Finding Love Again After Losing Your Partner
- It has been more than six years since actress Michelle Dockery lost her fiancé John Dineen to cancer, and now she is engaged again!
- Dockery and Dineen dated for about two years before he proposed in 2015. The couple never made it to their wedding day because Dineen died on Dec. 13, 2015, after a 15-month battle with a rare form of cancer.
- Dr. Pepper Schwartz says that for some people, grief looks like depression, but others who have lost a spouse or partner might experience mood swings, ranging from elation to despair. However, “there comes a time, even after the most grievous loss, when the heart is ready to open up again.”
The Downton Abbey star, 40, revealed to British newspaper The Times that she and 34-year-old Jasper Waller-Bridge, brother of Fleabag star Phoebe Waller-Bridge, are engaged to be married after a three-year romance.Read More
John Dineen’s Cancer Battle
Michelle Dockery and John Dineen dated for about two years before he proposed in 2015. The couple, however, never made it to their wedding day because Dineen, who was a public relation executive in London, died on Dec. 13, 2015, after a 15-month battle with a rare form of cancer. He was just 34 years old.
Dockery never spoke publicly about what type of cancer took Dineen’s life, but she has spoken about how she will never forget him, and how much his love meant to her in the short time they had together.
“I don’t have the vocabulary to describe what it felt like, and what it still feels like,” Dockery said about her loss during a 2017 interview with The Guardian. “I’ve never been more committed to anything in my life than to him. … We were engaged, and married at heart, so I do consider myself a widow.”
During the same interview, Michelle Dockery details how it was especially challenging playing Lady Mary in Downton Abbey because the character also becomes a widow during the series.
“One of the most difficult things at the time was the parallels with Mary,” she says. “It was just baffling, and still is to me, that my character’s storyline was so similar.”
Finding Love Again After Losing Your Partner to Cancer
In a previous interview with SurvivorNet, Dr. Pepper Schwartz, a professor of sociology at the University of Washington, author and relationship expert on A&E’s Married at First Sight, says to “assume you are physiologically impaired after a great loss” — a loss such as losing your spouse.
For some people, grief looks like depression, she says, but others who have lost a spouse or partner, especially to cancer, might experience mood swings, ranging from elation to despair. Either way, she explains, it is important to remember that “for longer than you realize, you are not competent to make life-changing decisions.”
This is most likely something Michelle Dockery went through when she first lost John Dineen in 2015. And that is completely understandable. If you cannot focus on anything but the person you have lost, then you are not ready to date, Dr. Schwartz says.
“You should at least be in a situation where you can concentrate on the person you’re meeting,” she explains, “rather than have the conversations only about loss.”
If years pass and the grieving spouse still cannot focus on anything but their loss, “then expert counseling is necessary,” she says.
However, although it may be hard to believe immediately after your spouse’s passing, “there comes a time, even after the most grievous loss, when the heart is ready to open up again.”
This is the point Dockery has reached, as she is now engaged to Jasper Waller-Bridge. While there is no doubt she still loves Dineen, her heart was ready to open itself to love again.
Contributing: Constance Costas & SurvivorNet staff