After a long relationship, or even long singlehood, it can be difficult to separate the past from the present. Dating again or for the first time after a long period of mourning or healing is less about talking about the person you were with previously and more about letting the people you meet know you -- not just the you attached to loss or loneliness.
Get to know each person you date in the present and keep talk about the past focused on individual histories or the basic and positive things about your family life without a lot of "we used to," "my wife and I" or "all those years alone." If a relationship takes off there is plenty of time for sharing hurts and difficulties later with more intimacy and the tenderness that comes over time. Studies have even shown that what both men and women least like about dating is meeting people who focus on the past "baggage" of their lives on a date [source: Montenegro].
If after a number of dates you find that you can't separate yourself from your past and loss, it may not be the best time to date [source: Schwartz]. Maybe it's time to talk with a counselor and get to the root of who you are first, though it may just be a matter of practicing conversation with friends who will let you know when you're spending too much time looking back [source: Schwartz].