Sheryl Sandberg had many revelations while writing her upcoming book on grief after her husband’s unexpected death. One of the biggest? Her view that widows are more likely to be judged than their male counterparts if they embark on a new romance.
“People judge women much more than men if they start dating again,” Sandberg, 47, says in a new interview for this week’s issue of PEOPLE tied to the release of her new book, Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy. “And that is unfair.”
Two years ago, the Facebook COO and her husband, SurveyMonkey CEO Dave Goldberg, were vacationing with friends in Mexico when the 47-year-old died of a cardiac arrhythmia. Sandberg, who is now a single parent to their two young children, teared up during the interview when she reflected on her relationship with Goldberg — her “rock.”
The Lean In author explains that after Goldberg’s death in May 2015 she journaled for months — and a seed for Option B can be found in a Facebook post that Sandberg wrote a month after her husband’s death.
“I think when tragedy occurs, it presents a choice. You can give in to the void, the emptiness that fills your heart, your lungs, constricts your ability to think or even breathe. Or you can try to find meaning. These past 30 days, I have spent many of my moments lost in that void. And I know that many future moments will be consumed by the vast emptiness as well. But when I can, I want to choose life and meaning.”
For more of Sheryl Sandberg’s interview, please pick up this week’s issue, on stands Friday.
Those posts, her journaling, and discussions with friend and psychologist Adam Grant led to Option B, which they wrote together.
Sandberg’s hope that she’d someday chose “life and meaning” seems to have worked as a harbinger. While she still talks about her late husband (“I want everyone to remember how incredible he was,” she says), a guiding message in Sandberg’s book is that joy can be found again — and should be.
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“That feeling of not being able to breathe is not forever,” she says. “I want people to know that.”
Sandberg also discussed one step she’s taken in recovering from Goldberg’s death — finding companionship again. She is currently in a relationship with Bobby Kotick, the owner of Activision Blizzard, a gaming company.
“I found someone who has brought me joy and laughter,” she says.