Dating A Widow or Widower: FAQs
Supporting a Griever : Litsa Williams/
Valentine's Day is this week. (If you're looking for help coping with the day, we have some posts for you right here.) With this Hallmark holiday upon us, we're going to address a topic that we have yet to tackle in the over 500 articles we have here on WYG.
As the title of this post suggests, we're referring to topics related to dating after the death of a spouse or partner. We've been slow to write about this subject in the past because, well, it's COMPLICATED. Dating is complicated. Grief is complicated. Swirl those together and things can get pretty messy.
That said, we receive lots of questions in our email asking questions related to new relationships after experiencing loss and, over time, we hope to have articles addressing all these concerns. Today we're going to start with a post for a special subset of non-grievers and that is the men and women out there who are dating widows and widowers. If you don't understand why this article is necessary, I'll tell you, the majority of emails we receive on this topic are not from widow/widowers themselves, but from the people who are dating them.
Now, as a griever, you might be thinking, "Oh boo-hoo, you're dating a widow. Life must be so hard for you" and honestly, in the days before we started WYG we may have said the same thing. However, after receiving emails over the years, we have realized that navigating the world of dating a widow(er) is more complicated than it seems.
Our plan for this post is simple, we're going to give you our two-cent answers for some of the most common questions we receive. As always, at the end of the article, you will find our wild and wonderful comment section, where we welcome your thoughts and experiences.
Before we jump into the FAQs, it's a good idea for anyone who cares about a grieving person to have a baseline understanding of grief. So, you may want to start by checking out these posts about grief and then reading this post on how to support someone grieving.
Dating a widow or widower FAQs
1. I am dating a widow who still displays photos of their late partner in their home. Does this mean they're stuck? Are they ready to date? Can I ask them to take the photos down?
Actually, we do have a post answering this question, but the conversation bears repeating because this is our most commonly asked question. Read the whole post if you want a more in-depth answer, but here is the quick and dirty - it is 100% okay to display photos of a late-partner in the home. This is especially true if the deceased person is the parent of children who live in or visit the home.
Think about it - people aren't erased from their families or their family history simply because they have died. Would you think it odd for someone to have a photo of a deceased grandparent, sibling, or child in the home? Most likely not and 9/10 the same rule applies here. People do not cease to care about loved ones simply because they have died so, no, we would not recommend you ask them to take the photos down.
The Mitch Albom quote "Death ends a life, not a relationship" is true. Their relationship and love for that person will continue and that is normal and healthy (if this is blowing your mind, check out this post on Continuing Bonds Theory).
Photos do not indicate a person is stuck or that they aren't ready to date. The wonderful and amazing thing about human beings is that we don't have a finite capacity for love. Grief is about continuing to love someone who has died while also making room for new and amazing things in life. You might be one of those new and amazing things for the grieving person, but that doesn't mean you are replacing what came before.
Ask yourself: Why am I uncomfortable with the photos? If you are feeling threatened or insecure, you may need to redefine how you understand grief and the relationship deceased loved ones play in the lives of those who mourn them. Above all else, it will help to understand how your significant other feels about the photos, so consider asking them. Ask them what the photos mean to them and, if appropriate, share how the photos make you feel.
2. I am dating a widow(er) and they are still close to their deceased partner's family. Is this normal?
First, let's be clear, it's very hard to say what is and isn't normal in grief. Let's just say, though, it certainly isn't abnormal! It's common to form strong connections with a partner's family members and it can feel like yet another loss to fall out of touch with these people.
When someone dies, it may be deeply comforting to stay connected with others who also knew and loved them. Sometimes this is simply because a person values the love and support of the family members, and sometimes because they are people you can share memories and stories with. If you skipped that Continuing Bonds post above, now might be a good time to check it out.
Ask yourself: Why are you uncomfortable with the relationship? Do you feel concerned their late partner's family won't accept you? Do you feel left out? Is it something else altogether? If you are uncomfortable with the relationship, it is reasonable to express your feelings (you have a right to your feelings, after all). However, in doing so, we recommend you try to keep an open mind about the role these relationships play in your significant other's life.
3. I am dating a widow(er) who has children and I am really nervous about meeting them. What can I do to make sure it goes smoothly?
Great question, you thoughtful partner you. First and foremost, if you haven't discussed your anxieties with your partner, you should. Make sure you are both on the same page about what the kids have been told and how you are being introduced.
What you decide may depend on the age of the children, whether you are the first person the widow(er) has dated (or at least who the kids have met), etc. Younger kids are known for testing adults to make sure their stories are consistent, so being on the same page with language and information is crucial.
Beyond that, be open and take their lead. If there is an opportunity to show your interest in learning about the parent who died, great! Show interest and ask questions, but don't force it. Always remember that the parent/partner who died is still a member of the family. You aren't there to replace that person, rather fill a new and different space in the family. The more you can do to convey your understanding of this to the kids, the better.
Finally, read up on the topic of regrief. At each new developmental stage, kids understand the world in new and different ways. They often start to view their ongoing grief through this new lens and this may also mean revisiting your role in the family. Keep in mind that at major life milestones, kids may feel especially upset that their deceased parent isn't there and that you are (which is not to say they will view this is as a bad thing). All this is why it is so important to keep an open dialogue with your partner and, if appropriate, their children about their grief.
Ask yourself: Am I confident enough in the future of this relationship to meet my SO's grieving children? Am I ready to accept the complicated feelings that might come up for the children? How can I best convey that I am warm and open, that I don't intend to replace their parent, and that I understand the ongoing role their deceased loved one will play in their lives?
4. I want to be supportive of my significant other on difficult days (the deathiversary, their partner's birthday, their anniversary, etc). However, they haven't opened up to me about their feelings, so I don't know how. If I mention these days, will I remind them of the pain?
Chances are, they haven't forgotten the significance of these days. Though we always recommend taking the griever's lead, this is a situation where it may be helpful to proactively offer your support. Ask them if there is anything they'd like to do to honor their loved one on the day and ask them about their anxieties, but make it clear that you are willing to give them space and time for themselves if this is what they need.
Ask yourself: Are you ready to be there for whatever they need (the only thing worse than not offering is not following through)? Will you take it personally if they say they don't want support and/or need space?
If you are struggling as a partner to a widow(er), the biggest question to ask yourself is whether you are truly ready to accept that the person you are dating will, on some level, always love and care about the person who died? Are you able to believe - on an intellectual and emotional level - that their love for the person who died does not take away from the love they have to give to you? And, if you are gentle and open to learning more, you may find their memories and connections to the person make up another wonderful layer of them that you can get to know through stories and memories.
Thoughts, questions, concerns, words of wisdom on this topic? Leave a comment below!
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255 Comments on "Dating A Widow or Widower: FAQs"Click here to leave a Comment
Chris April 25, 2023 at 6:16 pm
Just wanted to say thanks for offering an alternate viewpoint to the dreadful “Dating a Widower” guy who calls photos or other mementos of the deceased to be a “red flag” to watch out for when dating a widowed person. As you know, it’s complicated, with many shades of gray between “a couple photos” and “photos over the bed, in every room, and an altar”. And unfortunately, sometimes even the most well-meaning of potential partners just can’t get over that sense of being in someone’s shadow. It’s not a failing or mistake on either side, it’s just life.
robert guarino February 23, 2023 at 10:36 am
The women I’m dating is a widow. It’s been ten years since he died. I was invited to come stay with her last summer on east coast she stays with me in Hawaii. In her home his ashes are displayed with a big family photo of them, in the living room. In her office big photos of them are displayed together dressed up. My problem l is I don’t like looking at his pic staring at me with his arm around the woman I love. If we make love on the couch, then I look up, I’m looking at him holding my girl. On her Facebook page, their is a family pick as the background with her, their kids, including her dead husband. But he had a big head and this pick is one that is predominately him. My friends who see posts were she tags me or I tag her, ask me “who the guy?” Then they say still? Or are in thought worried about me. We’ve been together 2 years now.
nik December 18, 2022 at 1:46 pm
I have been seeing a widower for 3 years. He was married for 51 years and his spouse passed 4 1/2 years ago. I spend alot of time with him, sleep over 5 nights a week. I know his family and he knows mine and we attend all family functions together. We all get along very well. He has pictures of his spouse around the house and that doesn’t bother me. But, I just don’t understand why he is displaying a photo of him and her over the bed that we sleep in. I’ve brought it up only asking it be hung in another room. Her perfume was still on the dressing table, but recently on my request he did agree to remove the perfume, but he really doesn’t want to take that picture down over the bed. I’m not sure if I should let it go, what it means, if I should refuse to sleep in that bedroom until or if it comes down?? I have been very patient. I believe his daughter may have gotten that photo done for her parents, he’s not been clear.
Litsa February 7, 2023 at 8:06 am
It might help to ask him why it means so much to keep it there and also explain to him why that photo location in particular is hard for you. Often we get caught up in the ‘what’ rather than talking about the ‘why’. When you each understand the ‘why’ it can be easier to understand one another and figure out if there is something that could meet both of your needs.
Szilvi December 9, 2022 at 1:25 pm
Hello. Please help with advice.
I started dating my BF while he was still married and living with his wife of 38 yrs. He convinced me that there has been nothing between them in 10-15 years and they stay in separate rooms. They have 3 adult children who don’t live in the home. When we first met he told me he would never divorce and I let him know I will not have a relationship with a married man. His wife had been dating a man for almost 3 years at the time.
About 5 months into our relationship they filed for divorce. He kept living with her and said he needed time to sort his life before moving out or selling the home. As time went by, he made no effort to leave so I broke off the relationship.
The wife died suddenly from a stroke a month later and he perused our relationship again. I was hesitant but because I loved him, we got back together and a month later he asked me to move in.
I moved in 6 months ago. They were extreme pack rats and it took me month to declutter the home. He still brings her up to strangers stating his wife died recently, introduces me as his GF, which always makes me feel like our relationship started because she died, and the year we spent together prior didn’t mean anything…i hear many stories from him and “We” in reference to them is always in all stories….I catch him crying over her and we get into arguments because I feel uncomfortable about constantly hearing about their past…he will constantly remind me how much he loved his wife and misses her so I should have empathy. And our latest fight was over him not wanting to spend X-mas in their house, with my family (who he loves very much) and I, where him and I live together, because it’s too many memories. I expressed to him that this hurts me, and he again felt the need to remind me how much he loved her.
I just keep telling him that he was the one that convinced me they had nothing but a friendship, and not only was I in a position where I dated a married man (who kept saying, only on paper) but now I’m dating a widower….I love him very much but I don’t know how to deal with my feelings and anger I have about the situation. He is 22 years older than I, I don’t know if that makes a difference. We are very comfortable in every way….but this situation is a struggle…
Szilvi December 9, 2022 at 1:41 pm
Sorry, I don’t know how to edit my original post, but I also wanted to add that last Thanksgiving and X-mas we spent together with my family at their home and on a family vacation. She was still alive and he was living with her at the time. She passed away early May….
Joan March 13, 2023 at 12:30 am
Be sure to join a support group dating a widower or in love with a widower.
This support group is one that supports a three heart relationship, one that rarely works.
I feel for you, I’m so sorry but he’s not being honest with himself or you.
Jan November 12, 2022 at 6:54 am
I was dating a widower whose wife died 18 yrs ago who tried to love me but did not feel deeply enough for me and we decided to remain friends. I professed my love for him but he never did profess his love gor me except when he was drinking which was not often. We decided to remain friends. I told him friends talk on the phone to let him know I was OK with it. He has been calling me every day, morning & evening since we broke up in August. He never asks me how I feel about us, he just gives me news and chats about politics, old cars, his house renovations, everyday stuff. I do the same. In the meantime, I’m on a dating site and it looks promising. I’ve decided to continue
searching until I find someone to love and who loves Me. It still hurts to not be with him but I feel I should move on. He’s aware I’m searching for someone. What do you think about this? His children are now 30+ and his wife died when they were 10 and 11. He raised them on his own and never had a girlfriend all those years according to him and his friends. He never took the time to grieve as he had to raise his kids (3)
and (2) dogs and (2) Siamese cats, work on antique cars for a living and maintain his home etc. His children are wonderful, well brought up & adore their dad. He says he was happy raising them and is happy now without a girlfriend.. It took him by surprise meeting me and I was the first woman he had a relationship with after his wife’s death. How should I feel about this? I still care about him but don’t want to be alone. My children have grown-up now and I want to be in love again and be loved.
Thank you for listening.
Roben September 19, 2022 at 3:00 pm
It all started around. 2009 I met this girl and we became friends, we even became best friends. We constantly hang with her brother and sometimes other friend. She was caring,funny,adorable, like a warmth and sunshine in my eyes. We constantly text, i loved asking how her day was. Sometimes even drinking instant coffee with her was all i look forward too at the end of the day. Days turns to months and years you know the typical story. I secretly fall for her..
Come mid 2011, she met one of my childhood friend. They instantly click. After some months they became a couple. During those times i found excuses not to go out or hang with them even if its a group party, group dinner, gatherings. Heck we know the deal/explanation to that.. 2013 they got married, had a son. (I attended they are both my close friends)
As much as i dont want to admit it before, I was hurt (even if i don’t have any reason to be hurt from the start). But the same time, i was deeply happy for my best friend and my buddy. I was happy that she was happy.
Remember the saying “I would rather have her in my life as a friend, than not at all”.
Years go, when her husband or his brother(this brother is also one of my close friend and they live in the same big house) invites us for a drinks at weekend I usually attend it. Sometime I see her pass by while she’s taking care of her son. A simple nod, sometimes a Hi/How are you/Whats up. Then she’ll reply a few lines and gets on her way again. (Just a simple small chat. We’re friends and friends dont ignore one another when you see each other). Sometimes her son even teases me silly things before saying goodnight to his dad,uncle and all of us drinking buddies.
Come 2022, Her husband died of illness. The whole family was devasted. At the wake, I could not bare the sadness my friend was feeling. After mass, family members share memories and final goodbyes. I was holding back tears as much as I could. Hers was last, the moment she cried while trying to finish her sentence. I cried..
Tears fell, for the life of my buddy who was lost due to fucking cancer. The the parents who I cant imagine outliving your son. Siblings losing a brother. A young son, losing his father. And a wife losing the love of her life..
During those days, deep inside i want to check up on my friend. Even a simple text or chat. As much as my heart would like to ask/check on her constantly. My mind is trying to stop what my heart would like to do.
There are thoughts in my mind like. Maybe there are limits to how much a friend should care. I don’t have any rights to constantly check on her. She would be irritated at constantly talking to me after all her husband just died recently. Why am I trying to show that I still care now? Why? Why?
So sometimes I just ask others, how the family and my friend is dealing with the grief. Or a simple “how are they”?
So I’m doing what I was doing before. I’m just loving her from a distance.. ^_^
Joan September 18, 2022 at 12:33 am
This blog is absolutely horrible and the cause of many relationships that widows/widowers ending in divorce.. their divorce rate is extremely high because of the nonsense mentioned in this blog.
Perpetuating a three heart relationship is absolutely awful. One that should never be condoned. No one should have to look at photos of an ex lover, death or divorce. If a widow or widower is ready to date and commit to a new love their former relationship marriage should be left in the past, not dragged into the new relationship.
Shame on you!!
Patricia Cole October 27, 2022 at 11:07 am
We appreciate you sharing your thoughts. The pursuit of new connections and relationships after the loss of a partner is unique to each individual and not one size fits all. Here at What’s Your Grief we compare the love held for a previous partner and for a new one similar to love held for children. You don’t stop loving your first child because a second has been born, just as you do not lose the love you held for your deceased partner when pursuing new relationships after their passing. Below we have included some helpful links about the topic if you would like to read some more. Be well!
Widow Dating Questions: Am I Ready To Date?
Resources for Widows: Recommendations from the WYG Community
Joan February 7, 2023 at 10:43 am
It’s a shame you edit and choose not to post responses of how women truly feel dating a widower.
I’m dating a completely different widower now who doesn’t expect the woman he’s with to live in his deceased wife shadows, has done the work and took his time grieving.
Your advice is horrible.
Litsa February 8, 2023 at 3:32 pm
Joan, I am so glad you have found someone who is able to meet your needs. It sounds like this relationship is a better fit. We do not edit comments and the only comments we don’t post are those that violate our community guidelines by saying directly hurtful or attacking things to others. We completely understand that you disagree with this post and, as we shared, we think no one should ever date a person who isn’t meeting their needs or who they aren’t comfortable with. Our intention in this article is not to say one way is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. It is to help people think through and understand why people have certain needs.
We shared all of your comments with the exception of the one that said something directly hurtful to another person. I am happy to share that comment with the sentence removed that violates our guidelines:
“Patricia, that is not a valid comparison. A love for a spouse is very different than the love for a child. The thought that you actually compare the two is absolutely awful. A parent-child relationship is totally different than two people that are absolutely in love with each other, a man and a woman . . . a three-heart relationship is the reason why widow and widower‘s have such a high divorce rate”
Regarding the divorce rate, for any 2nd marriage for people over 50 the divorce rate is 2.5x the average for first marriages. The widow/widower rate is higher than the rate of those on their first marriage, but it is not higher than the general rate for those on a second marriage or beyond. Though I imagine you will likely disagree with this as well, this is a podcast episode with Esther Perel, the well-known author and couple’s therapist, about this issue. https://www.estherperel.com/podcasts/wswb-esther-calling-will-he-make-the-space-for-me
Molly September 17, 2022 at 11:56 pm
Who says it’s 100% ok for someone who is in a relationship to display photos of his/her late spouse?? The author of this stupid post?? Who are you to dictate anything? Who made you benevolent judge??
Honestly, your garbage first FAQ answer made me realize what an idiot you are!!
Seriously, if my husband insisted on displaying photos of his late wife, I would have told him to pound sand. Do you think I should have to endure looking at photos of someone my husband used to sleep with? Hell no! Does he have to stare at pictures of my ex husband?? Uhh no. Neither are ok. And, no. We do NOT play by different rules!!
Anyone who believes this garbage is pathetic. Any widow/widower who believes it needs to be single and lonely for the rest of his/her life. Don’t encourage widowers and widows to use people who are still alive. Just because someone in their pasts died doesn’t mean their new lives need to give up a normal relationship.
Shame on you for perpetuating this garbage!!
Litsa January 20, 2023 at 8:41 am
Molly, I’m curious if they wanted to keep up a photo of their deceased mother, child, sibling, etc if your feelings would be the same. Each person must decide for themselves what they are comfortable with – if you don’t want to date a widow who wants to keep photos up, then that is of course your choice. But that does not make their want to keep photos up wrong – it just means you are not the right fit for one another. When someone has been through the devastation of losing a spouse, to then ask them to erase their memory is a big ask. That doesn’t mean you can’t ask it. It doesn’t mean that some widows won’t be okay honoring that ask. But when many couples work through these feelings about photos through communication about the feelings each has, often it can end in them feeling closer. The person who felt they didn’t want to see the late partner’s photos often (though not always) finds it is because it reminds them of their own anxieties about the relationship – wondering if they will every be good enough, loved enough, worried they are being compared to the partner who died, etc. The person who wants to leave the photos up often (though not always) has feelings that part of the their commitment to their partner after death is in keeping their memory alive and they often see are showing trust and vulnerability in being willing to share their grief and their late partners memory with their new partner. They often find it strengthens the new relationship. But as we say in this article, everyone is different. We don’t get to tell anyone what is right or wrong. But we can share insights from working with thousands of grievers who have faced these tough issues and found ways through that have ultimately brought them closer.
Patricia Diffey March 27, 2023 at 6:13 pm
I couldn’t agree more. My boyfriend and his deceased wife lost their home before she passed away. So much clutter he has stored. We talked about moving in together and he made it clear that her stuff needs to be in our home. He currently has her pictures on display and belongings throughout. I partially moved in with him but there is no room for my belongings. The closet is still hers. I don’t find it fair that I live out of a laundry basket.
Butters September 17, 2022 at 11:48 pm
I have a friend for almost 15 years now. We were close before, used to hang out often. As the years go, I secretly fall in loved with her.
Then she met one of my other friend and they clicked, got married and had a son. It was bittersweet. I was heartbroken inside but was happy for her. Happy that she’s happy. So i limited the communications we usually had.
They were married for 9 years or 10. Her husband recently passed away.
Now as much as my heart wants to check up on her from time to time. My mind thinks that it is not right, and i should know my place/care from a distance.
Sorry don’t know how to explain this shit properly
cas August 15, 2022 at 11:02 am
Thanks for the article, this was helpful. I’ve been dating a woman for the past 6 months who lost her husband of 18 years to a 10-year battle with lung cancer. Such an incredibly strong, loving, and dedicated woman! From the beginning I have strived, successfully, to honor her relationship with him and her young teenage son’s. They were very blessed to have each other. I have made clear to both of them that I would never try to replace him, but rather, just seek to engage as a new chapter in their lives. Pictures of him in the home, even if we marry, would be expected and wholly accepted. We saw the first anniversary of his death 1 month after we started dating, and today is their wedding anniversary. I started feeling a slight sting with her recent and so eloquent fb post (and a few others) expressing such love for him, so this article helped remind me that all this is to be expected and does not diminish any love she has for me, which she has clearly expressed and shown. I have truly found a treasure in her! I look forward to what this continued journey brings and just want to love, support and understand her and her son as best I can. I guess I just had a brief moment of doubt, that’s all. Thanks again for the article.
Cortney December 12, 2022 at 10:45 pm
I need this. I feel as though my husband married too soon as a result of losing his fiance. I’m sure he cares for me but I don’t know if he had enough time to be alone and grieve before pursing our relationship. I would like additional feedback and conversation.
Valerie February 26, 2023 at 11:12 am
Advice please: I’ve been married to an incredible man for over 3 years now. We have 2 young children together. He was married before for 10 years, his wife passed away from a sudden heart attack. They never had any children. We live with our family in the home where he lived with her. He put all her pictures away, but did not get rid of them. I recently found put out by accident that as recently as 6 months ago he was sending messages to her Facebook messenger account. He talks about her often. And he has a joint headstone with both of their names, and he refuses to change it even tho he says I can cremate him and put his ashes wherever I’d like if he passes away. I know she is dead but I can’t help feeling jealous and insecure. I want to be the love of his life, as he is mine. (I’ve never been married before.) I am the mother of his children. I want to mean more to him. This is childish and selfish, I know. But I can’t help it. I constantly think about how he’d still be with her if she hadn’t died, and I can’t help wondering if he’d prefer that. Please give me any advice you can. Thank you.
Denise Lara Mangalino March 30, 2023 at 12:00 pm
Hi Valerie, I’m sorry you feel jealousy towards your spouse’s previous wife. From how you describe his actions – and coming from an outside perspective, it doesn’t sound like he’d prefer being with her than you, rather he has his own way of staying connected and bonded with his previous partner. It’s well reasonable for you to talk about your emotions with your spouse and try to be open minded about his reasons for having both of their names on a headstone and the Facebook messages. His late partner’s passing does not take away the love and care he has given you.
Teresa July 22, 2022 at 11:52 am
my boyfriend lost his wife of 42 years about 4 months before we met. We have been dating for almost 5 months now and things were going very well until the anniversary of their buying the house they lived in and he still does came about. Now he is going through a depression and even though his last words on the subjext was that he loves me and his feelings ffor me will never change, just be patient, he said. But I am hurting foir him and for us. What can I do?
David H October 23, 2022 at 6:41 pm
as a widower, I can tell you what you can do, is be paitent and supportive. Everyones timing is different. I am only 3 months into this miserable journey, and I can’t imagine dating again yet. I know people that started dating a month after their late spouses memorial service. Grief is a strange thing, and there are a LOT of factors in it. Just be kind, and supportive, and non judgemental.
Rick July 20, 2022 at 2:49 pm
I’m seeing a widow who lost her husband just over a year ago. She and I have been close friends for over 3 years and we’ve known each other since we were teens. Her husband was also a friend.
Our relationship grew closer and more supportive after she lost her husband and eventually morphed into a close romantic relationship starting in February. We both love music, dancing, we sing together at senior homes. Apparently, her husband never appreciated that side of her. It’s a great relationship, though I have at times wondered about the rebound aspect. Also, clearly at this point, I am more committed than she is.
She goes to a counselor once a week and, invariably, my name comes up. She tells the counselor about us and that we are happy together.
The counselor tells her that she’s probably not in a good place to make major decisions. That’s pretty standard advice, BUT…..
The counselor also tells her to date other men and I’m not sure how I’d feel about that. I’m pretty firmly against arbitrary concepts like “let’s date some other people to be sure.”
I somewhat feel the counselor has overstepped boundaries, but I could certainly be wrong. I guess I think well, we’re happy, why disrupt it.
Anyway, thanks for listening. I’d love to hear some thoughts.
David H October 23, 2022 at 6:44 pm
The counselor sounds like they are trying to take a safe approach. Don’t dive straight in to the first relationship that comes along thing. Ignoring that it might just be a great thing… The problem with a lot of therapists and counselors is they are way more messed up than their patients. Good luck.
Patricia Cole October 24, 2022 at 11:52 am
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and supporting a fellow reader. The grief timeline looks different for everyone and many counselors err on the side of caution when it comes to pushing their clients to pursue other relationships after a recent loss. This is in pursuit of keeping the clients best interest at heart and making sure they have the time and space to fully grieve their losses. Some may need more time and others may be ready sooner. Thank you again for sharing and be well!
Rick Haggard October 25, 2022 at 8:35 am
Well, as of September, there’s a new problem. My once close girlfriend started messaging, texting and occasionally seeing a married man. It was under the pretext of friendship, but that’s clearly not what it is.
She lied to me when I asked if he had been in contact with her and that eventually led me to doing something devious to see what was really going on. What was going on was they were clearly looking for a way for him to escape his marriage and pursue a relationship between them.
She and I reconnected and I asked her not to see him again. She agreed, but she broke that promise last week when she saw him
again, again without telling me.
I don’t feel like this has anything to do with her grief. Lies and betrayals aren’t part of that
Joan October 28, 2022 at 12:40 am
Couldn’t agree with you more!!
My ex Widower fiancé thought it was okay to have photos of his deceased wife in the bedroom. When I asked him to please move them, he hid them in the bedroom instead. His friend who’s a therapist thought I was wromg that I asked him to please move a Christmas stocking, yes a Christmas stocking that was hung by his adult children, like they were a family Xmas 2019 and we were engaged.
What I find so hurtful, is he never considered my feelings. It was always about his feelings and his adult children. She passed 13 years ago. I understand the grieving process is different for everyone, but don’t bring another woman into your life and expect her to live or be a part of a three heart relationship. They just don’t work.
Elena June 29, 2022 at 3:34 pm
Thank you for this information. I am dating a man who was engaged. His late fiance passed away unexpectedly. I am very open to his feelings about her. However, I feel he keeps our relationship hidden in a way that protects his family, children and her family from knowing he’s moved on. And I’m beginning to feel left out and insecure. So, now when he brings her up, I am feeling a bit triggered. Especially when he posts pictures of her and tags her in memories but does not post anything about us. It feels like I don’t exist. The anniversary of her death is this month and I’m feeling especially vulnerable. I do not want to make him feel like he can’t talk about her or anything and I want to support him but I do feel hurt and lonley. Am I overreacting?
