Written by: Marie Scott, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Navigating the world of socializing, dating, and making new friends as an adult can be an intimidating endeavor, and for widows, the challenge is uniquely daunting. Recent statistics reveal that a significant number of widows actively desire to find love again but often find themselves at a loss for where to begin. This desire also carries into building new friendships, as social circles and dynamics dramatically change after loss.
As a widow coach, I know all too well the complexities of navigating grief, friendship, and dating after loss. The entire dynamic of my life shifted with the loss of Dave. I felt isolated and exhausted thinking about expanding my social circle. I just didn't know where to start and how to keep myself safe.
It was about a year and a half after Dave died (5 months shy of 30 years together!) that I decided to think about finding a partner to share adventures with, cook dinner for, share affection with, and perhaps even find someone to love again. I went on to not only begin dating again, but unexpectedly found the second great love of my life. I now coach widows and widowers on how to meet new people without going online! What a concept right?
Here are my top three tips to getting back out into the dating world and building friendships safely:
1. Join a Meetup Group: this is what I did when I first came to the great city of Sarasota. Meetup groups are a great way to connect with like-minded individuals who are also seeking companionship. I have coached many widows on how to get back out there safely, and this is the first tip I recommend to all my coaching clients. Join meetup groups that reflect things you enjoy, like walking, visiting parks, hiking, bowling – you name it - there's a meetup group that probably exists. Want to learn more about how I navigated social situations as a new widow? Grab a signed copy of my book here.
2. Take Care of Yourself and Rebuild Confidence: I can't stress enough the significance of self-care and rebuilding confidence after loss. My health transformation from fat and unhealthy, to fit and healthy, began by changing my food preferences. I also embraced mindfulness practices which helped me go through my personal grief journey. I prioritized my well-being which boosted my self esteem and helped me get my smile back. It scared the heck out of me because it had been 30+ years since I dated, and all the years Dave and I were together it was unconditional love, skinny, fat, long hair, short hair, makeup, no makeup, heels and suits or sweatpants or sneakers, it didn't matter. Now, I was thinking about my appearance a lot! I believe we are meant to be social animals and not be alone! When I began healing myself, my smile came back, my confidence returned, my heart opened, and in walked the second love of my life.
3. Network with Friends: Leverage your personal networks and connections when venturing into the dating world. Approach your friends and acquaintances for introductions to potential exciting matches. This provides a safer and more trustworthy avenue for meeting new people. The power of connection and community cannot be understated. Finding like-minded people who are committed to healing and supporting each other was one of the most important decisions I ever made. Let your friends know you might be interested in dating again. This is a GREAT way to meet people safely - they are already vetted! Everyone knows a widow or widower. Cook dinner for your friends, and put the word out that you are ready to get social again.
Looking for private health coaching as you navigate loss? It is available here.
To learn more about my powerful connection retreats, learn more at my website. We just completed a magical healing retreat up here in Maine at our “Camp Damfino.”
Community is so important – surround yourself with people who “get it” about what you’re going through. Join my private, vetted Facebook group here.
Stay tuned for some exciting news about a Dating Bootcamp coming soon in September! Join us for 4 weeks of accountability, connections, and learning new ways to put yourself out there safely. Get on my calendar to learn more: click here.
Marie Scott, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Creator and Founder of Happy and Healthy After Widowhood. A best selling author, keynote speaker, and Functional Medicine Health Coach, Marie is on a mission to help widows and widowers rediscover how to live well, laugh more and perhaps even find love again.