No one can tell you when you should begin dating after your spouse dies, as that’s an individual decision that will depend on various factors.

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Your needs might be very different than they were when you were dating your deceased spouse, writes sex and relationship expert, Dr.

Pepper Schwartz in her article, "Starting Over After Losing a Partner” for AARP.

Determine what you need and want now, such as a companion to attend events, a sex partner or a new spouse.

There are niche dating sites that can help you find a relationship based on your age, interests and your status as a widow.

Begin with reasonable expectations and a willingness to take the time to find someone who respects your situation.

Practice new dating social skills like flirting by emailing new prospects until you're comfortable, suggests clinical psychologist Judith Sills in a 2009 “Time” magazine article.

If online dating scares you, tell friends that you’re ready to meet someone new as you look for partners at church or other locations that you frequent.

Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994.

She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children.