Dating a Widower? Hear What Women Have To Say About It


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dating a widower

By Jackie Pilossoph, Divorced Girl Smiling Editor-in-Chief

I personally have never dated a man whose wife died, but I know plenty of women who have. From what they tell me, dating a widower isn’t easy. Then again, neither is dating a divorced man. What are the differences? What are the challenges of dating a widower? And are there positives?

 

I decided to sit down with a group of women, all who have dated a widower, and ask them about their experiences. Here are the highlights of the discussion:

1. How is dating a widower different than dating a divorced man?

In any other situation, finding a mate is all happiness, but with a widower, it can be tempered w guilt. Widowers feel guilty that they are still able to enjoy happiness, while the person they lost can’t. They might also feel worried about other people’s perceptions. In other words, maybe others will judge them for finding happiness again. They might think, ‘Does being happy make people think I didn’t love my spouse?’

 

Worthy

2. What are some challenges you have faced?

There are both physical and emotional challenges. Physical reminders–mementos, personal effects, wedding pictures are difficult to see around the house. And it’s hard to determine the right time to speak up. You don’t want to sound insensitive, but you him to start letting go of the past and embracing the future. That’s not easy to do if his late wife’s clothes are still hanging in her closet. Emotional challenges involve certain days of the year, like the day she died or her birthday. Also, holidays that should be joyful (like Christmas) sometimes serve as sad reminders to the guy, when all we want is to celebrate like everyone else does.

3. What helps in having a successful relationship with a widower?

Communication is so important. You can’t assume you know what they are feeling. You have to have patience, but still be firm in letting him know what you want and need to be happy. It’s easy to fall into the trap of catering to their widow status rather than making sure your emotional needs are being met.

4. Any tips for someone dating a widower?

 

The Oasis Experience

 

Don’t’ make demands but make sure he knows what you need. Keep in mind that everyone has catered to him for a long time, and that could possibly cause him to be a little bit selfish. Not that it’s his fault, but he might forget how to date properly and might not make the effort. The widower needs to learn how to be sensitive to you, as you are to him. Also, don’t let insecurities build up about the past. Raise the issues as they come up.

5. Is dating a widower ever hurtful at times?

It is hurtful to wonder if he will ever love u as much as his late wife, if you’ll ever be the most important person to him, if his loved ones are comparing you. Its hurtful to see that his identity is based on being her husband and you wonder if he can create a new identity. Its hurtful to feel like you can’t experience a holiday without it triggering memories of her.

Free Gift With Purchase, a novel by Jackie Pilossoph

6. Anything you want to say to a widower who might be reading this?

 No reasonable person expects you to forget your spouse. Dating someone new is about finding balance. It’s about taking the 8 by 10 wedding photo in the foyer down, knowing that your new girlfriend has no issue with you looking at photos of your wife whenever you want. We feel like if we say anything about taking the physical mementos out of site, you (the widower) automatically hears “shred everything” and that’s not what we’re saying. It just means put them in a more private place.

7. The bottom line?

It’s important to apply the same standards to a widower as you would to any other guy. The only difference is you might need to have more patience. Having standards doesn’t mean you aren’t empathetic to the pain he’s gone through. Don’t settle for less from him than you would for any other guy.

Vestor

 

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59 Responses to “Dating a Widower? Hear What Women Have To Say About It”

  1. Mary Beth Alger

    The best advice I’ve read. I am totally in love with a widower and it’s bloody not easy!

    Reply
  2. Jackie

    it’s so nice to hear ‘you need to make your needs felt’ instead of ‘oh but he’s still grieving’.
    & as Mary Beth says, I love my widower to bits but it’s HARD…..& I’m a widow!!

    Reply
  3. Michael

    It’s the widower that needs to be careful. If our marriage was a good one, we have a lot of love that we carry in our hearts. I loved being married and transferred that love to an undeserving woman. She was using me to build her self-esteem after being abandoned by her husband of 30+ years. Divorces don’t usually leave women in a good state of mind. From now on, no more women whose husband’s have left them. Men do not walk out on good women. Unfortunately, I have given up on ever meeting anyone and am currently liquidateing assets so that I can use my “unattached” status to travel the world.

    Reply
    • Jackie Pilossoph

      I find the statement “men do not walk out on good women” extremely offensive. And actually, my husband did not leave me. But, i know countless amazing women–beautiful physically and smart and driven and kind, whose husbands left them. ARe they damaged? Certainly in a way. But many of them go on to meet men and fall in love. Everyone–men and women have baggage after divorce or after a spouse dies. or, even people as they get older. But if you look at it from a positive angle, that’s what makes people interesting and real and vulnerable. Men certainly do walk out on good women, and women walk out on good men, too.

      Reply
      • Sara

        Thank you, I am a great loving kind, sweet, faithful caring woman of 40 and a widowe walked out on me. I am so loyal and I believe that under my back he was looking for someone else because I wasn’t willing to move into a place he shared with his late fiancée. I was devastated when he dropped the news that it’s over and there’s no negotiation. He wouldn’t tell me he loved me, he didn’t want to give me hope and that we were over. It’s scary to think I was just there to keep him from being lonely when he was telling me that he loved me and he didn’t know what he would do without me just 2 days before. We were together for 6 months. Just because I wasn’t ready to take care of his place, laundry yet didn’t mean I didn’t love him. I just had my own place abd he wasn’t paying my bills. I didn’t understand he needed a lady to occupy his home…he wasn’t ready, he still had her bubble bath and shower stuff in the second bathroom so I would go home to my place to take a bath…I believe I was very understanding and patient, he wasn’t ready. I met all his friends related to her even her family and agreed to spend lots of time with them even though it as a little awkward for me.

