Thursday, October 2, 2008

Dating a Widower

I know three women who are currently dating widowers--the guys we refer to in our book as The Gold Standard. These men never left their wives for a younger babe, have stuck out the ups and downs of a long marriage, and when their wives needed them most, they balanced the roles of working, caretaking and parenting. What’s not to like?

However, being cautious and protective of my friend, Gold Standard guy or not, I was really worried when Suzanne handed her heart to her new love after just a date or two. I was surprised to see her hard edges melting away right in front of me, and worried sick that this guy just wanted a fling after nursing his wife throughout a two-year terminal illness. But, it turns out that he was ready to move on and he’s bananas about Suzanne and just as eager to share his future with her as she is ready to share her life with him. They’re even discussing the best locations for retirement!

A guy friend, who is a widower himself, says there are definite red flags to watch out for before falling head over heels for a widower. These signs could indicate that he’s not ready to move on yet and is (probably not consciously) using the woman he’s with now to fill the void he’s feeling.

Here are the Watch Out signs:

He hides you from his family and friends.
You remind him of his late wife.
He compares you to his late wife.
He hasn’t removed the visible shrines to his late wife.
He can’t/won’t tell you that he loves you.
He refuses to talk about his grief.

My widower friend reminded me that no one of these signs is a deal-breaker by itself, but each and all of the signs should make you aware that he may not be as ready as you are for a relationship.


Elaine Williams said...

Very informative posting. This also applies to widows, of course. I thought I was ready to date a year after my husband's passing, but in reality, (I realized years later)all I wanted was to fill that hole. It's a difficult spot to be in. I'm almost 5 years down this road.

Sue and Linda said...

Elaine, thanks for writing. I have noticed that widows seem to spend a lot more time processing their grief than do widowers. I have a few girlfriends who lost their husbands, and they haven't felt like dating for five years now. On the other hand, I know of several men whose wives died after very long marriage, and they dived into a new relationship within weeks or months. One elderly man met an old family acquaintance at his wife's funeral and called her for a date two weeks later!

I understand the instinct to "fill the hole." I did the same thing after my divorce. I made poor choices as to whom I filled it with, and have since then taken the time to get reacquainted with myself. Now I'm in a relationship with a wonderful man who lost his wife nearly two years ago. I think he's still processing things to an extent but is also working hard to move on. Best of luck to you!