Question Five: Should He Date When It Feels Like Cheating on His Former Girlfriend

 

Feeling Lonely

Feeling Lonely

A new friend lost his girlfriend in a car accident five years ago. He writes,”Sometimes I think I should go for dating again, but then I think it would be cheating on her. She passed away five years back. I think I feel lonely sometimes. I am 33 years old. I am confused if I should start dating or not.”

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Dear Friend,

I am so sorry for the loss of your girlfriend.

I’ve written before that there is no set time after losing your partner when you should start dating again. There is no “should.” There is only how you feel. Whether you feel ready to meet new people. Whether you feel open to having a new relationship. Whether you want to explore the possibility of romance.

I’m sorry you feel that dating again would be cheating on your former girlfriend. She’s gone, even though she remains in your heart. You have your memories, but those memories shouldn’t stop you from moving on with your life.

I don’t know if the spirits of our loved ones are watching us, but if they are, I can’t believe that they want us to be lonely and unhappy. I like to think that if they’re watching over us, they want the best for us.  I think we owe it to ourselves to try to find happiness whether that includes being alone or dating for fun or seeking a serious commitment.

You are only thirty-three. You’re a young man with so much of your life ahead of you. You have time to find love and maybe have a family, if that ’s what you want. Please don’t condemn yourself to a life without love out of a sense of misplaced guilt. Dating again is not cheating on your girlfriend, it’s a healthy decision to move on with your life and to try to find happiness.

Please stop punishing yourself because your girlfriend died. You should take as long you need to feel ready to date again. If you don’t yet feel ready to date after five years, ask yourself what you need to move on. Maybe you simply need more time. But maybe you need a private ceremony or a talk with family to feel at peace with your prior relationship and ready to date again.

Or maybe you need to see a counselor. When I had deep feelings of guilt over the loss of my husband, I saw a grief therapist. She helped me to realize I should stop blaming myself for his death and that I needed to get on with my own life.  Deciding that you need outside help from counseling is a strength; it’s choice to invest in your future.  It is not a weakness.

You owe yourself a a good life. Please don’t let feelings of guilt stop you. You have your life ahead of you and you deserve to be happy and loved. Please write me back in a while and let me know how you’re doing.
Your new friend,
Debbie

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