        Reply
    • ginger

      micheal your comments are appalling, sexist and frankly i agree with the others they are hurtful and generalist. if you are widowed i would have expected more compassion not these boyish comments. embrace your single status as without changing your misguided and obviously bitter attitude towards women i fear you will likely stay single a while especially when you choose to diss my fellow women so publically even seeking this platform to do so is shocking in itself. & by the way my self esteem as a “walked out on woman” is sufficiently intact considering my current partner of many years also a widower, has chosen to stay with me so far! perhaps you would care to find out why on earth when im a “walked out on woman” he has chosen not to leave. oh and btw i haven’t emptied his bank account and i more than pay my way!

      Reply
  4. Marie

    I know this is a old thread. But here goes. I reconnected with my first love. We are both 50. His wife passed away 3 yrs ago. They was together 25 yrs married 10. He is a alcoholic. They both was drinkers but he is so bad. Starts drinking 10 am takes a nap and continues till evening. Our sex life is getting better but he is addicted to porn. All he talks about is her. It drives me crazy. I live with him her pictures are everywhere. He compares me to her tells me how hot she was. Thin. And short ( I am only 1 1/2 taller then she was and I am not heavy at all. I have constant depression and anxiety. I have dated divorced men and that was so much easier

    Reply
  5. Anonymous

    I’ve been dating a widower a year and a half now ,
    We got together 7 months after he lost his wife that he really loved
    He told me from the beginning he wasn’t ready to get in a relationship till I appeared he said if I canhave patience or if I can’t help understand
    I stayed he would disappear not answer messages or my calls but I was there when he would get out of his cave, sometimes a week sometimes over a month
    He wouldcome back was if we were together the day before ( I felt the same)
    2months now we have spent heaps of time togetherI thought we were on a good level as he would tell me he wasn’t up to going out we got real close and suddenly I get a message saying I’ll be going in my cave for a week ( at least he let me know this time)
    & its been a month now that we don’t have any contact he wount answer my messages or calls
    What should i do?
    I know it’s not over because I’m sure he would have told me
    It hurts
    I’m in the dark
    Will he come round soon?
    HELP

    Reply
    • Jackie Pilossoph

      I’m so sorry you are going through this. Just try to realize that this is his issue. It has nothing to do with you. Is he getting help? counseling? I wish I had the answer–give him space or push? No idea. It’s a sad situation. I wish you both the best.

      Reply
  6. Lou

    I met my widower 20 months ago on a dating site. i love him dearly and we have a very compatible day to day life together at his and his departed wife’s beautiful house . My ex marital home is currently for sale. He is kind, caring and we have everything in common but I am finding things increasingly difficult as It feels as if she is still here in the house, photos, purse, handbag, every trinket even if its dislike by him, absolutely everything is still in the drawers, boxes of photos under our bed, and a new one of the wedding 40 years ago recently put onto the window along with four others now in the dining room which looks into the kitchen.. if something has been misplaced…he assumes I have thrown something of hers away..I have been totally sensitive, loving, forgiving…everyday, even after nearly two years ago she is referred to as us and we and when I sat him down for “the honest chat” he said he loves the time we spend together but needs his space…yet if I’m away for a few extra days, he wants me back. I am in all sincerity a loving woman who has been hurt physically and mentally before but find this so difficult to ‘settle’ into the relationship and keep giving my all to it that I’m hurting inside. I’m a gardener so do his vast gardens in between my clients, clean, cook and behave like a wife. His daughter is sweet with me and shows no resentment despite being broken hearted over her mom, but I have to be silent and pretend I’m not around when he rings, his son never invites ‘us’ to his house only his dad nor have I met the grandchildren … it breaks my heart even tho I never criticise or raise the issues. I guess I’m heading for a long friendship if I accept the terms I’m offered. We have never been away together
    and I recently heard him quietly reply to an old friend who thinks we are wonderful couple, that ‘no…he likes his own space’… I guess that was would you ever marry her. Sometimes life can be sad and wasted from guilt. Such a waste of life ahead. I know he adores me, misses me but let’s face it..he can’t possibly love me.

    Reply
  7. Mike

    I am a widower and I have been dating a widow for the past 3 months and find that we both have similar backgrounds and life experiences. We both had long term marriages for over 35 years. Both of our losses are under a year. We talked on a site and then exchanged numbers. We talked on the phone and then we met. We have discussed our spouses and it made things a lot better for each of us. If this was any other time I could say that she was “the one”. We go out weekly and make long term plans. We have both met members of each others families and are very comfortable together. One thing is we are taking things at a snails pace. We both have expressed that we “like” each other and talk and text daily too. What I guess I am trying to say is that we both are grieving and what makes this relationship special is that we respect each others wishes and understand what we both experienced. Mine was sudden, hers a long term situation. I feel that because of that our relationship will be on more solid ground and that we will grow together. When we met each other we both knew what we were doing but at the same time we both found the support of each other to go out and do things instead of locking ourselves away and wasting away. I am so glad that I wrote to her, and she to me. It has made our lives so much brighter! I just wanted to post my comment to let you know that patience and respect and understanding can make a world of difference in your life. Again I am a widower she a widow so maybe thats the key to our good match up.