Sadie Jones June 12, 2022 at 12:33 pm
I found myself seeing a friend I had seen many years ago. He recently became widowed. He began calling me. I gave in and we began meeting a few months ago. He keeps it secret. I seem to think that is because he is close to his family and the death is so recent.
A couple of nights ago, he asked me to meet him. I have a busy work schedule over the next week. I was free the next day but originally not. I was hoping to have a talk on the next time we were together. He ended our time quickly. He was to meet his family. I told him he should have told me he couldn’t meet me. He said but I could. He hasn’t responded to my texts since. These were just casual about something that was going on not deep texts.
I am considering telling him I want to take a break. I read in an article that certain rules for dating are different if it is a widower. It also said breaking off abruptly can cause abandonment issues since they probably feel abandoned by their spouse. I can’t find that article not this was a good one also. We are older and I think we should be more mature than playing games.
Any thoughts or advice? I know I need to end it but don’t want to call him emotional distress. I may have run him off when I asked him what was his hurry to leave.
Tony June 11, 2022 at 7:40 pm
I’m dating a wonderful woman who’s husband passed away ~11 years ago. She raised her two children, now grown, and has a successful career in the military reserves, as did he. I’m also in the military reserves and have a gov job, divorced, my ex & two younger kids only live ~15 minutes from me. I’m not very social, at all, while she’s the exact opposite and now supports other gold star spouses and has a large support network of friends who understand her situation and her & her daughter are in nearly constant communication. I have 2 people I consider friends that I often go weeks without talking to and neither have lost a spouse/dated a widow.
I try to talk with her about how difficult this is for me. I’m familiar with the term ‘Chapter 2’ for those who date a widow. That only makes me think about what’s next. I feel sad thinking that when I pass, there’ll be no one there to wait for as she’d be reunited with her husband when she passes and I’d be alone again, forever. Like a ‘It was great knowing you and thanks for everything these past X years, but I’m back with whom I was always meant to be…good luck with whatever is next for you’. For her, a happy reunion, for me, no one.
It also makes me sad that she thinks I get upset whenever she mentions her husband. Mostly I’ve been taken off guard by seeing unexpected photos or hearing unexpected stories or discoveries that relate to him/them. It’s still early in our relationship and it’s very difficult for me to figure things out. I acknowledge and accept that he will always be her husband, perfect match, soulmate & the one she wants to be with, but I fell in love with her, not her and her husband. As I mentioned, I don’t have many friends and so I haven’t asked her many questions about her husband because I don’t feel that’s my place or something I need to know in detail. I understand having pictures, but I feel it’s seen as an insecurity that I say I wouldn’t be comfortable with them in our bedroom. Until her friend agreed with me, I think she wouldn’t have even considered removing any of them. My ex and I had a few good years together but I wouldn’t think of having dozens of photos of us up around the house let alone pictures of just the two of us in the bedroom nor would I reminisce about the great times and adventures my ex and I went on when we were happy together. I’m not claiming it’s exactly the same situation, but there’s similarities.
The thing that makes me most sad is that any of my feelings or thoughts get dismissed with a simple ‘I don’t see it that way.’ I really want and need this relationship to work, I’m tired of being alone, but it feels like I have to be ‘all in’ with both her and her husband. Our first week of dating I was told that he was buried in Arlington and that’s where she’ll be laid to rest with him and there have been several other times when it feels like I’m being reminded that I’m just an interim fill. Considering the trajectory of our lives & families, I often wish I were the one who had passed away 11 years ago so she could have the perfectly happy family that she deserves and I could be long forgotten.
I’m just conflicted about everything and upset that it feels like I’m over analyzing this situation which is hurting our relationship. Why can’t I just accept this is how it is and enjoy our time together?
Suzzi July 30, 2022 at 6:25 pm
Snap on our stories I cried reading yours as I can relate to it totally
Darran August 11, 2022 at 2:55 am
I feel for you. My situation is very similar. I am about to be divorced, ( separated for a year now) and my girlfriend and I have been together for 0 months. Her husband died about 13 months before we met. I’ve met her daughter (8), and we get along great. I have never been inside her house, yet she has a drawer at my place and sleeps over frequently. She is participating in a memorial golf tournament for her husband ( only married 6 months before he died, but together for almost 10 yrs), and I don’t know how to tell her it makes me uncomfortable. She also just went on a vacation with her brother and sister- in law, and her husband’s best friend and his wife…and all their kids.
I really feel for you as u can see we are much the same. Email me if u want to talk further
Amy February 12, 2023 at 2:12 am
This is a very, very similar situation to my current one. I have been very open about how I am here to listen and/offer support in any way I can and photos of my fiancés late wife, who passed 10 years ago next month of cancer, do not bother me rather the situation of they are to be buried together and with us also having a considerable age gap, I will be alone, in a country I’m emigrating to and the idea of just being a filler sometimes creeps in and lingers. We adore each other and have discussed this topic as we build our lives together, yet I cannot seem to let go of this worry easily.
Marc March 19, 2023 at 8:15 pm
Tony, I am in a very similar situation. I feel for you. It seems easy for me to honor the memory of my girlfriend’s late husband. But so many things still sting and trigger me. I try to understand and support her and her kids intention to keep their father and husband’s memory revered. But sometimes I am sad to say I wonder if I’m strong and secure enough.
Like you, the woman I am dating is planning on a post-death reunion with her husband and soulmate. Even though I don’t really believe that, the reality that she continues to harbor the commitment to him and look forward to her being reunited with him is painful and lonely. We add so much to each others’ lives in the present, and I have to continually find a balance with her longing to be with her decease husband and her commitment to me. I have not yet found an equilibrium that I think is healthy for me. I love her and hope I can. Thanks for helping me know others are out there wrestling with the same issue. Best of luck!
Patricia Diffey March 27, 2023 at 7:05 pm
You’re not over analyzing. I’m in a similar situation. I moved in with him and don’t even have closet space. Everything of hers is exactly where she put it 5 years ago. He wants us to build a house but says her belongings and decor stay. He did say I could be buried on the other side of her though. That shouldn’t bother me but it does. I knew him before her. It’s complicated but I never liked her. Let me know if you ever want to talk.
David May 23, 2022 at 4:06 am
I would like to ask for some help, if I may?
I was until last week seeing a woman, we had been seeing each other for 4 months and she and her youngest had moved in with me, after her separation. Her ex then committed suicide 2 months ago,
I continued to try and support her, financially and emotionally and connect wit the older child, both boys early teens.
Last week she told me she know longer wants to see me, however she contacted me 3 days later to arrange return of things I had given her, we sat in the park and talked for 2 hours.
She told me that she loves me, as I her, but she couldn’t be with me and didn’t know how long this might last. I asked her can I still stay in contact and she said yes just not like before. She also said she understood if I wanted to move on to which I replied I cant see myself doing that. She the rang me the next day to tell me about an incident her youngest was involved in. Then I texted her the next morning to say Hello and she has now asked me not to text her every day like before. I am confused as to what I should do as I really care for her and her boys.
Thanks for listening
Litsa May 25, 2022 at 8:14 pm
I am so sorry for what you are going through – relationships are hard even without grief, and grief can complicate things further. Though there is no easy answer to this question and we can’t say for sure as we don’t know you or her, taking your cues from her and being honest and curious is often the best that you can do. Let her know that you want to be there for her but also respect her boundaries, knowing the text felt like too much to her. You can ask her if she’d be okay with you reaching out every few days, and also ask her if there is anything specific you could do to help her or the kids knowing that the grief is probably making things hard for all of them. Asking her and then respecting whatever boundaries she expresses is usually the best way to show support. But keep in mind that in grief, people’s needs can change quickly. So you may find her needs changing with time. You’re clearly making an effort to be thoughtful and I’m sure that care and concern will come through.
Lydia May 20, 2022 at 2:26 am
I have a friend, he is 45 years, his wife died some years back he has three grownups that is one girl and two boys, he says he wants to marry me am not sure if he loves me or just want to waste my time, he says he has shared with his family and kids and they fill it’s okay, am not sure if our range of years is okay I am 31 and he is 45 can this range work? I also have two daughters 8 and 5 years kindly advice.
TAH May 21, 2022 at 8:27 am
Do you love him? Do you like being with him? Can you envision a future with him?
Is he investing in you-time, energy, effort? Are you dating or friends? You ultimately will have to decide if this is a good fit for you and your kids. There isn’t enough to go by to answer your questions, but truly you have answerer the questions your asking.
Sandy May 3, 2022 at 1:47 am
I lost my husband of 45 years 10/2020. In 12/2021 my eldest daughter looked up an old friend of mine that I’ve known for 49 years. We haven’t talked in 30 years. She finds out he’s widowed as well since 12/2020. We’ve been going out & smiling for the first time since losing our spouse’s. We both were enamored w/ea other back 48 years ago but kept quiet. I know he’s still grieving as am I. Not sure how to handle it? Both have nightmares still..?
Litsa June 8, 2022 at 3:38 pm
Your grief will always be part of your lives, so learning to communicate about it and support one another is often the best thing you can do. There will always be ups and downs. If you’re both struggling to navigate that, talking with a grief counselor together might help.
pamela March 9, 2022 at 10:22 am
I think being a widow is okay. You love her, not her family background. As for the matter of still keeping in touch with the old family, I think that’s fine, they used to be family too. Go get some dating app, maybe you can find your destiny
Chuck March 2, 2022 at 5:57 pm
Hi, I had 2 friends that I have know for 29+ years, that got married 24+ years ago. I knew them both very well. Her husband died suddenly and I didn’t find out for almost a year after his death. I contacted his wife (also my Friend) to see if I could help in anyway. Well it started out by hanging out together talking and walking and helping out with her kid issues. Then I was helping her with everything finances, repairs, project, break downs, we did walks and talks still, we hung out for about 3 to 4 months with each other almost every day, always talking and texting if we weren’t together. We started to hold hands cuddle and kiss allot, then it got serious, and everything was going great for about 2 to 3 months. She introduced me to her parents, cousins, her kids, family members, neighbors and friends as time went on. I introduced her to my Mom she wanted to meet her everything went great. Then after all this she said the sex had to stop because we rushed into it. I didn’t like it, but said OK, anything to help her ease the emotions she was going thru from the loss of her husband, but even after that we always held hands and held each other ever where we went we were affectionate to each other always. (she wore her wedding band and tons of people complimented on what a great couple we were and how we cared for each other tremendously that they could see it) Even after the sex stopped. Now about a month ago she wants to stop all the affection she show me and I show her including text with hearts and showing you care emojis. She says she need to find herself and want to stay friends and give her time to find herself. I told her I can’t, I care for you too much, to not get or show affection to each other when we hang out. I would be faking (lying to myself to try that and I may need to move on) it and I can’t live that way. So she needed more help after our talk and she started show affection for the next couple of weeks (we got all her projects completed), she then left to her daughter for vacation for 2 weeks. Now while she was gone she became more distant on phone calls, texts, and emojis. So she call me up when she got back and want to go for a walk, so I said yes after work. I meet her at her house and and now she needed to do some of her errands and wanted to do them together, So we did, she show no signs of affections while we did her errands. Then we went for a walk and still nothing, so I asked why no affection now? When talked before, you seamed OK with what I needed and seamed like you agreed. I told her that you seam to becoming more and more distant while you were gone and now. She said yes I have told you I need to find myself again and I was going to distant myself from you. I told her that’s not what I heard, (anything about the distancing) but if that is what you wants then I will just go my on way and not be around to help her all the time. Which was all the time at her house help decorate and take down for all Holidays stuff.
(Which I was never allowed to go to any of the family gathers?) Well she gets mad and that is always your answer she says just call it quits, I told I don’t know what else to do while your struggling with the loss of your husband and what ever are the other issues that you want to distant me? What do you want me to do? You know what I need, but your never their for me? I told her especially when I lost my Mom the day after Christmas in 2021 you came to my place for an hour 1 night because I was crying so bad and 2 hour the next night because I didn’t want to be alone. You said you had to get home to the kids and never stayed:( She used her kids as excuses they are 19 and 16, but she will leave them alone for 2 weeks at a time to fend for themselves while she goes on vacation 4 to 5 time a year.
I am Confused??
Can you help???
Litsa March 4, 2022 at 8:54 pm
I’m so sorry for what you’re going through, and for all that she is coping with. It is impossible for us to comment on the specifics of any particular situation, especially with two people when we’ve only heard from one pers. But from what you describe it sounds like she has told you what her needs are – to have a friendship without affection. In siutations when one person needs that but the other is unable to maintain a friendship without affection, the only remaining choice that respects both needs is sometimes to take space in which you do not spend time together at all, even as friends. Another option is to talk with her about whether she might be willing to see a couples counselor with you, to try to better understand one another and discuss what options might exist (if any) for the two of you to have some sort of relationship/friendship.
Leo May 11, 2022 at 6:30 am
I lost my wife, 4 years ago, and after two years of experiencing from we to me… I started to converse with a widow who lost her husband 5 years prior. My counselor offer insight that a widow needs 1 month for every year of marriage before they are able to move froward in a relationship. And suggested to allow her to set the pace of the relationship… I hope that helps…
John May 16, 2022 at 9:20 pm
Hey Chuck I’m going through the exact same thing you are! In 2018 I lost my wife in a fatal car accident…. Just under a year later I started talking to a woman who I used to date when I was in my teens… She too lost her husband suddenly… We started off as friends for about 6 months and it slowly turned into a relationship.. the most happiest loving relationship I have ever been in which I never thought would happen again after losing my wife… When we started talking she lost her husband 6 months after mine so I had more time to grieve from the loss of my wife….. March and April is a bad time for her lots of memories….. To fast forward in this past March she was to come to my place I live in the country she lives in the city we always got together for weekends…. We talked Friday night till about 1:00 a.m. all was fine the next day at 1:00 p.m. she called me crying and said she needed time alone it floored me! We still text but that’s it right now…. All my friends and close family were stunned we appeared to be the perfect couple and after what we went through it was amazing how we found each other once again…. All you can do is give space as much as I want to call her etc she needs time to grieve and get past in order to move forward she knows I’m here for her I’m not interested in dating anybody else…. As a widower myself I know how much heartache it is when you lose your other half lucky enough I was able to get past the grieving and move on but not everybody can do it that simple…. Give it time as time will tell if it’s meant to be…
Lou October 4, 2022 at 10:03 pm
Hi I’m reading all of your experiences & understand how everyone is feeling it’s So hard & emotional
I am a widow of nearly 5yrs
But 4 months ago I met a widower on a dating site who lost his wife 8 months earlier
We hit it off instantly & we both agreed we had so much im common , we told each we loved each other & friends around us said they could see the love & we both felt like we were made for each other planning our future
He took me to meet his parents
He met my son on several occasions how ever his daughter of 27 was not ready to meet me which I understood , & he said his 3 older step sons would be another challenge
Anyway I had spent a few days with him left to come home for work he told me he missed me loved me & was even sniffing my pillow
2 days later he went cool on me & told me he had had a dream aboit his wife dying had a mental crash in work & OH got brought in
He told me he needed space as he couldn’t cope & juggling everything 2 days later told me he couldn’t commit to a relationship after 3 months together ?…his sons wanted their mums ashes laying & his daughter was struggling & it was not a year yet ! He had never shown any signs of being sad & told me we had spoken more than him and his wife of 31yrs …I went to collect my things from his house & his wife’s photo was back up which I wouldn’t have minded if he had it up in the first place as my late husband is still up in my home …he’s blocked me & I am heartbroken I don’t know now did he ever love me or will he come back to me after the first anniversary I love him & care for him su much , I feel used & so hurt he thinks because I am 5yrs down the line that I’m further on & stronger but he’s broken me I feel like I will never trust agsin ..I was so happy with him & I thought he felt the same ..
Sly February 11, 2022 at 1:30 pm
Jesus women you realize you are getting with these men only weeks or months after their wife died ? They aren’t with these women only because death ! They didn’t chose to not be with them or divorce smh they are only not together because death ! Of course they would want their wife if she was not dead of course you would not be with him ..and some of you going on over pictures and home decor and everything..you are again only there because she’s not ! And you can fill your heads with whatever but yes he is still going to love her and want her things smh that was a huge part of his life alot of them for most of their life ! And these men will tell you anything because they want SEX period! Their wife is not there anymore so they want someone to fill that void that’s why most of you are there smh and only because that ! You don’t stop love ot being ij love just because death when have been for your whole life ! And I feel sorry for these dead wives ..I really hope that I don’t go before my husband because for him to move on and with my kids smh no I don’t want that and that is coming from a wife ! And all this crap you women want and expect when it’s not his ex it’s his late she was his everything…again she still would be if not for death ! So chill out and take what you can get ..you should know with these men that she will always be there .in his thoughts ..his heart and being with you does not change that no matter what any of you say or what he says . It’s sad because my sister in law only 28 died yesterday and I dread when my brother in law needs sex so has a new woman to fill her spot for it and yes that’s exactly what they are doing ..it’s heartbreaking to see all this and that men disgaurd their wives after years for sex and try to fill that with this new woman who started for sex and his wife can’t come back so you stay when he really wishes she would be able to come home smh and yeah that’s just truth no matter what you are told
Lauren-the widower-mater January 5, 2023 at 5:45 am
Christ Almighty, you need some therapy or yoga, maybe some meditation. Is SEX the only thing on your brain? The only thing you can think of for people to be companions or have relationships? Fucking releases all kinds of endorphins. Holding hands, laughing at jokes, getting a compliment…. ANY TYPE of intimacy really. These things make people feel better! Why not do them? Even if your beloved has joined the great majority! Remember the sacred vows that have been exchanged eleventy-billion times before, “Till DEATH do US part.” I’ve been married to a widower for 6 years now, started dating 8 months after his wife suddenly passed from complications of a stroke. She was 41 years old. There are ups and downs for sure in this union. My husband is an open book and there are alot of things I wish I never heard, but he is honest and I try to remain neutral and grounde…even when her best friend got drunk on some vino and caught me alone and asked, ” what’s it like living with a ghost?” I’m not haunted, she probably has better things to do in the after-life than to mess with me 😉
Monica January 13, 2022 at 9:13 am
Hi, i need advice about my boyfriend,. Her wife died almost 1year but i meet my boyfriend after 9 months his wife died.. i dont what happened to me maybe i dont accept the fact that he married before but try to accept for everything but sometimes its hard bcoz im suffering so much what he do everytime he need to go to his wife siblings celeb like birthday sometimes he go like 1 or 2 times a months and he stay there until in the morning and we live together already .. its hurt for me that someone who has committed to hes ex wife family. I dont understand why he dont care even he saw me im not ok,. Im breaking down my mental health.
Litsa January 23, 2022 at 10:30 pm
Monica, I would suggest you speak with a counselor and to your boyfriend about your feelings. We do not leave people behind us when they die. She is not his “ex” wife, as you describe her. She is his wife who has died. It is natural that he will always care for her and will always have a connection to her. If you are open and he is willing, hopefully he may allow you to get to know her some through his memories. Often when a new partner feels the way you are feeling, it is because they are worried that their partner will not love them as much as they loved the partner who died. It is an insecurity that you will not measure up, so forcing the partner to “choose” by not going to celebrations or taking down photos feels like a way that you can force your partner to prove that they do love you as much, or that you are more important. But this is not healthy for anyone and it is not fair to the widow. Widows can love and keep connected with their partner who died and still have plenty of love for a new partner. Like when parents have a second child, we don’t think that they will have to take love away from the first child to give it to the new child. Instead the parents’ heart grows with just as much love for the second child. It is not a competition or a fight for his love and affection. I would suggest that you consider talking with a counselor to get clear on your own feelings and then sit down and speak with him honestly.
David H October 26, 2022 at 7:27 pm
As a widower myself, I can’t begin to tell you how angry I got reading your question. Your boyfriends late wife, and her family are part of him. If you accept him, you MUST accept them. If you cannot, please for his sake, move on to someone that is not a widower. You will never be happy and will only serve to deepen his pain. I have been both divorced AND now a widower. I can tell you with absolute certainty they are NOT the same thing. To conflate them is extremely insulting. Please get into counseling and work through whatever issues you have that make this bother you. Even if you don’t stay with this guy, there is something not right here if you think being involved with a widower (or a widow fellas) doesn’t come with pre existing family and a big piece of our hearts that will always belong to our late spouse. We have room for another, but we will never ever lose sight of or the love we have for our deceased spouses.
Sara January 9, 2022 at 9:34 pm
I recently started convo with a widower. His late wife passed 2 years ago. He has two married adult sons. I have not met them, their spouses, or grandchildren. The relationship is too new for that.
He visits one of his sons daily and has dinner there. He also spends a good bit of time there on Sunday’s.
My issue: He doesn’t answer my call when he visits his son. Apparently he doesn’t want them to know he’s entertaining a woman on the phone. Is this a red flag?
He is 73 years old and his children have grandchildren. I feel that as a grown man he could acknowledge my call.
Litsa January 23, 2022 at 11:22 pm
Sara, not knowing more we can never say what is a “red flag”, but often widows who begin dating are navigating complex feelings and not communicating it well – grief is hard, dating after losing a partner is hard, and worrying about how the kids will feel is very very hard! It might be helpful to consider whether you have expressed specifically why it is hard for you when he doesn’t reply (how you feel when it happens) and then talk with him about whether there are solutions that would allow him to still feel comfortable with his children, but that would also allow you to get some acknowledgement. The two of you would need to figure out what works for you, but it could be something like an agreement that he will let you know (by call or text) when he arrives and when he leaves, so you clearly know when he can be reached and he has put the time and consideration into letting you know. If it is for longer stretches, like most of a sunday, perhaps you could discuss whether a mid-day check in by text might work, to allow you to feel some acknowledgement and connection, while being discrete in a way that he is comfortable with. There is no easy answer and these are simply examples of options, not necessarily what would work for you. The most important thing is to both be able to be honest about the feelings it brings up for you and consider how you can find compromises that help you to both feel supported in your needs.
Tina December 6, 2021 at 7:20 am
My partner of 3 years said he can’t ever enjoy christmas again because his ‘wife’ is no longer here. In fact he said that even having me and our son isn’t enough to make him enjoy Christmas again. Im devestated and promoised myself that i will never have anyone tell me my son is not enough. Which i feel this is what he has done. Am i over reacting??
Sean December 6, 2021 at 12:58 pm
No you are not over reacting. You both need to talk about how it makes you each feel. Talk on a walk or a neutral place. It can be hard to let someone else’s children into your life. Does he have other children he feels he may be cheating on? Do talk and let hom know you and your son come as part of being of the package. Have you done any activities together with your son? If you love him let him know.
Ross Smith September 16, 2021 at 1:32 am
I had been dating a widow for a year and she has just broken it off a second time. This time saying she just needs to be alone with her kids and focus on her. That she can’t put any energy into us anymore and it’s the last time she’s doing this with me. She’s said it’s not me but her and from what I understand from her friend she doesn’t have a bad word to say about me. Do I have a chance to get her back one last time because I love her very much? I’ve done a lot of reading on grief and have a deeper understanding now and she knows this as I told her. Any help would be welcomed with what to do please 😊 do I just give her space and see if she comes back on her own? Thanks
Dawn September 3, 2021 at 12:30 am
I’m dating someone who likes to be alone on his former wife’s birthday, date of death, and their wedding anniversary. It makes me sad and lonely to feel pushed away when he feels the worst. I give him space. It hurts me though, to be “shelved” as needed.
Mary Sugrue August 28, 2021 at 5:55 pm
I am away from my widowed partner, visiting my family for a few days in advance of starting back to work, should I cut my home visit short to be at the 8th anniversary Mass of my partners deceased wife…tomorrow or should I stay with my family on that day!…tomorrow!
Any advice greatly
Litsa August 30, 2021 at 3:07 pm
I am so sorry I am just seeing your question and the day has passed. But what we always suggest is to ask the person what they want/need – is it important to your partner that you be there? Use this to guide your decision-making.
Anonymous September 26, 2021 at 10:27 pm
I have a different situation and I want some opinions it’s my in-laws that I have an issue with. My own soon to be husband doesn’t even post about his late wife he talks about her and everything but he doesn’t like to post about her however his mother continues to post about her and then tag him on her birthday on her death anniversary and I could see it and I feel like that is out of line because here we are posting about our wedding our future and she keeps posting about her and tagging him what are your opinions. He has asked her to stop but she keeps doing it.
Litsa October 25, 2021 at 1:42 pm
If he agrees it is bothersome to him and has spoken with her about it, there is a setting on facebook that allows you to change your tags so that only you can see it when people tag you (other people can’t see it). Of course mutual friends/family would still see it if they follow her, but it would limit it being shown to others. It may also help if he explains why he would like her to stop. If she doesn’t understand why it would bother him it can be harder to agree to change the behavior, especially if it is meaningful for her. It may also help if he asks her why it feels so important that she continues to do it despite him asking her not to. A better understanding of reasons and motivations can often help to find a compromise or resolve challenges like these.
betamun August 4, 2021 at 9:00 am
May the Lord Jesus comfort you. It is a blessing from the lord to have a partner like you explained. It is however good to pray towards the Lord so that He will give you His grace so as to find out the way in how you have to live the rest of your life.
Anna June 28, 2021 at 4:18 am
My name is Anna.. I started talking to this guy during the lockdown last year. It was long distance as just before the lockdown he had moved back to his hometown and I was still in the city.
I knew him since before as he is a part of the same music community as my aunt, but I had never spoken to him before.
The day he started chatting with me he told me that his girlfriend whom he dated for 3 years, died the year before.. i.e. 2019.
We continued chatting, however he refused to commit to me in the nine months that we were on.
In the mean time when he did visit the city after the 1st Lockdown lifted, he didn’t even meet me as he said he was very busy organising a music event he had come here for.
After the event when he went back, he mentioned that one of his co musicians is after him and he doesn’t know what to do and how to handle it without hurting her. This was really a factor for me as after that I kept wondering if he is cheating on me with her.
Then during the 2nd lockdown when I tested positive and was alone in quarantine, he left me suddenly saying he feels guilty about cheating on his ex who passed away, with me.
After he left not once did he messg me and ask me how I was… Now 15 days later he texts me saying that the day he left me was around the same date that his ex passed away in 2019.. and that he was very frustrated.
He didn’t even ask me how I was or say a sorry even, he just says life is too short, forget the past, be in the present and move on.
I dunno how he changed into this suddenly as the guy I started chatting with was a considerate guy. I don’t know and can’t understand what brought about this change. I don’t know if I should trust him anymore, cause I feel although I loved him… he never truly loved me.
Alicia October 28, 2021 at 9:54 am
No , you shouldn’t trust a man who is more concerned about his own feelings that the feelings of his woman.
