When Should I Start Dating Again?

Dear Hal-
I’ve been widowed for 7 months. I had a very good marriage for 38 years and now some friends want to fix me up.  However, I’m not sure if it is okay for me to start dating yet.  What do you think?
Dateless in Des Moines
Dear Dateless:

In a survey we did of over 500 mature widowed or divorced men, we found that the divorced men starting dating within a few months following their separation.  However, widowed men did not start dating until about a year following the passing of their spouse.  Of course, these are the generalized numbers and certainly many other factors come into play for each of us, not the least of which is guilt because you are still here and she is not.

But we must recognize the reality of our being social animals.  Yes, we know that there will be anxious women out there wanting to help you over this difficult transition.  “They will be on your doorstep with casseroles” is really not a joke.  Indeed they will be there… well-intentioned and genuinely concerned.  But you have to step back and look at your own needs and activities.  How busy are you?  Are you still working?  Are you lonely and spending an inordinate amount of time in front of the TV?  What are your kids telling you to do (or not do)? Post-divorce/spousal-loss dating is not a simple issue by any calculus.

As your friends and family drift back into their own life patterns, you may start to feel the need for the companionship (both intellectually and physically) that a woman can bring into your life.  And when you do, that is the time to start dating… it is not a question of 7 weeks, 7 months or a year.  It is how you feel now.   Moreover, I’m sure your departed wife would want you to be happy even though she is no longer physically with you. Do whatever your heart tells you to do and good luck for the future!



  1. Why must it be a DATE? Why can’t men and women just be friends who go out together to share mutual likes? I would rather be with someone who likes me for me and no pressure to “perform”. I am emotionally secure and financially secure and would love to meet a guy who just wants to socialize. If anything developes after that, fine, if not, fine!!!! Relax and enjoy doing things of mutual interest together.

  2. Dear Dateless in Des Moines:
    You’ve stated, “I’m not sure if it is okay for me to start dating yet”. I’ve been alone since 1998. And what I can tell you for sure from my personal experience is give yourself permission to be ok. Don’t become me, I’ve never given myself permission and it’s been one of my biggest regrets in life. Wishing you genuine happiness there in Des Moines. Margaret-Mary

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.