The newlywed taken too soon, a couple who never got to finish building their lives together — you see these stories all the time.
Most of us can’t begin to imagine the pain that a widow or widower goes through. Though there is no way to compare the severity of different types of loss, this type of loss is different than others because it affects so much of a person’s future rather than just the present, especially if the couple is young.
If you have lost the person you planned your future with, here are some things that you should keep in mind:
Your Future Isn’t Over
No matter what stage of life you are in when you lose a life partner, your future is not over. It will be very different from what you imagined, but that doesn’t mean your life stops here.
It is not selfish for you to go on living your life, but you don’t have to rush anything. Keep moving forward at your own pace.
You Don’t Have to Find Someone New, but You Can
Some people never find love again, because they truly can’t replace their first love. And that’s okay. Some people do find love again, and that’s okay too.
What’s important is that you do what you are comfortable with and what feels right in your heart, not what you believe you should do, according to society. Don’t let others make you feel guilty for moving on, or feel obligated to date when you aren’t ready to.
You might never stop loving the person you’ve lost, and that’s okay — if you choose to date again, find someone who supports that.
Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Therapy
Losing your life partner is traumatic, and you shouldn’t have to go through it alone. If you find that speaking with your family and friends doesn’t help, consider seeing a professional therapist or psychologist.
It’s important to allow yourself to grieve, at your own pace, without fear of judgment or misunderstanding. Talking to a professional allows you to be completely honest in a confidential and supportive environment.
What You Keep, or Get Rid Of, Is Your Choice
Many people wonder how long you should wear a wedding ring after losing a spouse, or how long you should keep their clothes around. That decision is up to you, and you alone.
What you should consider, though, is the negative feelings associated with these items. Does seeing their clothes every day bring pain? Is your ring a reminder of a disrupted future?
It’s okay to keep these things around for as long as you need, but you should also keep in mind that it can be very difficult to move forward if you are surrounded by things that constantly bring negative feelings and sadness. You don’t have to get rid of everything, but you should get rid of whatever brings you down so that you can continue to move forward.
The pain of losing your life partner is real. Allow yourself to grieve and take as much time as you need to be honest with yourself about how you feel — but don’t forget that your life is not over.
Surround yourself with supportive, positive people. Make gradual steps toward getting through the pain at your own pace.
You don’t have to move on — but you should continue to move forward.