The Dance: Realities of Dating after Death

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Mike and I have been going through a bit of a rough patch the last few weeks. Not really knowing what was going on, it’s slowly lead to us both having triggers and making incorrect assumptions about various situations.

After a few weeks of unknowingly having some things build up, it finally came to a head over lunch this past week. We talked, and cried, and got frustrated, and cried more. As it turns out, behind all the fear and frustration, we were just projecting things from the past on each other. It had little to do with him or me, and more to do with the age old fear of “this behavior lead somewhere painful in my past and I don’t want that to happen again”. Plain and simple, fear. 

No relationship is perfect. It’s so easy to idealize our loved ones after they have died, but it isn’t reality. We all had problems, stresses, and issues within our relationships to our late-partners. Drew and I had our problems, and Mike and Megan had theirs. Yes they brought mostly all good things to our lives, but they also left a few things unresolved. And so, as Mike and I are learning, we must help each other heal the parts that didn’t quite get resolved yet with our late-partners before they died. Any triggers we are bringing up for each other are really an opportunity to help each other grow.

Another thing this experience is teaching me is that, after being widowed, any rough patches in a new relationship feel ten times scarier. The smallest things can get your mind spiraling about the big L word - not love, but LOSS. Even if it isn’t loss from death. All loss becomes far more dangerous feeling after death has happened.

I think we have to be very careful to check in that we aren’t overreacting or creating things out of our fear of loss. Which is damn hard to do when you’re in the middle of it. It’s so easy to for fears about loss blow up as a widow. So we just keep trying, and doing our best not to spaz the hell out I guess.  

So perhaps our fears are heightened, and a little out of whack lately. And neither of us are loving the fact that we are having to look at the not-so-perfect parts of our past relationships to our loved ones. It isn’t easy… walking into a relationship for the first time as a widowed person. There is definitely some very real work to do to grow it healthily. But it’s possible, and it is worth the effort to help each other heal.

Photo Credit: "The Dance" by Sarah Treanor 2015 (streanor.com)


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  • commented 2016-02-05 21:07:41 -0800
    I really admire how you share yourself so openly here Sarah. Thank you for being so honest and giving hope to those of us who worry about how widowhood will come in to play in future relationships.
  • commented 2016-01-31 23:11:25 -0800
    Sarah thanks for writing about what,for me, is one of the most painful parts of this journey. Looking at the difficulties in our relationship is so hard. Harder yet is trying to resolve all that past when the person who was in it with me (and so the only one who truly understands it) is gone from this earth. So much work yet to do on me…..sigh
  • commented 2016-01-31 14:14:51 -0800
    Sarah, you are a wonder, looking so candidly at your stuff. Our own unhealed parts don’t die with our loved one. I sure did want that to be my reward for all the grief I went through! Where you say the smallest things can get your mind spiraling about the L word – not love, but loss, is what I experience as I try to get my feet under me. They seem to easily slip out from under me. Less easily as I deal with my stuff, but still… Thanks for an awesome read and photo.