    Reply
    • Hurting

      I really need help with this and will value anyone’s feedback. I have been dating A widower for 16 months, is very much a gentleman,attentive, thoughtful, physically affectionate and treats me very well. We enjoy each other’s company and have been away on a few short holidays together and see each other 2 to 3 times a week. I am becoming more excepted by his grown-up daughter who also has a family of her own . His wife Of 40 years passed away suddenly two years before we met, He was dating another woman for a couple of months just prior to our meeting Online after being alone for almost 2 years. What is concerning me very much is that he cannot talk about his feelings towards me, has never said that he loves me. I have discussed this with him a few times. I finally asked him whether he loved me and He he said that he is still confused of his feelings, then said that deeper feelings are growing . He said he feels guilt and it’s like a blockage to him that stops him. He said his Late wife is still very much a big part of his heart, and a very big presence in his life. He is a man of high integrity and very respected in his corporate position, I know him to be very reliable and honest and I have never been treated so well. But I need to hear those words, there is no love language at all and tells me he has never been verbally affectionate. It’s my nature to call my man sweetheart or honey but I feel uncomfortable when ever I do as I know he is uncomfortable with verbal affection. When I hear other couples call each other honey, tearms of endearment, it makes my heart sink that we don’t have this emotional connection. Never says things like can’t wait to see you again, so glad you’re here, miss you etc etc. if I heard the words I love you I feel the rest wouldn’t matter as much I know this is not his nature. I feel I would be giving up a wonderful man, but I hurt so much that I don’t hear any love language. It’s hard to understand how one could be still confused of their feelings toward their partner after 16 months. Intimate part of the relationship is wonderful, and his treatment of me, but I still don’t believe it means that he is necessarily in love with me as he is a very kind person all round. He makes long-term plans for holidays this time next year, and I will be meeting his late wife’s side of the family at a function coming up shortly. He never wants any photos of us on Facebook as A year into our relationship His daughter told him she couldn’t cope Seeing him with someone else and warned him she would be thinking of unfriending him if he was to continue. Also didn’t want certain other people on his late wife’s side to see. I feel this is a big breakthrough meeting his late wife’s family, he has not hidden me at all from his closest friends and his grown-up children or grandchildren, I am now invited to all functions as they get together for every Birthday and are very frequent. In a relationship I need to feel my guy is in love with me as I am with him, when I tell him I love him he doesn’t reciprocate but says thank you, I have stopped telling him as frequently now. We are both in our mid 60s and I was widowed when I was 50 and lost another special man to cancer 4 years ago after a 6 year relationship. I am Asking kindly for anyone who feels they have advise to respond as this is really affecting me very deeply. Thanking you all in advance

      Reply
  8. Mike

    When I said if this was any other time I would say that she was “the one” I failed to finish that thought. I meant that she is so perfect for me that had this been many years ago she would have been the one I married. That she is perfect for me right now. That she has captured my heart. Going out to “date” again has changed both of our lives. But we are taking things very slow so we can build on this and have that wonderful relationship we both desire. I just wanted to clarify that comment because it doesnt sound right as originally posted.

    Reply
    • Claire_Dernel

      This is lovely to read… I have been dating a widower for a year now, we met 2 yrs after his wife passed away. I am divorced in very good terms for 3 yrs now, and we met each other in a dating website in 2015.
      It’s interesting because the first time I googled about dating a widower I read some crazy stories, almost all of them describing a relationship I wouldn’t feel comfortable to be in, and I couldn’t relate to it very much.
      Sometimes I have some insecurities, but I had some insecurities in past relationships too, so I guess this is quite normal.
      I developed a strange feeling towards his late wife… I like her, and I feel we would have been good friends. I got to the point I even had dreams of her being alive, and being so happy about it! Chatting with her when we have never actually met each other. I felt terrible in the morning when I woke up and realized it was a dream… and I got even worse when I realized he certainly has these dreams too and I can’t imagine the pain of waking up and being dragged to reality.
      Regarding my insecurities, I used to wonder if I am a reminder of his loss and he is with me because I am the closest person around who reminds him the relationship they had. In time, I realized that this is nonsense… not only because our relationship is different, but also because I am a completely different person and so is my boyfriend since Mary (late wife) passed away.
      Anyway, I am writing this because no relationship is a walk in the park and easy, but I think it is not supposed to be so difficult and full of pain.
      Unfortunately, life is full of unpredictable sad moments, and we should always be sensitive towards people’s feelings, but I don’t think this is a green card to put their feelings over ours all the time.
      I was married to a great guy but we didn’t work as a couple due to an illness he developed. He was married to a great woman but she passed away. Our past lives are not an option anymore, so we had no other option but accept reality and move forward. I can’t compare the processes we have been through, but the one thing I know is that we are both committed to this idea, and we expect nothing but making each other feel loved all the time, and I don’t think we should settle for anything less than this.

      Reply
      • Jayne

        I’m so glad I found this sight. I’ve known my widower for 3 years now. When we met we were bothing going through a divorce. Both our spouses had an affair. A short time later we found out his soon to be ex had terminal cancer. I was by his side whenever he needed me. It was one of the hardest things either of us had ever dealt with. Uncharted waters. As tough as it is to deal with the rollercoaster ride I love him and feel our relationship is worth the work. Thank you everyone that has shared their experiences. It makes me feel there is hope. Every relationship has it’s challenges, these are just a little different.

        Reply
  9. Kt

    I met my widower on a dating site. He has been widowed for 8 years. He says and does all the right things. But sometimes I feel a disconnect. I have met his family and his children. He has expressed he wants to marry me one day. He is making little changes around his home. He even bought me a toothbrush and bath towels for when I spend the night. We have not had sex, but we cuddle. Am I reading to must into this because of the disconnect. This is new territory for me. Help

    Reply
  10. Kt

    I’m dating a widower. This is new to me. His wife died of cancer 8 years ago. I have met his family and his children. All like me. He has talked about marriage and spending the rest of his life with me. He is very accommodating. He takes my advice in his personal affairs. He has made room for me in his home. We have not had sex. All is well but every now and then he is very distant. Should I ask him about this or go with the flow. As I stated this is new to me

    Reply
  11. Olaide

    Best advice anyone dating a widower could ask for … I’m currently dating a widower… he used to be my ex boyfriend but we went different way, I had a child but wasn’t married… he got married and had two children but lost his wife… I really don’t know but we found ourselves coming back and getting so use to each other .. it’s 7months now since he lost his wife but I know too well we are both in love… sometimes the thoughts of us being soul mates comes to me cause even though at some point we weren’t together , we still got way to communicate with each other when we could even know he wasn’t cheating on his late wife with me then.. could this be a green light? His kids love me, my son loves him and his kids.. his mom and siblings love me too. Any thoughts ?

