A new romance after a long term relationship can feel a little strange, but a new romance after the death of a loved one can feel beyond bizarre and completely surreal. A good friend and fellow widow met a wonderful guy – yes, not only is it possible, it happens all the time…don’t believe the naysayers out there! When their Saturday night date ended Sunday afternoon, their relationship segued into the next phase.
She texted me: “This was a huge step for me, first time with someone new, hard to explain the emotions…it’s just…different.”
I knew exactly what she meant. I texted back: It’s weird and exciting, scary and happy, strange and yet strangely comfortable, thrilling with just a dash of terrifying.
“I knew you of all people would understand the feelings!” she typed back.
When you’re in your teens and twenties, starting new relationships happens more often. But for Baby Boomers fresh out of a decades-long love life, a new relationship can be scary, triggering dozens of excuses to avoid dating at all costs: Can’t compare. It’s not the same. There’s no one out there. It’s impossible to meet someone. I’m too old. I’m too tired. I’m too…[fill in the blank with your favorite excuse].
It’s tempting to do nothing. Nothing can be good. Nothing’s comfy. And comfort is something you have been striving for through the mourning, the grieving and all the upheaval since the loss.
But (and you knew there was a ‘but’ coming), nothing won’t be comfortable forever. Nothing will eventually nudge you out of your comfort zone. When you get there – and we all get there at our own pace, in our own time – don’t be scared, when it inevitably gets scary. That’s normal. The new normal. And in the new normal you may soon feel like your old self, or some wonderful new version of your old self.