If you have recently lost a partner, life can feel like a whirlwind. You might still be experiencing the initial shock of grief, or be beginning to allow yourself to mourn. Or maybe a little more time has passed, and you’ve realised that although you’ll always love your late partner, you’re also ready to begin your search for someone to brighten your days.

If you’re not quite sure how to move forward after becoming a widow, we’ve put together this guide to support as you begin this next step in your journey:

1. Give yourself the chance to grieve

Firstly, give yourself and your family the time to mourn and to process the loss you’ve experienced. After becoming a widow, particularly if your partner’s death was unexpected, you may well still be in shock for quite some time. Let yourself have time to accept what has happened and begin to adjust to the ways that your life and your family’s lives have changed.

Make sure you allow yourself to feel whatever it is you’re feeling – some days you might wake up feeling really happy or might hear a joke that makes you laugh – that’s absolutely fine, happiness is nothing to feel guilty about. Other days you may feel particularly upset or distressed, which is also very reasonable. Allow yourself to feel however you feel and be kind to yourself.

2. Get support if you need to

Don’t be hesitant to seek out support if you’re struggling or feel it would help you to process your grief. This might be support from talking with your GP or a therapist about how you’re feeling, or talking with a support group for other people who have lost a partner or loved one.

This could also be support in terms of reaching out to family and friends for help if you’re struggling with any practical issues after the loss of your partner – perhaps if you need some extra support in arranging care or meals, for example.

3. Don’t try to manage everything at once

There’s no pressure to be a superhero – you’re likely going through a really tough time, so be gentle with yourself. There’s no need to try to get everything done at once, or to pressure yourself to do the same amount of work, housework, exercise etc. as you did before losing your partner. Give yourself the chance to slowly pick things back up as you feel ready to do so, and be prepared to give yourself some breathing space as and when you need it. This might go back and forth – there could be some days where you wake up brimming with energy, and others where you just want to rest. That’s perfectly normal.

4. Make sure you’re emotionally ready to start something new

Being a widow by no means suggests that your adventures are over – quite the opposite. You’re young at heart, and there are plenty of committed singles out there looking for someone to share life’s magical moments with.

You may be feeling ready to begin your search for someone special. You’ll know when the time is right for you to take this step. If you’re feeling nervous about beginning a dating journey, don’t let that stop you from giving things a chance – you can always pause if you decide you’d like to put things on hold temporarily in the future.

5. Reflect on what you’re looking for in a future relationship

As a widow, you’ve had the opportunity to experience a serious long term relationship with a partner, meaning that you’ve had the time to know what really works – and doesn’t work – for you. This will be a great advantage as you begin your dating journey.

Before you start your search for a meaningful connection with a like-minded man or woman, take a little time to reflect on what passions or priorities you’d like to share and what qualities are important to you in a partner-in-crime.

6. Decide how you’d prefer to search for that special someone

It can be tricky knowing how to meet someone. If you’re a social butterfly and member of several different clubs, it might be fairly easy to meet other people. However, it can sometimes be hard to tell who is single and looking for someone to share their life with.

That’s where websites such as Ourtime come in handy. We help committed singles over 50 to meet like-minded men and women who share their interests and priorities.

7. Find someone who shares your interests

To seek out someone who shares your passions, give our criteria search tool a go. Simply enter your interests, and we’ll show you the profiles of interesting singles who share them. Next, simply give their profile a ‘like’ as a subtle way to let them know that you’d like to find out more about them.

8. Take your time getting to know one another

Don’t feel any pressure to meet in real life before you’re ready. Here’s a couple of different ways you can get to know someone special on Ourtime:

  • Email and instant messaging Once you’ve found someone who shares your interests, begin talking by sending them an email or an instant message. This can all be done within the app, so there’s no need to share any personal information such as your phone number before you feel ready to do so.
  • Video conversation Once you’ve enjoyed getting to know one another for a while, give your thumbs a rest by moving to a video conversation. These take place securely within the Ourtime app, and make it easier for you to talk more naturally and to share your thoughts and interests.

9. Getting ready to meet face to face

Once you feel comfortable doing so you can arrange to meet in real life. Perhaps you already have some fun plans in mind – a favourite restaurant or a shared love of music for example – but if you’d prefer, you can always invite the person you’ve been speaking with along to one of our events. Take part in anything from wine tasting with an expert to a food tour of your local area, all accompanied by other interesting singles over 50.

Hopefully, this guide has helped you to know how to move forward after becoming a widow and to begin looking for someone to brighten up your days.

Ready to start your dating journey? Click ‘register’ at the top of the page to set up your profile and begin browsing profiles of other like-minded singles, all without the need to enter any financial details.