Grieving Voices

Q&A | When Is It Too Soon To Start a New Relationship?

August 08, 2023 Victoria V Season 4 Episode 154
Grieving Voices
Q&A | When Is It Too Soon To Start a New Relationship?
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Show Notes Transcript

This week's episode is about:

  • Learning when you will be ready for a new relationship.
  • Learning why awareness, understanding, and communication are vital to building relationships.
  • I share what it was like when my mom started another relationship after my dad died.
  • Do Grief Differently™️ and YouMap® support grievers in setting themselves up for success in future relationships by preparing their hearts for love again.

The question of when it is too soon hinges on various factors, including the individual's grieving process, emotional readiness, and the extent of healing.

There's no universally applicable timeline, as everyone's journey through grief is unique.
The journey toward a new connection is not just about moving forward; it's about looking inward to address any lingering emotional loose ends from the past. This entails acknowledging and completing the emotional unfinished business, whether they are unexpressed feelings, unresolved conflicts, or unfulfilled needs. Such self-awareness and emotional closure pave the way for a healthier foundation to build a new relationship.

By taking the time to heal and learn from past experiences, individuals can ensure that their future relationships are characterized by authenticity, understanding, and the potential for a genuine, lasting connection.

Grief recovery emerges as the essential compass guiding individuals through this complex emotional landscape. It's a process of introspection and growth that paves the way for a healthier future. 

Learn more via the links below or email me personally at




  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
  • Crisis Text Line provides free, 24/7 support via text message. Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a trained Crisis Counselor

If you are struggling with grief due to any of the 40+ losses, free resources are available HERE.

Are you enjoying the podcast? Check out my bi-weekly newsletter, The Unleashed Letters.


Support the show

This episode is sponsored by Do Grief Differently™️, my twelve-week, one-on-one, in-person/online program for grievers who have suffered any type of loss to feel better. Click here to learn new tools, grief education, and the only evidence-based method for moving beyond the pain of grief.

Would you like to join the mission of Grieving Voices in normalizing grief and supporting hurting hearts everywhere? Become a supporter of the show HERE.

Victoria Volk: Hey, Hey, Hey, Thank you for being here and for pushing play on this episode. Today, I'm going to share a Q and A episode about a topic I think Tom Dickerry and Harry and their mother has an opinion about, including myself, which I had personal experience with this as a child, and knowing what I know now. I know why. What happened, happened? 

Victoria Volk: But anyway, let me get into the question and into the answer, and I'll share a little bit more on my personal experience with this question. But today's question is, "When does it too soon to start a relationship after the death of your spouse or significant other?" Now, there's no correct air quotes correct answer to this question, but there's all kinds of estimates. There's even an absurd mathematical equation that you've maybe heard that says that you need to wait a year for a year that you were married or with that person. 

Victoria Volk: So along with our personal experiences, is that time is not the key factor when a person should start dating after the death of someone they love. We know that time doesn't heal emotional wounds, and we also know that many people have waited a year or two or five or ten or even twenty years after their significant other has died. And this next relationship still failed. And the majority of those failures were not necessarily because the two people didn't belong together. It was that the widow or the widower or the person left behind was not emotionally complete with their significant other who had died. And absent that kind of completion, the new relationship is almost guaranteed to fail. So the other danger is that a person can feel, air quotes, feel ready to date or start a new relationship relatively soon after the death. It will actually say estrangement too. I mean, someone doesn't have to die. You can just relationship can end or you can become estranged. But I'll just say death for clarity and just for conciseness of this episode, but I'm also talking about those strange relationships as well or those that have ended of their significant other, but that feeling can be predicated on loneliness. And other factors, not necessarily because they are emotionally complete with their significant other who died.

Victoria Volk: So let me say that again because there was a lot of information in there. So even though you can feel ready, for a new relationship, that feeling can be predicated on loneliness and also other factors. But not necessarily because you are emotionally complete. So the time to start a new relationship is only after, air quotes after, having taken actions to discover and complete what was left emotionally unfinished in the earlier relationship. And you'll notice that I'm not saying any time frames at all, and that's not to say that a week after your significant other dies or the relationship ends that you should start dating, it's meant to indicate that it's the actions of completion that will dictate when you are ready to start a new relationship. So that you don't mix the old relationship in with the new one and sabotage it in advance. So it's only after you take grief recovery actions that you'll have a clearer sense of whether or not you're ready and truly only you the person left behind can answer that for yourself. 

Victoria Volk: But it's, again, we can easily confuse that feeling of being ready. And yet when we start that new relationship, we're seeing the same patterns repeating themselves. And why is that? It's because we haven't become emotionally complete with that previous relationship. And so as you've listen to this podcast for any period of time, you'll see and you've heard and understood by now, that we drag our baggage with us from the past into the present, unless we look at it, unless we unpack that baggage and unless we look at that luggage that we've been dragging around.

Victoria Volk: This is why when people say, I don't have to dig up the past. I don't have to look at the past. I'll just forget it. I'll bury it. I'll sweep it under the rug. This is why these patterns keep repeating in your life. You can have failed relationship after failed relationship because you're not consciously aware of what those patterns are. And the only way to become aware of what those patterns are that are repeating is to understand them, is to have awareness about them. Where did they come from? Where did they originate? Nine times out of ten, I'll even say ten times out of ten, it originated from your family of origin. Because when we are our backs are against the wall and we're feeling challenged and we're feeling like we're in an uncomfortable position, we will resort to what we know in those situations. And what we've learned in those situations in the past is how we'll respond in the present and in the future unless we have an awareness and acknowledge that the past is influencing our present and then we choose new tools and new awareness to change those patterns of behavior. And this is why grief recovery is very much an educational process as much as it is a transformative one.