Anonymous March 30, 2022 at 11:31 am
Wow. Alicia, you obviously dont understand and shouldnt offer advice. It’s to be expected that, since you lack the experience of losing the person you love more than anything, you would make it about yourself. Honestly, some widows/widowers are not ready to date. They are longing to feel loved an accepted as they did when they had their partner. Anna, he sounds like he does care about you but grief is a painful and dangerous road to traverse. He cant just erase his love. It doesnt work that way. It’s definitely not as simple as, “never trust a man who is more concerned about his feelings than that of his woman.” That is honestly self-centered thinking and you shouldn’t be with a widow/widower if you are incapable of understanding and stepping outside of your selfish need. If you can try to understand how they must be feeling then you stand some semblance of a chance of enjoying this person. Stop trying to control the way they function or how they grieve. Thats not up to you. If you love them stand by them and show them you care. First step, get past yourself and your insecurities and accept them for who they are and why you love them to begin with. If you feel hes being selfish when he didnt use to act that way, consider what YOUVE done to shift his care for you. Perhaps you werent being understanding and supporting him like you did prior. Perhaps youre always making it about you. We widows/widowers dont have time or patience for that. Life takes a completely different meaning after the loss of your spouse/partner that others can never fully appreciate until it happens to them. We will never stop loving them. Ever. So if you cant accept or understand that then you arent capable of that type of relationship. Its okay. No tea, no shade. But be real with yourself and them. It only hurts them further that they thought they had support and unconditional love from you and now you are holding it hostage with selfish demands. Of course, what im saying will probably only offend you and youll endlessly elaborate on how im not getting the full picture or im a jerk. Fine. You still need to “hear” it. If anything itll plant a seed of hopefully reflecting on the concept of conditional love and most peoples reliance on such a thing. Anna, try just letting him know youre there and you care about him. He can reach out anytime he needs a friend. Alicia, some of this was geared at you girl. Easy on the advice. Youre speaking rather decidedly for someone who lacks the experience and understanding. You dont want to come across as callous and self-centered, do you?
Joyce June 13, 2021 at 6:06 pm
I am dating a widow for three years who’s wife died from suicide (I found this out late as he wouldn’t convey the reason early on). His wife also was pregnant, therefore killing his only healthy child with herself. He claims they had a happy 10 year marraige. I dealt with all of the photos early on stating that They didn’t bother me and I was interested in his stories and his state of mind. I encouraged him to share. Yet, he never shares anything real. For example he made me feel heavy while we were walking and stayed his wife would walk faster… just to find out later that she was very heavy at one point, shorter than me, and relied on gastric bypass surgery to lose weight. Many examples like this. I let a lot of things go “in the name of grief” but recently I asked him to change the photo on his cell phone to anything but him and his wife just for a few short days while we went traveling together. He refused. I was upset but chose to trust him when he said he could still have the photo there and give me his FULL attention. We got back to a hotel and I said I would stop at the desk to get more towels. I was away for about 10 minutes came back to the room and apparently found the cell phone with a kiss on it before he could wipe the evidence. INSTANTLY he knew I was hurt and said “what? Do you want one too?” I tried to get over it but just couldn’t shake it. I don’t think it was rude of me to ask or illogical. I never asked for my WHOLE life to center around my boyfriend’s deceased spouse. Also, I feel like I am being punished for HER choice to kill herself because I’m the one living with ALL of the consequences. My needs matter too. I was really hurt. Anyway… after trying so hard and putting so much effort into this I’ve come to the conclusion that widows and widowers are enabled much more than people who suffer other traumatic relationship issues. I know he doesn’t accept my past and barely likes to hear about it but has multiple excuses to use his grief to carry on and even hurt me. So in this large social world my question is… do you think society enables widows and widowers more because it’s easier to I understand death over divorce or breakups so there are more excuses and more “supportive” people enabling the very things that may destroy new relationships or create stagnation? My boyfriend wants a family and children. Will I have to deal with him kissing his wife’s photo on our wedding day or the birth of our first child too?!? Some moments can be mine. I think that’s fair if he cares which I know he does. I just wish I could get him to understand.
Toshia August 8, 2022 at 11:53 am
I know it’s been over a year since you posted this but I saw that nobody had responded to you and I felt a response was needed. I feel like I have experience with both relationships that ended in a traumatic divorce or breakup and I have also lived through 2 husband’s passing away suddenly and without warning. My first husband I lost in 2012 due to a brain aneurysm that then caused a stroke, when I was 32 yrs old & our son had just turned 12. Then I lost my 2nd husband just a few short months ago on March 11, 2022. They were 10 years apart. The difference between losing a spouse through a traumatic breakup/divorce is that those relationships ended due to either one or both people involved deciding that relationship was no longer working for them and it was time to move on. There may have been chances to work on the relationship that either didn’t work out or the couple just chose not to try to make it work anymore, but either way, it ended due to the relationship not working anymore. When someone loses their spouse due to their spouse passing away it is not a choice that either of them made in order to end the relationship. The person is now a widow/widower because of either a tragic accident or a health issue. (Physical or Mental). It did not happen because their marriage/relationship wasn’t working out and they decided the marriage/relationship needed to end. Even in the case of someone losing their spouse to a battle with mental illness, it was still not a choice that was made to end a relationship/marriage. ( except on rare occasions which did not seem to be the case in your post. ) I have also dealt with my own struggle with mental illness and multiple suicide attempts throughout my life. When someone gets to a point in their depression that they see no other relief for the emotional and psychological pain they are in but to end their own life, that is the only choice they are making. Not to end their life in order to end their relationship/marriage. They choose to end their pain in their mind and in their heart. They feel that is their only option that will not only end the horrible images, memories, and/or the unbearable pain, either physically or emotionally, they deal with constantly but they also believe that their loved ones will be better off without them. Regardless of the reason why someone’s spouse passes away, the marriage or relationship did not end. The living spouse now has to figure out how to live the rest of their life after the person they were in love with has been ripped away from them forever. They can’t wait until things cool down and try to see if things can be worked on or talked out and possible get the person they love back. They don’t have any chance of seeing their loved one during picking up or dropping off children. They will NEVER get speak to, touch or physically interact with their spouse the rest of their time here on earth. There is no chance at repairing anything. That’s the difference between someone going through a divorce or breakup and someone losing the person they loved because they passed away.
I felt the need to reply, which I really am not the type of person to ever respond to others if I don’t know them, because I really felt that many of your statements in your post were not only hurtful but what I viewed as disrespectful as well. I figured that you just didn’t know any different. When you said something along the lines about you didn’t sign up to have your whole life be about his deceased wife especially when she killed herself…. Have you stopped for even a moment to think about how that man feels losing the woman he loves and his unborn child in that way? Can you IMAGINE how that must make him feel like he wasn’t enough, or that he didn’t do enough to save her, that he let her down somehow, that he missed some clue that could have helped him save her from making that choice? Even though none of those things are true, those are the type of things that go through his mind. Have you thought that he isn’t just dealing with the grief over losing his wife, but also grieving his baby along with the intense guilt he is probably living with. Just because he will always love her and miss her, that doesn’t mean he can’t be in love with you as well.
Also in your post you stated that you had encouraged him to share stories about his wife with you but that he never shared anything real about her. You also stated that he claimed to have had a happy 10-year marriage with his wife, which sounds like you don’t believe either. The way you talk about the things he has shared with you about his wife and their marriage in such a negative way, why do you feel like he would feel comfortable opening up with any real information to share with you? If you’re in a relationship with someone whose spouse passed away and you encouraged him to open up to you, and trust you in a very vulnerable moment in order to share his feelings and memories about his late wife and unborn child with you and then you take that information and view it in such the negative way that you do, can you blame him for not opening up to you more than that and being even more vulnerable and taking the chance of you doing the same thing all over again? You also said that while you were going on a trip you asked him to please change the picture of him and his wife off of the front screen of his phone and he promised you that he could still give you his full attention with that picture on his phone and that then you had went to get towels at the front desk and when you came back you had seen that he had kissed his phone but didn’t have time to wipe away the evidence and asked is that what you’re always going to have to live with, even on your wedding day or on the birth of your first child together. Well, the reality of it is probably yes because he kissed that picture of him and his wife while you were out of the room not in front of you and while he was out of your sight so therefore he did keep his promise to you by giving you all his attention while you were with him. And if you to where to ever get married then yes he would probably kiss his wife on that day too but in the privacy of the room that he’s getting dressed in because even though is going to be a happy day that you two are celebrating the love that you have for each other he will also be remembering the day he marries his wife and all the memories that come with that and he will have all sorts of feelings about how he may feel like he is once again letting his wife down or maybe even cheating on her and then he could also have feelings of guilt because he loves you as well and it’s happy about starting a new life with you as married couple and yet he’s missing her on a day that should be about you two. You also asked if you would have to deal with it when you had your first child together and yes probably on that day too because as you’re having your first child together he’s going to be oh joy and love but he’s also going to be thinking about his unborn child that he lost and that he never got to see born and he’s going to have feelings of sadness along with feelings of joy and as his wife or even just his girlfriend you are making the choice to live by his side through those moments and help him through as much as you can. It’s honestly not a choice he gets to make when he misses his late wife and unborn child or in memories of them start flooding his mind at the most inconvenient times. When someone chooses to be with a widow or widower and they know that going in to the relationship regardless of how their spouse passed away they are consciously making the choice to be with that person through all the ups and downs they will go through in life because that’s what grief is. Grief isn’t something that goes away or something somebody just gets over eventually, grief is something that someone has to live with for the rest of your life and arrange their life around it it won’t always be as hard as it originally was, they won’t always cry as much or be as depressed as they were in the beginning but they will always have moments in their life when they least expect it when those feelings but sadness and the memories will show back up even if they don’t want them to. So ultimately it is your choice to either love him through it and be his support and his Rock and help him heal or walk away but you cannot blame him for his feelings about losing his wife and his unborn child. It is absolutely nothing like what it feels like going through a tragic divorce or breakup in any way. One last thing I want to touch on before I in this even though I’ve written a novel which I’m sorry about, but you had stated that society enables widows and widowers more than other people which traumatic relationship issues because it’s easier to understand than divorce but it enables them to do the very things that may destroy new relationships that may come after the loss of their spouse and I don’t think society enables widows or widowers to do anything. Widows and widowers grieve there is no enabling that they don’t need permission to do that nobody can stop that and there is no preventing it therefore society does not enable them more than other people which traumatic relationship issues because again there is no comparison between the two I’m sorry that you feel that there is and I’m also happy that you have not been through a situation to be able to know the difference between the two because I wouldn’t wish that type of pain on anybody it’s definitely not a club that anybody wants to belong to. I personally would much rather have gone through the most traumatic most trying most painful divorce or break up that could ever have been possible than to have gone through losing my husband wants, let alone losing my second one just 10 years later all before I’m barely in my 40s.
I’m really sorry for just being such a long reply and I’m sorry if it comes off as harsh but I feel like that’s exactly how you were being regarding your boyfriend and his late wife. I’m not in any way saying that trying to be relationship with someone after their spouse is passed away is easy at all because I know it isn’t. I know it is one of the hardest, most emotionally painful choice someone can make to put themselves through for someone else, but it also shows how much you love that person and how much you think that person is worth all the hard work, all the hurt feelings, no the emotional pain you were willing to go through for them. I know that the pain that someone goes to to be with someone who has lost his spouse isn’t just because of the love that their spouse has for they’re late husband or wife, they also feel pain because they see the person they love going through pain over and over and over again for years. Like I said it is not a club that anybody wants wants to belong to, but those people we meet when we are trying to find happiness and love again that choose to love us through it, are the biggest blessings we could ask for.
Jeff May 26, 2021 at 12:56 pm
I am in love with and married to a wonderful woman. I have never been as happy as I am now with this lady. I am mid fifties and have like her had a unhappy marriage prior to our relationship. She however is a widower from a short happy marriage. She is the one for me but every time I run a cross her late husband’s things it just pops my bubble and feel like I am second even though she is first in my life. She says she loves me with all her heart, why do I feel so bad about it.
Zak July 1, 2021 at 2:19 am
Hi Jeff. this may be a belated response but i assure you, it will be worth reading.
my dear friend died of cancer and, before he died, he pretty much asked me to marry his wife and raise his son. they were close family friends and i had also just gone through a divorce. i couldn’t approach her for about a year because of the grieving but, since she was my sister’s bestie, my sister told me about 10 months after his death that she thinks her friend is ready to find a new partner. i still waited because i couldn’t quite come to terms with the idea of marrying my friends widow… the catch is that, i loved him too and i miss him a lot. however, we spoke about getting married and (since we are Muslim and don’t date) because she had recently accepted Islam and i am a formally schooled sheikh, i knew that he wanted me to marry her to teach them Islam and raise his son as a Muslim. nevertheless, we got married 11 months after his death.
she lived with him for 12 years before they actually tied the knot and they were married for about 4 years before he died and, as she has opened up to me about a great many things, he didnt treat her very well and wasn’t very faithful either. added to that, she lost most of her family in the aftermath of hooking up with him because he was previously married to her first cousin and all three of them worked in the same office… so the story went around that he cheated on his wife with my current wife. anyway… she left him and went back twice during their relationship and it wasn’t until he accepted islam and changed his aggressive and abuse ways that things settled down. sadly, she had 12 years of turbulence before that… but he really made up for it, i have to hand him that. i know, because i was his teacher and friend.
so, we got married and…
i moved in and had to pack my clothes over his in the cupboard because she said that she couldn’t bring herself to get rid of it. she would go through pictures of him and her in bed next to me AFTER SEX BRO! even suggested we go on holiday to this very nice place where (get this) THEY WENT ON THEIR HONEYMOON
and if that wasnt offensive enough, she shows me pics of the 2 of them even laying in bed together. she woke up one morning and was so down… everyone was messaging her. i asked her what’s up and she didnt want to tell me. later on it came out that it would have been their 4 year anniversary that day. i take her to the cemetery where she stands and cries by the grave side and its difficult for me to say anything because i lost him too.
we recently had a blowout about all this… i was like “how do you think this makes me feel? i feel like if he could climb out of his grave you’d leave me to go back to him after i have given you my all. i feel like the next best alternative.” she tells me she loves me desperately, cant believe how well i treat he and her son, buys me gifts and things regularly and shows me all the affection i could want. but then the above things…???
she told me that she honestly did not even realise that she had been doing that and this is the point of my reply. you cannot expect someone to erase a lifetime of memories and an entire person from their lives. its tough. from an Islamic point of view, this is one of the reasons there is so much reward for marrying a widow(er).
but, as another friend of mine warned me; marrying a widow means you will have to contend with a man (or woman) who will always be an enigma, ever present but never there and you will never be able to confront this person and get rid of him (or her).
many times, though, it is our own insecurities that burst the bubble… thoughts of “why couldn’t i have met her first and we could have been happy from the beginning?” or “does she still love him and am i just an alternative?” however, think of it this way – you would not have been able to appreciate the person you have had you not gone through what you did. you wouldnt love her the way you do, treat her the way you do, had you not gone through what you did. similarly, the life she (or he) lived before you molded your partner into who she (or he) is… appreciate what she gives you in terms of love, devotion, partnership and accept her past life as the necessary path she needed to tread to be the person she is today.
she is yours now and you need to be everything she could want in a man. dont try to compete with her late husband because, he isnt there. there is no competition.
if you need to cry, cry. but pray brother, pray. you cannot throw a gift from God away because of insecurities over someone who isnt there. ask for strength and the ability to appreciate the gifts He has given you. it will be difficult, trust me i know, but God would never burden you with more than what you can bear.
i sincerely hope this helps you.
Jo April 22, 2021 at 9:09 pm
Thank you so much for addressing the pictures/loving memories that our widows/widowers have on display in their houses! My Widower is also one that has all the pictures of his late wife (mostly wedding day pics) hanging in every room and a whole credenza dedicated to her in the dining room. Having read this blog has at least given me perspective that this is common and a little problematic for many of us. Absolutely, her pictures should be on display but perhaps fewer, smaller (poster sized in the office!) and more familial vs weddingy.
Me me me me! Also, since I am part of the equation now I do believe I have a little say about my comfort level. I am happy with the fact that he loved his wife – because what kind of person would he be if he didn’t? But he also loves me, so maybe the play is that some of the photos can come down out of respect for having someone new in his life (future girlfriends can thank me later!). I mean really, if he and I put our picture in a frame now, where would we put it? Next to another similar one of them?
Your blog post has provided perspectives that I hadn’t considered and I can absorb this and approach the topic a little more prepared and a little less anxious about all of this than before reading.
Maybe after I address the issue of the pictures in the house, I’ll bring up why we can’t vacation at his favorite island (his honeymoon was there), and how he should change the alarm code (his anniversary), and the remote settings for the mattress (her name), and no I will not use the credit card with her name on it… 🙂
Stephanie September 1, 2021 at 4:52 pm
I’m a widow with children and of course have pics of my late husband in the home. But I think when dating someone new perhaps reducing the number from main rooms would be nice. Having a bookshelf full of the deceased’s photos is too much for me. It’s one reason I don’t want to date a widower. Many seem to never really want to move on.
Joan November 6, 2022 at 9:22 pm
You are correct, many widowers don’t move on. I was engaged to a widower, didn’t work. He came back too!!! Yes, and guess what, nothing changed. He wants a 3 heart relationship, I’m sorry but I find that absolutely horrible. Where’s the respect for your new significant other? Did your deceased spouse have to look at photos of your former lover, in the bedroom??
Litsa February 7, 2023 at 8:16 am
Joan, if you are not comfortable with the relationship then of course you should end the relationship. But to seek a partner who can have space for a loved one who died is not something that everyone finds ‘horrible’. Many people are comfortable having photos of a partners deceased family – be that parents, grandparents, siblings, or a spouse partner – up in the house. Many find it something that strengthens the relationship to get to know the person more through their memories of the person who died. I am glad you were able to decide this wasn’t right for you, but each relationship is going to be different based on the needs and comfort of each person.
Me April 16, 2021 at 3:34 am
I met a man shortly after his wife passed. He has little children who he must now take care of alone. I like him, but feel in the month going on two that he’s not really interested in me even though he says he is. He never calls, rarely text me first and will avoid my calls with no mention of it. It makes me feel like a door mat. I don’t feel I should be accepting this behavior. I’m trying to be understanding, but my instincts are saying move on. I want to see if it’ll work, but I know me, by the time he sees me and want what he says he’s ready for, I’ll be lost. Should a widow be hot and cold, not consistent, low effort and interest? I just need to know should I proceed or move on. We live long distance so all we have is phone and video and we don’t do much of either. I won’t be able to bond or continue connecting to him unless he lets me in. Any advise would be helpful.
Lidia Baker June 2, 2021 at 8:46 am
Let it go. But you won’t. You’re seeking someone to tell you to stick it out and everything will be fine. You’ll ignore all the advise telling you not to continue pursuing a non relationship. A lesson learned is better than nothing at all.
. October 12, 2021 at 6:13 pm
I’ve been dating a widower who has 3 teenagers for 4 and a half years now. When we first met he was so excited and was already making plans for us to move in together. But teenagers have their own ideas on this and it’s never happened because he doesn’t want to upset them any further. I have had to accept that he sees me when he can. Although he is 63, he is still working nights and as his children are all studying he still has to work to cover their outgoings. He can’t take a holiday with me as he is self employed and it’s almost impossible to get time off. If he can get time off he has to find someone to cover his work as he has a contract to fulfill so it costs him more just to pay someone whilst he is off. Consequently we have only had 4 full weeks together in all the time we have been seeing each other. The rest of the time we just see each other at weekends. I come last on his list but I have come to accept this. I feel too old to start all over again with someone else and besides that I love him. I would say walk away before it gets serious as it’s hard to do later on. I just wanted someone to love and to be loved after my husband walked out on me out of the blue after 36 years together. Be strong, know what you really want and don’t sell yourself short. That’s all I would say.
Elle March 25, 2021 at 3:05 am
Great insight from this article.
However also have my lingering questions, first here is my story: in 2007 I lost my fiancé in a car accident which I was also in the same car. He died on the scene I never got to say my proper goodbye as I was also in hospital, I must say I still love him and some days I shut off because I feel his presence and I still have questions that no one will ever answer for my late.
I struggled to date or be in a relationship afterwards for the longest time, 14yrs to be exact. I recently got involved with a person I know for years, actually someone I feel played a part in my healing process years ago. When I reached out to him I did not know that he had lost his wife last July 2020, once he told me about his loss, I was shuttered and felt I needed to be there for him to support him emotionally through his healing journey as he was also there for me, even though he never knew he played a role.
Cut the long story short we officially started dating Jan 2021, we are having the greatest relationship I must say, however I feel I might ruin it by being to understanding towards his emotions and I do this because I don’t want him to feel he is not loved, my other worry is time, I know there’s no specific time as to when he must be involved again, however I took my 14yrs to grieve and I still am, I feel I’m not allowing him time to grieve his late wife. Also how long must our relationship be in the closet when it comes to people we know? I fear I might get judged by his friends and his family for allowing this relationship to happen in less than a year from his loss. Again if his children find out that he is involved in a relationship, how will they feel or take it… my other fear is what if one day he wakes up and say he misses his LW and want to grieve alone?
We have never really had discussed such, but he has met my child though I had not explained to my child the relation between me and him, however mine has never had time with his father because he died when he was still a baby at 1year 3months…
Overall the relationship is great so far.
Stephany Powers June 1, 2021 at 8:03 am
Wow 14 years is a “long time” to grieve. It has now been 1 year and 1 month for me, but I’m still not ready to date. We too have a child, he is 2 now. So I understand whenever you say, you have a child together but he doesn’t remember, but your spouse has children who are old enough to remember. I am not a professional! But I think the age of the children matter, being honest, patient, and transparent is also important. You will get judged rather you wait 14 years or 14 months, but people who matter should be there and support you guys. Just ask him to be honest with you and himself, you don’t want him not dealing with with his grief because he is focused on you. Good luck ❤️
Paula March 24, 2021 at 7:54 am
I am in a relationship with a widower his wide has been dead 2 years. He wants me to move into their home, but the house is filled with her memories, I’m ok with pictures of her and realize he still loves her and always will. but the home is filled with knick-knacks that she likes and other similar thinks (many of them) I really don’t like them and it feels like there is no room for me.. rooms are painted colors she liked and pink frilly curtains are everywhere. I would like to eventually create memories of our own and decorate for me and him..how can I tell him how if feel without hurting him and their memories.
Stephany Powers June 1, 2021 at 8:06 am
Yeah that would be hard for me too! It’s a conversation that needs to be had, but tactfully and lovingly. I don’t know, I guess ask something like, “ how attached are you to the decorations in your home? Because if I move in I would like for us to decorate together?” Does he have children? If so, they are going to want to know where everything was moved to! And they may need to be a part of the process? Ask him where would he like to store it? Does she have any friends or family who may want some of it?
JoAnn H Wyatt March 8, 2021 at 6:25 pm
I am a widow dating a widower. He would to have an intimate relationship but I do not agree with this. I am a Christian and he is a Christian. He says he believes there’s no sinning as long as we are, just with each other. I do not agree with this. I would love to have feedback from other people.
Stephanie April 18, 2021 at 11:08 am
Hi JoAnn – I’m Christian, and while I’m not an expert, I believe that what you’re saying is true to Biblical teaching. I think it is hard to know what amount of physical (or even emotional) intimacy is “ok” without marriage. But I believe the Bible offers us good wisdom that protects us from harm. You might want to seek the council of a pastor or Christian counselor. There are also Christian dating coaches. And of course pray about it. I hope this is helpful.
Simon February 24, 2021 at 10:23 pm
I am 57 and have never been married or engaged. I also have no kids. I have lived with 6 women and have never been committed or wanted to get married as I have waited to meet the woman of my dreams all my life. I met her 3 months ago. She is a widow. Her husband died 12 months before I met her. We spoke about living together and getting married within a week of meeting each other. We decided to get engaged in April although she told me she wanted to get married in February. I bought a ring costing £10,000 but told her to speak to her 2 kids she lived with who are 24 and 20.. They were horrified and although I get on with them well they were horrified at the thought of their Mum Getting remarried. She says her kids are happy for us to live together. She expects me to sell my house and buy one close to her. She isn’t willing to sell her house as her kids live in her house which is fine by me. She talks a lot about her husband but tells me she loves me. I feel confused and I wonder if I am filling a gap in her heart. I love her so much but am worried as I feel we are both set in our ways. Please can you provide advice?
Stephany Powers June 1, 2021 at 8:14 am
I am a widow it’s been 13 months and I can not wait to fully commit and love someone again. Death almost teaches you how to love unconditionally, whole heartedly, just I can’t explain it, but I’m definitely bring patient because I have a child. I think it depends on the status of their relationship at the time of his death as to what she may be looking for. So if he was food to her, maybe she just misses that companionship, but if their relationship wasn’t as healthy she may still mourn him, but he ready to move on and actually be happy. As far as the home and moving, have you met her children? What do they do for a living? 20-24…are they trying to find jobs? E/affected by the pandemic? I think children that age could either be very understanding or very much grieving and stuck in a phase of not wanting to accept another “father”, I guess it depends on their personality etc. I would go visit for a few weekends or a week or month for a while! Before I sold the house and moved out there.
Sadi Ham September 13, 2021 at 3:20 pm
Try to talk and discuss issues with her to understand your plight too.
Simon February 24, 2021 at 10:21 pm
I am 57 and have never been married or engaged. I also have no kids. I have lived with 6 women and have never been committed or wanted to get married as I have waited to meet the woman of my dreams all my life. I met her 3 months ago. She is a widow. Her husband died 12 months before I met her. We spoke about living together and getting married within a week of meeting each other. We decided to get engaged in April although she told me she wanted to get married in February. I bought a ring costing £10,000 but told her to speak to her 2 kids she lived with who are 24 and 20.. They were horrified and although I get on with them well they were horrified at the thought of their Mum Getting remarried. She says her kids are happy for us to live together. She expects me to sell my house and buy one close to her. She isn’t willing to sell her house as her kids live in her house which is fine by me. She talks a lot about her husband but tells me she loves me. I feel confused and I wonder if I am filling a gap in her heart. I love her so much but am worried as I feel we are both set in our ways.
Tara February 10, 2021 at 2:20 pm
I started dating a man about 9 months ago. He lost his wife in August of 2018. I am finding it very challenging to figure out how and where I fit in. I want to be sensitive to his loss and understanding when he feels sad sometimes. I also want to feel important. I have a story too. And I don’t want what he’s been through to be the only centerpiece. I was married for 17 years and have three children, he sat us down one night and told he was gay…my world fell apart too… im I’m grieving a heavy loss as well. I learned in one night everything I thought was going to be was now ending…abruptly….it left similar feelings of grief and loss, but also embarrassment and give trust issues…. I don’t know how to believe this man when he tells me he loves me…. are the losses we have both experienced too much to overcome for eachother…I do love him. But I feel sometimes with a widower their pain trumps everything…. what I’ve been through and what I need in this relationship matter too… there are two people in these relationships and both have their pasts. I don’t want it to always be about his loss…as I have experienced so much as well. How do I maintain sensitivity while making sure he understands he too must be sensitive to my needs, and what I’ve been through.
Isabelle Siegel February 11, 2021 at 3:03 pm
Tara, I can only imagine how tricky this situation must be. First, I want to tell you that–even though your ex-husband didn’t pass away–your grief is still valid. I recommend you check out these articles: https://whatsyourgrief.com/ambiguous-grief-grieving-someone-who-is-still-alive/ and https://whatsyourgrief.com/ambiguous-grief-part-2/ That being said, I think you need to have a concrete conversation with your current partner to communicate your own needs. I believe there is a way for you two to move forward, while also respecting and honoring his late wife. For more advice, I’d recommend reaching out to a therapist trained in grief and bereavement, which you can find here: https://grief.com/grief-counselor-directory/. All the best.
