Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Dating the Widower: Too Much Too Soon

What happens when a widower suddenly starts his life over with an all-consuming new relationship?
Back in September, we heard from a guest blogger-- our friend S. from Colorado who was known to us prior to that moment as the most cynical, jaded, anti-man woman we knew. She had been burned out by a long marriage to a bipolar chiropractor and subsequently had a long-term relationship with a compulsive womanizer. When she broke that dead-end situation off, she landed up with a seemingly sweet, if boring, man, who at the last moment, after they had decided to move to another state and had signed a lease together, broke out in a rabid case of commitment phobia and took off.
Half a dozen dateless years later, here she was on our blog gushing about the wonderful widower she met on E-Harmony. After just two weeks of dating, these two soulmates were already making retirement plans together.
The relationship blossomed and grew throughout the autumn, but as the holidays approached he became nervous anticipating his 23-year-old daughter’s reaction to finding out that he was now dating. Although an adult, the daughter is an only child whose mother had died less than a year before after a long battle with cancer. S. felt sympathetic toward the young woman, so she advised her boyfriend to wait to discuss their relationship until the daughter came home for Christmas so he could talk to her in person.
From the moment the daughter arrived home, S. never heard from the guy. He instructed her not to call him, not even on his cell, and not to email him. He didn’t want his daughter to pick up any clues before he was ready to tell her. S. felt as if she was conducting some sort of clandestine affair with a married man.
Finally, in a desperate, forbidden action, she called his cell. He told her that he hadn’t been able to discuss his dating with his daughter yet, but there was something else he needed to tell S.
Weeks before, he had confided that due to some complicated story regarding botched surgery, he was unable to have sex without using Viagra. S. had told him that she loved him and this was fine with her.
Over the phone, he told her his doctor now said that taking Viagra could be life threatening to him, and that he should never ever have sex or even get aroused again. S. was in love and reassured him they would find a solution. But he insisted that he wanted her to move on and have a normal life without him. She became hysterical crying and all he could say was, “I thought you never cried. I didn’t know you were so emotional.”
With that, he disappeared. Never called or emailed, never said goodbye.
I have no idea what all of this was about except I can’t help thinking he scared himself off by moving ahead so fast with a relationship so soon after his wife’s death.
On the other hand, my Aunt Millie has been with her boyfriend Sumner for over a decade. When they began seeing each other, she was already a widow for fourteen years and was clearly finally ready to date, but Sumner's wife had died only three months before. His kids were furious, but in the end it all worked out and they are still together and very happy.

I guess some guys are built to be part of a couple and others are scared to death of intimacy.

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