    Reply
    • Jackie Pilossoph

      I think this is great! Just don’t rush anything. Keep having fun and enjoying each other. the biggest mistake (in my opinion) that couples make is rushing into marriage. Just let it happen. So what if it takes a long time? Just enjoy every day. It sounds like it’s a great, great relationship. I”m happy for both of you!

      Reply
  12. Diana

    I am a widow of 19 years and dating a gentleman widowed 7 years. There are times we do well and other time I am in limbo as to what to do or where I stand. I am old enough to not act foolish, but I really like this guy. I am willing to let time take its course, but there are times i get impatient. Such confusion.

    Reply
    • Jayne

      You sound exactly how I feel. It’s so comforting to know there are other woman out there dealing with the same situation. I appreciate the good times and hold on tight during the tough ones. Giving him space to work through his feelings is probably the hardest thing. But he always comes back so I just hold onto that. Being patient isn’t always easy. I wish you the best.

      Reply
  13. Melanie

    I have really enjoyed reading these tips and comments. I have a few questions myself. I have been dating a widower for almost 2 years now. He us 68 and I am 69. He was married to her for about 13 years. He said that a couple years into the marriage she told him he could go do whatever he wanted with whoever he wanted because she didn’t care. Yet he stayed with her. She has 2 children who are grown and have children of their own. He is close to them and their children. They call him grandpa, etc. I don’t have a problem with him staying close with them. However he keeps wanting me to go with him to visit them and I want nothing to do with it. I don’t like the idea of going to a place where I will have to see pictures of him and her together, etc. I haven’t said anything to him about this. I keep thinking it will cure itself. In some ways I think I am being small but then in other ways I feel that our lives together is going to be short as it is and I dont want to be spending it with her children. I would really appreciate any feedback.

    Reply
  14. Melanie

    I have really enjoyed reading these tips and comments. I have a few questions myself. I have been dating a widower for almost 2 years now. He us 68 and I am 60. He was married to her for about 13 years. He said that a couple years into the marriage she told him he could go do whatever he wanted with whoever he wanted because she didn’t care. Yet he stayed with her. She has 2 children who are grown and have children of their own. He is close to them and their children. They call him grandpa, etc. I don’t have a problem with him staying close with them. However he keeps wanting me to go with him to visit them and I want nothing to do with it. I don’t like the idea of going to a place where I will have to see pictures of him and her together, etc. I haven’t said anything to him about this. I keep thinking it will cure itself. In some ways I think I am being small but then in other ways I feel that our lives together is going to be short as it is and I dont want to be spending it with her children. I would really appreciate any feedback.

    Reply
  15. Nancy

    I am at a loss! I have close friends I have known for 23 yrs. Since meeting them there has always been this…connection between him and I. Nothing ever happened as we were both married. My girlfriend (his wife) was diagnosed, battled cancer for 2 yrs and passed away August 2016. For 3 months after her passed he pursued me, wanting to date. Him 52, me 47…I was very hestiant as I questioned whether he was ready and was worried that if it didn’t work out I didn’t want to loose him as a friend. We talked about this repeatedly and he kept assuring me he felt ready and that knowing my past history (my ex cheated on me) would never hurt me. We dated for 7months, there was quilt as he felt like he was cheating on his LW and that he was happy and I felt like I was betraying my friend. We talked about it but felt that our relationship felt right! He was told by a friend of his LW that she often spoke of me with her friends and even told one of them that she thought him and I would get together. We felt it was meant to be. After 7months on July 25, due to his job he saw a Psychologist. I don’t know what was said but I do know that since 18yrs old he has never been alone. He has been dealing with anger issues, and he’s not an angry man. I told him it was is grief has the 1 yr anniversary of his LW passing was in a few months. During this time on a couple of occasions his angry bubbled over and he snapped at me, immediately apolozing and feeling horrible. It wasn’t right and I didn’t deserve it but I understood were it was coming from. After the time with the Psychologist he realized that he hasn’t finished grieving for his LW and that he isn’t ready for a relationship. He broke up with me saying he needs time and space. Of course we are both devastated as we were talking about a future together with me and my 2 boys and buying a house and vacations…etc. I know he would never intentionally hurt me and that he didn’t see this coming just as much as neither of us expected these feelings. I have been trying to give him the space and time that he asked for but it is extremely hard. He has been texting me occasionally and calling me. This has absolutely destroyed me! In the past 5 yrs I have had so much go on in my life that him breaking up with me has made my “cup” over flow and I can’t seem to pull myself up. It has been 2 months and I have my good days but most are bad, I am off work on stress leave and seeing a counsellor. I know in my heart that he is having a hard time with this and I hadn’t told him how truly hard this has been trying to stay strong for him but I don’t want to lie and feel it’s important to keep the lines of communication open and honest. I feel him distant and holding back his feelings and having to do this to help him get through this. A week ago we spoke on the phone for an hour it was raw, open and honest. He said he has a hole in his heart that somedays he feels it would just be easier to jump in front of a bus, that he thinks of me the minute he wakes up, all day long and when he goes to bed. I told him everything I have been going through and that I haven’t been able to work, crying everyday, feeling empty and all that he is feeling. He is embarrassed that his angry bubbled up at me and again I told him I understood but he says I’m validating it. No, it wasn’t ok and I do deserve better but I also know that that isn’t him and if he wasn’t working himself to exhaustion and dealing with grief of his LW and know grief of pushing me away it would never have happen. He admitted that he is running away. He needs time to find himself and learn who he is. I asked him to please not run away from me I understand that need to find himself but I could bare not having him in my life. At the end of our conversation I asked if he was ok with me still telling him I love him and before I could finish he said “You have no idea I Love you so, so, so much ND!” I know he loves me and that this is tearing him apart. Except for a couple of texts Monday and an apology for not calling (like I said he is working himself to exhaustion during the day his reno/ carpet business and evening paramedic) I haven’t heard from him and it’s killing me. I love this man with all my heart and know, understand and respect he needs time but this is so hard my heart hurts and I don’t know what to do!!!