Victoria Volk: And I say grief recovery because that's the program that I facilitate in my program do grief differently. So you'll hear you would have heard both terms used interchangeably. But that is essentially what I'm talking about when I talk about do grief differently is grief recovery as well as the Youmap, which is another component of do grief differently, which answers the question when you're kind of when I just had a consultation just a while ago and that I finished and what you learn through grief recovery. It's like you've addressed all this grief and you've addressed all this stuff from the past. Now what? Well, the Youmap is the now what? It's how you move forward. It's becomes your lighthouse for moving forward. Which is why both programs together are so transformative and impactful on people's lives. 

Victoria Volk: And so coming back to this question, my personal experience in this is that As a child when my father had passed away, my mother quickly remarried within a couple of years. She was in within a couple years, she was in a new relationship and remarried. And at the time, there was no communication about why that was or, like, I wasn't privy because of my age, I suppose, to why my mother was in my mind, jumping into another relationship so quickly when I really didn't even have personally an opportunity to grieve my dad here on thrown into another huge change that we didn't even talk about. Like, I was no I had no part of that conversation. It was, this is what's happening, and you just accept it. And in my mother's defense, she was doing what she thought was best. Like, she wanted she herself was lacking the confidence and security that she felt she needed. To raise my brother and I who he was a teenager and I was eight at the time, nine, ten going, getting to those pre-teen years. And she felt I believe that she needed that support financially and emotionally and just that companionship and her and my dad were married for seventeen years when he passed. She thought they were gonna grow old and die together. And so and she was very young. I mean, she, you know, my father was forty four. She was forty three. When he passed away, still young. And you just don't expect that when you're that young. And while you have young children, and I know many people listening to this probably are themselves in this situation, or you were a kid that was in this situation where your parents remarried or got into another relationship.

Victoria Volk: And so I think knowing now what I know about grief and the why behind without my mom even having to say it. Right? Because we have not had that conversation, but specifically about why, although she is kind of sprinkled in what I just said the fact that she didn't know what to do. Well, how am I supposed to raise two kids on my own and I have this house and the law needs to be made and what if repairs need to be made? And I think she was just very overwhelmed with all of that and felt like she needed somebody to support her. In moving forward. And was he the right person for her? I don't know, but that marriage failed. Right? And I think it's because the reasoning for going into it was not the right reason. Right? Like but I think everything's learning. Everything is learning. And he did end up passing away of emphysema quite a few years ago. But he was a big part of my life in all my teen years. He taught me how to drive a stick shift. He taught me how to drive a car. And he was a big part of my life. But I think when you are a parent and you're in that situation and you're unsure what to do. 

Victoria Volk: One of my guests a long time ago had shared that and I think this is great advice, and I'll add on to it. But I think she had shared something to the effect of she made the conscious decision herself to not make any big decisions for one year. No big moves, no big career changes, none of those things, no big changes or moves or anything like that, no relationships or anything for the first year that after her spouse had passed away. And I think that's great advice. I think how do you even find your does it take a year to find your bearings? I mean, maybe for some people, it takes five. Again, there's no timeline to when you should when you are ready for another relationship. But again, it comes back to have you emotionally become complete with relationship so that you're setting up your next relationship or your future relationship for success. And that's really the goal isn't it, is to have a successful relationship. Like, we don't go into it thinking, oh my god. I'm just however long we're together, I'll just, you know, it is what it is. I think we hope for the best when we embark on sharing our life with somebody. 

Victoria Volk: And so I think there's a lot of and especially if you have children, there's a lot of decision-making that needs to go into that as well. It's not as cut and dry as if you're single and alone and, you know, it's just you, you're responsible for yourself. But I think we all come to those conclusions in our own time and people can raise an eyebrow at no matter what you do, they'll think it's too soon or it's you should be dating by now or whatever other people's timelines are. But they don't see the personal work that perhaps you're doing that's unseen. Right? They might not know that you've gone through grief recovery with a counselor or a therapist or that you're even seeing a therapist. Right? Like, not everybody dishes everything to everybody. 

Victoria Volk: And so we can make these decisions for ourselves and still that we feel are positive and healthy and other people still aren't going to fully understand our decision making and you owe no on the next explanation either. I wanna say that. Like oh, no one an explanation. My mom didn't owe me an explanation, but would it have been nice? To be a part of the conversation. Yeah. Would it have been nice to have to feel heard and what my thoughts were even if my mother didn't agree with them? Yes. But it was suck it up, buttercup. It is what it is. And so adaptability became one of my huge strengths from a very, very, very young age. And it's still in one of my it's actually one of my top ten strengths. Because I've had to learn to adapt to my environment many times over. 

Victoria Volk: And so all these experiences that we have I'm, you know, I'll bring up the Youmap is what changes our strengths over time. It's our life experience and the things that we go through and endure and that help us build our own resiliency in challenging times, including death of a loved one or a spouse or a significant other or an end of a relationship because we're taught how to acquire things and acquire people, but not what to do when we lose them. Right? And so grief recovery is the what to do when you lose them. And we're simply not taught those skills and those tools and that knowledge from a young age. We're just, we're not. 

Victoria Volk: And so that's part of my mission here and why I started this podcast is so that we can talk about grief like we talk about the weather. So if you found this episode helpful, please share it, leave a review if you feel so inclined to. I would love I read them all. I would love to hear your review. Share it with my audience as well and share it with a friend who you think is could find this information helpful. Maybe he's in this situation and maybe just needs a little hug with words because I want this episode to feel like a hug with words that it is possible to move forward It is possible to enjoy a life of fulfillment even after death of a loved one spouse, significant other the love of your life, it is possible. And again, thank you so much for listening and pushing play. And I hope you come back next week. And remember, when you unleash your heart, you unleash your life. Much love.