Nancy Ausman Dhatt January 10, 2021 at 2:00 pm
I have been dating a widower for 1 7 months & it was 18 months after his wife’s death that he asked me out. I recently spent a few days at his house and found it made me very uncomfortable that he still has wedding photos in his bedroom. I respect his long happy marriage and that they raised 2 children together. He has several other family photos on the walls of his home that don’t bother me that include his deceased spouse, but I did tell him that it makes me uncomfortable to have wedding photos in the bedroom. Do you think that I shouldn’t object or have expressed how it makes me feel?
IsabelleS January 11, 2021 at 11:17 am
Nancy, I recommend you check out this article: https://whatsyourgrief.com/grief-advice-photos/
N.A. Dhatt June 29, 2021 at 6:17 pm
I have already read the article
referenced & thought it missed my feelings entirely. I noted that I don’t mind photos of the deceased spouse around the house, but still displaying wedding photos in the bedroom I feel is insensitive to the current person in a relationship with a widower. I’m not trying to erase her memory & she is often brought up in conversation. Other articles I’ve read note that the widow/widower need to make the new person in their lives comfortable in their home. Would you be comfortable in a bedroom with walls covered with wedding photographs of the deceased spouse?
Lucy January 3, 2021 at 12:06 pm
I met a man online who has lost a wife and partner to cancer . He also is the guardian of a step son with special needs.he was widowed about two years ago for the second time . We get on really well and met up socially distancing and have spoken daily for about eight weeks.we had a small disagreement and he said he doesn’t want another one and misses his partner then blocked me I’m devastated should I move on or leave him to see if he contacts me .
Ella January 8, 2021 at 10:37 am
Leave him , find yourself a lovely, available single or divorced man. I bet you searched an Internet up and down looking for the answer and found many articles written by widowers/widows themselves teaching us how to date them. Most of these article are total BS written by narcissist. The only women who can actually put up with all these emotional abuse are those with a clear second wife mindset, the ones with masochistic tendencies who are fine with the idea that her man is only with her because he cannot be with another woman he would rather be with. So he will treat her accordingly! And this is why so many women of widowers end up in counselling or taking antidepressant. Don’t ever believe them when they tell you that you are jealous or insecure or immature. If you are jealous it’s because he made you feel jealous , if you are insecure in the relationship it is because he introduced insecurities and does it every single day. Change a man and you will se how quickly you confidence and security are back in the right place. Don’t let these people manipulate you! Believe they are not as gold as they try to picture themselves all over the internet. Always look at the character of the man not his relationship status. The widowhood doesn’t make him a decent person. If he was a jerk now once he is a widower he will still be the one but this time using his late wife to inflict the pain on you. Leave these grieving men alone!
mar February 17, 2021 at 9:57 pm
hey!!!! fuck you!!! people wanna date after they lose a spouse!! that’s perfectly okay!!!! i suggest you go to therapy to resolve your obvious hurt towards people who lost their spouse!!! fuck u!!!!
Marie April 14, 2021 at 6:43 pm
Thank you for that! It makes me feel like I’m the crazy one and I’m insensitive to their feelings but I have needs and feelings too
Bek January 2, 2021 at 6:58 am
Thank so much for this site, I have been pouring over all the articles. I began dating the most wonderful man this fall. He lost his fiancé in March of last year just before Quarantine. They had been together for 2.5 years, she suffered from borderline personality disorder. The night before she took her own life they had argued. I can’t imagine the battlefield of his mind in that time and even now. I have a family wrought with mental illness, my niece has Borderline personality disorder (same as his late fiancé) I have a child and a brother with schizophrenia/bipolar, and a sister with Major Depressive disorder so I am not a novice to the roller coaster of emotions that comes with it. Which can also be coupled with the incredible relief and guilt you feel at the thought alone of that person passing away. Here he is living it. This holiday season was really hard on him, he pretty much went ghost, he would reach out briefly letting me know he missed me, just needed time. Which I will give him all of, how can I best support him? His grief has a bit of a twist as it was a suicide. I am also trying to reconcile my own emotions, here I have this incredible gift all because she took her life. The thought of me being thankful she took her life repulses me, but had she not, we wouldn’t even know each other. It is a bit much to process.
Ella January 8, 2021 at 10:42 am
Please, stop romanticize widowers so much. How can you feel guilty for being with him and that if not his LW’s suicide you wouldn’t be with him? He also wouldn’t be with you if you and your ex were still together. Does he worries about this? I don’t think so.
Jason December 21, 2020 at 7:51 pm
I am a windower young I guess with a short tragic story and a love story. I knew my wife almost 3 years,we married in January 2020 and have a baby girl on July 2020 but suddenly on a rainy day on August 2020 I let her go to the food market a few meters from our house with the car. When she was coming back she crashed with 20kms only and died almost instantly from head injury. I was so devastated my love my wife she is gone,and left me with a few days born baby girl. I am 39 she was 38. I became addicted to alcohol in this phase of my life for 3-4 months. I was feeding the baby and I was crying non stop all day long.i was even thinking suicide.i decided that I have to slow down a little for my daughter. So I stopped and I started to meeting new people on the street,on shops etc. and i discover how much compation you can receive from a total stranger. A month now i meet a girl younger than me and she is social worker. She knows situations like these. We fell in love from the first time we see each other (cause limited dates through covid19),we became so strong together we have a very powerful with passion relationship together. I really didn’t see that coming if you see me how I was and what was i thinking few days before. This girl says I am a phenomenon for her and she never meet a guy like me before and the same thing is what I believe also. She knows how to calm me down she understands and we are really having a great quality time together. I haven’t introduced to my relatives and friends yet but I wish one day. She is a very good person and very kind gentle human being. I still missing my wife but I believe that she was ok if this happened.we used to have conversations like these and she was really open minded and free character. On the other hand her family was not supporting at all and dont even care about our baby. Not even a phone call. So my question is I am feeling better now with my new love,and I can control my self and my actions better than before. Can I proceed my new life? Can I still have new dreams? I know it’s soon enough but you know when you meet a good person. I am a very good looking guy and the new girl very attractive. I believe it was from the both sides common need and you can say fate to meet up. Thanks you very much for the support.
IsabelleS December 22, 2020 at 12:23 pm
Jason, I am so sorry for your loss and for everything you went through afterward. I’m glad your daughter gave you the motivation you needed to go forward. You are absolutely entitled to proceeding with a new life, new dreams, etc. There is no timeline for dating after a loss… If you feel ready, then you’re ready. The love you have for this woman does not diminish the love you had for your wife. I am confident that your late wife would want you to move forward with this new relationship. Please allow yourself to be happy. All the best.
Sue December 21, 2020 at 6:53 am
Hello, I hope this thread is still going?… I have been dating a widower for 10 years. I was separated from by husband for 8 years, never saw him – divorced for 2 years. We were married for almost 25years. My Ex and I still get on although he has married again I have x1 lovely son left at home from my marriage – he is at Uni but travels back and forth. My widowers wife died suddenly leaving x3 kids at he time aged 11yrs to 16years. I knew my widower before her death, as he is a builder and did work for my x and I. But I did not know he was widowed until I was on my own and needed some work doing in my house after my ex-husband had left few years after, the widower had not worked since his wife died and had been looking after his Kids, basically, i got him back to work and normality. We started seeing each other. I admit, i pushed for engagement after 2years, which it seemed reluctantly he did. His kids still live in the 5 bed marital home and he has grand children there, it is free accommodation for them…. But basically he is never away from the place pops in every day…although he supposed to be living with me. He has no mortgage and they pay him no rent. The youngest is now 21years of age. Widower never wanted to sell the house, so i bought a place of my own – a flat. He has spent a lot of money on my place as he is a builder. But essentially it is my place. He sees his grandkids every day and has never spent a whole Christmas day with just with me and my son. My son is at uni and my widower always helps unofficially financially with him, car probs, tires, petrol and generally if he needs any money at all, they get on, but so does my sons dad – my ex. Even though widower is with me – his heart never seems to be. His heart is always with his grandkid’s and his kids although he has spent a lot of money on me and would give me anything I ask for – he has a lot of disposable income since his mortgage is paid since his wife died. He says I am jealous of him and his kids and his grandkids when we argue. He would never sell his house to buy one with me, so that ship has sailed – he says his house is his kids, not mine. It is me that hopes he will marry me once my son has finished Uni – but he never says it himself to me. We argue a lot about commitment, as i don’t think he is committed to me, although he does spend a lot of money on me. He sleeps with is back to me most nights,. Turns around when he wants to be intimate or before he goes to work. he works from 7am til 8pm at night and does not really converse with me when he gets in – but wants to be intimate?? I is faithful – I know that however. He never talks about his deceased and I can tell he plans things with his kids and calls them about things when I’m not there, often goes outside to speak with them when he is with me. He sees them every night before he comes home to me?. He says he loves me as he spends a lot of money on me, and that he would not do that if he did not love me? ..we have travelled a lot. We have split up a lot too and I’m always asking him to leave when we fall out. But then i take him back.. I have spent the last 3 years eating xmas dinner out with my son as widower gets all into himself at Christmas and i don’t want to be around him when he is like it – he ends up going to his kids and cooking for them and/or having dinner with them, over the years. My fiends have seen him at the cemetery of his deceased wife and deceased grandchild – when he tells me he hasn’t been there?? the final straw (again!!) last night i asked him what he is doing this xmas he said going to see his grandkids open their presents at his house, I said i wasn’t going and that he can at least spend x1 whole day with me this year? maybe cook my dinner? he got cross and says i don’t want him to see his grandkids at Christmas – when that is not the case, trying to make me sound selfish? to tell them…- he also says he is going to get a wreath for his deceased wife then told me he always has done this every year since she died and that im not going to stop him?? But i never knew about this but he says I did but he has NEVER told me about this? I then asked him to leave, as i felt I cannot keep feeling like this. Am I being selfish? I have put up with him avoiding the truth and kind of lying for 10 years, I know this sounds dramatic, but its almost as though he leads a double life – trying to please everybody. It feels feels deceitful and that he hasn’t really got over his wife although he tells me he has – i don’t feel he has. But I feel this is all too much for me now- I am worn out.. but I don’t want to give up an a 10 YEAR relationship but I’m worn out with it all but don’t want to waste another 10 years – am i being selfish please?? can Someone advise me please?? He keeps texting me and asking to come back – which he always does then within weeks of having him back we are at it all over again!! ARGUING!! 🙁 Grateful of anyone’s thoughts please? Regards -Sue
IsabelleS December 21, 2020 at 10:27 am
Sue, I’m sorry to hear you’re going through this. This situation sounds immensely complicated. I want to emphasize one section of this article: “If you are struggling as a partner to a widow(er), the biggest question to ask yourself is whether you are truly ready to accept that the person you are dating will, on some level, always love and care about the person who died? Are you able to believe – on an intellectual and emotional level – that their love for the person who died does not take away from the love they have to give to you?” It seems as though he is trying to include you in his life, such as by inviting you to visit his grandchildren for Christmas. That being said, it sounds as though a major problem lies in the fact that he is not meeting your needs. Could you communicate to him clearly and calmly what you need from him? Best of luck.
Sue December 22, 2020 at 2:05 am
Thanks for your reply i really do appreciate someone taking an interest..as it is getting me down. I realise he will always love her. But i think my issues are because he sees and has his children and his grandchildren in his house and that he sees them every day before he comes home to me. He has and makes constant access to them every day. I don’t know when he sees them. when he’s there and when he is not?. There are no boundaries. I used to hear them calling him every day, but since i said it is ridiculous that they do that, he hides their calls from me and calls them when I’m not there, or out the room or makes excuses to go out and call them. So I am constantly reminded – every day – of his loss, so it is constantly in my face every day. His kids are constantly in our lives, a constant reminder to me of his loss, and they are adults and now there are grandchildren and its repeating itself. Grandchildren, so it is rolling over onto them – never ending. Most people have grandkids and grandchildren, but they don’t see them every single day – if they do its an occasion? then they both (grandparents) see them together. I feel like they (his kids) are never out of his life – every day, so i am dragged into his world. He is over protective of them all and there is no let up. This is what I don’t think I can handle. Is that wrong? is this all down to me? does this therefore make me selfish one site I wrote to said i needed counselling – do you think I do? if I cannot handle this then should I move on do you think?
It is Xmas again – and I have asked him to leave again as I cannot handle it all again, all the emotions and involvement and misery. I cannot keep asking him to leave can i? its not fair on him is it?..
Grateful of a reply
IsabelleS December 22, 2020 at 12:00 pm
Hi again Sue, I’m glad I can be here to support you! Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s a straightforward answer to any of your questions. Whether or not it’s time to move on is completely up to you. As far as counseling is concerned, you may find the advice of an objective, third-party person–a therapist–helpful. That being said, I think you and your partner need to sit down and have a conversation about both of your needs and boundaries. I’m sorry I can’t provide you with any concrete answers, but I hope this is even a little bit helpful. All the best to you!
Elizabeth December 19, 2020 at 4:01 pm
I have been married to a wonderful man for several months. A few weeks before we met, he lost his fiancée in a tragic accident and he was with her during that night at the hospital as she was dying. He was so traumatized and her family blamed him. I supported him throughout his healing process and we became best friends and eventually more. The thing is they were doing a long distance relationship and he said they would have broken up because things were rocky and her family was awful but before that could happen, she died. After he proposed and a few months before our marriage, he never really talked about the accident anymore nor his feelings and I believed that he had moved on from it. However a few months after our wedding, he had to undergo a psych evaluation for his job and that dug up old memories and of course everything that happened that night. We were now living together and it started to affect me. And i know, that right now he is still grieving the loss. I felt like i was falling in second place to a memory. He was constantly talking about it. He had her pictures on his social, her date of death on his phone screen, he even kept momentos of their relationship. I was starting to feel insecure. Its been over 2 years since the accident and he is still mourning. A few weeks ago, i found some intimate pictures in his phone of them-he said these popped up after he backed up his gmail account and that he had difficulty erasing them again because he felt like he had to bury her again. I didn’t know whether to believe it but I felt betrayed and now I am finding it difficult to be trusting and supportive. After i confronted him, he deleted it but said that he is keeping a few of them just before she died which he refuses to delete. I accepted that. Then he said he was upset that i didn’t give him the time he needed to work it out on his own. The truth is, after seeing those pictures, it felt like our ‘special moments’ were no longer special. i wondered about whether he kept looking at those pictures and wished she was still here, because if he did, then what about me? I dont want to be selfish, i know he went through something really horrible but I just feel like the more i encourage the old memories the less space i give to our relationship. That the more significant theirs become, the less ours is. I dont know if im wrong for feeling this way but I am very confused. I feel like i have to share my husband with a dead person. I want to be supportive still but i dont know how to. I am afraid of how it will affect our marriage and whether i have the strength for those days when he is overwhelmed by grief. i love my husband very much and want to make our relationship work.
IsabelleS December 21, 2020 at 11:23 am
Elizabeth, dating a widow/widower can be extremely complicated. It sounds as though part of you expects your husband to “get over” his late fiancée and to move on. I want to emphasize one section of this article: “If you are struggling as a partner to a widow(er), the biggest question to ask yourself is whether you are truly ready to accept that the person you are dating will, on some level, always love and care about the person who died? Are you able to believe – on an intellectual and emotional level – that their love for the person who died does not take away from the love they have to give to you?” If you want your relationship to work, you need to understand that your husband can–and will–love you both. All the best.
Elizabeth January 10, 2021 at 11:43 am
Thank you so much for your reply Isabel. I have been doing a lot of thinking after reading these articles and I am afraid that If i cant accept those facts that my marriage will fall apart. I truly don’t want this to happen. Would you recommend i try counselling? I do want to support my husband. I am so grateful for your support and understanding. Thanks
IsabelleS January 11, 2021 at 11:20 am
Elizabeth, it sounds as though you do want to support your husband. Just by doing your research, you’re taking steps in the right direction! It may be helpful to seek out the support of a therapist/counselor, particularly one who is trained in grief. We recommend you look here: https://complicatedgrief.columbia.edu/for-the-public/find-a-therapist/. All the best.
Eilidh December 15, 2020 at 6:55 am
I am 3 years into a relationship with my widowed partner, and step mum to his little girl (unmarried) She is 6 and asked to call me mummy about a year ago, which we have all said is absolutely fine if that’s what makes her happy and comfortable. I have taken on the roll with both hands, and despite a history of debilitating mental health problems I am extremely responsible, patient and loving. I put her first. I do still experience strong emotions of jealousy, not feeling good enough etc. My partner has a few photos in the home and a wedding photo in his office which I have grown to feel comfortable with, he also has multiple pictures of the 2 of us and 3 of us as a family. I do struggle on the date of his wife passing as this is on my birthday, I felt like this year in particular I was pushed aside and spent my 30th feeling guilty and not important or celebrated as photos of my partners passed wife and little girl were shared instead. My partner has been very open with me since the beginning of our relationship, but somewhat uncomfortably emotionally strong (I worry that he protects my feelings over living his grief)..but that being said it is either valid or he is EXTREMELY convincing. Our little girl expressed recently to me that she might have another step mum one day because I could die. Just like that, and since has been very cold with me and almost angry which is out of character. She is perhaps protecting herself and creating boundaries. I feel like I push past my emotion and uncertain grief to help keep the memory of her mum but this is someone I didn’t know and a time where I wasn’t present, so it’s difficult. It makes me feel secluded. I just wanted to share my experiences in case anyone could relate, I want to protect my own emotions and feelings whilst making sure I hold space for everyone else, although resentment, guilt, jealousy and the feeling of being second best can be overwhelming. It’s hard sometimes, and this felt like a safe space to vent. Thank you x
IsabelleS December 15, 2020 at 11:16 am
Eilidh, I’m sorry to hear that you’re going through this. The emotions you’re feeling–the resentment, guilt, jealousy, etc.–are normal and valid. That being said, I think it’s important to acknowledge that it’s okay for your partner to continue his bond with his late wife. You may want to check out these articles: https://whatsyourgrief.com/continuing-bonds-shifting-the-grief-paradigm/ and https://whatsyourgrief.com/grief-advice-photos/ As far as your stepdaughter is concerned, it’s very likely that she’s struggling with her own anxieties and fears and attempting to protect herself. Have you spoken to her father about this? Perhaps she would benefit from therapy to help her process her mother’s death. All the best to you.
Lulu December 22, 2020 at 2:52 pm
Jealousy is not ever a normal behavior. Jealous, envious, people should be made aware of this, instead of condoning the disorder. I grew up with a mentally unstable, jealous, mother. It affected me greatly. Please do not ever make the statement that these are normal feelings. They are not and people who display those emotions need counseling and therapy.
IsabelleS December 28, 2020 at 11:03 am
Hi Lulu, thank you for taking the time to comment and to share your perspective! While too much jealousy (or too much of any emotion, really) can be a sign of a psychological disorder, some degree of jealousy is normal. Eilidh is entitled to feel jealous. Feelings themselves aren’t good or bad–it’s what we do with them that matters. You’re right… When we let feelings turn into behaviors or interfere with our functioning, counseling/therapy can be helpful.
Monica November 24, 2020 at 1:48 pm
I don’t even know where to start. In 2011, I met this amazing couple and became extremely good friends with BOTH of them. Then in 2017, his wife of 18 years and together over 20 passed away, He helped her raise her three (very young children) when they first met, they remodeled the home she bought and he moved into. It was all he knew other than having his own two children from a previous marriage then ended in divorce prior to them. I was there awhile after she passed whenever he needed someone to talk to and he has always been there for me. We became best friends and I was always able to talk to him about everything. He kinda dated a bit or “fooled around with multiple women” a year or so after her passing. Took one on a cruise in early 2018 and she started to allegedly get feelings she didn’t want (he said she was kinda snotty on the cruise) didn’t want to share him with anyone else etc…He said he was not looking for a girlfriend and likely never would. It kinda bothered me that he took her and not me (yeah we were good friends). In the summer of 2018- he hit on me and I was flattered, it was unexpected and I didn’t see it coming-we fooled around for a while but agreed to just be friends- he didn’t want a girlfriend and I understood it lasted for a very long time regardless. Fastforward to 2019- we started spending more and more time together, I (we) never ever anticipated or even remotely considered ever getting into a “romantic” relationship. It just grew into it over time in the last year or so I was there when he needed a friend and he has been there for me.
Karen November 6, 2020 at 7:43 am
I have fallen in love with a wonderful man who’s wife passed away 3 years ago.
We worked together and always got on really well. We err friends first and 6 months ago we realised we loved each other. Many walks and talks later.
It’s been beautiful but there are many hurdles I am finding myself and of course him, going through.
I have always been supportive and admire the strength he has and the way he was there for his wife until the end. A truly amazing man.
I feel guilty for this awful feeling of never being able to live up to her memory. He goes into these dark sad times and I am helpless. Then wonder why he is with me.
He has 4 grown up daughters and one is very against him moving on in any way shape or form.
It puts him in the awkward position of ‘hiding’ that he is coming to see me.
I am so positive around him and don’t want him to feel any pressure or negativity.
It’s so difficult and I don’t know who to speak with except another person that has gone through this? Hoping someone out there feels like chatting.
Jordan November 7, 2020 at 1:16 am
I have a similar situation, dating a guy 2grown daughters, wife died 2years ago. The 6th was her bday. He was crying, I offered to talk but he didn’t want to. Idk what to do about the feelings I sometimes have, almost like I’m jealous of a dead person. I’m always supportive, I wonder if I’m enough sometimes. I wonder if anyone feels like this too
Nay La November 13, 2020 at 9:45 am
I have been in a relationship with a guy for 2 years who’s wife passed away almost 4 years ago…he has two young children. His wife’s birthday was yesterday and he was extremely moody. Its hard and i find it sometimes difficult…somedays I question is he still playing the grieving spouse to the world even though we are in a relationship. I am trying to be understanding.. he put a picture up of his wife in celebration of her birthday and ended the caption with Love you, Miss you, Always my wife. For some reason the always my wife, kind of bothered me and made me question to myself what is my purpose in his life. Wonder if anyone else can understand and help me to understand what I’m going thru…
Cindy October 29, 2020 at 5:57 am
I lost my lover over an year ago my issue is , two of his friends have an interest in me . One said they have feelings but said he will be inheriting me like a property which is wrong and he left while the others acts like a friend though the comments he makes show he has an interest in me . A friend told him in my presence that we do have alot of chemistry and he should take me out but now what amazes me is they were his friends, i Thought we were only friends ,i do not understand how they fell in love with me yet since my boyfriend passed on we met with one in school and the other we met we have never met. We only communicate once in a while via phone calls . Are they playing me ? I really dont understand some people coz i do feel played .Life went on but Just wonder
Jessie October 16, 2020 at 12:58 pm
I asked this last night but dont see my post so ill ask again?
To the team: are any of you in successful relationships with a partner who is a widow/widower?
Have any of you EVER been in any relationship where you were the new LOVE in a widow/widowers life?
Nay La November 13, 2020 at 9:48 am
Yes, currently dating a widower…and I’m his first new love interest
Tina Di Sotto December 12, 2020 at 7:43 pm
Hi, yes I am engaged to a widower and have just moved 600 miles to live with him. His wife passed almost a year ago. We have known eachother for 27 years though x
Deb October 16, 2020 at 10:38 am
Dating a widower with adult kids who couldn’t accept it was a horrible experience. Would be very wary to do it again. Buyer beware
Cathy November 1, 2020 at 1:20 am
I’m dating a widower and it’s been very challenging and heartbreaking to be completely honest . The kids were and still are not totally accepting of me but I just took A step back which made it better For me in some ways to let it go but deep inside I hurt and wish things were different. I envisioned being this womanly/ motherly figure for his children and I truly felt for all of them and treated them as I treat my own kids And it was the worst experience I ever had . The oldest told lies to there mothers family and to there dads family about me saying how horrible I was told everyone I was cold hearted ,unsympathetic about there mom dying which was sooooo far from the truth she said I yelled at them just uttter made up stories and lies . Then I found out they all did even though I literally treated them as my own . His youngest stayed at my house for a year living there every other week because she was best friends with my youngest daughter and even she turned on me and all my kids were always in the middle and devastated over the lies that came out .We were engaged. To be married and I made all the children as the bridal party so they all felt special. I was looking forward to a big blended family all together and it fell apart . Beware it’s not easy especially if the kids are middle school and high school aged . Maybe really young Kids would be way better . Good luck but run because even there dad was t truly over things I think too during the first year .
Sean December 6, 2020 at 8:45 pm
It is a challenge at the best of times. Me being a widower. I do not hate my wife and never will. Dating someone who went through a terrible divorce and having things compared on joth ends makes it a challenge. The best advice is to try and be open and respectfull if and when you choose to date a widower. We have love and will move mountains once trust and kindness is realised on both sides. Typically a widow or widowers stories are of a happier time and remembered as such. Where as a divorced person brings sorrow and a not so happy time. I have yet to meet a woman that went through a great and happy divorce. I have met widows and widowers that had a loving growing relationship end too soon or feel it was taken away. So yes devorced people if you choose to date us grieving people. Beware we have never know to not love or husbands or wives.
As for children do kot be intimidated. As long as the parent loves you the rest will come in time. The longer the person was with their loved one the longer it can take to be truly linked in love. Both need to go slow and accept each one openly.
Sorry for your experience Deb don’t give up.
Alishia December 12, 2020 at 5:18 am
You are so wrong assuming that all divorcees hate their spouses. Divorce happens for many reasons, sometimes it’s a simple misunderstanding , sometimes just one person decides to end it and the other , the one who loves can do nothing about it. Many people carry such loves from their past not only widowers. On the other hand, many widowed were abusive partners or their spouses were abusive or marriage was simply dead and death brought a great relif peace, happines and lots of money from life policy. Don’t judge or you might be judged. I will always love one man from my past , always! He is still alive, he is married but he was a huge part of my life, there were the best years of my life and there will always be space in my heart for him.
Katie Rollins October 16, 2020 at 10:24 am
This is basically a step by step guide to making yourself miserable in a relationship by placing your partner’s grief for someone you probably didn’t know above your own emotions. If these are frequently asked questions what is the likelihood that everyone who asks them are just insecure and jealous? There is nothing wrong with wanting 100% from your partner. There’s nothing wrong with not wanting to play second fiddle to another man or woman especially one who has nothing to offer. This article is garbage. It doesn’t take the new partner’s feelings into account whatsoever it just tells them to suffer in silence.
Jessie October 19, 2020 at 11:21 am
I agree, much of what has been stated above in the FAQs is not ok. I also feel giving100% affirmations as the author does is dangerous and not very professional. Every situation is different! Losing a lover and grieving that person is very different from a natural family member. Its not healthy to drag a new love down the road of constant stories crying and memories of a former love. It inhibits doubt feelings of second best and in turn hurts the new relationship. No one wants to give all or more while the other is givibg scraps and hiding behind their grief. If your not ready thats ok but if you are then the new live deaerves just as much respect love attention and loyalty as the former. No one should be told to deal with not getting what we all deserve in A relationship, to be the one and only!
I also strongly feel unless you have personal experience in these relationships as in have went through one or are currently in one that is succesful in taking both feelings you do not have the right to preach 100% should and should not. Reading from a book and hearing stories from others doesnt make u expert and your perspective is flawed and lacking since you have no idea the struggles on the other side and cannot give accurate advice on how to properly navigate those situations for both the widow/widower or the ones they are in a new relationship with.
Please take caution when holding what these authors says as acceptable and not!
Roy November 8, 2020 at 10:52 pm
Couldn’t have said it better!
