Reason not to date:
1.) If you are looking for someone primarily to cure your sadness, loneliness, or "skin hunger"... it's a good time to not date yet but rather work on creating more happiness in your SOLO life
2.) If you have small children and you haven't figured out how to take care of their needs first, I think you are not ready to date. Do not make my mistake of going into something too soon and letting the man get involved with the kids. Then when it ends the kids lose another male role model, and whether he was a good or bad role model, they are abandoned again.
The short relationship I went into at the 5 month mark after losing my husband was a Bandaid on a gaping wound. When he turned out to be a controlling and emotionally abusive prick, it was salt on all my wounds and more damaging than healing overall.
So another reason not to date, and exactly what I did:
3.) just because somebody wants to date you. I didn't go looking, I just met this guy... and I agreed to go along with a lot because it just felt better than being alone (for a little while). In my mind, the private conversation I had with myself through it all was "just go with it, I'm single even though I still feel married, just do whatever comes up because this is moving on / moving forward." The conversation I neglected to have with myself in the beginning was "Am I really ready to be a partner to another person? Am I choosing wisely? Is this man I want to be with?"
Best part of dating:
1.) Adult conversation, laughter, nicknames and inside jokes, learning likes and dislikes, learning personal histories
2.) Skin to skin contact - whether it is hand holding, hugging, kissing, neck rub, or whatever more those lead to according to your readiness and comfort level.
3.) Having a partner for doing things... he is the person next to you at a performance, the person you walk with down the sidewalk, the one you talk to while kids are playing at the park, the one you meet for lunch, the one who tells you a funny thing he saw today, he suggests an upcoming outing, he is the one you can use your "buy one get one free" coupon with, he is the one whose shoulder you can cry on when disappointments occur, he is the one who "high fives" you when successes are achieved, he is the one who pumps you up for a job interview and says he believes in you, he is the one you call to say how it went the minute the interview is over...
4.) maybe you'll decide to love each other and commit to each other... and isn't love what we all desire in life? I wouldn't give up the chance for love again just because of my fear of all the pain that widowhood brought me. If I avoid love because I know what it feels like to really LOSE love, then I'm not living a full life.