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When a Widower Talks About His Late Wife: Here’s How to Respond Compassionately

Dating or marrying a widowed man can be challenging.

First, they had a past life that was tragically cut short, one where they had found the person they intended to love for eternity.

Now, circumstances have forced him to let someone new into his life after losing the woman he loved.

This brings about a mix of negative feelings and emotions, including wishful thinking, regret, guilt, grief, and many more.

Even though he made a conscious decision to move on and deeply cares for and loves you, there might be moments when it feels like he is still unhappy or preoccupied with his past life.

You might sense that he is too focused on his late wife, inadvertently neglecting you and failing to notice how his behavior negatively affects you.

Your efforts to stand by him, take care of his kids, do household chores, and provide a shoulder to lean on whenever he needs it might go unappreciated.

The constant mention of his deceased wife could be particularly distressing, making you wonder how best to handle the situation.

If you have recently started seeing a widower, you might be unsure of how to deal with him frequently bringing up his late wife.

However, there are ways to respond with compassion and understanding in these situations.

Read on to learn more about how you can display empathy and support when a widower talks about his late wife.

(NOTE: The tips apply to a man whose wife has recently passed away, as well as a man who has been grieving for a long time).

1. Assure Him That You Share In His Grief

Sharing a burden makes it feel lighter and not just physical.

You probably didn’t know his wife, but you have deep feelings for him.

His life is a part of yours, including his grief.

Letting a widower know that his pain is partly yours leaves an open platform where he can comfortably talk about his loss.

2. Do Not Get Too Personal

To share in his grief, first you need to learn about the deceased.

 Ask questions such as, “What was she like?” “What did you love most about her?” “How did you guys meet?”

This way, your abating in his pain will not be just words, but will come from a place of understanding what he lost.

However, it’s important not to delve too deeply into their lives.

Also, pick the most suitable time to bring her up, like when going through a photo album or when he mentions something about her.

Overindulgence will not only hurt your partner but also you, especially in the early days of your relationship.

3. Listen Attentively

To offer a sound response, you need to listen to what your partner is saying.

Please pay close attention to his tone, gestures, facial expressions, and choice of words when he speaks of his late wife.

By switching off the Television and setting your phone aside when he speaks, you show the widower that he has all your attention and that you care about understanding the depth of his grief.

4. Be Mindful Of Triggering Painful Memories

Knowing your partner’s past life will help you understand what hurt him the most.

Avoid making negative statements or using his late wife’s perfume.

When he lets you in on things you do that remind him of his deceased wife, put his interests first, and consider working on them.

5. Take The Initiative

Please do not wait for your partner to tell you he is sad.

Sometimes it is good to walk up to him and give him a warm embrace, prepare a warm beverage, or plan a trip to distract him.

That way, he will feel deeply cared for and appreciate your effort to cheer him up.

If he used to go grocery shopping with his late wife, offer to go on his behalf so he doesn’t have to experience grief triggers.

 Be the first to make it easier for him to move on.

6. Be Patient And Understanding

Losing a loved one is not something you can easily forget.

Though it’s not easy to hear the man you love speak fondly of another woman, patiently wait for him to heal at his own pace.

Putting yourself in his shoes will help you understand what he is going through and offer the necessary moral support.

Do not judge or try to make him feel weak for holding on to painful memories.

7. Be Available For Him

Be willing and ready to cancel your girls’ nights and lunches if you are dating a widower.

It will help if you avail yourself whenever he’s feeling sad and bloom and support him in whatever way you can.

There are days that will most certainly be hard on a widower.

Mark dates such as their anniversary, days of death, and other days that meant a lot to him and his late wife.

Make a point of spending those days with him and share in his memories.

 Navigating Emotions and Insecurities When a Widower Talks About His Late Wife

Understandably, emotions and insecurities resulting from your man speaking fondly of his late wife could overwhelm you. After all, you are human.

How can you navigate through that?


Well, remember that your feelings matter, so it is essential to discuss with him the impact that his talking about his late wife has on you.

Working together will help you balance discussing his late wife and considering your feelings.

Before letting the relationship get too serious, you must test your limits first and see what you can and cannot handle.

Besides, dating or marrying a widowed mate is not for the weak at heart.

We want to support bereaved mates fully, especially when they talk about their dead wives. However, some caution is needed.

While talking about her is completely healthy, be mindful of how often he brings her up.

If a widower keeps looking for opportunities to bring up his dead wife in every conversation, that’s a warning sign that he hasn’t moved on.

The same is the case if he keeps asking you to dress and act like her and only wants you to enjoy the things they did together without trying new things.

Closing Thoughts

Losing a mate can be compared to amputation. Even though that arm or leg is not there anymore, you still feel the cut-off part of your body.

You will always wonder how it would have been if you still had that part, and it’s not something you can get over.

Similarly, a widower could still feel the presence of his dead wife. He will spot her in large crowds, feel her presence in the house, and get random thoughts of ‘what could have been’ had she remained alive.

If you decide to establish a relationship with a widower, you must brace yourself and be ready to accept his loss as your own, acknowledging that it will always be a three persons relationship.

You may also want to read:

How Do I Compete With His Dead Wife?

Here’s Why I Will Never Date a Widower Again

Chrisa Sayi

Dr. Chrisa Sayi is a distinguished clinical psychologist, renowned author, and gobally recognized relationship expert. With a decade of experience, she has guided numerous couples toward healthier, more fulfilling connections. Dr. Sayi has shared his invaluable insights at over 30 conferences and penned over 100 professional articles and books. Her expertise has been featured in many reputable publications, including Glamour, Medium, Daily Nation, Awakening Africa, Reader's Digest, Bustle, UpJourney, Fatherly, The Zoe Report, Cosmopolitan, and many more. For further engagement, you can connect with Dr. Chrisa Sayi on Twitter via @DrChrisaSayi1.

Chrisa Sayihttp://kenyalogue.com
Dr. Chrisa Sayi is a distinguished clinical psychologist, renowned author, and gobally recognized relationship expert. With a decade of experience, she has guided numerous couples toward healthier, more fulfilling connections. Dr. Sayi has shared his invaluable insights at over 30 conferences and penned over 100 professional articles and books. Her expertise has been featured in many reputable publications, including Glamour, Medium, Daily Nation, Awakening Africa, Reader's Digest, Bustle, UpJourney, Fatherly, The Zoe Report, Cosmopolitan, and many more. For further engagement, you can connect with Dr. Chrisa Sayi on Twitter via @DrChrisaSayi1.
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