Cathy November 1, 2020 at 1:24 am
Agreed I always felt second best and had to listen to how wonderful there relationship was and all it did was make me feel
Like I would never add up or equal some women who I never met and was not even alive . It’s not a good feeling at all . We all want that partner who lives us for us and finds us to be the beautiful special women. I. There lives .not a good second option
Nay La November 13, 2020 at 10:01 am
Are you still in the relationship? Any advice to help those of us going thru it now…its difficult and somedays I dont know how i should feel and guilty that I sometimes feel jealous of their relationship. So confusing…i question am I the right person to deal with this type of situation. His wife has been deceased almost 4 years with 2 young children and her passing was unexpected. I have a good relationship with his kids but his Mother in Law (wife) refuses to accept me or be in my presence. Its very awkward and somedays I feel like I’m on an island by myself.
Jan March 3, 2021 at 8:00 pm
I totally agree that the advice in this article is all wrong. I’m a widow dating a widower, so I’ve been on both sides. It is ridiculous to say that your partner keeping pictures all over the place of his deceased wife is the same as of his grandparents, etc.! Some of these women need to step way back and just walk away.
Jessie October 16, 2020 at 12:19 am
Would just like to ask the team are any of you in committed relationships with widow/widower? Have any of you lived and are in successful relationships with a lover/partner who lost a partner/lover to death?
Melani February 23, 2021 at 4:53 pm
Yes, I’ve been with my widowed boyfriend a year now, and he took me to Las Vegas for our year anniversary. This past year has been absolutely amazing and I’ve never had any doubts about us until now. I knew we weren’t going to get married or anything because we want our kids and family to be there with us, however I did think we would get engaged, it would have been perfect! we’ve been living together (same house where he lived with his late wife) since October and we talk about getting married frequently so it just made sense… Needless to say that didn’t happen, so now I’m sitting on the plane googling what to do now. I know he loves me, his 13 year old son loves me and his family does too, but now I have a pit in my stomach… I feel like I’m just the girlfriend living a second hand life and I am not one to play second fiddle…. I don’t want to leave him but then again I don’t want to live this second hand life… I’m so confused and any advice is beyond welcomed.
Rex June 13, 2020 at 9:52 pm
I was once involved with a widow. I will NEVER do it again. When you’re involved with a widow, you’re involved with a woman who wishes that a man she used to be with was still around so she could be with him. That is her business I suppose; but what I’m willing to put up with is my business; and tolerating the disrespect of being the guy a woman settled for because she’s not able to be with someone else is certainly not something I will ever accept.
Robin September 2, 2020 at 4:44 am
Newsflash! A great many people in “successful” relationships are actually with someone who, if they had their way, would prefer to be with someone else but that person is not available or does not feel the same way about them. At least if the person they want is dead there’s no chance they will be leaving you for them.
CL September 12, 2020 at 12:22 pm
Rex, I completely understand how you feel. Also, I feel this article is a bit one-sided and doesn’t really take into consideration the person who is trying to date the widow (even though it claims to). I have been through loss and get that it’s a horrible thing to happen to anyone, but if the widow isn’t completely ready to be in a relationship and get excited to start a new life with a new partner, then they have NO business dating. Of course, they will always have love for their late wife/husband, but they have no idea how it feels dating two “people” at the same time and feeling like you’re on the outside, looking in. Also, because they didn’t have a chance to resolve all of their relationship issues prior to the spouse passing, much of that dysfunction ends up getting transferred to the new relationship and projected onto the new partner.
I have been dating a widow for two years and know three other people who have dated widows. All relationships have been challenging because the widows said they were ready to date and start fresh, but were they really? And when will they be ready? So many people will say, “Well, it’s better than dealing with an ex-wife or an ex-husband.”… No, it’s absolutely not. I’ve dealt with both and they are completely different, with their own unique challenges.
Now, all widow relationships aren’t the same, so you’re lucky if you’re dating one who will prioritize you just as they did their first partner. It’s not about competition, or jealousy — the reality is that the late spouse is no longer living in the ‘here and now’. That’s it. Sure, there will always be love for the late spouse, but there should be 100% love and commitment for the new partner/spouse because they are in the ‘here and now’. If the widow isn’t ready for that, then move one. Don’t spend your time thinking this man/woman will eventually come around. Some people, for different reasons, will cling to the past and any future you have with this person is tainted, leaving you feeling like it was a shame that he/she died in the first place and you wouldn’t be here if they were still alive. It’s an awful feeling and no one deserves to feel that way.
Emily September 14, 2020 at 12:52 pm
It feels calming to read this. I recently married a young widow how lost his HS sweetheart 5 years ago and a comment from him broke my heart, telling me he did’t expected his life would take this kind of turn, and then keep talking about his late wife birthday. I felt like he was with me because I chose him as my love , but I do not feel chose back. I want to leave the relationship right away.
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Katrina Gonzales May 14, 2020 at 3:19 pm
I have been dating a widower for 7 months. He was married for 38 years. He has been a widower for 22 months. From day one his 36 year old daughter who is married a homeowner, and has three children, has been against our union. Saying things like I could be a gold digger, her dad is all she has and doesn’t want to loose him, she’s not ready for him to date, throughout our whole relationship. The most recent is she put up pictures in his house of him and his late wife sharing loving looks hugs ect. This was almost the last straw for me. I love him dearly but I have been experiencing a lot of stress and sleepless nights trying to figure out what to do.
Kathy July 15, 2020 at 9:45 pm
I’ve lived with my widower for 3 years now. It was a terrible first meet with his 2 boys and their wives/kids. I’m not sure it has gotten any better. Widower says, just hang in there. If they keep seeing you, they will finally get the idea you aren’t going anywhere. That’s great except for his oldest son’s wife. She never has really liked me, but she was super close to the deceased. Every deceased birthday, death day, Mothers day, both sister-in-laws put a tribute on FB about her and how much they miss her. Widower says that has nothing to do with me! I get that, it’s a loss but when do I feel friendly enough around them to not tiptoe? Talk to your widower, let him know how you feel. That is important and if he loves you enough, he will do whatever it takes to make you happy!
rita April 30, 2020 at 5:46 am
Ever since my husband left me my love life was in a mess. And i always through and wish we were together and that he would come back to my life and our love could stay endless. I wanted to fight this war of love without weapons, but then i realize that he has fully made up his mind against me.
Moron man November 12, 2020 at 11:43 pm
I started dating a woman widowed to suicide of husband . I accepted grieving for suicide falls under complex complicated berravement…avg 6 to 8 yrs to come to peace with verses traditional 1 to 3 years of grieving for a spouse death that was non suicide. 14 months was great with expected tiding of loss . In october while on a hike of memorial for ex she suffered a mental breakdown of grief… hospitalized for 10 days …triggered a month earlier by reminders of spouse belongings. My lesson is i am a moron. I allowed myself to fall in love with a woman whom collapsed and subsequently hospitalized over her deceased spouse/ husband. Its been a month since ive seen her and recieved one message saying” i am unable to see you right now ..im so sorry”.
I am a fool… i allowed myself vulnerable knowing this could happen.
Lidia Baker November 30, 2020 at 1:11 am
I too lost my husband to suicide in May 2018. Only recently I began seeing someone. This is a casual relationship. He is much younger than I, and currently in the midst of a contentious divorce. Recently it seems that his feelings have evolved, and mine as well. I expressed to him that I cannot allow myself to have feelings at this time. He does not know the details of my husband’s death, only that he passed suddenly. I would never want to involve anyone in such a tragedy, and, at the same time, it is my private, personal, struggle. I miss my husband immensely, however this is no one else’s burden. We also have a son who just turned 18, and he is my first priority, mental health and all. This woman is obviously under extreme duress and needs to address her challenges before communicating, and inviting people into her life. To me it sounds like you dodged a bullet. Count your blessings and best wishes to you.
Cal January 13, 2021 at 10:11 am
You’re not a moron! Love is a beautiful thing and it is wonderful that you opened your heart to her, even though she wasn’t ready. I understand the disappointment but don’t be so hard on yourself. Your feelings and how you handled everything was completely normal and human. Everything in life teaches us something. I wish you the best!!
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Kylie Craig March 4, 2020 at 2:25 pm
I am dating a widow and our situation is very different. He became a widow at 22 in a car accident with his family when he fell asleep on a long drive when they were moving. She was a bit older than him and was 6 months pregnant at the time. He sees psychologists and is on medication for P.T.S.D. He seems to be coping very well with everything seeming as it hasn’t been two yet since her passing. He deals with her death in strange ways and tried to give me her old clothes as they were “just clothes” and he wanted them out of the way. We had a long talk about how inappropriate that was and why. She also had two children neither of which are biologically his but he fought in court and has guardianship over both of them. The youngest little boy doesn’t remember his mom at all as he was only 1 when she passed. The little girl is older and remembers her mother very well. She is very on the fence when I come around. She will make comments that everyone forgets about her mommy when I come around. That her dad doesn’t love her mom anymore because he has me now (she’s 7 years old). She also tells me she wants me to move in and be around all the time because I help her with so much her dad can’t. I’m nervous to move in because her moods are all over the place and I don’t want to rush things and traumatize her. The little boy calls me mom because he is small and still doesn’t know how to talk very well. She scolds him when he does this and tells him I am not his mother. I’m struggling with not feeling like I’m gonna fit in or be loved enough even though love them all with my whole heart. It’s very difficult at my age feeling like a fall back plan or a second option which I do know is untrue but comments get made sometimes that stick in my head. Examples of this are ” You are a good artist but not as good as my mom.” and “you’re pretty but my mom will always be the most beautiful.” Its a mental struggle today to keep the positivity going
Courtney September 27, 2020 at 9:52 am
My heart goes out to you. This is my 10th year of marriage to a widower. Similarly his late wife was pregnant. It’s a struggle and it never really goes away. It just comes in waves. But what over 10 years of being with him has taught me that it gets better, and he’s worth the bad times. He didn’t have any children with her so I can’t relate there. I imagine that is so hard. I’ve just found this website because we are going through a hard time right now and it feels better to not be alone.
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Deb February 14, 2020 at 3:55 pm
I am dating a widower who lives with his 31 year old daughter and grandson who is 3. I met him on a dating sight and we connected right away. It was 2 years after his wife passed and 2 years after my husband passed. He lived north Florida I lived south Florida. He would come down to visit with me and I would go and visit with him. His wife passed suddenly 2014, my husband was sick for a very long time and passed 2016. I let him grieve for a long time and he still does. Him and his daughter finally moved into my home. I lived alone with no children but loved children. They moved in stayed for 4 months and she took over my house. I bit my tongue so many times the way she controlled her Dad and disrespected him, til I finally blew up at her. Well with in 2 weeks they were gone. She made him find them a house and they moved out. I did everything for this girl, her baby and his son who lived in another state. Every relationship he has been in she has managed to destroy. So now she hates me and he moved on to someone else, but he still calls me and wants to visit without her knowing. This is a grown man 60 years old I’m 63. I really don’t see a solution. I know he still loves me but isn’t allowed because he is afraid she will take the grandbaby away from him. All I ever heard from the both of them is about his wife her mother. I could not compare to this person that had passed. I’m beside myself, I love this man, but she is preventing him from seeing me so he does it secretly even though he is seeing someone else.
Bella February 11, 2020 at 7:57 am
The widower I am seeing keeps taking me to places that he took his wife of 51 years. He refers a lot to “my wife” who died 2 years ago. I was married for 51 years also and understand some of his painful memories. He still sheds tears when some songs pop up in concerts we love to attend together. My question is: Is he marriage material? I conveyed my message to him that my future vision is for a long-term relationship to share the rest of my life with a man I can commit to. I miss the closeness of life with a loving man who wants what I want, not what I need. I love this lonely man, but I do not understand his moods. Should I stay or should I go? That is my dilemma. My heart says stay, but my head says go. I feel that I am helping him in every way, but I do not know how long I can keep doing so without a verbal commitment. Anybody else out there with my story of “love lost” and “love found anew”?
Jesse October 9, 2020 at 6:01 pm
i know exactly how you feel. i am in love with this women like i will never love anyone else. but she lost her ex 5 years ago then another a year ago. i knew the one who she lost recently and doesnt talk about him as much anymore. but her first one jesse seems like he cant ever be moved past. its weird too because my name is jesse. she will not ever stop talking about him. she posts pictures about him on fb. ive been with her to his grave and have been so supportive. but i cant handle it anymore. plus she still talks to his brother who is in prison. becaused his mom who passed also. thinks she would want her to talk to him to help him deal with being in prison for as long as he is in there for. i dont know how much longer i can take feeling like the back burner in my own relationship. or like im the fall back choice. not only that. but when she constantly talk about him she tells me how he would also wear polo everything and one day she hands me polo cologne and says she wants me to wear it. i should have told her that is completely inappropriate and painful to hear. but i nicely told her that it makes me uncomfortable. its difficult because when we first met we fell deeply in love and have been since. but it eats me alive when she talks about him and posts pictures of her laying next to him at his grave and worst had me take pictures of her doing that. it made me really turned off for a while. but im an adult and im very understanding. however it comes to a point when to far is way past the line. im 31 and she is 27. i just wonder how i can get her to put me first and only, without forcing her to put his love and memories into a box lock it and throw it in the sea. i know how it is to loose a loved on even a family member. but i mean come on already. make me the one and only. ya know? like im not with my babys mama anymore, and i could honestly care less about my sons mother. she is a horrible person. what do i do and how should i feel…?
sam October 10, 2020 at 3:44 pm
Jesse, I’m so sorry you’re going through this. It is not fair to you on any level. For her to ask you to take pictures of her on her late love’s grave or to wear his favorite brand of cologne is very inappropriate and insensitive. It’s almost like she’s using you to fill a void or make herself feel better. Many times when we feel deeply in love with someone, it is because they don’t feel like that about us or we want their love so immensely that it feels like love. Perhaps it is unrequited love that you’re feeling. You need to find your value and come to the realization that you’re worth more than this. Period. When you stand in your worth and set boundaries with her, she may or may not stay with you but that is her loss if she doesn’t stay. You deserve to be treated like a one and only because he is no longer here. If she can’t do that for you, then move on. I know someone is out there who is perfect for you and who will appreciate and value you for YOU!
sam October 10, 2020 at 3:54 pm
Hi Bella, sorry to read your experience. It is a tough situation for sure. I was in a similar situation and realized that my heart (which was telling me to stay) was more of a codependent bond and I was taking on emotional responsibility for the widower and the situation. My widower said all the things I wanted to hear but then his actions showed me that he wasn’t ready to move forward with me. Always go with behaviors and what they show you… never what they tell you. Every situation is unique, but in my case I realized I did not want to be second best for who knows how many years. No one deserves that and any widow/widower who is treating someone like that should not be dating anyone. It’s totally unfair to the person who has to date them.
Jessica February 4, 2020 at 11:55 am
I have been dating a widower for almost 3 years. His wife passed 4 years ago. She was the love of his life. I am not bothered when he or his grown children talk about her. After all they spent 35+ years together. He has a few pictures of her around his home but not an excessive amount.
He has told me he loves me but is not in-love with me. He describes how he felt when he fell in love with her…in his mid 20s…how he had to be where she was, had to breathe the same air. We’ve talked about the passion of youth and that there are different kinds of love. He has prayed to feel more but it’s not there. I’ve told him that his love for her was special and if he thinks he can have that same love again then it was not unique. He understood that.
I’m just confused and a little hurt. We’ve been spending holidays together with his children and even with her family. They’ve all been welcoming and have told me personally they want us to be together. His children think he’s just scared and to give him time.
We also go to church together almost every Sunday. Have taken road trips together but our relationship has recently evolved into a mostly platonic one because he believes premarital sex is sinful.
He also is preoccupied of our age difference. I am 10 years younger. Although he is older he physically is very fit and has no health issues.
I’m sorry for rambling but my thoughts are so jumbled up.
I’m thinking I should back off and let him process things….or should I just give up?
Rita Allen January 10, 2020 at 10:49 pm
One year ago I began dating a man who had been married for 40 years his wife passed 10 years ago. Everything was going good for about three or four months until his 42-year-old daughter left her husband ,who was beating her and moved in with her three-year-old son. We have no private time together, he drives her everywhere she desires, he’s retired, I’m 10 years younger than him so I’m still working full-time, his daughter receives in child-support /alimony more than I earn every month yet she lives with him pays no bills he takes her to eat, buys things for her (alcohol.. cigarettes)she is always sad, and tells him how broke she is. I feel like I’m being pushed to the side. I’m fine with all of his deceased wife’s photos being all over the house, however all of her clothes are still in the closets he won’t allow any of the decorations or furniture or furnishings to be moved. I truly care about this man I feel I am third and fourth in the relationship being behind the deceased wife which is OK but I’m playing second fiddle to the daughter and the grandson.Is this worth staying in or are we both going to end up hurt?
Tara June 28, 2021 at 10:46 am
I have been dating a recently divorced man for about two months. We got serious pretty fast and his exwife died last night from COVID complications. He has two teenagers and a 3 year old. He posted on Facebook that nobody knew his ex wife like he did among other things about their relationship. I am really confused and don’t know how I feel. I am a single mother myself and not sure if I’m ready to become a full time stepparent. However I care about him deeply. Just not sure when and how to approach the subject.
Ann January 4, 2020 at 12:36 pm
I am 68 and was divorced 34 years ago….heartbroken and no other man in my life till this past year. I was familiar with this widower (and late wife) only as an observer some 14 years ago. His wife passed 2.5 years ago and shortly after he began to come to dances mostly attended by seniors. Over the past year and some months, I grew to have ” this crush” on him as we more frequently danced together. He spoke of his wife and how he wasn’t sure if he could ever love anyone again- that she was the love of his life and misses her so much. This past September, after me being the recipient of some nice comments from him, he asked if I would like to go out to another dance on the weekend, saying he found me to be very attractive and wanted to get to know me more. My heart was about to burst…..my dream was coming to fruition……on our first outing (picking me up- dancing and then dinner) he said he wanted to make it very clear that he expected nothing in return if we go out and he pays my way/buys dinner…etc. That he is not into wanting friends with benefits and that he wants to keep things upfront and that he feels honesty is the best way. With that he also said that he does see other women…again friends without benefits. …… But his compliments continued and he would say numerous times how much he enjoyed dancing with me…being with me…and that I was so easy to be with…etc….confusion began with me as I see holding hands, arm around me between dances and eventually more than a peck of kissing as more of a benefit than he….he explained his fondness for this other friend of 2 years who has been very supportive of his loss and that they see each other two nights a week. They hold hands and cuddle watching TV and movies…and a kiss goodnight. He is fond of her and thankful for her because of how she was there for him but not fond of her as in a romantic relationship way. She has wanted a relationship with him however….and she knows he sees other women. I think she is patiently waiting that things will change (as so often women will do even in a so called platonic relationship without benefits). Now there is also a third woman….another friend without benefits as she said. Maybe so at this point, but she may just be secretly buying time and hoping things will change. …..Long story short, we went a little further ….and with each attempt to perform, he would over think and then distance himself….hot – cold…then hot cold….making rules then trying to break the rules…I said I didn’t want to just be a sex toy. This took him way back into how selfish he was being and that he realized he was trying to use me…and he doesn’t use a friend. Now it has come to him asking me if we can’t just go back to being friends as we were before our first lengthy kiss..that it would have been best for us to wait. He still sees that holding hands and arms around the other as a none issue. He always wants to be my friend and wants me in his life….does not want to hurt me and regrets how he has handled things. I told him of my feelings and crush on him of months long before…..”how do I still dance with you and look at you in a different way when my heart says something else….how do I still hold hands with you when it would remain a hopeful sign in my heart”…… He says he will truly understand if I decide to not see him anymore ( in a friend ship)… that it is up to me. I have cried and cried…..and feel such a loss for someone I was falling in love with …..and of course, with the holidays, I am sure he was still grieving too…..and I think as I experienced the loss of my mother and family home in the past 14 months, the tears of that loss are here too….and multiplied by yet another loss.
I don’t always know when to quit…to back away…….do I try to go back to square one for awhile with it being said there will be no hand holding or cuddles of any kind….and not even a peck of a kiss at the end of the night? …….so much in need of guidance and advice here.
Anne-Marie September 17, 2020 at 6:38 pm
He’s playing you for a fool, Ann. I know it’s hard to read, but he knows you will always be there, to hear his words; when it’s his actions that are what you TRULY need to pay attention to. Don’t just back away… run away screaming.
Alice A December 28, 2019 at 3:42 pm
Hi guys, I’ve read this thread with much interest having been in a relationship with a man who lost his previous partner quite suddenly just over a year ago. I was hoping to get some advice on my current situation and would appreciate any input you can offer. We are in our 30s and met around 4 months ago. He was exceptionally keen from the beginning and said whilst he had been through some tough times, he was feeling really good and wanted to move on with his life. I was the first person he had dated since his partner passed away. We text and spoke for several weeks, went on some amazing dates and got on so well. I was quite cautious in the beginning as I didn’t want to get hurt having come out of a long term relationship myself. He actually called me out on this saying he didn’t think I was as keen as him, (although I was) so I let my guard down and becaumenemotionally invested. I didn’t push him to tell me about his partner because he didn’t volunteer anything and I wanted him to do this in his own time, so I only know a few details. I really wish I had asked him sooner.
After the relationship became more physical, I felt him step back a bit. He has always been a bit closed in the sense that things seem to have to get to an extreme point before he will talk about his feelings. I gave him several opportunities to say if the relationship was too soon for him as I didn’t want him to feel that he had to continue it so as not to hurt my feelings and he said not, just that he had the occasional sad day and was finding it tough to open up but things still continued, albeit with me feeling more cautious as I felt that he may be struggling with his feelings more than he said. We continued to have a nice time etc but there were times where he went quiet for a day or so then came back with excuses about work etc though Im pretty sure he was struggling with his feelings. In early December he said that he was struggling with the thought of the holiday period as it brought back too many memories and he was having feelings of guilt at being in a relationship. At this point he sent a very sweet message saying that he didn’t want our relationship to end but that he couldn’t forget about her over the holidays, was really struggling with his emotions and didn’t want to hurt me . I told him I didn’t want it to end either and I still don’t but I have now not heard from him for 3 weeks. I decided to give him some space him after initially sending a few messages saying I was thinking of him and hoped he was ok.
I’d really appreciate some advice on what to do here. My instinct is to leave him alone and let him come back when he is ready. I don’t want to push him to talk to me if he is feeling guilty about having contact with me but also there’s no guarantee this will ever happen. I would feel horrible if this was left with no closure and consequently I feel quite a lot of resentment currently. I would never use this against him as I know he probably doesn’t have the capacity to consider other people’s feelings at the moment. I also don’t want him to associate me with this period of grieving if there is to be any chance of our relationship continuing. All I want to do is hug him and tell him I really miss him and that I’m here for him if he wants me to be. I really wish I had asked him more about his situation early on but having never been in this situation before I wanted to let it happen when he was ready. Im also conscious that despite what he is saying he may just not be ready for a relationship and he didn’t know how he would feeling being with someone new until he tried, but me being that person makes me feel awful though I know its not a reflection on me personally. Although that thought makes me incredibly sad, if it is the case I will have to accept it and move on, again difficult when there’s no communication from him.
Thanks so much for reading xAx
Ann January 4, 2020 at 1:45 pm
So similar although our ages are much further apart. I just posted on my situation….and I am in waiting mode – thinking mode and crying mode as to whether or not I can try to go back to the initial simple steps in our relationship….still dance and avoid how he might look at me…and me avoiding the look on his face as his eyes smile and light up. It is so hard after all of these years of not being with anyone….and now especially someone I felt I was nearly in love with….cautiously and carefully approaching. I hope yours comes around and gets back to you soon. Best wishes.
Micki December 25, 2019 at 10:01 pm
I am living with a widower who is 9 years my senior. His wife passed away three and a half years ago after a lengthy cancer battle. When I met him he had a wedding ring on and the house was left with all of her things neatly in place. In fact, in their vacation home all of her things that were left there as well. After we dated for a bit, maybe a month, he took off the wedding band and began to remove some of the photos. I expressed that so many made me feel uncomfortable. I stated that one photo in the home out for everyone to see would be fine with me. However, more than that and I would be uncomfortable. He removed some, but has left some in his office and that bothers me. I guess if he had placed photos of us there too, it wouldn’t bother me so much. He has been charming, graceful and I m in love with him. However, my issue is this, his deceased wife’s daughter. When my love met his wife and when they were married, her daughter was already married. My love did not raise this woman. I do understand that through his grief she and her children were there to help him at times. They grieved together. My issue is that they are always texting and talking daily, sometimes hourly. Its constant. He shares funny things with her that he has shared with me. I just don’t feel like we have our own “place.” This woman has a real father, a step father, an x husband and a fiancée that she can call for help, but usually she calls my love. When she sees him she gets her body right next to him to hug him. In fact, I feel that she has sexually manipulated him. I have told him that I am VERY uncomfortable with their relationship and this this woman needs to back off and that he needs to respect me. He says that he feels like she is his daughter. Still I could see that point if he raised her. He did not. He has a home in Florida that his deceased wife bought before she died and the daughter used to bring it up regularly that the house belonged to her mother and that her mother wished she and her brother get the house. I feel like she just want stuff even though they both received a pretty good chunk of money as an inheritance when their mother died. When I cleaned out both homes (in the beginning my love ad I did this together the first time), I was very respectful and handled everything with care and love. I cried so many times having to clear out someone’s life in two homes, but I knew if I could help him remove some of the items, it would help him to ease the pain of grief. I gave all the items to the daughter. However, she still cries about the house and stated to me that my love IS he children’s grandfather. I am having a very difficult time accepting them as his grandfather and her as his daughter. I have been working so hard o this, but she doesn’t include me much in anything and doesn’t make the effort to get to know me or spend time with me. But in order to make things better I told him that I would try to be a part of this. However, things are not good. I explained to him the way to make me feel more a part of this would be to include me in conversations. They included me in a text between the three of us but they are still talking with each other on the side and I am very uncomfortable with it. The group text is fake and full of just nothing real. In fact, when they come I just don’t feel genuineness from them. They just tolerate me. The oldest daughter of this woman is very fake with me. In front of my love she jumps all over him and kisses him 100 times and then looks back at me to see if I am looking. I just smile. But it sickens me. When I saw that they were texting again jut the two of them, I told him that I’m done. I’m moving out. Something doesn’t feel or look right. I love him with all of my heart, but I just cannot take this relationship with the deceased woman’s daughter and her children. Someone, anyone have any advice???/
John Allen Parker December 22, 2019 at 12:08 am
I miss her so much is all
Tim December 13, 2019 at 3:42 pm
I’m someone younger than the widow im dating. She has been a widow for a very short period of time and he passed during them being seperated. I was actually seeing her during the separation and subsequent passing.
I love her and want to make this work but she’s having conflicting emotions about me and the ex. I know i probably need to give her distance but when she wants to see me i get excited for a chance to see her. She really is wonderful and i feel i want to build more with her.
