Moving forward does not mean forgetting your loved one, but finding a place for your memories so that they do not dominate your thoughts and actions. It may take many years before you feel able to move forward with some aspects of your life, for example doing the kind of social activities you did together as a couple or forming new relationships. However, you should move forward with your life as soon as possible as the sooner you adjust the easier it will be and you owe it to yourself to be happy.
The following tips may help:
Seek counselling or find a professional to talk to who can help you to deal with your feelings. See our section on Grieving for further help.
Take your time
Don't rush into anything. Take things at your own pace and don't let well meaning friends and family try and rush you into taking steps that you are not ready for.
Force yourself to go out
Accept invitations from friends and family. Do the things you liked doing as a couple or find new interests. It will be hard at first, especially when visiting people or places you used to go to with your loved one. You may feel like rushing home or even physically unable to cope the first few times you try, but it will get easier the more times you do go out so persevere.
Make new friends
Being around people that knew you as a couple can be comforting, but equally you may feel that you would rather go out and simply be known as yourself. Make new friends by taking up new activities or interests and socialising in different places. Joining a support group for the bereaved, single parents, retired etc. may also be a good way to meet new people.
Don't rush into meaningless relationships
It might be tempting to form a series of casual relationships in order to get the attention and physical closeness that you miss from your partner. However, be cautious and aware that you may end up feeling used and hurt. It might be better to hold off for a while and sort your feelings out first.
Don't feel guilty
Many people experience guilt when someone has died, particularly in regard to continuing with their life. You are not betraying your former partner by moving on with life, in fact if you ask yourself honestly its probably what they would have wanted you to do. You can still have your memories and learn to enjoy your life again, even opting for another relationship if and when you feel the time is right.
Don't be afraid of living alone
It will take time to adjust to life as a single person. However there are tips to help you under our section on Embracing Single Life including Home Maintenance, Cooking for One, Single Activities, Holidays, Adult Education and Returning to Work.