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"Recovering from the death of your partner is near impossible.There's no real closure, especially if the death was sudden.It can change you."There's a saying in the widowed community that the person I am isn't the person that my late spouse knew," says Peter Thomas, 31, of Long Island, N. When you're ready to date, he says, it may mean a different sort of person could be a better fit.Some widows and widowers, however, "put their spouse on a pedestal," Thomas says, which begs comparison and doesn't bode well for new relationships.Maybe they're new to the dating scene and are nervous; maybe they've just come off the back of a long-term relationship; maybe they're grieving for a loved one and are struggling to come to terms with their loss.
This can help a widow or a widower gently move out of the 'victim' state of mind." This will put you both on a more equal footing.About a year after her husband died, Shannon Bell, 31, of Kendallville, Ind., says she jumped too quickly into the dating pool. I quickly fell into a relationship with someone who was not right for me in the least, but he was someone with a heartbeat."Lesson learned, Bell spent time "finding what I was made of on my own." A year and a half later, she's in a healthy relationship, expressing her grief freely and taking it slowly.Though key to any relationship, finding a compassionate partner is essential for the recently widowed."It's very important that the person (you're dating) is supportive of you and your process," says Michele Neff Hernandez, executive director of Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation in Simi Valley, Calif.Even just saying it would make me cry for some time. [My partner] accepted it, although he acknowledged it made him feel as though I didn't let him into my life.