    Reply
    • Lynette

      WOW! Your situation sounds exactly like mine, except it was not a friend.

      I started dating a widower around October 2017 and it had been over two years since his wife passed away. We met online, he pursued me like crazy. I’ve never been married but have an adult child and he was married twice, his late wife being his second marriage. He has 3 kids, but none with the late wife. Everything was going great, it was the most intense relationship I’ve ever been in. It was long distance, but we met every month and spoke on the phone, FaceTimed, texted, email everyday. He spoke of marrying me one day. He came to my hometown to meet my family. I was scheduled to meet his family (not including his daughters and he did not meet my son) the week of Christmas 2017. One week before I was scheduled to fly into town, he canceled my visit, told me he was depressed because of the holidays. He brought up his late wife and her daughter saying how much he misses them both. He is still close to her daughter and her family. I was patient with him and understood he was still grieving. He talked about his late wife every day in our general conversation and even had picture of them saved on his phone as his screen saver so I had to see this every time he opened his phone. I never said anything to him about it.

      Once he canceled my visit, he told me he needed “more time” to himself. I gave him that. I didnt speak to him or call him for two weeks to give him time to collect his thoughts. He was also seeing a therapist. Then on New Years Day 2018, I called to checked on him and found out he blocked my number. However, he did not block me from contacting him on social media or WhatsAPP. This really hurt my feelings because I did absolutely nothing to him for him to go that far to remove me from his life. We finally talked and he said it was only until he got his thoughts together and didnt want to be bothered with anyone. I finally let out all my emotions in an email to him and wanted to know where we stood and he said it was the end of us because he’s not happy and don’t know how long it’s gonna take him to be happy so he don’t want me waiting around for him. He said he’s not ready for a relationship like he thought he was.

      Although he told me time and time again he has not loved anyone since his wife died, he told me I made his heart happy again. We made several plans to travel together, sell our homes and buy a home together in a totally different state, travel the world together in retirement.

      It’s been almost a month since we last had any communication and it’s been a mess for me to the point that I’m now seeing a therapist. I cry most days and other days I’m angry which is not me. I don’t think he’ll ever come back and if he did, I would not take him back. This hurts too bad!

      Reply
      • Jackie Pilossoph

        I’m so sorry this happened to you. I hope you realize that he did this as a result of HIS issues. This has absolutely nothing to do with you or anything you did. If he does contact you, I don’t think you should shut him out. Listen to what he has to say. Neither you nor I know what it’s like to be a widower. Please try not to cry anymore. You deserve to be with someone who is 100% sure and who will not do this to you. He is out there. xoxo!!!

        Reply
        • Sara

          Thank you for this blog Jackie and thank you this post Lynette. I also was dating a widower for 6 months and I tell you if ever I thought there was a one, it was him until he shattered us 2 weeks ago but just ending it with me…I searched my heart and soul for the past 2 weeks going over what I could have done wrong…we were seriously the most loving couple I had ever seen or known. We needed each other’s love just as much. We had plans of getting married one day and we were truly happy I thought. Yes we had hit some bumps along the way in the difficult months. I was patient and loving and very kind. I was devastated and hit very hard with the news we were over. He started making decisions for us by himself though which kind of made me unsure if us since those decisions affected our relationship and where we were headed. It all started when he said we weren’t ready to live together but what he meant was he wasn’t ready to move away from the place he shared with his late fiancée. So we seemed to go downhill from there but I absolutely admired and loved him with all my heart. But he crushed us when he said we are done. We had some rough days leading up to the breakup but I honestly didn’t know the breakup was coming since he was telling me how much he loved and needed me the days before. He accused me when he broke up with him that I didn’t trust him which is totally not true. I’m sad. When he broke up with me he had all my stuff hidden in a corner of my house and he was waiting for me when I got home at midnight to break the news. When I asked him, when will I get my stuff, he pointed to the place where he had my stuff in trash bags and said I already packed it all up for you. Now I feel like he just quickly replaced me with someone else and he started looking while we were in the relationship. 🙁

          Reply
          • Jackie Pilossoph

            Wait a minute. Are you sure he has someone else? I have a few thoughts. First, he is saying he doesn’t trust you, which realy means he doesn’t trust himself. All of these issues are HIS issues and have nothing to do with you. He is very very confused and it sounds like he desperately felt like he needed space, hence packing up your stuff (which is really mean, by the way.) So, my advice is to look in the mirror and say to yourself, “I was the best girlfriend I knew how to be. I showed him love and gave myself to him and because of HIS issues, he couldn’t take the reltaionship to the next level. This is not about me, but about HIM. And, somewhere out there, is a man who wants to receive all the love i have to give.” You did nothing wrong!! He sounds really really confused and needs therapy. And, if he is with someone else, those same issues will creep up with her.

  16. Pam

    I be been seeing a wonderful man for a year who was widowed just over two years ago. He had been married over 30 years. I am separated after 26 years of marriage.
    We get on so well, he never says anything comparing me to his late wife, however he still wears both their wedding rings and does have pictures of her in his house ( one of his daughters purposefully put a new one up the week after I met her. It was a photo of her mum on her wedding day).
    Our relationship is as close to perfect as it could be, he tells me he loves me all the time, he sends me love messages everyday via text etc telling me I’m beautiful, he is romantic and attentive We live about 20 miles from each other and because of work and that I have youngish children at home still, we spend evenings apart a lot of the time.over the last 6 months I have supported him financially when he was between jobs, supported his kids when they have been in turmoi.. However at least once a week he will text me saying he isn’t good enough for me, he thinks I should get a man more worthy of me and that he will leave me alone. He has even accused me of not loving him ( on the evening of the day he had booked days off for a joint holiday and we had just been away on a fabulous weekend)
    I have never said anything like this to him. He is wonderful and I tell him all the time how much I love him. But these out bursts really hurt. I end up calling him and talking to him about how he actually feels …. he then says all he wants is for us to be together that he only wants us to be together and that he loves me with all his heart. He says he is really scared of being hurt again he then calls and texts to see if we are ok. .He has even said he completely understands if I want to try again with my estranged husband ( he lives with the woman he left me for so that’s not going to happen and I don’t want it to anyway and my widower knows that).
    I don’t know what to do. I love him to bits and I know he loves me, but these outburst are going to end up breaking us up, when there’s actually no need for it to happen from my side, it’s him pushing me away.