Diane December 2, 2019 at 9:31 pm
I started seen a widower almost 6 months ago, at the time he was widowed for 10 months. Very young widower 32y/o and I am divorced 389y/o. On the anniversary of her death he asked for some space which I gave him and let him contact me when he was ready. After this short period of time (5 days), he said he wasn’t ready for anything serious but would be intrested in a friends with benefits situation. I agreed to it because honestly I was having the most fun I have had in years with him. He spoke once in a while of his wife, there were a few pictures in their house, which does not bother me at all. He would say and do things that lead me to believe as well as some close friends who knew if the situation, that he does like me but is afraid of what others would say or that he felt guilty. We celebrated my birthday which was the beginning of November together it was really nice. Then about a week and a 1/2 later He said and he is in a funk because of the holidays, and it had nothing to do with, but he didnt want to hurt me. I know Thanksgiving was their favorite holiday. Before this we would text almost everyday, now he only text me when I text him which was only 2 times. I like him a lot even though I am not supposed to, and I keep getting theses signs that make me think if him. So my question is has this happened to any of you widow/widower and/or significant others of, do you think he just needs some space to get through the holidays? Should I tell him how I feel?
Been There, Done That December 3, 2019 at 3:14 pm
He’s not ready. Both his words and his actions are telling you this. Guys who are ready for you and who want you and know this will pursue you to the ends of the earth. They are not conflicted. They are not blowing hot and cold. They are sure, and they make sure that you are sure. This guy? He may be fantastic. He may be a prince. But his timing is not on your side. So… date others and keep dating him if you want, but you’re hitting on a rebound spot in his mind, where you will forevermore be associated with this step in his grieving, and long-term prospects with him are not strong. But if you like him, date him, realizing that the fun boomeranging with his need for space are telling you the same thing — this is not the guy for the long term, and he’s not going to become ready at some point in time.
T December 2, 2019 at 1:51 pm
I am dating a widow who is 16 months into the process after losing her husband. We met nine months after her losing her husband. During the first few months there’s no question that she felt a great deal of guilt about the idea of feeling happy again. We enjoyed our time together and during that time however during the first few months we broke things off a couple times. Was it too early? Was she just trying to fill a void? Could she actually feel this way about another person after loving someone so deeply? She struggled a great deal trying to sort through the feelings.
I became very attached to her and she struggled with not only my feelings but also her own regarding me. It really was difficult for her as she thought primarily about how this would affect her kids who were adults. The last thing she wanted to do was hurt the children as they have already gone through so much. She also had fears about putting herself out there again with the idea that she could be hurt again by someone having health concerns and dying also. Sometimes it’s easier to feel numb opposed to feeling a great deal and being vulnerable to being hurt through loss again.
We had gotten to a point where it was either we were going to acknowledge the feelings or move on without each other. After a break for weeks she came back to me and said she wanted to work on things. The key thing though for me was that somehow blending needed to take place in an appropriate time frame. She was always feeling like she was living two separate lives. One that she was enjoying and trying to move forward in her life and a second one of a grieving wife and mother. She cared a great deal about how people felt regarding all of this. Family, kids, and even friends. When is the timing right to start dating? Why worry about what others are saying? She was a caregiver for many years for a husband that was older than she was. In a way grieving had started prior to his death to a degree. She had a great deal of loss in her life including a parent in the middle of all of this taking place. So she has had mixed support regarding the idea of dating. A few comments they have been questionable from friends, and even family. To a degree I understand but the fact of the matter is that no one really knows when the timing is right and it’s not going to be right for everyone at the same time. Everyone looks at it differently so ultimately it’s up to the person who’s actually the widow or widower.
So here we are just passing a major holiday with Thanksgiving and it felt like emotions were unbelievably high. Because of the challenge with blending we were not able to spend it together out of respect for one of the kids. Again these kids are all adults but one is struggling with accepting the fact that she is dating again. So we spent it apart and got back together last night and there was an extreme amount of emotion going on. It is really hard to gauge what is going on in the mind of a widow and having that feeling as though you’re competing against a ghost. I have dated women that have gone through divorces and dealing with those types of issues however dealing with loss is completely different. It takes a very unique individual to navigate through the various challenges that can be presented. One of them is if your partner is not great at communicating what is going on in their mind during their grieving. I tend to be the type of person that will talk through any issue which may be unusual for men.
I’m just hoping as time passes that with continued support and encouragement to talk through things that those issues will get better.
Karen December 4, 2019 at 7:46 pm
wow. You’re story is so vey similar to mine. I can relate to so many of the questions you ask yourself. Logically I know it’s not a competition, and I do know my boyfriend cares deeply for me. His wife passed one year ago today. We met online when (unbenownst to me) a month after her passing. His father had lived in their home and passed 5 months before his wife, and he was a caretaker to the both along with family and hospice. When I found out how soon after it was I said we should just be friends. I dated and we did become closer. He was the confidant and companion I needed at that time, and I was the same for him. Looking on his FB I would become insecure. I don’t mind pictures of her, but of the two of them together it makes me ill, its as if Im looking at someone cheating on ME. What can I ask and not ask about pictures? How could he ever love me as much as he loved her.? Will every holiday be like this now? Every birthday, anniversary, deathiversary? Her birthday is in the same month as mine. When everyone said they will be together in heaven someday, I think what will happen to me if we have a future? Today people are reaching out and sending him notes saying they are thinking of him and missing her, knew Christmas was her favorite time of year…Christmas is my favorite time of year also, as Im sure it is for many. She and I had similar music tastes as well. So I miss out with having him because of a ghost? And then I hate myself for feeling it and thinking it. Then I hear that she wasn’t nice to him, very entitled and bossy and ungrateful. I think she even cheated. He was SO GOOD to her. Her own family and friends have said this. Yet the pictures and his grief tell a different story. Im sure she did love him, but pretty sure she didn’t appreciate how thoughtful and selfless and giving he is. How do I navigate these feelings of ‘less than’ How do you love and allow yourself to be loved when you feel like the back up plan because their first choice died. He has a tattoo on his chest of her face from when he was deployed way back in 2003. I have gotten to the point where I ask him to keep his shirt on during intimate times because I can’t look at her face. I feel selfish. He has said he understands and isn’t mad that I feel that way. He is not a man who freely discusses his feelings. I am a therapist so it’s not just my job , but also in my nature to discuss feelings, as well as I am an affectionate and empathetic person by nature. I guess Im venting to you but also know based on your post you’ve struggled with similar emotions and wondering if you have any words of advice to help me. He treats me like gold, we have the same sense of humor, same love and level of affection, thoughtful, and for each time I think he will come back with the answer of’ maybe you’re right Karen maybe I need time … he will come back with… you are not a replacement, it is not a competition, and I love you and you don’t need to worry. all the amazing reassuring things I need. So what in the heck is my problem! Thank you
Lorna Wilson April 8, 2020 at 4:00 pm
I have to say alot of your story is also mine. I date a widower who lost his wife also three years ago. he and I have been together for two years plus. We have done everything together, we live together, bought a house together and I always have embraced his wife as part of us because it is part of him. Here’s the painful part. … He had a massive heart attack and was saved by the doctors in our emergency department. He is recovering well and will make a full recovery. He said to me yesterday that it’s a good thing he didn’t see his wife when you basically died because he may not have come back. My heart broke. I have had very little insecurity, jealous or whatever that is called. I have always believed we were brought together to live our lives together and we are a great couple. She was the love of his life. I know that. I am reeling right now and am preparing for him to be released tomorrow from the hospital. I know I need perspective and I am trying to find it. Thoughts?
jacy ridell January 7, 2020 at 4:12 pm
I am in my early 70’s, and lost my husband in 2016. I am dating and love dance clubs . The best thing for me was to join an active widows club, some are national, in your community also, and I had done thing with them and meet people there. I keep up my fitness. Some people meet at widows clubs. I do light body building and have spa days often, even at the local beauty school and am dating a man 12 yrs. young . We have wonderful communication skills , outdoor skills, dance events, and we love doing things in groups. We will start disaster relief teams and go around the country for service.
I like all military men and have found another. I do not know if I will marry again but , to share, widows clubs, not grief medical center groups have helped be. Both are important, for me, I wanted to be active. You can choose to be as young or old as you want to be.
James Carbajal December 1, 2019 at 5:43 pm
My Beautiful and giving wife and friend, Nancy passed away last Dec 3rd 2018, right after Thanksgiving and before Christmas, as these holidays hold no bearing to me any longer, I understand that as humans, we are here for a short time and then we leave, it is the nature of things, however I believe that the end of human existence is only one part of the journey that we are all on, and that maybe physically I am unable to see her, I can still hear her calling my name, JIm-Jim-Jim LOL, I love her more then anything on this planet and beyond, more then my own existence, therefore I have made a conscious decision to stay married to My Lovely Bride, as nothing has changed, only the physicality is different, I will be with her one day, I know that! I can hardly wait, but until then we will remain a married couple, and we will live on here and there, wherever it may be? for all Eternity!!!!!I Love You Mrs Nancy Lee Weiss Carbajal.
Dave November 24, 2019 at 1:56 am
A lot to digest here. I know I’m not alone. My best to all, believe me. I’m currently almost 60, and a widower since 2004, My first and only wife passed away in 2004. at 44. from a heat malady. Unexpected. Gone. That morning. 15 years of bliss. Done. It’s been a roller-coaster since, these last almost 16 years, “I know what I had, I know what I like, and I won’t settle for less.” It’s not fair to someone new, or me. It is up to my God if it is to happen again someday..
Roz November 19, 2019 at 1:34 am
I have just been reading all of the posts and cannot find anything that quite fits my situation. I am a 59 year old widow of 7 years, I was a caregiver for my husband for 5 years and then 18 months later became the caregiver for my mother until the her death along with my stepfather (a month apart) early 2015. During this process my relationship with my youngest brother was severed due to family matters. (I only mention this because it was a lot of loss for me in a few years) I was actually lucky to spend the last 4 months of my husband’s life at home spending treasured moments together. My husband and I were together for 12 years but had been friends since we were 16, coming in and out of each others lives until we married. I had a 7 year old son who grew to love and adore my husband, which helped us become a bonded family. My husband had other children but they were not a huge part of our lives but we all got along. Many complications through our relationship like many marriages but we worked through them . Before my husband’s passing he told me that I was too young to be alone and I should find someone to be with. I started dating a friend a year after I lost my husband. My son was upset at first because he didn’t think I had enough grieving time, when really he was the one struggling. Please understand I loved my husband but I had been grieving the loss of him over the 5 years I took care of him. I still miss him as I do my parents and occasionally I have breakdowns of tears, sadness just wish I could talk to him. This man that I have been dating for 6 years struggles with my sadness, my memories, etc about my husband so I have tried to keep my feeling about that hidden until this last month. I have had this overwhelming feeling of anxiety, anger, etc that I couldn’t explain. I was dreaming about my husband, having conversations with him and just missing our closeness (friendship) Then I realized that I was keeping all of this to myself and I felt like I was keeping something from my boyfriend….so I started crying one night and just told him that I was missing my husband and I hated keeping it all bottled up. Of course, he was upset because he feels like if I am feeling like that, I can’t possibly love him as much as he loves me, I am the love of his life. I do love him and I have never made a comparison of them or my love for either. My boyfriend has never lost anyone close to him and I try to explain to him that until he does, I don’t know if he can understand my grief and what it means……..It has no bearing on how I feel about him. He doesn’t think his feelings matter and that I need to put myself in his shoes and I have tried but I don’t know how. Our relationship is on extremely rocky ground right now. I don’t want to give up all these years of building this relationship but I don’t know if I can help him to understand…..or I’m just selfish. I do know that after telling him, even with all of the consequences, I felt relieved. Maybe that is selfish but it wasn’t meant to hurt him, I just needed to talk about it and I want my boyfriend to be able to be not only my partner, but my lover and my FRIEND.
Marcus Shupp November 16, 2019 at 9:06 am
I’m a Military man who has been a widow for over 7 years and I think its time to move on and find someone special..
Feel free to send me a message and we exchange pictures and maybe someday coffee..
shaved an handsome.
Dell November 29, 2019 at 10:21 pm
I trust you will find happiness in love again.
Please respond if you wish.
Single in NC
Jane November 4, 2019 at 6:12 pm
Dating a widower
Brenda October 27, 2019 at 6:39 pm
I dated a widower for two and a half months this past summer. It was a very sudden and unexpected relationship. I knew who he was and actually taught one of his sons about 15 years ago (he is 24 now). We had a wonderful couple of months together and got to know each other very well. Our communication was excellent. It was a very passionate, healhty, and respectful relationship. He spoke often about his late wife (whom I knew earlier as the teacher of her child) and I was very open about my children. We both agreed that our children come first and that if any issues should arrise with our children (i.e. they could not deal with our relationship) then that might be the only issue. I shared with him early on my anxiety about me having young children (8 and 11) and his being older (22 and 24). He told me not to lose sleep over it and encouraged me to relax about the issue. After letting my guard down and allowing the relationship to proceed, he ended up breaking things off because his boys started to get him thinking about the fact that I have young boys. He is a little older than me and moving into retirement mode a little sooner than I would be as well. He broke it off because he wasn’t sure about being stepdad to two young boys. He said maybe he would feel differently in a month but he did not want to lead me on and hurt me. I know he is very genuine and I respect his decision. However, we really connected and cared for each other. I didn’t realize how deeply I felt about him until after we split. We ended up seeing and being with each other a few times in the six weeks following the break-up and found it difficult to be apart. He kept saying he is trying to figure things out. He told me he “really, really likes me” , that is so difficult to part, and that we really do connect. The most difficult part is when I recall his words “If it were just you, there would be no question”. These words weren’t meant to hurt, but they sting. The break-up occured exactly one month before the first year anniversary of his wife’s passing. She had a terrible battle with cancer. I am lost. I am trying to accept this. I think maybe the whole relationship was too soon for him. We haven’t seen each other in six weeks now as we have finally, successfully stopped seeing each other. Any words of wisdom would be appreciated. How do I read him? Was it too soon?
wyatt October 28, 2019 at 4:05 pm
There are so many things I can relate to with your experience. I love(d) this woman widow more than anyone I have ever been in relationship with. We lasted about a year and it was amazing, but I am not anything like her departed husband (from 2 years ago) if that really matters as I was not trying to be a replacement for him.
One of her children couldn’t accept me and maybe a friend or two, but now she is trying to figure herself out. She also told me if it were just her and I things would be different. Needless to say there is much heartbreak from my side and possibly hers as well.
All you can probably really do is to let him be, wish him well and know if it is not him there will be someone come into your life and you will see why things worked out the way they have.
I wish you the best!
BRENDAOCTOBER 27, 2019 AT 6:39 PMREPLY
I dated a widower for two and a half months this past summer. It was a very sudden and unexpected relationship. I knew who he was and actually taught one of his sons about 15 years ago (he is 24 now). We had a wonderful couple of months together and got to know each other very well. Our communication was excellent. It was a very passionate, healhty, and respectful relationship. He spoke often about his late wife (whom I knew earlier as the teacher of her child) and I was very open about my children. We both agreed that our children come first and that if any issues should arrise with our children (i.e. they could not deal with our relationship) then that might be the only issue. I shared with him early on my anxiety about me having young children (8 and 11) and his being older (22 and 24). He told me not to lose sleep over it and encouraged me to relax about the issue. After letting my guard down and allowing the relationship to proceed, he ended up breaking things off because his boys started to get him thinking about the fact that I have young boys. He is a little older than me and moving into retirement mode a little sooner than I would be as well. He broke it off because he wasn’t sure about being stepdad to two young boys. He said maybe he would feel differently in a month but he did not want to lead me on and hurt me. I know he is very genuine and I respect his decision. However, we really connected and cared for each other. I didn’t realize how deeply I felt about him until after we split. We ended up seeing and being with each other a few times in the six weeks following the break-up and found it difficult to be apart. He kept saying he is trying to figure things out. He told me he “really, really likes me” , that is so difficult to part, and that we really do connect. The most difficult part is when I recall his words “If it were just you, there would be no question”. These words weren’t meant to hurt, but they sting. The break-up occured exactly one month before the first year anniversary of his wife’s passing. She had a terrible battle with cancer. I am lost. I am trying to accept this. I think maybe the whole relationship was too soon for him. We haven’t seen each other in six weeks now as we have finally, successfully stopped seeing each other. Any words of wisdom would be appreciated. How do I read him? Was it too soon?
Sarah Sengupta November 2, 2019 at 1:07 pm
I’m very sad with you for your break up. As hard as it is though, maybe it is the best for all of you. I am married to a previous widower with “medium” children now. I’ll say as much as I love and appreciate my husband, there are so many things that I was unprepared for emotionally in this role that you really have no idea about until you’re in it for awhile. Wishing you many blessings and peace and that you find “your” partner. You will find your partner on the path doing the things you love.
LaChelle October 18, 2019 at 9:22 pm
Seeking advice. I’m dating a widower. He’s 17 years older than I am. He has no children as his late wife was 16 years older than him. I thought he had gone through the grieving process as her death was not sudden. It was a long battle with cancer. When he talked about it he made it seem like he had already grieved and he’s even had another girlfriend between his wife dying and us getting together, but here’s where it gets messy; his wife hasn’t been dead a year yet. We’re coming up on her deathiversary in a couple weeks and he is falling apart, but refuses to talk about anything he’s suffering through despite me gently reminding him I’m here for him and encouraging him to talk to someone even if it is t me.
Recently I’ve come to the realization that I know next to nothing about his wife or how their relationship was. He always wanted children, but she was unable to have any and that pains him a great deal and the fact that I have three kids myself scares him because he gets attached to kids very easily and it would kill him if he met mine and we broke up. To be honest I don’t even know if he’s actually upset over the loss of his wife or if he’s mourning the loss of his life (the life he envisioned for himself, but never came to pass). Would it be wise to ask him to tell me about her? About them?
I don’t know how to help him, but I want to so badly.
Emma Windsor October 14, 2019 at 4:59 pm
I have met a widower and he and I, share that we have both gone through a devastating loss. It is a very new relationship, and one of the things that we have in common is that we know how grief affected the person left behind. We, funnily enough, get each other’s new normal. It is a relief to be able just to be yourself and to have open and honest frank conversations about the depths of grief and how we do our best to live a life as best as we can without our partner or child.
I am hopeful, its been nearly five years for the both of us and I think that we will are about to embark on something exceptional. Neither one of us will ever replace the family member we lost, but we can help each other find happiness in caring and committed way. I never thought I would be dating a widower, and I am sure he was not planning on meeting someone who had lost a child within the same period of loss.
Only time will tell if we can find a happy ever after, following such loss and tragedy in our lives. I will keep you all posted as to how we get on. One thing I will say to each individual who has experienced loss, and to those dating someone has suffered a loss. Life is too short, and we have to try our best to find happiness and contentment in our lives.
Stella October 14, 2019 at 7:44 am
Please help, my best friend died of cancer two years back. Five months down the road, her husband called me and said he wanted to meet and talk to me. I accepted to meet him knowing very well that he needed some councilling on how I was able to cope with my son’s death because my son also died of cancer. We met and after long conversation pertaining our experiences on our beloved ones, he changed the story and told me he wanted to fall in love with me ( infact to marry me). I was so shocked. My questions to him were. Is that why you called me?, What will the people say and what will be the children’s attitude towards our union? Won’t they think we have been cheating even when the mother was still alive? Is it not too early for you to begin thinking of remarrying?
He said he would give it time. Two years down the road, I thought the man had already forgotten and moved on with his life but the man is back to me and very serious in a relationship. He tells me that there is no other person that he knows very well other than me. I have been a very good friend to his wife and even their children give me respect. I have been with them through thin and thick. However, I came to know him through his wife because she was my best friend then she introduced me to the family.
This man has never ask for love from me when the wife was still alive.
I am a single mother of a daughter aged 25 years. I am even scared of what my daughter’s attitude will look like if I go a head and marry this man.
I feel I am used to my own life and very comfortable with it but the man does not want to give me space. I also feel I will be betraying my friend though she is gone. What do I do?.
Kelly October 4, 2019 at 2:53 pm
I am a widow dating a widower. We both have children, and I am a year ahead in my loss then him. Everything always seems to be in such a good place, but I find that he and his children grieve differently then my children and I. This is not really an issue, everyone grieves differently. My problem is that we have been together for over ten months and he still wears a cross with his wife’s ashes on a necklace. He states this is out of respect for his wife, but I honestly feel hurt that to me it voids the “respect” to me.
Just wanted to hear others thoughts on this.
Mike October 3, 2019 at 10:40 pm
I am a widower, my wife died 5 months ago. I spent 1 month in seclusion and mourned her passing. We were married for 36 years and had two children, and two grandchildren. Life was great until she got sick and died. I loved her very much and treated her like a queen.
I have since met and am dating a widow who lost her husband 6-1/2 years ago. She kept busy after her husband died and it sounds like she did not grieve. She had a series of relationships that did not last.
Now I am the only boyfriend that has lasted for over a month. She has taken me to meet her daughter and 3 grandchildren locally. Then she is taking me out of town to meet her son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren.
I love this woman, but I am not sure she loves me as much as I love her.
We are leaving in a few days time to meet her son and his family.
The meeting with her daughter and her family went very well. Now. I’m concerned what her son will react to me.
I don’t want to loose this relationship over her problems associated with meeting her family.
Kevin Watters October 12, 2019 at 8:35 am
Mike its too early for you to be dating. sure, people are different and we grieve differently. But 5 months after your wife died is too soon, even if you spent 1 whole month in secluded mourning. I’ve done a lot of grief reading and going through GriefShare for the 3rd time in the last 14 months since losing my wife and have learned that you cant rush through grieving – period. If you deeply loved your wife you CANNOT have dealt with losing your her this soon. One of the big things widow(er)s are warned against is starting new romantic relationships too soon. Its very tempting because we have a big empty spot in our life where our spouse used to be. We sooo much want that void filled again! As you observed in the woman you’re dating, she may not have finished grieving if she “kept too busy”. Starting another relationship this soon is also “keeping too busy”.
Laura October 3, 2019 at 4:54 pm
DO NOT DATE A WIDOWER! I dated a widower for over 8 years living together for 7. From day one his adult children made it difficult. I have not had 1 birthday or xmas card nor been permitted to meet his 3 grandchildren. I was treated like filth while my family welcomed him with open arms. To cut a long story short his life was made so difficult seeing grandchildren etc that he left me. I am in utter devestation and feel so used. Perhaps I was a band aid for 8 years. Don’t do it. His children are 41 , 38 and 31 and couldn’t find a space in their heads for me let alone their heart. Sad thing is we shared everything and loved each other s much but evidently I was nothing compared to the ghost!! DONT DO IT!!
Irene October 25, 2020 at 8:08 pm
Hi Laura. That is tough. I have been asked out by a widower 6 weeks ago. As we live in a small town, I had come into contact with his late wife through working in this town & had always thought of her as a fun, outgoing person. She sadly got cancer & died befor xmas 2018. This man had been with his late wife 44 years & he told me they were very happily married. I remember thinking when she passed that he must be a good guy, because I’d always thought that she was a lovely person. I agreed to go out for dinner with this man when he asked me 6 weeks ago & I gave him my phone number. The going out to dinner became my going to his place & him coming to mine. I understand him not wanting to be seen out with me, (not that I mentioned it to him), cos of the fact we do live in a small town. Anyhow, until we know if it is going somewhere, it is the sensible thing to do. He did tell 2 of his daughters & a son that he’d had dinner with me a couple of times & one night I was at his place when a daughter rang & he mentioned that I was here with him. Then one day after saying we’d probably catch up at his place later, he rang to say his 2 daughters were calling in, so it’d be better if we caught up the next day. I was fine with that & carried on with my day, until he rang me back & said he had changed his mind. If I would like to come over as originally planned & if I’m there when his daughter’s call in, then I’ll get to meet them. When I arrived, I had missed one daughter by 15 minutes & the other daughter had chickened out, as her dad put it. I was okay about not meeting them. Probably relieved, as I believe I’m the 1st woman their dad has taken any interest in since their mother passed nearly 2 years ago. I feel it is a big responsibility meeting someone whose love died. Afterall this man is honest when he said if his wife was still alive, I would not be sitting in his lounge. Within a month this man mentioned feeling like he was betraying his wife & of the guilt he was feeling, as he was beginning to realise he liked my company, as I was acknowledging that I enjoyed his company too. 2 weeks ago, this man rang me to say he did not want to have a relationship with me. He thought he was ready, but he obviously wasn’t, as he spent a sleepless night wrestling with his conflicting feelings. I told him that I thought it was important that he do what he thinks is best for him. I told him that I was sad, cos I did enjoy his company, but as I wasn’t actually looking to get into any relationship at the time he asked me out, I would be still happy for him to stay in touch as friends without any intimacy, eg kisses, as it is nice to talk to someone about ones day. When we 1st had dinner together, he had told me that he’d told his 5 adult children that he didn’t want to be by himself for the rest of his days. He told me he missed coming home & having someone to share details about his day & he missed sharing his life. It must be soo hard to try & pick up the pieces of your life after losing someone who made your life make sense. My story that had me thinking that dating a widower would be preferable is about my meeting guys whose wives have left them for someone else & they are all bitter & twisted about women in general. Yes I consider them the walking wounded. I’ve loved & lost, been divorced & have 2 grown up children, but I’m not walking around thinking all men are in a certain category. I have always tried to love like I’ve never been hurt. Tried to believe that this life’s journey is all about lessons & blessings & our attitude is the main key. I believe that our lives are fated. That those who come into it are there for a reason. When this man & I were spending time together, we talked about his wife quite alot, plus we talked about his children & grandchildren. I believe it helped that I knew something about her. Had my own memories of her. Since he rang to put things on hold, he has further called to say he’s been fishing & would I like some snapper & cod. When he dropped the fish off it was lovely to see his happy face, but he declined to come in for coffee. This weekend he rang asking if I’d like a crayfish, as one of his mates had been diving, which I gratefully accepted & this time he stopped in for a quick coffee. As we have to live in the present, I have no idea what will happen next, but I’d like to believe that If this man & I eventually do have a relationship, then he can have as many photos of his late wife around as he wants. I will not be there to replace her. I will be there to make her man happy, so we will have that in common. I have no idea how his children will be, because everyone grieves individually. I would simply let them know that all I want is to make their dad happy, which surely is their goal too, so again, we would have a common goal. There is a saying that death changes everything, but time changes nothing. I still believe it is preferable to be with a guy who has happy memories of a strong love, than one who has bitter memories of betrayal. I’m happy being on my own, although I’m not quite on my own, as I do have my 20 yr old son still at home, so I do have him to discuss my day with, so I am fortunate to have him still there. For those who may think I’m dreaming, because of your realities with widow s/widowers families, I’ll simply say. I am not responsible for what other people think of me, in fact it’s none of my business. Its none of my concern. The only thing I want to be concerned with is having a good attitude. I came on this site to see what experiences people have had with widows/widowers & their families & lots of people have shared & I have heard so much heartfelt heartache. I’m sorry that some of your experiences weren’t great, many other types of relationships aren’t either though. That’s life! I remember when my son’s 1st relationship broke up 2yrs ago after they’d been together 2 yrs. I remember telling him that I was sorry it wasn’t the one that would last forever, as both of them had no other previous baggage, as this was a 1st relationship for both of them. Sure they had things from how they’d viewed the world so far, but they’d had no lost love, no betrayal in love. Loving someone new when you’re older can have its added components from family & friends all having an opinion, & sometimes distance being a factor, but I do believe it’s possible. Hope you too keep your faith that you deserve the love of a good person. I certainly hope that this man continues to pop into my life. I remain thankful & grateful for the experiences that make up me. I never married to divorce. Who does? Noone starts a relationship, thinking it will end. Best wishes Irene
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Reta Lynch August 29, 2019 at 1:17 pm
Unless you have in fact been in a relationship with a widow or widower you cannot give professional advice.Just like someone not married giving marital advice or someone who doesnt have children giving parenting advice.
