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Dating while grieving

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  July 8, 2011 08:39 AM

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Some extra info from the LW (at noon): "The tragedy was a parental figure taking their own life after years of suffering from mental illness, leaving young children behind. I am in therapy, but there's a lot going on. Things are starting to slow down, I have a little more time to myself, but I'm still struggling."


Q: Advice columns are my guilty pleasure, but I've always been a lurker, never a writer, so I'm not sure where to begin. I guess some background.

I'm an attractive girl in my late 20s with a successful career that I'm proud of. I have an amazing family and great friends. I date enough, but not a lot, and am usually the one to walk away.

I suffered a tragedy a couple of months ago and am still grieving. I have a lot of additional responsibilities now, but I take them on willingly because of what it means for those suffering around me. But I'm incredibly lonely.

Grief is one of the loneliest emotions in the world. But is it the only reason for my loneliness? Should I ignore it until I'm in a healthier and stronger mental state? The thought of having someone who makes me their No. 1 priority and supports me while I support those around me makes me want someone -- but dating can also be
dreadfully lonely.

What do I do? Wait? I'm sad, and my heart is already broken, and I'm alone despite some amazing people around me. Will dating help or hurt? Could I even form a healthy attachment?

– Grief is the loneliest number, Boston


A: GITLN, I know that you have many responsibilities right now. I mean, you didn't give us any specifics about the cause of all of this grief, but it sort of doesn't matter. You're quite obviously under a lot of stress right now, and you have people depending on you.

But despite all of that, despite those important responsibilities, you have to make sure that you're having some fun, being a twenty-something, and meeting some new people. You won't be any good to the people who are depending on you if you don't have some time that's all about you. Really.

And part of that selfish time should be about love, which is why you have to keep dating. This loss hasn't turned you into a person who shouldn't find a partner. It's just turned you into a person with a better perspective of what she wants.

You can't put dating on hold until you're in a better place. And it’s not about whether dating will help or hurt, as you put it. Dating -- and looking to love other people -- is just a part of living. You have to let yourself live.

And when the dating gets lonely, talk about it with friends. That's what they're there for right now -- to give you some time to think and talk about yourself.

Readers? Should she wait to date until she's grieving less? Are these feelings of loneliness and wanting a partner about new priorities or her loss? Should people date while they're dealing with a big life change? Discuss.

– Meredith


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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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