Dear Dr. Romance:
I was in a beautiful meaningful relationship that led to a too brief but wonderful marriage until
tragedy struck and my husband died two years ago. I rejoined the dating world nine months ago
and am having a difficult time finding someone who can measure up to my standards. My late
husband was handsome, funny, sensitive, romantic, trusting honest, caring, and was my best
friend. It is because of him that I know what true love feels like. Counseling has taught me not to
compare others to him. What would you suggest?
I'm sorry for your loss, and I'm glad you've learned not to compare others to him. It's too easy to bestow sainthood on a person who has passed, and no real human can live up to it. You're just coming out of your grief and emotional shock, so take your time. Focus on making friends and getting to know new people -- not on finding a "replacement" for the person you lost. He'll never be replaced, but you can try a whole new thing with a different person. In The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again, I recommend having a "beginner's mind" (a Zen Buddhist concept), which means being willing to start from scratch, allow yourself to feel awkward and new at this. My article, "Where is Love" will explain more fully.
Seek to learn, to experience, and regard it as a new adventure. Don't compare it to anything you've done before. You've been through a life-changing experience, and you're a whole new person now, so approach it that way. You'll learn about yourself as well as others, and eventually you'll find happiness.