March 25 (UPI) -- Elizabeth Gilbert says she's found love in the wake of her partner's death.
The 49-year-old author introduced her boyfriend, photographer Simon MacArthur, in an Instagram post Sunday, more than 14 months after Rayya Elias' death.
"Please meet my sweetheart, Mr. Simon MacArthur. He's a photographer from the U.K. -- a beautiful man who has been a friend of mine for years," she captioned a photo of herself with MacArthur.
Gilbert said MacArthur was also a "beloved friend" of Elias, who lived with the photographer in London over 30 years ago and "adored" him like a sibling. She said MacArthur's heart has been "such a warm place" for her to land.
"Just know that your girl is happy, following her heart," the writer said.
The Eat, Pray, Love author said she shared the news to support others in similar situations and "normalize" her experience.
"Let me say: It's Ok. Your heart is a giant cathedral. Let it open. Let it love. Do not let your gorgeous loyalty to the deceased stop you from experiencing the marvels and terrors of your short, mortal, precious life," the star wrote. "It's OK to live, and to love."
"Or...if you once loved a man, and then you loved a woman, and then you loved a man, and you're wondering if that's ok? Well, darling. Let me normalize THAT for you. It's OK. Love who you love," she added.
View this post on Instagram
Dear Ones: It’s a beautiful spring day in my corner of the world, life is everywhere bursting forth with a sense of rebirth and renewal, and this seems like as good a moment as any to tell you that I am in love. Please meet my sweetheart, Mr. Simon MacArthur. He’s a photographer from the U.K. — a beautiful man who has been a friend of mine for years. (Even more touchingly, Simon was a beloved friend of Rayya’s for decades. They lived together in London over 30 years ago, and they adored each other forever like siblings. This, as you can imagine, means the world to me.) Of late, Simon and I have found our way to each other’s arms. And now here we are, and his heart has been such a warm place for me to land. I share this news publicly, despite the fact that our love story is so new and young and tender,for a few reasons. For one thing, I just want to say: If you see me walking around with a tall handsome man on my arm, don’t be buggin’. Just know that your girl is happy, and following her heart. But also this: I will always share anything personal about my life, if it could help someone else feel more normal about their life. SO...if you have lost a loved one to death, and you thought you’d never love again, but you are feeling a pull of attraction toward someone new, and you’re not sure if that’s OK? Let me normalize it for you. Let me say: It’s Ok. Your heart is a giant cathedral. Let it open. Let it love. Do not let your gorgeous loyalty to the deceased stop you from experiencing the marvels and terrors of your short, mortal, precious life. It’s OK to live, and to love. Or...if you are falling in love in middle age and it’s terrifying, because you feel just as dumb and crazy and excited and insecure as you did at 16? Well, let me normalize this for you. It’s OK. You will always feel 16 when you are falling in love. Or...if you once loved a man,and then you loved a woman, and then you loved a man, and you’re wondering if that’s ok? Well, darling. Let me normalize THAT for you. It’s OK. Love who you love. It’s all OK, and it’s all impossible to control, and it’s all an adventure that I would not miss. That’s all I wanted to say. Onward, and I love you all. ❤️LG
Elias died at age 57 in January 2018 after battling pancreatic and liver cancer. Gilbert paid tribute to Elias in an Instagram post at the time, calling the songwriter her "love" and "muse."
Gilbert was married to Jose Nunes prior to her relationship with Elias. She and Elias celebrated their love at a commitment ceremony in June 2017 prior to Elias' death.