Society can be hard on widows who date after a spouse’s death, but Sheryl Sandberg isn’t allowing herself to be swept away by the sea of varying opinions on the topic ― she has given herself permission to find happiness once again.
The Facebook COO and author of Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy recently opened up about dating during a conversation with Oprah Winfrey on OWN’s “SuperSoul Sunday.” Sandberg, whose husband, Dave, died suddenly in 2015 of a cardiac arrhythmia, says that before she even gave herself permission to date, it was Dave’s family who first encouraged her.
“The people who gave me permission were Dave’s mom and brother. They were the first people to mention dating to me,” Sandberg says. “I think it’s because they had lost Dave’s father, so they had that experience.”
Still, the idea of dating was a hard one for Sandberg to adjust to.
“The thing is, I never wanted to date again. I knew who I wanted to spend my life with,” she says. “But option A is gone. And so, the permission I got from my closest friends and family ― even though I did get some public criticism ― really mattered, and I want Option B to give people that permission.”
As much as Sandberg’s story has been about grief and loss, she says it’s also a love story.
“You love after someone dies. I love Dave, every bit as much as I ever did,” she says, her voice breaking. “I’m dating someone. I have joy. I have sorrow. But death does not end a relationship, and death does not end love.”
You can watch Sandberg’s full interview with Oprah on WatchOWN.tv from now through Feb. 5, 2018.