Dating after the death of a partner

01 March 2023

If you’ve lost a partner, the decisions you make about your romantic future are deeply personal to you, and there is no right or wrong answer. But if you’re wondering how to start dating again following a bereavement, we hope our guide will provide some useful pointers.

How to know if you’re ready to date

No one should ever feel rushed in ‘getting over’ the death of a loved one – we simply wouldn’t be human if we didn’t mourn someone’s passing for weeks, months or years. There is no rulebook that says how grief and new relationships should work, but here are some factors you may wish to consider before searching for your first relationship after being widowed.

  • Your mood. Dating takes energy, and if you decide you’re ready to meet someone new in a social setting, you’ll want to feel like you can be yourself. Everyone’s different – some might consider dating to be a welcome distraction, but if you’re feeling low or even guilty about the prospect of seeing someone new, you might want to take some time to yourself and embrace the healing process first.
  • Your objectives. What appeals to you about the idea of dating again? Are you looking for companionship, or simply a distraction from the pain you’re feeling? Whether you’re interested in a casual relationship or something more long-term, it’s worth being honest with yourself.
  • Other people’s views. Have you spoken to family or friends about the prospect of dating again? You may hear different opinions, but getting the verdict of trusted confidants (and those who knew the deceased closely) may help you gauge whether now feels like the right time. Moreover, some people interested in dating after grief choose to speak to a therapist – this could give you a professional insight on the feelings you’re experiencing, and help you manage your emotional journey.

How long should I wait to date after a bereavement?

There is no ‘right’ time to start dating after grief. Whether you’re dating 3 months after the death of a spouse, or several months or years, you’ll know when you’re ready to start a new chapter. That said, it’s often advisable to wait for the right person to come along rather than jump straight into another relationship. It’s completely understandable if you’re yearning to meet a new partner, especially after the absence of physical contact, but don’t be afraid to ‘take things slow’ if you’re not ready yet.


Diagram showing 62% of 55-74 year olds remain single, are divorced or are widowed

Tips on dating after grief

If you’ve decided to take the plunge and you’ve arranged a first date following a bereavement, this can understandably be a day of mixed emotions. Here are some pointers that could help you get manage your first date after being widowed.

  • It’s okay to talk about your spouse. The person you’re dating is understandably going to be curious about your past. Rather than hide information about your bereavement, it’s always a good idea to be open and honest about your story.
  • Talk about other subjects too. While it’s only natural that your bereavement will come up in conversation, it’s important to remember that a date is an opportunity to get to know the other person and enjoy their company.
  • Re-learn dating etiquette. It may have been a while since you last dated, so don’t worry if you’re unfamiliar with how dating has changed, as your partner will likely be sympathetic. But it’s also a good chance to learn how dating has changed and adapt your behaviour accordingly.

Dating sites for widowers over 50

Coming to terms with grief and then starting a new relationship is never going to be easy. But if you do feel ready to start afresh, here are some over 50s dating sites you could consider.

  • Chapter 2 can be friendship, companionship, dating or physical comfort, it means different things to different people.
  • Match is an established dating site and more than a quarter of its members are over the age of 50.
  • eHarmony has more than 15 million members worldwide and is another option for anyone dating after 50 and widowed.