Dating a widower can seem like a dream come true.
That is because a widower knows how to love, commit, and cope with loss.
He also has a history, a story, and a loving soul that he is trying to heal.
However, the situation can turn out to be a nightmare because he may not be over his late wife, ready for a new relationship, or able to give you what you need.
He may also have baggage, issues, or ghosts that appear once you decide to move in together.
After dating a widower, I know this firsthand and I swore never to do it again.
Even though he promised to love and cherish me, his actions meant otherwise, and I thought were never meant to be.
Disclaimer: Loving someone is a personal decision, and is not based on past relationships, financial position, or other family matters. For this reason, my experience does not intend to convince or stop anyone from dating or marrying a widower.
Why I Will Never Date a Widower
At first, I thought I had found the perfect man. He was a kind, caring, and attentive widower.
He also had a successful career, a nice house, and a beautiful daughter.
However, after staying with him for some years, I realized our relationship was not heading anywhere since it was grounded on past emotions and grieving.
Therefore, we decided it was wise for us to end it, though I decided never to date a widower for the following reasons:
1. He Had Abandonment Issues
He acted like a lonely child and often had abandonment issues that made him react quickly and stay away from other people.
Widowers mostly fear the pain of losing someone or something again.
Even though some anxiety is normal, his ongoing fears about being abandoned destroyed my life in some way.
2. He Was Needy or Clingy
Anytime I was away, he could get anxious, which portrayed his needy or clingy behavior.
When he fell in love with me, he was always terrified whenever I came home late.
His possessive character worsened when he could not allow me to talk to other men.
This seemed like insecurity to me, something I was not ready to deal with for the rest of my life.
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3. He Overreacted Quickly
Overreacting was among the bad experiences I encountered in this relationship, especially whenever he went through tremendously stressful times.
He could also jump to quick conclusions with anger, fear, or anxiety.
Even though I tried to find a permanent solution, it became overwhelming and I could no longer withstand his anger.
4. He Idolized His Lost Love
At times, he could remember wonderful things they did with his late life, and forget about me.
This made me feel like she was the perfect woman for him and I could never fill her position.
With no attention from my man, I felt unwanted in the relationship, which triggered me to suggest a breakup.
5. His Different Perspective on Life
He somehow lost the meaning of life and decided to deplete whatever he had.
He lost financial discipline and overlooked the importance of saving.
This left me worried about our future, no matter how hard I tried to instill financial sense in him.
He also spent most of his time at home and never allowed me to explore my hobbies or go out with my fellow women.
6. His Unwelcoming Daughter
As much as I understood how his daughter felt about losing her mother, I also felt she was not ready to welcome me as a stepmother.
She also tried her best to draw his attention from me, leaving me lonely and a stranger to my husband-to-be.
Therefore, I did not want to come between a father and his daughter and ended the relationship.
Challenges of Dating a Widower
First, I don’t regret dating a widower. I learned a lot from him, both positive and negative lessons.
For instance, I learned about grief, loss, and resilience. I also learned about compassion, empathy, and forgiveness.
However, from my experience, dating a widower is emotionally draining, mentally exhausting, and spiritually challenging.
If you are dating a widower, or thinking about dating one, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Are you ready to deal with his grief? Grief is not linear, predictable, or rational. It can come and go in waves, trigger unexpected emotions, or even last for years. You have to be prepared to support him through his ups and downs, without taking them personally or losing your own identity.
- Are you comfortable with his past? His past is part of who he is, and you have to respect that. You have to accept that he will always love his late wife and that he will always honor her memory. You have to be okay with seeing her pictures, hearing her stories, and meeting her family and friends.
- Are you confident in your relationship? You have to trust him and yourself. You have to know that he loves you for who you are, not for who you remind him of. You have to know that you are not a replacement, a consolation prize, or a rebound.
- Are you happy with your present? You have to focus on the here and now, not on the what-ifs and the maybes. You have to enjoy the moments you share, the things you do together, and the future you can build together.
- Are you hopeful for your future? You have to believe that there is life after loss and that there is love after love. You have to believe that you can create a new story with him, without erasing or forgetting his old one.
Also Read: Consequences of Sleeping With a Widow
What to Do If You Don’t Want To Regret Marrying or Dating a Widower like Me
Besides loving each other, dating or marrying a widower demands mutual understanding and simple hacks to make it happen.
Here are a few things to do to avoid regretting dating or marrying a widower.
- Be honest with yourself and with him. Don’t pretend that everything is fine when it’s not. Don’t hide your feelings or your needs. Don’t settle for less than what you deserve.
- Be respectful of his boundaries and yours too. Don’t push him too hard or too fast. Don’t let him push you too hard or too fast either.
- Be supportive of his healing process and of yours too. Don’t judge him or blame him for his grief. Don’t judge yourself or blame yourself for your frustration.
- Be flexible with your expectations and with your plans. Don’t assume that everything will go smoothly or according to schedule. Don’t be afraid of changes or surprises.
- Be open-minded with your perspective and with your attitude. Don’t compare him or yourself to anyone else. Don’t compare your relationship to any other relationship.
- Be compassionate with your words and with your actions. Don’t criticize him or yourself for making mistakes. Don’t hurt him or yourself by being selfish or insensitive.
- Be grateful for your love and for your life. Don’t take him or yourself for granted. Don’t forget to appreciate what you have and what you can offer.
Red Flags of Dating a Widower
Even if you follow the tips above, you should also be aware of some red flags that might indicate that dating a widower is not a good idea.
Here are some signs that he is not ready for a new relationship, or that he is not the right one for you:
- He talks about his late wife all the time and makes you feel like you can never measure up to her.
- He avoids introducing you to his family and friends, or they treat you coldly or rudely.
- He keeps his home as a shrine to his late wife and refuses to make any changes or compromises for you.
- He is secretive about his feelings, his plans, and his finances, and does not involve you in any important decisions.
- He is emotionally unavailable, distant, or withdrawn, and does not show any interest in your life, your hobbies, or your goals.
- He is still wearing his wedding ring, or carrying his late wife’s belongings with him everywhere.
- He is using you as a distraction, a rebound, or a substitute for his late wife, and does not value you as a person.
Dating a widower is not for everyone. It requires patience, understanding, and compassion. It also requires honesty, respect, and communication.
However, that does not mean one cannot date or marry a widower because it never worked for me.
If you find love in a widower, always remember to love him for who he is and not what you expect him to be.
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