    Reply
  17. Donna

    I have been dating a widower for over 2 months now. I’ve known him in a casual setting for about 9 years, and we have been friends for about 3-4 years. His wife passed away 10 years ago and he has 2 grown children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I am 48 and he is 73. We share many of the same interests in sports teams, travel, fitness, etc. We connected on a deeper level on a group trip to Hawaii a few months back and we have been exclusively dating since then. I’ve met his son and will meet his daughter and her family on a family cruise in a few months. I’ve never been married and have no children. There are no pictures of his wife in his house. He told me about 6 weeks ago that during the marriage, his wife left him for another man and had a 5 year relationship with him. She felt lonely because he was a cop and he worked 4pm-12am. She took the kids and moved in with her parents. During this time he had other relationships as he was devastated but they never divorced. She eventually ended her affair, took the kids and moved back in with him. He stayed with her until she passed away from cancer. The problem I’m facing now is, he is very insecure. His insecurity manifests itself in anger and almost rage against me as our relationship has progressed (or regressed). I’m trying to be extremely patient, loving, supportive and communicative. He will ask “what if” questions about my past relationships that were years ago. He got so angry with me for leaving his house one morning without saying goodbye but he was sleeping and I didn’t want to wake him. I constantly text him and provide reassurance while I’m at work (he’s retired). On the days I can work from home, he asks me to work from his house which I do. I’ve seen him every single day for the past 2 months. When we go out, he thinks everyone is trying to pick me up. We have a large group of mutual friends. Now he tells me that he can’t do this anymore because he’s afraid of getting hurt. He wants to just have casual relationships with women he doesn’t care about. Meanwhile, I’m so confused and heartbroken. He always tells me he loves me and wants to be with me forever and then after a few drinks, he says these hurtful things but he carries this over to the next day. He will “punish” me by not answering his phone or responding to my texts while all day long I’m in complete despair about what I did or said that was wrong. We have all of these trips and concerts planned and paid for and now he wants to just throw our relationship away. I’ve told him respectfully a few times that “I’m not her” but he always finds something to get really upset with me.

    Reply
    • Patricia

      This reply is for Donna. I’m a 62 year old professional woman and I was with a 73 year old retired widower for 16 months. He pursued me for two years before I agreed to go out with him. His late wife has been gone for 7 years. We were both very good to each other for the duration of this relationship. He often told me that I was the most affectionate and passionate woman (including his late wife) that he had ever been with. We enjoyed a lot of fun activities together and he often told me that he had fallen in love with me. Although his house is still a shrine to his deceased wife (everything is exactly as she left it ~ furniture, pictures, etc.), he claimed that he was looking forward to a future with me. He always appeared to be a calm, patient person, but I saw a whole other side to him a month ago. Much to my surprise, he went ballistic over a very minor incident. Since I am a good dancer, I have performed a group routine with my dance group. My boyfriend joined this group, but being a new dancer, couldn’t keep up with the routine that we were going to perform. Also, a family member was flying in to visit him on the afternoon of the performance, so he declined to perform. On the evening of the performance, I posted a group picture and an individual picture of my dance partner and me. The sh-t hit the fan and I received four days of sarcastic, very critical texts from my boyfriend. I couldn’t believe his over-reaction. He had known that I was going to dance the routine and he knew who my dance partner was going to be a full week before the performance and never acted upset about it. Now he was ranting and totally out of control, but he would only text me. He refused to talk with me via phone, or in person. I removed the pics and asked via text what else I needed to do to make this right for him. I did not apologize for participating in the performance, but I apologized six times for it upsetting him. I texted that I loved and cared about him five times. I tried to rationalize that we had shared a wonderful 16 months together and this was just one incident. Nothing worked. He went fully silent on me ~ shut off all communication. Was this the same man who told me how much he loved me the morning of the performance??? It was if I were dealing with a completely different person now. After 7 days of this nonsense, I had to be honest with myself. A man who truly loved me and cared about preserving our relationship would not be treating me like this. He was punishing me. Emotional abandonment is emotional abuse plain and simple. For all of the energy, time, money and love I had lavished on this widower, I did not deserve this kind of poor treatment. As difficult as it was for me, I decided that I had to end the relationship. He dug his heels in and wasn’t budging. If I allowed him to continue to treat me like this until he was good and ready to reconcile, it would set a precedent for future conflicts. We had a cruise paid for and another trip planned. All got cancelled. Donna, you deserve to be treated with love and respect. Trust me, you are never going to get that from your passive-aggressive widower boyfriend. Get out now before he strips you of your dignity.

      Reply
  18. Tata Ru

    Last year, my wife Jo passed away suddenly and my whole world turned upside down. We started going out in 1998 and married in 2001. She introduced me to a different world I knew nothing about – Koru Club travel etc. We were in our late thirties so it seemed to make more sense to spend time and money on spending time and doing things with family especially the nephews and nieces. By default I think we both felt there were enough children in (the world) and our families and we could make a difference by supporting and loving them. After Jo’s passing, I feared I would lose my connection and love with her family but the opposite has happened. They have been my strongest support throughout this whole ordeal. I know ‘m probably on the wrong website/link which is about dating, but I just want to say how good it is to read there is life after we suddenly find ourselves alone. All I miss are the hugs and cheek to cheek to feel the warmth.

