It was the most difficult thing Jeff Crispell had ever been through—the loss of his wife of 25 years, Rosanne, to a rare form of cancer.
Four years ago, doctors found a large tumor in her sinus cavity, and Mr. Crispell will never forget what they said after the biopsy: “Prepare for the worst.”
He took the next two years to be her full-time caretaker. When she died, at age 61, Mr. Crispell commemorated her life with a 20-minute video about her childhood and adolescence, her first marriage, the birth of her daughter, her marriage to Mr. Crispell, and the beautiful art and jewelry she created. He played the video at her memorial service and gave copies of it, with a booklet about her, to their friends and family.
Three months later, he signed up on two online dating sites.
“I knew that because of the time frame some people might take a dim view of it,” says Mr. Crispell, a 69-year-old retired manager of a computer graphics department who lives in San Diego. “But I think from the distribution of the book and the video, it was evident how much I loved and respected my wife during her lifetime.”
The decision to move on and find a new partner after the death of a beloved spouse is emotionally wrenching and deeply personal. It’s a choice many of us will face. Some people, even after a happy marriage, start looking for a new mate fairly soon. Others choose to remain single. There is no right or wrong decision.
The idea of becoming attached and losing someone again terrifies some. Others are so spent from caring for a dying spouse that they have no energy or desire to get to know someone new. And when you’re grieving, you don’t exactly feel adventurous, outgoing, charming—in other words, like dating.
Loved ones who would never think of criticizing your appearance or your financial decisions have no problem weighing in on whether you are dating too soon—or not soon enough. At first, they pressure you not to move on too soon. But stay single for a while and they’ll nag you to stop feeling sorry for yourself and get on with your life.
If children are small, you want to protect them. If they are grown, they want to protect you, as well as the memory of their deceased parent and their inheritance.
Children, regardless of age, may worry that if you find a new partner, you won’t have time for them. They have already lost one parent and don’t want to lose another.
Story continues here: Why Men Rebound After Spouse’s Death