Cathy August 22, 2019 at 11:58 am
I have been seeing a widower for about 5 years. His wife has been gone for over 8. He says he loves me, but I still don’t think he is ready. He wants me to move in with him. His son recently was in the hospital. Same hospital his wife died in, and says he gets depressed every time he goes up there. To me, he makes it about him and not anyone else. There are other things that he works the same way. What should I do?
Di September 17, 2019 at 10:02 pm
You arent being understanding enough. Of course the hospital his wife died in will make him depressed everytime he is there. It reminds him of death! The fact that his son was there is making him anxious because it brings up memories of death and how his son might die too. He isnt making it about himself, he is merely expressing how he feels to someone who thought understands him. I feel you are the one not ready to be in a relationship with a widower.
Mimi August 8, 2019 at 11:33 am
My husband of 20 years was murdered in 2016. I found a guy 5 years younger in 2017, he has told me that he won’t marry another man’s wife, just because I often put my husbands photos on my what’s app profile. I have attending hos murder trial, I have been fighting for justice for him, mobilizing his comrades to help me fight . We even made partu regallia bearing his photo since he was a politician. We all planned to wear these on the trial dates. My new boyfriend would stop talking to me. I decided to pull the plug. I’m ok without immature people who will not appreciate your past as a widow
Heather August 6, 2019 at 11:56 am
I’ve been with my boyfriend for 6months. I have a little girl 3who he’s been introduce to. He tells me he loves me and my little girl, however he is planting flowers In the garden for his deceased girlfriend and whenever we argue he says to me (name) was never like this etc and I say I’m not (name)
Nobody will ever live upto (name) in your eyes he says you certainly haven’t she is was amazing! What do I do I love him but feel like I’m in competition with a ghost!! He puts things on social media for my friends and family plus me to see saying never forgotten. I understand he will always love her an have a part of her in his heart however she has a memory page I can’t see so out out respect for me could he not share his feelings on that but still protect mine. Am I being unreasonable?
Miriam Michaels August 25, 2019 at 5:15 pm
I really wish I had someone I could talk to and who could shed some light on this topic. Heather, I have heard the same exact words from my widower and they’re hurtful. Tomorrow is the anniversary of my widowers late wife’s passing, it’s been three years. Right now he’s home, watching tv and crying on and off. As much as I’m sympathetic and patient (on a day to day basis) to the stories, pictures around the house and at his office it’s hurting me that he’s still so emotional after 3 years. Makes me wonder if he needs help to process his grief. This is all new to me and sooo not what I expected, it’s nothing like dating a divorced man.
I do not know how to translate what he’s going through right now and I’m guessing will be going through for thr next few days. We’ve only been dating for 5 months which leaves me wondering if in a healthy relationship or if I’m always going to be “the other women”.
Beth August 3, 2019 at 4:36 pm
I was widowed 2 1/2 yrs ago. Have not dated and after reading these comments I doubt if I ever will. Because I am so lonesome I have been thinking about getting back ‘out there’ but it’s scary to think about having to begin ‘courting’ at this age…60s. It appears widows/widowers are too broken to have normal relationships either because we can’t move on or those we meet can’t accept the baggage we bring with us. I had a great marriage and feel that I could bring so many good things to a relationship but these comments make it seem like a daunting task. I’m not going down that road anytime soon.
D September 12, 2019 at 11:12 am
Not all people are the same. If you think you might want to date again, there is someone out there willing to accept the situation as it is. I am dating a widower, and although I do have many questions on the “right” way to handle some situations, I accept the fact that he loved, and will always love his late wife. For those of us who have never dated a widow(er) this is uncharted territory and those who truly care about the other will be patient and try to understand. In my situation, my father is also a widower and was for many years before I connected with my guy, so I have a little insight, both from watching my dad and having lost someone I care about deeply (my mom). My advice, just be as open and honest as you can manage.
Sarah July 29, 2019 at 1:23 pm
I have been dating a widower for just over a year, and recently my kids and I moved into his home. His late wife passed away 3 months before we turned our work friendship into something more, she had been sick for over a year and he said his grieving had started when she was diagnosed with cancer years ago.
For months I have been dealing with his Mom and some neighbors spreading rumors about me to other family and friends, assuming I am in the relationship for money. These select few have not been happy that he is happy, just didn’t want to get to know me and made false accusations without stopping after he told them to. He always has my back.
Any way, I make my own money and have supported my kids and myself for over 8 years. His Mom and these few nosy neighbors are more concerned that he isn’t spending the money his late wife left than how happy he is, and just assume I am some money leeching person that cant take care of myself and my kids.
He always wanted to travel, camp, and be active and the late wife and him always settled for not doing much. Their relationship was ending before she was diagnosed but being married for over 20 years, they were still best friends and he loved her so he took care of her while she was sick. No-one knows she was cheating on him and was leaving him for another man, and they should never know, I just wish they could leave me alone because it hurts. I would never treat him like that, nor take anything from him. They dont know me, and refuse to get to know me while constantly putting her in a spotlight of being the most amazing person. This has been hard. He asks his Mom to stop, but we get texts and calls from his friends saying she was talking about me and was worried I was taking his money (she lives across the country thank goodness). Its just been such an uphill battle.
On top of all that I am noticing things at the house that still have his late wife name and pics around. Every time I walk through the front door I see a welcome sign that has their last name and first name above the entry outside. Plus her large memorial picture still hangs in the garage. I am having a difficult time feeling like this place is ours because of that. All of her decorations are still up, the kitchen is still filled with the things she picked out. Its been hard not feeling like I live in the shadow of a dead woman. He says to make it “ours” but I feel guilty for wanting to take down the curtains she picked, just because they were theirs and are not ours, things like that. We did get a new couch, and I have brought over a few small things from my place but I cant help but feel I will always feel second place, but shouldn’t. He loves me, and says he does and does so much for me, I almost think these things with her name and pictures that are around he just doesn’t even notice like I do. I feel like a jerk if I were to take them down, or ask him to. Is all of this “normal” being with a widower? Its all so new to me, and has been such an uphill battle, but I truly love him and want us to have an amazing life together.
NanC September 4, 2019 at 11:19 pm
I’ve been dating a widower for 7 months. His wife of 40 years past away only weeks before we met. Many, including his two grown kids, think it’s too soon for him to be in another relationship. But we are making this work because when we are together it feels right. Yes, her photos are up. Yes, he talks about her a lot. Yes, he occasionally shows signs of depression and is overcome with tears of grief.
I’ve got two close friends that both lost their spouses after many years of marriage. Watching them go through “the firsts” I realize he will never “get over” the loss of his deceased wife. But he will in time learn to live with her passing and make room I. His heart for me.
He is a sensitive soul. Going it alone is not in his nature. He needs someone and if not me it would be someone else, maybe someone not so understanding or who is does not feel threatened by his past.
I’ll admit occasionally I have the “what about me” feelings . But keeping communication open and letting him know I do love him and I don’t plan on going anywhere, has helped him tremendously. I’ve seen the changes. He is healing and learning to grieve in a healthy way (no drink, no drugs, no hiding his head in the sand). It’s hard, it’s day by day, but he, we, are worth it.
Shayne Marsiya July 29, 2019 at 1:18 am
I was widowed almost a year ago- at 30 years old- when my husband was killed in a motorcycle accident. My husband was my first love. We were married for 10 years and have two kids. Recently a sweet guy started dating me. I told him I was not ready to commit but he was persistent that he was willing to wait. 5 days later I cut all communication with him, out of fear that I would never learn to love him like I love my late husband. I cried so much because he had been keeping me company and calling me when I felt alone and I missed the feeling of having someone there for me, listening to me, and assuring me he loved me. A day later I unblocked him because I felt like he deserved more explanation and a chance to express how he feels. Then he convinced me to give love a chance and to stop thinking so much. He told me to stop thinking love is so complicated. I tried to give love a chance. One day later I cut off all contact again. This time I am not going back because in this experience I realized that I am definitely not ready to love. I want the companionship but not the feeling that I have to try to convert my mind over to loving someone so different than my husband. Using my heart and trying to love someone right now is like driving a car with no air in the tires. It hurts every moment and it isn’t the fault of the guy trying to love me and it isn’t my fault either. I lost myself when I lost my husband and I am still trying to learn to love me. I think it was too hard for the guy to understand the things that even I can’t understand about myself and what I’m going through. Maybe people who have never gone through this type of grief need some advice on understanding that widows/widowers search for companionship, not serious commitment..
I’d like to hear more experiences and advice from people who are going through or have gone through this at my age. I don’t know if it is, but I feel like somehow it is different than grief for the middle aged and older.
Gwyn noel poblacion October 19, 2019 at 11:54 pm
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JoLynn November 9, 2019 at 2:50 pm
I also lost my husband when I had just turned 32 after 10 years of marriage and two children. It’s been 3 years and I am in a relationship now with an amazing person I’d known when I was in high school. My husband honestly could not of hand picked someone better for me. It’s so hard though. The feelings of guilt and worry and thought of going through that again over shadows the joy quite often. Then it’s hard not to feel guilt of not being able to give my new partner the 100% of me he deserves. I wish you all the beat on your journey, it truly takes a toll on the heart, soul and mind.
Kayla K September 16, 2020 at 12:31 pm
If i got the timing right you lost your husband in Aug or Sep 2018. I became a widow in my mid30s in March 2018. Our son was not yet 2 years old.
[EMAIL REMOVED] is my email for public things like this.
Im in the US. If you want to connect please email me
Spock July 21, 2019 at 12:42 am
Thank you for writing this article and providing an opportunity for discussion in the comments section.
As a four year widower in my late 40’s, I found this article while looking for resources for my SO. There is plenty of content and help available to widowers and widows, and very little resources for partners of w/w.
And, now that I think about it, I’m not looking for resources for my SO, I’m looking for resources for us. She and I cannot be we/us long-term unless we work this together. I firmly believe every relationship requires investment from both parties. Me being a widower isn’t something she needs to come to terms with, it is something we need to work together, to stand strong, to become one.
One thing I learned from my hardest thing ever, is that there is no right way to do anything. There is only the way that feels best and sometimes that is super difficult to determine.
In terms of a relationship after being widowed, our plan is to continue to work with our therapists individually, eventually work with them together and along the way, read articles like this and discuss them together. I’ve collected ~10 articles and none of them are perfect and all of them provide an opportunities for us to learn, grow and be true life partners, IF we work them together.
I wish the best to all of you in our pursuit of love. I found it and I am incredibly grateful.
Helen Barnard July 8, 2019 at 9:55 am
After reading the questions and comments all interring some offensive. Is it any wonder why widows try to date widowers? Our late spouses are not erased from our lives, the same as if you list a child you would not take his/her photo down, in fact you’d make sure some were up! Very annoying and upsetting to think that widows/widowers are going to erase their memories and feelings for a deceased spouse simply because a new dating partner doesn’t get it! Think if it like this? Can you erase halfyour life or more? Stop being insecure and take a look inside yourself if you think a widow/widower ishiukdvtske downnphotis, erase memories erase feelings. Please be sensible
Alisha December 18, 2020 at 11:28 am
I wonder how people were coping with grief before the photography. In past it was norm to lose your wife due to childbirth complications, wars etc and somehow men could go, find another woman i live their lives. Nowadays you have impression that these men are so mentally weak that they would die if the photos or late wife are not displayed on the walls.
Paula July 24, 2021 at 11:23 pm
Really? When your in a new relationship put the memories away. No one is denying it happened but it doesn’t have a place in the new relationship. Do divorcees hang pictures and keep nice naks around because they still love the person? That would go over like a lead balloon! Move on or don’t get involved. Pretty simple.
Litsa July 26, 2021 at 7:36 pm
Paula, a new relationship does not always require putting memories of deceased spouse away. This seems to speak to your preference, which is absolutely fine, but certainly isn’t a requirement or need for many partners – especially those who realize that maintaining a connection with the memory of a loved one who died is normal and healthy in grief. This is NOT divorce. If it were, that would be a different conversation. This is the loss of a loved one who died. Would you ask a partner to put away pictures of their deceased parent, sibling, or friend? People don’t “move on” – that is an old myth about grief. They move forward, with the memory of their loved one, and they create plenty of space for new people and relationships. We don’t have a finite amount of love to give, so there is plenty of room for memories in new relationships. That doesn’t work for all partners, but that isn’t a sign that the widow needs to “move on”. That is a sign that the person they are dating isn’t well suited to date a widow who wants to maintain their memories and connection to a person who they loved and lost. And that’s okay – everyone deserves to have their needs met in a relationship. That might mean saying that you don’t feel comfortable with dating a widow when that often means creating space for the memory of the deceased spouse, because they can’t meet that need. But that is not a fault of the widow. It is simply your personal need that they are unable to meet. And they have a need to maintain the memory that you are unable to meet. Neither is right or wrong, they are simply different needs that don’t align.
Michelle Miller June 19, 2019 at 8:59 pm
My husband and I have been married for 12 years. We have a daughter together and he is a stepdad to my 2 children from a previous marriage. My kids accepted him. His past relationship was with his best friend and he shared in raising her 2kids. They had not been in relationship in 10years other than friends. They lived together. She past away during a time where he was unable to be there. The kis moved far away. He kept in close contact with them. They were family he raised then from the age of 18mo and 3years old. I have more empathy than anyone should have so know i would never replace their mom. I see my husband hurting because the kids don’t want anything to do with me. I don’t understand how you say you love someone but can’t accept life went on. They always ask how life is treating us and he never mentions me or our life together. I think life would be so much better if open communication and acceptance was there i have so much love and respect for his past life so much that it kills me dailey. I broke a promise to my grandfather that i made him the night before he died. It was if i ever had a girl to give her my grandmas name. Their mom had the same name so i had to out of respect for them break a promise to the man i loved more than life my poppop. They don’t know this but sometimes i wish they did and everyone got along and family could be family
Frank June 10, 2019 at 10:38 pm
I am dating a widow. We are both 52 now. We met 5 years ago, 2 years after her husband died. They had a daughter, 16, and a son, 14 at the time of his death. I have 2 sons ages 30 and 26. I am the only person she has dated since her husband died. We have a long distance (50 miles) relationship. It began with emails for the first 3 months. Then we got together for the first time (we knew each other in high school)and hit it off. At the time we started our relationship, she was still struggling to find happy moments in her days but she is very strong and took care of her kids and the new jobs she had to take care of around the house for the first time.
She has always been clear that she loved her husband very much and that “it sucks” that he is gone. She said that during those first two years she just felt normal at work where she had her job to do. At home, she felt sad when she was alone, but also didn’t ever feel like her old self anywhere. She was filled with sadness at her loss and had learned to cope with it some but hadn’t felt like it had changed all that much.
When we started emailing each other, one thing she said she liked was that we didn’t have to talk about her husband which seemed to dominate her conversations since his death. She started having happy moments. We hit it off and things went very well. She is very close with her family and she is very close with her husband’s family. I heard from many of the family members that they were happy to see her smiling and happy again. They are all very accepting of me as well. Things were going very well. We saw each other often. We had our daily texts and our nightly calls when we weren’t together. We had not made detailed plans for our future, but we both expected that our future was together.
These things changed a few months ago. The calls (she would make the calls, I had the morning text) and communication were starting to lessen…by quite a bit.
When we got together, I said I needed to talk to her and she said that we really needed to. She explained that she started having those same feelings she was having before we starting getting to know each other. She is filled with grief for her husband. The kids are now in college or graduated from college. She is angry that she doesn’t get to share these great moments and accomplishments of her kids with the only other person who can look at her kids as a parent and who was such a great part of their lives. She is also in the beginning stages of selling the house the kids grew up in and that means going through so many of the things that represent their past as well as so many of her husband’s things. She is really struggling with grief right now and she is pulling away from me.
A few weeks ago, we talked and agreed the expected calls, communications, etc. would no longer be expected. She needed space from me. We still talk occasionally and see each other a little bit, but I am really struggling and want to do the right thing. She said that she needs her time but that she can’t expect me to just be waiting for her. She used to know that she wanted to spend the rest of her life with me and now she just thinks the future is an unknown.
I am struggling with how to move forward. I wonder if it is best for me to give her space (no communication)as that will allow the grieving process to move forward, or if I should be there at the random times she reaches out. I love these moments, but I feel like they are random moments of happiness surrounded by emptiness and stress. I also feel that if that’s what it takes to help the woman I love, I should endure that. It can’t be near the pain of her grief and I want to be there in good times and bad.
Perhaps I am looking for words of wisdom or maybe I just needed to pour out my thoughts. When I wrote about the things that her husband is missing and she is missing the chance to share, it makes her feelings seem so much easier to understand.
Anyway, if anyone wants to comment, I’d be happy to hear others’ thoughts.
Dan July 7, 2019 at 9:32 am
Hi, Frank. I don’t have the same amount of history you have, but I also fell hard for a widow who suddenly pulled back to figure out her life. In my case, she was into me, but her child didn’t want her dating and she decided to back the child. I never hear from her anymore and sometimes I wonder if I was just being used. It hurts like hell not having her in my life like I once did. I think these are the chances one takes when dating a widow. Their lives are so complicated. Even if they are ready to move on, their lives may not be. For me, I try to focus on making myself better, going out with others (even if I still miss her), and dropping her a line every now and then to make her laugh and know she is cared about. Thanks for sharing your story.
Mimi August 8, 2019 at 11:40 am
Hi Frank. I am a widow myself and am struggling to move on. One minute I want to be with my new boyfriend but next minute I want to be alone. I’m do conflicted. I would say give her time be patient with her, grieving is the most complex phenomenon no one can ever begin to define. It comes in different shapes and colors everyday. I am in that situation as a 3 year old widow . Be patient with her if you really love her
Peggy June 1, 2019 at 10:37 pm
I have been dating a widower for two and a half years. He has been widowed for 7. He has met everybody in my family, has been invited to every family function, etc. I have never met anyone in his family. He has one grown daughter , 33, who only wants her dad to be with his deceased wife, or so he tells me. He spends all winter with his daughter in Florida, one month or more in July (he promised her she’ll never be alone on the anniversary of her mothers death – even though she has a live in boyfriend of 5 years. He spends all major holidays as well as birthdays, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day etc with his deceased wife’s wife’s family. He says they can’t meet me cause “it would be too hurtful because I would remind them that their daughter/sister is dead.” He also says I’m the love of his life. All her belongings are still on her dresser, clothes still hanging in the closet, folded in her drawers, shoes, pocketbooks… He says it’s not important to him, “he never got around to it” and “he’s waiting for his daughter to go through everything because she’ll be upset if he gets rid of anything.” The most baffling thing is that the marriage wasn’t good, they only stayed together for their daughter. I am baffled and extremely hurt by all of this. Any thoughts..?
Rosemary mcginley September 21, 2020 at 9:06 am
I had been dating a widower for 6 weeks in I met him on a dating site .we have been getting on well .we liked each other and got on well together .now he said he is set in his ways and has his own routine .He goes over to his mum in the morning she is 87yrs old .May be cycles and does training at home and golf.He never spoke about losing his wife but I’m sure she has been dead for 8yrs .I called him but he ignore me and sent him a text to let him no life is too short and you have to get happiness whenever you can as I work in a hospice and I know that .so now I won’t be contacting him atall .I don’t know wether to erased him from my contacts .he still has my number because I see he is active on WhatsApp. What should I do Peggy . Rosemary
Peggy June 1, 2019 at 10:32 pm
I have been dating a widower for two and a half years. He has been widowed for 7. He has met everybody in my family, has been invited to every family function, etc. I have never met anyone in his family. He has one grown daughter , 33, who only wants her dad to be with his deceased wife, or so he tells me. He spends all winter with his daughter in Florida, one month or more in July (he promised her she’ll never be alone on the anniversary of her mothers death – even though she has a live in boyfriend of 5 years. He spends all major holidays as well as birthdays, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day etc with his deceased wife’s wife’s family. He says they can’t meet me cause “it would be too hurtful because I would remind them that their daughter/sister is dead.” He also says I’m the love of his life. Oh and nothing has been touched since his wife died 7 years ago. All her belongings are still on her dresser, clothes still hanging in the closet, clothes in her drawers, shoes, pocketbooks, you name it. He says it’s not important to him and “he never got around to it” and oh the best, “he’s waiting for his daughter to go through everything because she’ll be upset if he gets rid of anything.” What is wrong with this man???
Dh July 2, 2019 at 6:45 pm
Did you get any answers?
My boyfriend is a widower of 8 years. He had a girlfriend of 4 years, then one for 1 year and me for one year now. And I think dating in the gaps.
He has 2 adult married sons, one is a consultant. They’re in their late 40’s.
The one son and wife live 2 roads away, the other in 30 miles away but comes up to work near my bf town, plus wife works close by.
The house has not been changed since her death.
Nothing at all.
I had to ask him to remove her personal effects including hair decorations and handbags and pictures of them together off the dressing table as I felt I was waiting for her to walk in the bedroom when we were in bed.
I got the answers you got.
Added to this, the middle aged sons and wives have a WEEKLY Wednesday mums night with him at HUS house that HE owns and they dictate that no girlfriend is to be at that WEEKLY WEDNESDAY meal.
They tolerate me and when he had other girlfriends but ate not overly welcoming. They have their own homes but want mums night with him every single week. It’s his house where we are having an intimate “boyfriend/girlfriend “ relationship. I find it extremely hard. I do t care about the villages if photos of her throughout the entire house, or the stuff they accrued in their life but the Wednesday exclusion is very hard for me. If it was at their house okay but it’s his house they dictate.
This Wednesday vigil, plus the museum plus screensaver on his monitor is of her just feels too much.
On top of that I found he’d been in contact behind my back with his last girlfriend, sending her a bouquet of flowers at Christmas. He said he couldn’t see why he couldn’t have her as a friend. He deleted WhatsApp messages he sent her.
I’m Just feeling shit.
I feel bad for him as I finished with him now. He has Parkinson’s and I’m aware not many women will take this on. I sorry he’ll be lonely. His sons hold him to ransom over the weekly Wednesday but don’t bother that much with him the other 6 days bearing in mind one of them lives walking distance away.
I feel torn. I love him but I can’t be with him because I can’t deal with this loop of time at standstill of the 8 year Wednesday night weekly exclusion.
But I feel terrible as I love him and they don’t seem
To care he’s lonely and girlfriends feel excluded and the previous have struggled with this too so I’ve heard
I’m hoping some widowers may advise me. I’m sure this is unusual. I expect memories and special days through the year but this just makes me feel she’s going to appear any day soon. I’m living his grief it feels like.
I’m going insane
Ron May 6, 2019 at 2:50 pm
For all of those listening, I hope this is a good/proper forum to post this question:
I am a divorcee of a marriage of 29 years. I met a beautiful woman over a year ago and we have been committed to each other, however, our relationship has been rocky. First, my SO is a widow. ~ 50 years old. She was married to him a short time (2 years) before he met an untimely death in a vehicle accident over 5 years ago. She insists she was ready to move on when we started dating. When we started dating she was 1) wearing her wedding rings 2) had large 30 x 30 pictures of her late husband up in the house 3)Did not ever entertain the thought of me being a “friend” to her on social media. I hope this does not sound selfish but when we first started dating I did find it “creepy” that I was thinking of dating someone like this. And it wasn’t because of the death issue, but the fact it seemed like I was dating a married woman. Sorry, I have morals and I don’t date married women. I continued seeing her because I figured I would gain a friend, and we would be friends to help each other in our journey. So, in time the rings came off, and due to a home renovation project the pictures are down for now. Whether they get resurrected at a later date I am not sure at this time. She is comfortable in my home and we spend almost 100% of our time there, and never spend time at her house. I love this woman more than anything, and she tells me the same. But, we have a rocky relationship now. I have tried to embrace her past, understanding and being empathetic to her plight, and, comforting her when she is down. But, it is causing me distress as it seems there is still many parts of her CURRENT life that I am being omitted from, and, not being allowed to enter. At times we are happy and friends and family thing we are a couple. However if I am not around, you might think she is married and has a relationship with her deceased husband. I am trying, trying to work with this scenario but I am having sleepless nights now. If she is not ready why does she say she is? And, am I being selfish? If she is not ready I wish she would let me go so I can have a life where I am doubting my place in this woman’s life. Any and all input would be appreciated. Thank You
Belle May 19, 2019 at 5:52 pm
A few thoughts, since you asked for feedback.
Have a look at the blog post on this site titled, “I am still your daughter, you are still my mother.” Interesting insights on how, in some ways, the relationship with our loved one does continue. (Still trying to wrap my head around the concept but it’s not unique to this site & was some relief to me to see it in print.) I am still my husband’s wife. I didn’t “opt out”, we did not divorce. Many people wear wedding rings for a long period. The reasons vary. Holding the connection, respect for their spouse, judgement of others, keeping (some) unwanted advances at bay (rings deter some but not others), respect for or worry how their kids will react, physical comfort (you can feel naked without something you didn’t take off for years), a touchstone to good memories… Some eventually move it to the other hand, wear it on a chain, or have it made into different jewelry.
While I don’t have any poster-size prints, I do have photos in my home. Some may have that large decor (before the death), for others the big photos were prepared for the memorial & gave some comfort after. If kids, grandkids, or other family visit they may enjoy seeing them & the surviving spouse may leave them partially for others.
Though she was married to him a short time, she may have experienced traumatic grief due to the sudden loss. She may have been reluctant or unable to make changes for awhile.
Spending time in your home may have more to do with you & how comfortable & welcome you make her feel there. Perhaps her home was his first & she isn’t entirely at ease there. Perhaps it’s her haven for now and she decided she didn’t want to bring new people in. Some look forward to a chance to leave the old place behind but can’t bear to change it until they go. It may be unrelated – perhaps she (or he) was a pack rat or left projects incomplete & she’s a little embarrassed or maybe she has nosey neighbors. (Maybe your HVAC works better!)
Social media means different things to different people. If she’s not “living” in that space or is otherwise private, it might make sense that she doesn’t air personal relationships there. (Maybe her pages are only to promote her business or keep up with distant cousins. Maybe she just doesn’t want Aunt Harriet commenting inappropriately if she posts a photo from your walk in the park. (“Do I hear wedding bells?” Or “he’s better looking than the last one. But does he make as much money?”)
Sounds like you’ve been patient & thoughtful. I’m sure you’ll find ways to invite her to discuss when she’s ready the areas you’re concerned about.
