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If Your Partner Passed Away…

It may be taking you a long time to get back out and date again. Here, some helpful strategies.

By Margot Carmichael Lester

hen your partner dies suddenly, all kinds of irrational fears rear their ugly heads. One of the most common is a belief that the next person you get involved with will meet a similar fate. This is particularly true for folks who are dating again later in life… and it can keep them from getting involved again. “There is a very real fear of winding up alone again, and that fear is absolutely normal,” consoles Carole Brody Fleet, author of Widows Wear Stilettos. “However, were we to let fear rule our lives, we would never get into a car, get onto an airplane or let our children out of our sight regardless of their age.”

Despite the overwhelming nature of these fears, they must be overcome. “While the fear
Despite the overwhelming nature of these fears, they must be overcome.
of loss is normal, you nonetheless cannot let fear stand in the way of a future with a new love,” Fleet notes. “You cannot let the fear of a possible repeat of the widowhood experience paralyze you. Instead, marvel at your strength and your open spirit to new love. Celebrate the fact that you are ready and willing to open your heart to new love, new experiences and the creation of new memories.” How exactly, you ask? Here’s advice.

Get support
One of the best ways to get over your fears is to get support from friends, family, or even a bereavement group. “It’s important to have someone grab your hand and lead you, pull you and push you—lovingly, of course,” explains Sam Glenn, an author of A Kick in the Attitude. “For instance, my first experience on a roller-coaster, I had so much fear and the only thing I could do to overcome this fear was have friends and family lead me, encourage me, push me… Uncle Bob may have even carried me at one point. Needless to say, I gave them permission to be accountable to me to overcome this fear. When I wanted to run, they said no… and I am grateful they did. I would have missed out on a ride filled with so much joy.”

You’re going to have a lot of ups and downs on your way to new love. Surrounding yourself with
Don’t let the wrong attitude keep you from happiness and finding another love.
people who want to see you succeed — and be happily coupled — is key to achieving your goal. Listen to them, and let them help you take risks.

Make the right choices
Changing your mindset is also important. The best way to do that is to vow to make constructive choices. “You may not get to choose whether or not you go to work, pay the bills or sit in the traffic — but you do have a choice in how you are going to face every day — and ultimately, how you are going to face your life,” Fleet says.

“Choose to refuse. Refuse to let fear, grief or suffering become the cornerstone of your existence. Choose to focus on the good things, starting with the fact that you are ready for or have found love again. Love is meant to be celebrated; not something to be afraid of.”

Change your focus
You can also get relief from your fear by focusing on attracting love, instead of worrying about losing it. “It’s not so much about meeting the right person, as it is about becoming the right person,” Glenn notes. “I prayed for God to work on me so that I would be a gift to someone special. I worked on my character, my health, my finances, any issues that blocked me from being my best. I realized something special and this perception changed my heart. Life gets better when we get better and the starting point is our attitude.”

Fear is a part of life, but left unchecked it can keep us from living—and loving. “Our attitude either gets in the way or creates a way,” Glenn concludes. “So don’t let the wrong attitude keep you from happiness and finding another love.”


Carrboro, NC-based freelance writer Margot Carmichael Lester also writes for Monster.com and Go magazine.
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