pull back in fear. Your heart is sensitive at this stage, so the push and pull is natural. If your partner can't handle it, then move along. At this time in your life, you need someone who will roll with you rather than try to steer your ship.

All along the way, you'll have to try not to make comparisons to your lost loved one. But remember, everyone does that, whether the ex is a block away or a lifetime away. Take it easy on yourself and your date, and seek a sexy friendship rather than a long-term love. Then if love does bloom down the road, you'll be ready to nurture it.

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