Dating, Online Dating, Being Part of a Couple, Marriage, Friendships, Living Alone, Trying Something New:
Here are a number of ideas that we might want to talk about to investigate some possibilities for our social interactions going forward. Even if you are not ready or interested in these possibilities now, it’s an interesting topic to talk about and think about in case you do find yourself wanting to enter a more social part of your journey.
Because of the situation we now find ourselves in, we have the opportunity to consciously decide how we want to go forward in our social lives when we are ready to do so. We can choose to approach it anyway we want.
I’ll start by saying in a general way, it seems to me that there are really two basic choices we can make in these types of interactions, the first is to try to choose something (some type of interaction or relationship) we may have done in the past or miss from the past and the other is to try something new.
Another, more specific way to look at it is, do we want or need to be part of a couple/exclusive relationship again to define ourselves and how we socialize? Do we want to be ourselves alone and have a group or groups of friends to socialize with without the need for an exclusive relationship?
Can we have a non-exclusive relationship that is mainly with a single person? Can we have a close relationship with a friend of the opposite sex that is not exclusive and is just a friendship? Do we want or need to live with someone again? If so, what would that relationship look like? Is marriage the only way to be in an exclusive or live-in relationship? Can we be ok living alone and being alone and not socialize much at all?
How do we want to go about figuring out and finding what we really want, need, or are looking for (if anything)? What criteria will we use to define and find the people we want to meet and include in the next part of our lives? Should we have a plan?
Since I don’t know the answers and because everyone has to find their own way through these questions, here are some of the things that occur to me that we might want to ask ourselves when (or maybe before) we are ready to start entering into the social world in the context of dating and/or looking for love and/or looking for a long term, possibly exclusive, relationship, and/or looking for or finding good friendships.
Lots of questions for us to address and talk about:
- Why are we dating or wanting to date in the first place?
- What do we get out of dating?
- Is dating the only model for meeting and being with others of the opposite sex we know or want to pursue?
- What other ways are there?
- Can we go out or get together with people of the opposite sex without feeling guilty?
- What are the implications that going out with someone of the opposite sex include?
- Can we go out as friends with people of the opposite sex without the implications of dating and relationships and commitments?
- How do we avoid those implications if we don’t want them to be there?
- How does dating or entering a relationship effect other people in your life?
- How will it effect your children/grandchildren?
- How will it effect your spouses siblings and other family members?
- How might you mitigate their discomfort or anger or hostility if they feel any?
- Can we (should we) wait to enter a relationship until we are not just filling up the loneliness with anyone who comes along?
- How do we know if we are just rebounding into another relationship?
- Can we actually build a real, sharing and complete relationship before we have come to acceptance of our grief and not be jumping into something with another person mainly to relieve our loneliness?
- Is it ok to enter a relationship mainly to relieve the loneliness?
- Did you enter into your previous relationship and/or marriage because you were lonely or for other reasons.
- Do you want to enter another relationship for the same reasons as before or do you want to enter another relationship for different reasons?
- Are you looking for love or are you looking to remove the emptiness and loneliness in your life and your grief?
- Are we looking for love because that is what we are supposed to do?
- Is it ok to live alone without having a significant relationship in our lives?
- Are we wanting another full time relationship or marriage because that is the only model of living we know?
- Can dating be a type of hiding from our grief?
- Can finding a new person to live with or spend all our time with be hiding from our grief?
- Can we (should we) enter into a serious relationship before we are (mostly) healed within our grieving?
- Can we be complete or fulfilled without someone special in our lives?
- What (or who) do we need in our lives besides ourself?
- What (or who) do we need in our lives besides the memories of our loved ones?
- What would it be like just to have a group of friends (men and women) to spend time with and not have a single, exclusive relationship?
- Do we want to live alone or do we want or need to live with someone?
- What does living with another person do or not do for us?
- What does living alone do or not do for us?
- Now that we have been living alone for a while, do we want to bring another person into living with us?
- Are we willing to change and compromise enough to make it work if we do start living with another person?
- What do we really need or want in a relationship?
- How far down the relationship/couple road do we each want to go if we do?
- How much time and energy are we willing to invest in creating a new relationship?
- Do we want to build another relationship like our previous one?
- Can we build a relationship with someone new that is as close and connected as our previous one was in the time we have ahead of us?
- Is it ok and enough for two people to build a relationship based on the idea of having someone to be with as they get older and perhaps need someone to help them?
- Can a relationship built on those needs become something more over time?
- Can entering a new relationship “fix” your grief?
- Is it ok to enter into a marriage for the “tax break”?
- What about a roommate (housemate)?
- Can we have a roommate (housemate) of the opposite sex?
- What does the idea of a roommate with benefits imply or provide?
- Is that an ok idea?
- What criteria do we need to set up to make something like that work?
If and when we want to:
- How or where do we meet new people to possibly date?
- How do we find safe places to meet people to date if we choose to?
- How do we find safe groups to join if that is what we want to do?
- How can you tell/trust if someone who tells you stuff in an online situation, is actually who and what they represent themselves as?
- How can you actually physically meet someone you met online in a safe way?
- How long should you get to know someone before committing to a relationship especially if you are still grieving?