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Life After Bobby: What’s It Like Dating After a Loss Like Jill Zarin's?

Jill's open to dinner dates ... it doesn't mean she's not still grieving. 

While the rumor mill has Jill Zarin dating again, The Real Housewives of New York City alum summed it up a bit lighter, telling People that she “started accepting a few dinner dates after much thought and support from my close friends and family.”

Adding that she “felt Bobby would want me to start to live again,” Jill has been linked to clothing exec (and her tennis pal) Gary Brody following Bobby Zarin's passing in January for a few months now. The two were spotted at Wimbledon outside London last week with Jill’s daughter, Ally Shapiro, who reportedly also approves. 

Jill had also told The Daily Dish: "Well I've adjusted to it with open arms because I have no other choice. And I'm an optimist, not a pessimist. So I see [it as] this is in God's hands," she said, noting that before he died, Jill and Bobby discussed her next chapter. "He told me what he wanted for me. It was very sad ... But he wants me to move on, he wants me to be happy. He wants me to work. He wants me to play tennis. He knows I love it and he knows that that's probably a good place for me to meet a nice guy and he doesn't want me to alone. He's not selfish like that."

Dating after the loss of a husband or wife can be a confusing time. Personal Space spoke with New York-based family grief counselor Jill S. Cohen, who explained a bit about how Jill may be feeling.

“Someone told me once — and it flipped a switch in my thinking — she was a mother who lost her husband and her child was not happy the mom had a boyfriend soon after. And the mom had really loved her husband, the mom said to me ‘I tell my daughter they can never have another father, but I can have another husband.’ The mom said I can love another man, there’s not just one love for every person,” Cohen says. “The woman who lost her husband didn’t lose the only one person who could ever be a great love. Even an extraordinary relationship where you as a couple feel like one person, after a loss, you can love a second person, and it does not negate the first person.” 

There is no timeline.

“You have to feel ready, only you know when you are ready,” Cohen says. “You know when you’re ready if you’re able to process and accept that he or she isn’t here anymore but you loved this person, so you’re more comfortable to move forward in a healthy way.”

There will be guilt.

“Sometimes you want the company and a new love and that requires a new person,” Cohen says, adding that the complicated feelings of grieving and moving on simultaneously can lead to guilt. “My husband just died, is it too soon? People look at it like it’s still fresh, like ‘she just lost her husband,’ but to them time is different. Jill’s timeline is different, and hers, and her process was different. Maybe she mourned him as well as she could and she’s honoring him every single day in her thoughts.”

If someone had been sick for a while, their partner's healing process may be faster.

“Some people start grieving the moment of the diagnosis, which makes them ready to move on and date.”

Shut out the noise — and the nosy people.

“You’re the only one who knows when you’re ready, if you’re not functioning and you’re depressed you’re not ready,” Cohen says. “It’s like the thought is you should be punished and the whole world has to stop. Jill’s world did stop and now another life can happen.”

Life has many different chapters.

“It’s not like we only get one wonderful life, there are many lives within it,” Cohen says. “You will never have him back but you can have a second love. By nature we’re all entitled to more than one great love and we’re entitled to find love again when we lose someone.”

You should be able to talk about your loss in your relationship.

Jill Zarin said that the man she is seeing is completely open to listening about life with Bobby. “Gary very much respects the grieving process I am going through and has been an incredible friend to talk to. He only wants the best for me and my daughter,” she told US Weekly. Which is healthy, our therapist expert says. “You can talk about the person to the new person. A widow should know it doesn’t mean you forgot, it means I want to remember … It’s another chapter, let her do what she wants.”

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