    Reply
  19. Ithurts

    I have been dating a widower of three years when we met 11 months ago. He had been married for 40 years after marrying his childhood sweetheart at 22. He is very affectionate privately but lacks any verbal affection at all. He is very attentive and takes me to beautiful places around town. Any Verbal affection I give is never reciprocated. When I tell him I’ve missed him he will never tell me the same. We Tell each other we feel very fulfilled in the bedroom and says he feels the chemistry. Four weeks ago it was like a bomb shell when I asked him if he felt truly ready to move on when we met and whether he was happy with our relationship. His reply shocked me when he said that on our recent nine day cruise holiday together nine months into our relationship he expected to come back feeling all positive but felt something was missing and didn’t feel the chemistry. He has never said he loves me and never talks of his feelings. I asked if he wanted to break up and after some silence he said it’s probably just him and finding it difficult to open his heart to another woman. He asked me then to stay with him and be patient. I’m also widowed with my husband dying suddenly 15 years ago and then my second special man died after five years together of cancer 4 years ago. I also had cancer five years ago, so I need to think about myself as well as it is not just him that’s been through a lot. There has also been trouble with his grown-up daughter with her own family accepting me who is not happy to see her dad moving on. She is quite cold to me and hardly talks to me on family occasions. So the issues are mainly he never talks about his feelings towards me unless I question him when he said he is still Unsure whether he loves me and cannot say it but asked me to be patient. This was 10 months into our relationship. I really don’t know what to do, it’s hard when your guy says he doesn’t feel the chemistry and doesn’t know whether he loves me but to be patient. He is a thorough gentleman and couldn’t be more attentive and caring, that’s the type of person he is.
    Would love some replies as as I am feeling desperately unhappy since this shock reply

    Reply
  20. Ithurts

    I should also add that he asked me to go interstate with him for a few days in a couple of weeks time and we also planned a two week holiday this August some months ago, and wondering whether he is staying with me because we have this holiday planned and paid for. He was planning an overseas trip for us mid next year so I asked him why he was planning so far ahead if he was feeling as he was and then said he hasn’t been planning it since our recent trip. He is a highly successful businessman and also has said that he has never been verbally affectionate but that is not my main worry. He was actually widowed for two years when we met online and I was the second Meeting for him. He has only ever had one woman, his wife, in his life. He doesn’t continually talk of her at all but tells me he still thinks of her every day and often said to tear and understandably needs his space on anniversary which I I totally understand and support. He tells me he feels guilty sometimes and still hasn’t sold the family home which no one is living in. His late wife’s clothes still hanging and not touched , So is the bedroom. He moved away from the family home after six months and virtually just walked out and in the same place sense. He tells me it’s mainly his daughter that is finding it difficult to shift things and to sell. He’s actually planning on selling the next 12 months. He often talks gently to his daughter about me and encourages her to be warmer and accepting of me.

    Reply
  21. denise

    I have been dating a widower for 6 months now. his wife did a year and a half ago. they were childhood sweethearts. three months after she passed, he started seeing a lady who he had known for years. I’m sure he did this because his world had been turned upside down and he felt comfortable with her. He broke it off with her after 6 months because she became to possessive and wanted to move in with him. My brother introduced me to the widower and we hit it off right away. he talked about his late wife quite a bit and my heart would just break for him and his adult children. He had pictures of her in the house but not many and it didn’t bother me. I actually would ask about her and what she was like. His wife and I went to high school together. He would have his moments when he would not call/text for a week or two but then apologize and say he was in a bad place. Well 2 weeks ago, the first lady started showing up at his house and sit in his driveway for hours until he would come out and talk to her. she would go to his job and sit in the parking lot until he was off duty and start arguments with him in the parking lot, call him constantly on his phone. He was very honest with me while this was going on. He blocked her number and that is when she started to show up at his house. He finally had to call the police. I had a heart to heart talk with him and told him, I could deal with him missing his wife but I cannot deal with this crazy behavior of the other woman. Though I feel he has done everything he could to control her behavior. He constantly tells me his heart has turned to stone and he is not the same man he used to be since his wife died. I have asked him if he wants me to fade away, and he said no, but he also told me he is not ready for a ” full fledged relationship” whatever that means. since that conversation, he came over 4 nights in a row and now I have not heard from him in a week. My mind is wandering all over the place. I want to call him so bad to see what is going on, but I don’t want to seem like the “needy” woman who wants to know why he hasn’t called. I’m not going to beat my self up and think maybe I shouldn’t of said some of the things I did. I know he is suffering from depression but he will not seek help or take medication. He feels since I’m a nurse, he can talk to me I miss him and wish he would tell me what is going on. I have told him several times, I’m there for him, but I will not hold his hand. This is his life and he needs to take control of it and do what he needs to, to make this happen. I know what a grieving spouse goes thru as my brother in law committed suicide 5 years ago and what I am telling him is the same thing I told my sister. I just don’t know what to do. If I knew this relationship would be an emotional roller coaster, I don’t think I would of gotten involved with him.

    Reply
    • Denise Medany

      My book “One Heart Too Many” has helped many women who are involved with widowers. It’s available on Amazon.

      Reply
  22. Susan

    Some of these people need to just be alone for the rest of their lives if they can’t get past the loss. I met a widower 2 months ago we live in other states but we plan to meet soon and share videos and text and talk alot. he seems ready to move on after being widowed for almost 4 years but after reading what everyone is going through not sure if I want to continue. He had a beautiful marriage as he puts it. Me I have had 3 abusive men in a row. 30 years of my life. so I am very cautious as not to be used and abused again… Idk never needed a man for financial support so I never want to be married again just wanting companionship. I feel since he had a very successful marriage of 28 years we should leave it at that and just be companions… She was not that pretty or sexy and I think somewhere down the line some kind of guilt will pop up because of that. I don’t want to up stage anyone nor do I want to take a back seat to anyone. I have always been the one to break-up in the past and consider myself an exceptional woman in every way… He is the most amazing man I have ever met…

    Reply
  23. Susan

    Oh I forgot to say that we both have kids the same age so we will be empty nesters in a year from now and I have 2 older girls. My son has seen me go through ringer for 10 years with his step father and thinks I should just have a companion too after he moves on after high school. My girls would like to put me in a box and keep all men away from me as they think no one deserves me. they have seen me go through the ringer with their dad’s as well…His daughter seems from what he says that she will have a hard time letting someone else in the picture but I think when she goes away to college it will change the dynamics of her feelings. It would be selfish for her to want to keep her dad all to herself I think… One day at a time ! really…

    Reply
    • Denise Medany

      My book “One Heart Too Many” has helped many women who are in love with widowers. It’s available on Amazon.