Tricia April 30, 2019 at 2:42 pm
I see that this is a very old blog but still, I am in need of some direction and you all seem very well versed in this specific situation. So, I am a divorcee x 2 both times it was due to infidelity on their parts, the first time we had been together for 17 years and a wonderful marriage and 2 beautiful children and the 2nd lasted only 3 hellish years, thankfully God did NOT allow children to be created. So I have been single for the past 5 years and have always felt like one of my purposes in life is to be a Wife, even though I was robbed from it twice, I still believe Love exists and am ready for it. So, because of all my “experience” with marriage, relationships and men.. I have always felt like I have a good “handle” on things.. up until now! Yes, you guessed it, I have met a Widower and he has stolen my heart. He and his late wife had a 22 year marriage but the last 5 years of it was a disaster as she became addicted to prescription drugs and got herself mixed up in a lot of really bad situations, his car was repo’ed etc. so for the last 3 years before her accident, they were sleeping in separate rooms all together. Their marriage was on the split but he refused to give up because he said he was “desperate to keep his family together” they have a grown daughter that is now 20. His late wife passed on Christmas day after being home from rehab for only 1 day and left on a “trip” with someone (one of her relatives) that was “the cause” of most of her addictions. So, only 2 months after her death, he and I met. I was very leery because of the short amount of time but I took into account that they had actually lived as “separated” for over 3 years prior to her accident so I felt like he was most likely “ready” for a real relationship. He has had many ups and down for the past 6 months but all-in-all we have gotten through them all. His daughter has welcomed me with open arms because she says “this is the first time I have seen dad happy in so long” so I am very grateful. I am irrevocably in love with this man, he is everything I have prayed for in a mate. He loves God more than anything and desires to serve him with his whole heart, as do I. We have many many things in common but there are a few things that cause me concern and I am asking for a little direction from those of you that may have some answers to help me. 1. He does still refer to her as “my wife” I only recently discovered what her name actually was and that was from one of her family members. This wouldn’t be much of an issue except due to my extenuating circumstances in my past eg. being cheated on by 2 different men, when he refers to her as “my wife” it makes me cringe and feel as if I am “the other women” and that I am some how and adultress, now I know that sounds silly to some, but I am just being perfectly honest. 2. He has said only a few times that he indeed “loves” me but he says “sometimes, I feel so in love with you and other times, I just really like you” now this is highly confusing to me, because I love him all the time.. even when he says or does something without thinking and I become offended. My love for him doesn’t sway. 3. He has told me more than once that he fears he “may not be able to love me as deeply” as he loved her and worries that wouldn’t be fair to me. I have explained to him that love is like a seed that has been planted and everyday is watered by kindness, intimacy and sweet gestures and over time, that seed will continue to grow and grow so I would be foolish to expect him to have the same “love” for me in only 6 months that he had for her for over 22 years. 4. And this is the one that is the absolute most alarming to me, at least once a week he goes through this dark period where he is constantly asking “Why, why did ‘this’ have to happen to my family, Why is she gone, Why did I fight for my family for 5 long painful years.. all for Nothing, Why did she have to die…etc” and I’m left feeling like if he is struggling this much over losing her and “his family” then maybe his isn’t ready to add me to his family?! Am I being foolish, or is this something that is normal behavior? I want to say “But, if this terrible thing would NOT have happened, then we would have never met..” but I would never say such a thing because I wouldn’t want to hurt him, I am just trying to be as understanding and empathetic as I possibly can… He says he wants to marry me “when the time is right” and I would love to be his wife but right now, I have many mixed emotions and I seek counsel. Could someone please help! Thanks, and God Bless- Tricia
AT May 2, 2019 at 3:37 pm
Oh Tricia, slow down…no need to rush into anything. Keep praying (both of you, together and separate) for God’s wisdom and direction. I sincerely believe that He will direct your path/s, in His way and in His time. God bless.
Belle May 19, 2019 at 6:29 pm
“Love v/s really like” or “love AND really like.” I can see where his comments could confuse you. If I said something like that It would have been trying to say sometimes there’s giddiness, infatuation, the excitement of this romance, other times I realize that I really like who you are as a person – without the physical attraction or being enamored coming into play. The idea that I like what you’re all about. (I would mean such as a compliment but would likely trip over my tongue saying it.) The good news is… You can certainly revisit that. “A while back you said sometimes you feel you’re in love with me & other times you really like me. Can you tell me more about what you meant.”
I met someone who lost her son and when I asked his name she was so grateful. Lots of us experience those left in our lives never mentioning our departed and never saying their name. (A good book – Say Her Name, Francisco Goldman.) I love to hear my husband’s name coming from a friend – though it rarely happens. Maybe you’ll find times to occasionally use her name – perhaps it will make you both more comfortable. “Did you tell me you and Zelda visited Montreal, too, or just Toronto?” “I see the roses in your yard are blooming. Did you and Zelda plant those together or were you always the chief gardener here?”
At our age we all come with some past. Once in a while you might reference your first husband if only in a story about your kids, right? It’s not so different for those who lost their partner – except the extra weight of grief & how everyone in the room might hold their breath, look away, or change the subject.
When he’s asking those why questions he’s being honest & trusting you. In addition it might help him to talk to a counselor or visit a grief support group. Or, there are some great articles on this site that you might suggest to him.
D September 12, 2019 at 11:30 am
What a powerful thing that is in a name. I will use your advice in my relationship with a widower. I remember when I was married my ex only ever used my name when he was irritated by me and wanted to make a “statement” , like I was a child or something. When my boyfriend calls me by my name it still surprises me.
Owle June 1, 2019 at 8:12 pm
I’m not going to pull any punches here as it’s not fair on either of you. Sounds to me like your significant other is going through ‘complicated grief’, unfortunately. Unlike ‘normal grief’ where there is a ‘process’ most follow to a more less degree (not time limit), complicated grief has no such path. Further hindering this process is the sheer fact he may go round and round in circles for years. Some take it to the grave.
That said, it by no means indicates his love or feelings for you. Having been there myself, in my opinion, the best thing you can do at this point is:
1. Try to lose all your expectations of him. To be frank, you will never understand his state of mind. Even those going through ‘normal grief’ find it difficult to comprehend ‘complicated grief’, so what chance has anyone else? Besides, until you know what you are truly dealing with here, you could be ruining the best thing that ever happened to both of you.
2. Seek ‘good’, professional help for advice, guidance & strategies on how to better understand & manage the situation. I am a widow of 5 years with a similar ‘off the rails’ ending to your significant other and my grief is most certainly complicated. For the first 2 years my heart ached every minute of every day. To a slightly lesser degree, my heart continued to ache for the next 2 years and still does at more random times for random periods. There have been times when I have resigned myself to the fact that the day he died my heart went with him.
Then one day I met up with an old work colleague I had not spoken to in 18mths. He told me he lost his 41yo wife 3mths earlier to cancer just one year after diagnosis. I was shocked. I immediately felt his pain. I knew exactly where he was at & felt so bad this had happened to him & his family. Then just like that, he asked me out. I was quite shocked, but accepted anyway, I think mainly because we understood each other. However, I soon realised how different his grief was from mine. He had permission from his partner to move on; I didn’t. He had time to prepare; I didn’t.
At one point I had to slap myself for being a bit judgemental about the time he had spent grieving. The point here is, grief IS different for everyone. And those who are not/have not been in this space, have no way to understand what this all means, let alone what to do. Had this man come into my life say 4.5 years earlier, my grief timeline may have been very different. Mainly because we could have given each other valuable support and a reason to move on.
To better understand, try consulting a professional or, like you are doing, read about & try to understand the experiences of other individuals who have experienced complicated grief. That way you will be in a far better position to understand and support him with effective strategies and guidance to move on.
You need to give him is a reason to move on. We don’t like being in this space, but often we feel so alone because people don’t understand and are very critical of us, that we eventually retreat back to what we know. We can stay here for years. The only way I can explain what happens is, the day our spouse died, we did not accept this as final. Instead, probably out of sheer loneliness & the lack of understanding from others, we go back to where we feel the most comfort. Somehow, we end up continuing our relationship with a dead person into the future, almost the same as if they were still alive today.
Finally, if you really want to help him & your relationship to work, ACT NOW!
Seek advice on strategies to support & guide him through his grief where you can. If you don’t & he does not continually seek & apply good help, very soon (my guess ~6mths after his previous spouse died), he may fall into a type of depression whee he is likely to default to a situation where he takes his previous relationship with him into the future. This is particularly significant for survivors of suicide, homicide, etc, as they are typically unable to ‘accept’ the death, rather, they live the remainder of their life around it. If he does end up taking his previous relationship with him into the future, it is impossible to determine when he will come out of this state of mind…if he ever does.
Contrary to what he may or may not think, he definitely needs someone in his life..to the point of needing that person to be there almost all of the time, depending on the level of complicated grief. I believe, if caught earlyish, with the right approach and strategies, having a person there who you can be needy with when you need it, significantly helps people through their grieving process. Further, having a person you have a calm, intimate relationship with, is another level again. Sometimes we just need an unconditional hug. Sometimes we just need to fall asleep lying next to and touching the person we care for in the present. It’s therapeutic. Not only does it help take away the pain in our heart, but it helps us realise there is life without the person who died. And we don’t need to punish ourselves by being lonely because they are no longer here and we are. We have permission to enjoy the rest of our life. But most of all we allow ourselves to move in to the next relationship. It doesn’t mean anything except that the book written on our previous relationship is complete now. It’s like reading the first two Harry Potter books. Both well written and for those who like Harry Potter, both good books. If you & your significant other both read the books, would you be jealous if he said he really loved the way Ron drove the flying car in the second book? Probably not. Nor should you be. Because this does not necessarily mean he likes that book better. It simply means he liked the way Ron drove the flying car…no different to the things you love and remember from your previous relationships.
ALL relationships are different. There will always be things we like and don’t like about them. And if they were significant enough to affect the way we want to live our life, we probably wouldn’t be there in the first place. Your relationship with this man is neither better nor worse to him right now. He simply needs time to work out how to ‘close’ something he did not expect to close just yet. If you can help him do this, you will probably have his heart. Either way, once closure/acceptance is achieved the best way it can for him, you will have the opportunity to plan out your future together. It may be a long road. It may not. But the more you can do to understand & support his situation, the sooner you will know.
In short: We simply need time & care for the pain from the wound in our heart to heal. Time & Care. It works miracles.
I hope this helps. It’s the best way I can describe what I know.
All the best x
Renata September 29, 2020 at 6:21 pm
This was just perfect. The kind of answer I was trying to find. I’m married to a young widow (35), his wife got killed on robbery. He told me how much he loves and adores her as his past wife (they had a son together) and loves me as his present. I was wondering if he was going to love me the same.. intensity.. as the past wife. Sometimes i wonder if he is with me only for the confort of helping to rise a kid.. Now I think i get it better.
May April 27, 2019 at 2:02 pm
I have been dating a wonderful man who is a widower for two years. He was married for 35 years. I love him very much, but I realize that I can’t marry him. He will always be married to his late wife, and I need a chance to find someone who will see me as the love of his life.
Joan October 5, 2022 at 12:09 am
I did the same, couldn’t marry him. Re read the past too much.
I loved the book I recently read, One Heart Too Many!
May April 27, 2019 at 1:56 pm
I am dating a widower and he expresses a lot of love for me and talks about spending the rest of our lives together. I am love him,. He is truly wonderful. And I’m very sympathetic to the feelings of those who have lost a life partner to death, but in my heart of hearts, I realize that I can’t marry him. I respect that he will always be married to his late wife, will have pictures of her in his home, and expects to see her again after death. That doesn’t leave room for me to have a real marriage with him. I had a long and very difficult marriage that ended in divorce. I can’t accept that I might have to settle for never finding my “one true love”. I can’t share a husband with another woman.
Renata September 29, 2020 at 6:25 pm
Exactly! Don’t marry him! First wives will be always the ones they want to share their tomb with.
Joan October 5, 2022 at 12:07 am
Well said and so true!
Exactly why I didn’t marry the widower I fell in love with.
I loved the book, One Heart Too Many!
Isiuwa Daniel April 26, 2019 at 1:37 pm
My lovely wife died 6 months ago leaving me with 3 kids aged 14, 11, and 5 years. My grieis so much. She died of breast cancer that took evrything we worked for before she died. Sometimes life can be so mischivious. Is it possible to find a widow to marry who can assist me with the training of the children?
AT February 16, 2019 at 6:15 pm
Approaching 5 yrs of widowhood, and now in my early 70’s, I have been fortunate to meet and enjoy the company of several sincere and trustworthy men (all widowers). They have become good friends, but none can replace the precious lost love of my life. My heart remains empty.
Sandra Fitzgerald February 13, 2019 at 2:00 pm
I was in love with my husband from the time I was seventeen. More importantly, I met my best friend and soul mate when I was seventeen. But there were all kinds of complications and issues. His first wife died when I was twenty, which I was sad to hear because I had been fond of her. He was devastated, and his knee jerk reaction to his loss was to start dating me six weeks later. He was older than I was, but that was never an issue. Things were really great, I thought. But he had some unrealistic expectations – thinking “I was married and was happy. I’ll get married and be happy”. I knew it was way too soon for him to be thinking that way, and the thought of taking on his three kids so soon after they had lost there mother seemed like a really bad idea – especially since his oldest daughter is only four years younger than me! So I did the right thing and we stopped dating, but we stayed best friends and stayed close. Within a year he married a girl a year younger than me who was just trying to move out of her parent’s house. He later told me that he knew on the honeymoon that it wasn’t going to work. But he was married. We actually worked together for several years and then when I was twenty-five I was married to an old boyfriend. Of course, three months after I got married he filed for divorce. Long, long story short, years later when my son was five, I just couldn’t stay in that marriage anymore and my son and I moved in with Tom. Shortly after my divorce was final Tom and I were finally married in late 1988. Our son was born in 1990 and things were really wonderful. At least until just after my older son graduated from high school in 2001. Within a couple of months Tom was diagnosed with very advanced Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He had an incredibly invasive surgery to remove a kidney and clean out as much of the cancer as they could, then he went through a full round of chemotherapy. Things seemed good for awhile. But then the cancer came back. He went through chemo again, then went through the collection of his stem cells to attempt a stem cell transplant. Once that was all set to go, he became an inpatient so they could do the extremely high dose chemo to kill everything in his body before they could reintroduce his stem cells. But something went horribly wrong. His body could not handle the high dose chemo and his organs began to fail. He had to be placed on a ventilator and then had to be sedated. After several heartbreaking weeks in the ICU, I had to make the decision to let him go. He died two weeks after our son turned thirteen, passing away nine days before Christmas. So we were married for fifteen years, but we had been best friends for almost thirty years.
So, married fifteen years and now a widow for fifteen years. I would absolutely like to believe I could still have a close, loving relationship with another person. I understand that it wouldn’t be the same, but that would not necessarily mean it would be any less. But in fifteen years I have had two spectacularly awful dates, both from online matches. Apparently the world of online dating is pretty darn weird, unless you get lucky and find that one human being that must be out there somewhere. I am retired, I am not a church goer, I am not a bar person, and I am now sixty-four years old. How on earth am I supposed to meet a nice, single, straight man anywhere approaching my age? Is it back to the online dating sites? It seems like you can exchange one or two nice e-mails that way, but then things start to get strange.
So I have no difficulty dealing with the pitfalls of dating a widower – I have already fine-tuned that skill before. But where, how do I even find a good man who is willing to take a shot with a perfectly good (albeit lonely) woman?
John Reinmuth February 12, 2019 at 4:36 pm
I found the comment above very true: “Everyone means well, but unless they have been there, they will ‘Never’ understand what it is like to lose everything that you have worked your whole life for. ” During 38 years as a pastor, i provided counsel and comfort to widows and widowers. When my wife of 47 years died, I realized that I did not fully understand the grief of losing a spouse. The relationship encompasses every aspect of one’s life.
I am fortunate to have remarried. Dating again was scary. I never used an online dating program. I only considered someone that I already knew from my social network. Over a year after my wife died, I asked out a widow whose husband had died 18 months before my late wife. I did not know her late husband. She had met my late wife once. We understand that love is not finite. We can love more than one person. I had six grandchildren before remarrying. Now I have seven, as my wife’s daughter had a beautiful daughter after we married. I love her like my other grandchildren. We openly talk about our late spouses frequently, which allows us to discuss events from our entire life, not just the months or years in the new relationship.
I continue to love my late wife and as well as my present wife. We were very clear from the beginning of our relationship that we were not replacing the previous spouse. We have a gallery of family photos in our home that includes “couple” photos of our previous spouses, our current marriage, and all of our adult children with their spouses. Learning about my wife’s late husband adds depth to our relationship rather than diminishing it.
KM April 15, 2019 at 12:46 am
I would be guess that you also remarried a woman who is at least 10 years younger than you are! I have watched that happen so many times. My own father remarried a woman 10 years younger than himself. She was my mother. I have watched and decided that this is what most widowed men choose to do! In our culture, it is much easier for a man to remarry than for a woman to remarry. The man has a much wider field to choose from. One reason is there are so many more widows than widowers left alone. I think it’s about 7 to 1. Another reason is that men are typically the aggressor who pursues. Most women are not comfortable in being the one to start the relationship. We wait for the men to ask us. You had the freedom to decide when, where, and who to ask. Most women would rather be pursued than be the pursuer! But, now as a widow it is not a fun or hopeful game at the age of 65. I, too, had a wonderful and happy married life for over 40 years. My whole life has totally changed. I not only miss him but the life I had with him. But, the reality of what I’ve seen is that most men won’t consider someone their own age first. They tend to pick someone much younger. So this game just gets harder, the older a widow becomes. I have no desire to even look at a man who is over 70. Why would I when the chance of him dying is so high?!? The thought of being alone for 25 years haunted me when I was widowed at 62, and I didn’t know if I could survive. But, I’ve survived for almost 3 years. It’s a day at a time. Only God knows how a widow really feels. That’s why we’re close to His heart. It seems most widows will die as a widow, where most widowers won’t have to face that scenario because it’s easier for them to remarry whoever they desire.
KM April 15, 2019 at 12:49 am
I would guess……
Tammy February 12, 2019 at 4:07 pm
I have met someone and he acts strange if I mention either of my late husbands. Lost 2.
I feel like I am supposed to be careful not to refer to either of them.
I continue to go visit with LH mom so is turning 84 on February 22, 2019. But now feel like I need to sneak around to see her. Which makes me feel sad for him, since I know she would really like him.
I sent him a copy of the link to this article to see if he’s willing to change the attitude.
What else should I do???
Kerry Catherine Hager February 14, 2019 at 4:43 pm
Find someone else. There are plenty of people who are whole enough to deal with the fact that you are still part of those people and they are still a part of you. The best ones can integrate and make room for the memories of your life with the other people while you make a new life with a new person. You can’t erase or pretend that the last two marraiges and all your development and memories with them did not exsist, nor should you. I’m a widow for now 10 years. I was young with young children and I was very upfront with any man I dated that I would speak of my late husband everyday for my children’s sake and to honor his memory. Not all the memories are good and I talk about those too. The man I am with as my unmarried life partner now 6 years in, was aquainted with my late husband but we didn’t know of each other until 4 years after his death. If you can’t be fully who you are, losses and all, that’s not the right relationship, or try some open discussion about it, maybe they just need to be able to tell you how it makes them feel and you can reassure them that there is no reason to feel jealous or insecure about dead men.
Kerry Catherine Hager February 14, 2019 at 5:03 pm
Also, Tammy. I have a close relationship with my late husband’s parents now in their 70s. They are a part of my children’s family. We didn’t rush anything but over time my new life partner has been completely accepted by my late husband’s parents. Infact I think they like him more than me. lol We took the attitude that we can either choose to add relationships to our lives or subtract. We chose to add.
LT August 28, 2019 at 6:29 pm
Kerry C Hager – Sounds like you have a great and agreeable relationship with your partner, including your FIL’s (former-in-laws). However, the “Three-Hearts” mentality for relationships involving widows/widowers belongs to a small percentage of those relationships. Most men and women, while agreeing one should not “erase” their past with late partners, do not wish to have someone’s deceased partners continually shoved into their faces. That includes photos, wedding & mementos, and shrines scattered about their homes. Relationships are challenging enough without adding in a third person that was loved and involved a sexual/intimate life.
EHubler February 11, 2019 at 9:13 pm
I met who was later to become my wife, when she was just 14 years old and I was 17 years old. They called it “Puppy Love” at that time. When she was 16 and I was 18, we ran away and got married. After 53 years of marriage, she lost her 2 year battle with Pancreatic Cancer.
How do you continue on with your life, when the love of your life, was your life? Everyone means well, but unless they have been there, they will “Never” understand what it is like to lose everything that you have worked your whole life for. You tried to do everything right, plan for your “Golden Years” only to have these “Golden Years” taken away from you.
She was stunning at 14, but even more so at 40, 50 and even 60. I loved watching her age, which, like everything else, she did beautifully. I was very surprised that she died. Throughout her illness, I held on to the hope that her treatments could reverse her cancer. By the time her death was inevitable, it was too late to communicate with her properly, except emotionally. I cared for her at home, but there was no way to discuss the future, which loomed like a black hole.
There is this saying: “You only live, when you find a treasure you would gladly die for.” I would have gladly traded places with my beautiful wife.
When I look back on our marriage, I remember the intimacy, the inside jokes only the two of us really got. I miss and remembered her hugs, feeling embraced and totally safe; like the whole world was just the two of us.
My very beautiful wife, soulmate and best friend of 54 years had just turned 68 the month before. When she was diagnosed with cancer, two years prior, I was in a fortunate position to retire and be her full-time care giver for 2 years before she passed away. Throughout our marriage we always had a very close and loving relationship, but the last 2 years brought me even closer to this wonderful and loving human being, as I came to love and admire her tenacity and her courage during her illness.
I am thinking of trying dating (just wanted to finally do some things that I had missed…wow what a revelation when you are not 18 anymore) and I am trying to find women who aren’t too hung up on the widower thing. I still think about my wife every day- often more than once. I still have her pictures in both of my homes and will “Not” put them away or hide them. If this is a criteria for dating than count me out.
It seems that the women my age are to hung up on companionship and not a loving relationship. They want to wine, dine and travel, with no emotional or loving commitment. You watch your TV and I will watch mine. You sleep in your bedroom and I will sleep in mine. Am I foolish to still believe in “Love” the second time around or is this companionship the new normal?
GaryB February 12, 2019 at 6:20 pm
Your story so close to mine and I now at age 64-65 in May after 37 years marriage with 44 in true love-have no desire for “the game”. Yes it was always a game and still is, only worse-the times have changed so much since “old school” dating game. I imagine the women you talk about are the rule and not the exception. You sound like me in that you experienced a “once in a lifetime love” and frankly that was enough for me. You read some of the stories of widows/widowers trying another go at it out there and they are pretty scary. Especially if you are coming off 30-40 plus years of marriage. I would think if you are in your 40s..maybe early 50s there is a shot. But if you are in your mid 60s? I personally say in my case “game over”. You are too close to if something does work out and you are ready to dive in to only have to go through the grief all over again and why would you want that or to have someone else deal with it? Its alot of work to perfect a “once in a lifetime” and there is a reason why its called such. I will proudly count myself to be one of those. A one and done.
Diane February 11, 2019 at 5:14 pm
Dating IS complicated. Dating at an age when you expected to be enjoying traveling, grandkids and the fruits of years of hard work..mind-boggling. My husband of nearly 40 years accepted me, “warts and all,” as they say, loved me unconditionally and thought I was beautiful..G-d bless him.
. To expose myself (perhaps literally) and my fragile sense of self at my current age is beyond daunting..
But so is spending the rest of my days alone.
Hard to know what to do. Or where. Or how.?
Laurie February 11, 2019 at 4:54 pm
I am a widow for 3 years.
I haven’t dated yet, but the guy I have my eyes on knew both me and my husband. I don’t know if that will make it harder for him. On the other hand, I don’t have to explain how important my husband was to me, because he saw it.
I was a young enthusiastic woman when I met my husband 36 years ago. I worry I have nothing to offer now.
I have five kids, youngest two in high school. This guy is a younger divorcé with one daughter near the age of my middle child. He knows them all from church. His child lives out of state.
It makes me both giddy and anxious to think of making a move.
Kerry Catherine Hager February 14, 2019 at 5:09 pm
I also worried that I had nothing to offer. I actually asked people what women offered in a relationship other than the obvious physical things. One of the best answers I got was: Balance. One of the best things I did was fill out the eharmony questionaire. Not because I got any matches, I didn’t. But it helped me really take a look at who I was now, after not being widowed. I realized I wasn’t ready to date in a quality relationship until I could answer these things about myself. When you know who you are and what you have to offer- honesty, companionship, laughter, compassion, fun, maybe food, friendship…..you start to realize, these things are priceless. Everyone needs these.
GaryB February 11, 2019 at 3:35 pm
I will start off by simply saying I lost me wife tragically-shockingly and suddenly to state 4 lung cancer that had mets to her brain. We had just retired and had bought our dream retirement home-me 64 and she 62- we moved to be near my daughter and grandchildren-“dream life here we come”! We worked both of us each close to 40 years to get to it. We got ROBBED instead and in June she was given 2 months and on August 9th this wonderful woman/soulmate/anchor/life support/my world and reason to live was gone. Oh yeah why here? Well Valentines Day 1981 we were married- we had 37 years and were cranking to 40-45-50..all the big ones. Well now you know the story-we did not make it and as of the 14th the anniversary clock officially stops at 37 years.Needless to say this month and this day will be my toughest yet as if the holidays weren`t tough enough so soon as it was. Dreading yet another day once so loved and looking forward to. Its only 6 months but I hear/read of many its never going to get better and that I can see. But for now here is my Valentines Day contribution. Sigh.
DOREEN March 2, 2020 at 5:31 am
you have to move on,with life and keep cherish good moments you had with your late wife,but remember you need a living one to cheer up with life is not short to keep the past with us,as past do not create future but future creates past
Sly February 11, 2022 at 3:13 pm
Are you serious? This man never said he wanted to be with anyone else ! Alot of men and women don’t want to have anyone else . Beilve it or not they had the one so trying wouldn’t amount to anything when nobody can be them …why you women think every man should just move on is beyond me ..some can’t some don’t want to and some only do to fill the void smh
Ramona Gordy February 11, 2019 at 1:28 pm
I am a widow of almost 3 years. Its weird to count that. I love what you said about grief being a part of that relationship, even though our partner is dead. I haven’t started dating, I am just in survival mode. When my husband died, I packed up all of our pics because it was too hard to look at. I took all of our memories and physical stuff and packed them in my basement, and my house was quiet of his voice. But this year I gave myself the opportunity to put out some of his favorite things and a couple of happy pictures. I realize that the “new” me that I am trying to become, is built on he and I in our marriage relationship. I hope that when I do date, i will be able to share good memories without coming off as stuck. Sometimes I think in these days, as humans, we want everything “new”, new emotions, new feelings, new experiences, and that is good too, but we still have baggage and how we handle it , will be the test of a good relationship.
Karen Sindoni February 11, 2019 at 12:57 pm
I am a widow and I found dating me is not easy as I want both my own space and someone sensitive but not too sensitive with my loss. So although I met 2 men both acted liked my loss never occurred and both ignored it which made me uncomfortable so either one worked out and turned me away. It has been 7 years and it seems way too complicated to except the fact that for many years I was in a great relationship. Perhaps I am expecting too much
Kerry Catherine Hager February 14, 2019 at 5:18 pm
No, you are not expecting too much. Keep the bar high. You are worth it and your husband would not want you to settle. One of the things I did when I started dating was look at a website called beirresistable.com I know that sounds weird, but it had been so long since I dated I didn’t even know how to anymore. It actually really helped me just get to understand what men need from a woman in a healthy way. Develop the new you first, that’s when you have something to offer and you will attract the kind of man who can handle ‘all that and a bag of chips and a tall cool drink of water’ and your past too. All of you.