Sheryl Sandberg Defends Amanda Kloots for Dating After Husband's Death: 'We Judge Women More Harshly'

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Sheryl Sandberg Defends Amanda Kloots for Dating After Husband's Death: 'We Judge Women More Harshly'
Sheryl Sandberg Defends Amanda Kloots for Dating After Husband's Death: 'We Judge Women More Harshly'

Shutterstock; Randee St. Nicholas/CBS via Getty Sheryl Sandberg and Amanda Kloots

Sheryl Sandberg has recently bonded with Amanda Kloots, after both of them experienced the death of a spouse.

On the latest episode of the PEOPLE Every Day podcast with host Janine Rubenstein, the Facebook COO, 51, who also founded LeanIn.org, discusses the unofficial "club" to which she and Kloots, 39, both belong. "It is a terrible club to be in," she notes.

"One of the things that I think is part of it for all of us [who have lost spouses], is that we feel like we're going to be alone forever," Sandberg, who lost husband Dave Goldberg to an arrythmia in 2015, says. "When you get married, when you make a commitment to a partner, you look out into the future and you think you're going to be with that person. And then when that person is taken from you, whether it's long and slow or suddenly, that fear goes on."

Listen to more of our interview with Sheryl Sandberg below on our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day!

That's why, Sandberg says, she encourages Kloots to be open to dating, a year after her husband Nick Cordero died from complications with COVID.

Kloots revealed on Friday's episode of The Talk that she recently began dating again. "It is so crazy to be dating for the first time at 39 years old," she said, noting that she and Cordero were friends first, so never truly dated in the conventional sense of the word. "It's quite terrifying and really out of your element, and it's just hard. It is hard."

The fitness instructor then faced backlash from critics who argued that she moved on too soon.

"How dare you judge anyone especially someone going through this process," Kloots wrote on social media in response to one commenter. "There's too much to say and too much that widows deal with to not talk about it. Until then I will call out anyone who is rude enough to comment like this."

RELATED: Amanda Kloots Responds to Comments That She Moved on 'Fast' After Sharing Her Dating Life: 'How Dare You'

amanda kloots nick cordero and their son elvis
amanda kloots nick cordero and their son elvis

Amanda Kloots/Instagram

"I remember the topic of dating is very hard," says Sandberg (who previously connected with Kloots on the subject of spousal loss) on the podcast. "We need encouragement. And it won't shock you to know that we judge women more harshly for dating after death than we judge men."

"I remember there was an email that my brother sent to my sister and my parents, and he did not realize I was on it," she says. "It was months after Dave died: 'It's time for us to talk to Sheryl about dating. She needs to know she's not going to be alone forever. And she needs to know it's okay.' And I was on the email. And I realized the love he had. My brother was the first person. He sat me down. He said, 'If you are a man, you would start dating now.'"

RELATED VIDEO: Sheryl Sandberg Is Engaged to Tom Bernthal After Being Set Up by Her Late Husband's Brother

Sandberg got engaged last February to Tom Bernthal, to whom she was introduced by her late husband's brother. Bernthal, 46, popped the question with a ring featuring five tiny hidden diamonds underneath the setting to represent each of their five children.

Check out more from Sheryl's interview on PEOPLE Every Day, airing now on iHeartMedia, Apple podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Amazon Music or wherever you listen to your podcasts.