March 23, 2018
How Soon Is Too Soon
Audio version- http://chirb.it/DOgh46
In case you missed it, an interesting question came in this last week during our weekly Twitter Chat (6PM PST on Thursdays at ( http://ask.fm/LSLLoveAdvice ).
How soon is too soon after a spouse passes to start sleeping with someone else?
There is no “magic” amount of time. The mirror image of grief is love (Tim Shriver). The greater the love, the greater the grief. Everyone loves and grieves in different ways. Some become depressed for an extended period of time while others appear to move smoothly through the transition. It does not make one right or one wrong, one better or one not as good. It’s an individual action.
I’ve had patients who have lost a spouse start dating after 6 weeks, and I’ve had surviving spouses who don’t date at all, and I’ve had many time frames in between. It’s up to each individual. Some may need assistance sorting things out. If you are not a professional in this area, please don’t give advice because that advice may not be what the person needs. Suggest (don’t tell them directly) that it might be helpful to see a professional who deals with these issues all the time.
Dating at any stage of life is complicated. The death of a long-time spouse or partner only makes things more difficult because the grieving may still be present while the individual tries to get back into the social dating scene. I would strongly recommend getting oneself back to solid functioning before trying to date again.
As far as the specific question regarding intimate relations, again, it’s a personal choice as it is in any other dating situation. That being said, what many don’t realize is that sleeping with another after the death of a spouse or partner can be an extremely emotional experience, much more so for most than even the “first time.”
Hopefully, those around the surviving spouse/partner will respect decisions that are made. Don’t mock a pain you haven’t endured.
Until next time, this is Dr. Andrew telling you to “Be kind to yourself.”