As you begin to navigate your life after loss, do you find yourself wondering which relationship is right for you? How do you decide how and when it’s time to dip your toes into the water?
You and I are going to look at the last piece of organizing your thoughts and feelings around dating and relationships: deciding what kind of relationship you want to explore. Remember friends, this is your show, and you get to make the choices!
Just as there are many ponds and ways to dip your toes into the water, there are as many choices for how you can enter into the world of dating. It’s your show and you get to do it on your terms!Julie Martella
- Talking/Chatting: It’s exactly that. You’re getting to know someone and that’s it. You can stop at any time!
- Hooking Up: Hooking up means having sex. It does not mean “getting together to hang out!”
- Friends With Benefits (FWB): This is someone you share a genuine friendship and also have sex. It is sexual without being romantic (you’re probably not holding hands in public).
- Casual Dating: This type of dating is more defined than FWB’s. You want to spend time together with that person on a regular basis, but are not exclusive. Let me repeat that: it’s non-exclusive. This is the “full of potential” time. There is some degree of emotional attachment that you’re willing to explore, but don’t want to put a label on it. Casual dating DOES NOT necessarily imply having sex. It’s a good starting point for many people.
- Dating Exclusively: This is a midpoint between casual and exclusive dating. It’s a giant, murky grey area where you have agreed to see only each other, BUT are not fully committed! You have put all of the toes in the water, and maybe your feet, but you aren’t sure you want to jump in!
- In a Relationship: This usually happens after you’ve found a person that “checks all of the boxes, and you want to explore the potential. You’re setting some boundaries, agreeing to exclusivity, and are probably announcing your new status to close friends and family.
- Long Term Relationship (LTR): This is an intimate relationship which may or may not result in marriage. Partners are fully committed, exclusive, and have a deep emotional attachment, loyalty and vested interest in the success of the LTR.
- Life Partner: This is a marriage-like relationship without the legalities of the marriage ceremony, It is your romantic partner for life.
- Marriage: The marriage relationship is the same as a life partner, but with the legal documentation and protections of the law. You are recognized by the state as being a unit.
As you can see, there’s many options before you move “into a relationship” and none of them are good nor bad. They just are different ways to figure out what you want. Other people may have opinions about them, but it’s your life and you get to do it any way you want. Let the haters hate!
You and I know only too well that even meeting for a cup of coffee can seem like a monumental task. The thought of entering into a LTR was terrifying! Knowing I had options helped me relax and enjoy dating for what it was: a chance to dip my toes into the water and see if I even liked the pond! Guess what friends? Some ponds I liked, and may have left my toes in for a bit, and some ponds I didn’t, and those toes come right back out with no remorse!
Sending you so much love today!
P.S. If you are struggling with dating or any other part of navigating widowhood, lets’ connect and see if I can help you! I run a program by the same name that is designed to help you organize the logistics of life after loss so that you can move forward and create a new life to love!