popular | Family

When Is It Okay To Date Again After The Death Of A Spouse?

TIME

When your significant other passes away, is there an appropriate time to start dating again?

For 32-year-old widower Jake Coates, it only took eight months for him to find love again.

Jake lost his beloved wife Emmy to thyroid cancer last June, but shared on social media he's now in a relationship with his girlfriend, Jenna Elsby.

While plenty of Instagram users wrote their support for Jake's newfound relationship, others believe it's too soon for him for him to be dating again.

Jake and Emmy at their wedding
Daily Mirror

One of these people is Emmy's sister, Sophie Collet, who said her late sister would be devastated.

"Not only am I at a loss for words at the insensitivity of it, but I also am trying to maintain some dignity for Emmy, us as her family and her friends and all those whose lives she touched," Sophie wrote.

"I can assure you this would break her heart and leave her devastated as it has so many of us," she continued, adding people should be considerate in regards to flaunting a new relationship.  

The couple made headlines last year after they raised £140,000 ($195,000 US) for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.

From personal experience, I know this isn't the first time a new relationship has sparked controversy on whether it's too soon to find love again.

When I was eight years old, my grandmother passed away due to complications with her respiratory system. It was a difficult time for my family and I, and it seemed like we'd never stop being in mourning.

So, it came as a shock to everyone when my grandpa announced he had a new girlfriend only a few months later. For a child, it was strange to see your grandpa - who was married for more than 50 years - in a relationship with someone other than his beloved late wife.

My family didn't take the news well, as they had difficulty trying to accept a new woman in my grandfather's life. But, he was in his early 70s and was had every right to have companionship again.

I'll always remember when he told me, "it's not about replacing your grandmother... it's about finding companionship."

On the opposite side of the coin, my grandmother from my mother's side of the family never dated following the death of her husband, and 20 years later, has said she's never regretted her decision.

Sometimes it's hard to understand when a loved one starts dating again, and it's alright to have mixed emotions.

Take for example comedian Patton Oswalt, who lost his wife Michelle McNamara after nearly 11 years of marriage. It was heartbreaking for the man who had suddenly become a single father, and in interviews said he took his wife's death incredibly hard.

So when news broke out he became engaged to actress Meredith Salenger just over a year later, fans were confused about how he could move on so fast.

"I put the ring in a marzipan [Star Wars] Slave I replica and said, 'Will you be my Padawan of Love?'" Oswalt joked on Twitter. "She maced me but said yes later."

Critics were quick to condomn their relationship, but Oswalt quipped back calling them "bitter grub worms," as he too deserves to find happiness again.

I'm not saying it's always easy to accept someone starting a new relationship when a friend or family family member passes away, but eventually understand just because someone finds a new partner, it doesn't mean they will no longer cherish the memories they shared with their deceased loved one.

[H/T: Metro, PEOPLE]