Start dating again
Do you believe that most people are inherently decent, loyal, loving and are looking for you just as ardently as you are looking for them? There may be several factors that are holding you back from the resumption of dating.
As hard as it may be, and while you certainly should not trust in a blindly haphazard fashion, you must have the ability to trust the people you introduce into your life, rather than judge them on any wrongdoings of those in your past. Otherwise known as Analysis Paralysis, these factors may include the fear of experiencing another loss by divorce or death, the fear of intimacy and vulnerability or the fear of being hurt again.
When you sincerely enjoy life as an individual, you are genuinely ready to begin the dating process again. The companion element to being happy on your own is the ability to go out alone and enjoy yourself. Examine yourself carefully and ask yourself if you are capable of making yourself emotionally available to another. We have all been cheated on, lied to, taken advantage of and otherwise treated shabbily by those who lack integrity, honesty, moral decency, gainful employment or good hygiene.
Rather than simply trying to fill the huge void left by a spouse; you are instead opening your heart to the possibilities of a new relationship that will complement an already-fulfilling life. If you do not feel quite ready yet, take a step back, remember that "today" does not mean "forever" and take more time out for you. Should you learn from your past experiences in order to avoid repeating history? Should you automatically suspect everyone you meet in the future based upon what has happened in the past? To make the unilateral decision that, unfairly condemns an entire species because of the actions of a few losers.
By all means, honor, keep and treasure the beautiful memories that you have; however, in order to both be fair to and enjoy someone new, you need to be able to put the Ghost of Relationship Past in its proper place. This means a life that is yours alone; a life that is individually gratifying in its own right. As a society, we are accustomed to either traveling in packs or with a spouse or significant other; however, you be content with your own company both within your four walls and in the outside world. I once dated a man who had not recovered from being broken up with in high school -- This gentleman made a conscious decision to be emotionally unavailable to anyone else because of one prior bad experience (in high school, no less).
Do you have your own career, your own hobbies, your own pursuits, your own set of friends with whom you play sports, lunch, drink or dine? This contentment will enable you to make wise decisions in your dating choices and when you do choose to introduce someone new into your life, it will be for all of the right reasons. Your emotional availability will have everything to do with two things; the amount of time that you have spent recovering from your divorce or the death of your spouse and your willingness to make yourself emotionally available.
When you subsequently find yourself attracted to someone or you make a decision to resume dating, you may feel guilty, as if you are "cheating" on your ex or late spouse. And your children and your spouse's family and your friends and the world at large.) While feelings of guilt are perfectly normal, that same guilt can unnecessarily hold you back.That's fine of course -- but don't use the previous person as a "yardstick" against which you are measuring prospective dates.For example, it is unfair to start sentences with, because absolutely nobody "always" did something right or "never" did anything wrong. Are you content with yourself on your own without being one-half of a couple or dependent upon children to fill up your time?It could be something as silly as the "last ten pounds"... In time, it looks like the bruise is cleared up, yet when you push on the spot, it still smarts.because of course, the key to absolute lifelong happiness is the loss of those last 10 pounds. Once you have isolated, identified, honestly addressed and moved forward from whatever it is that might be preventing you from dating again, you will then be able to enthusiastically jump into the dating world in a positive way. Similarly, there is a "bruise" of sorts on your heart that has been left as a result of a painful loss.