      Reply
  24. Susan

    He doesn’t know I know what his LW looks like but I found an obituary about her just because I wanted to make sure there was no foul play involved. she passed away of ovarian cancer…I will never tell that I investigated it but just wanted to make sure everything was on the up and up !

    Reply
  25. Amy

    I am dating a widower who’s wife passed about 4 years ago he has 4 kids with her they were together for a long time about 20 yrs and he still talks about her a lot I’ve gotten used to it he says it’s to keep her memory alive as he told her he would. And I always respected that ,and he respected me but taking her pictures down and stopped bringing her up in everything. We have been together 6 -7 months now and completely happy in love.he is older than me and I wonder a lot about what will happen when he leaves the physical world and meets with her again and I’m still here what will happen? How will we all ???he will love and be with her again and he will love me and I love him. I don’t want to share but I know he will be back with her again. I don’t know if anyone’s ever thought of this so it would be great to hear what anyone elses thoughts are????

    Reply
    • Denise Medany

      Amy, perhapys you’d be interested in my book “One Heart Too Many”, available on Amazon. It has helped many women deal with the challenges of being involved with a widower.

      Reply
  26. Kathe

    I appreciate this thread so much. I have been a widow for 6 years. A man I have known (not well) for 25 years lost his wife 10 weeks ago. We met for lunch because he said he had some questions. It was pleasant and we are going for coffee soon. I am reluctant to get involved because he has been widowed for such a short time. It seemed to during lunch that he would like to at least be friends and do things together. This is fine with me but caution alarms are going off like crazy in my head. I could use some advice on how to proceed. I am open to a deeper relationship but am not interested in moving in or getting married. I know communication is key, I just don’t want to open that door too early. Perhaps I should wait for a few signals from him to begin the conversation. He may make it clear that this is just a friendship. Help!!!

    Reply
  27. Raymond Penn

    I lost my wife of just over 25 years of marriage almost 5 months ago now. She was my one and only. We were home bodies and really did not have any friends except for ourselves. Reading this type of article actually helps to be able to see the other side of things. Yes I am in therapy, and getting better. The thing that I miss most is the intimacy, i.e. the hand holding, the laying on the couch with our feet intertwined, the kisses, her head on my shoulder. I do not want to be married again, (at least not yet), I would like to find someone to share my life with in the future. I do realize in my heart that I am not ready for any type of relationship, but my mind keeps trying to push me that way. Right now I just want people that I meet, which is not many, that I am a good man. Any advise from the female perspective would be appreciated. Thank you

    Reply
    • Jackie Pilossoph

      I am so very sorry for your loss. It sounds like you had a really special bond. BIG BIG hugs. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be. But if you think about it, so many men and women end up finding a companion/love again. It’s not to take your wife’s place, but just to enjoy life with someone. xoxoxo It will be OK. You are in my prayers.

      Reply
  28. Aria

    Well, here goes..I’m having second thoughts about marrying my widower. His wife passed June 2014, we met February 2015. He went on a few dates prior to me, and said they were not his type. We had many conversations about weather he was ready to date and move on to a possible future for ” us.” He said he was ready. I believed he was being honest. When I first went to his home it was filled with pictures, pictures and more pictures. Some pictures were taken down and her belongings were removed from their home at the actions of his children. His children wanted to make it more comfortable for me. I appreciated that, however, I feel he should of taken the initiative.
    We got engaged April 2018. We relocated to a new area, new home. He said it’s our home and I can decorate it as I like. I didnt have chance to decorate and he soon placed her picture in the livingroom. I became upset.. and I’m questioning the relationship. When is it enough. He still has her photo as his cell phone screen. He still writes sweet something’s to her. Lastly, he couldn’t use his previous personalized license plate a reference to her. So, he decided to change it with her initials. I understand memories, we all have them. I just can’t get passed he continues to live in it. Any thoughts?

    Reply
    • Jackie Pilossoph

      Wow. What a tough situation. Maybe you need to address this in couple’s therapy. Just tell him you can’t marry him until you go to a couple sessions. Thoughts? He needs to work through this if the two of you are going to have a life together. I hope it works out.

      Reply
  29. Eugene

    My first marriage was 27 years. Divorced in 2010. I became smitten with a woman from high school with whom I connected on Facebook. We were married in 2013. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016 and we lost the battle in May of this year. I, like many widowers (it is strange to use that description) felt I would never meet another “one”. Back in 2010, another woman had shown an interest in me, but she was in the midst of a very nasty divorce. She had become pretty bitter about it. We never spoke after I become involved with my LW. A month after my LW passed, we communicated by private message for the first time. A month later we met for a casual dinner. We continued to communicate. I finally asked her on a date. She admitted to not having any real relationships since her divorce 8 years ago. She said that every time someone got close she would run. Well, she did that to me as well. We got close, and I felt the push come. I was patient. I put some space between us and let her think it through. When we did finally spend time together, it was very intimate (this is a long distance relationship). We have both been well pleased with our time together and apart. I know I am ready. I have been in counseling for 5 months. I discussed this with my counselor, and she was supportive if I felt I was good with it, knowing that there would still be triggers, and certain times of emotion. My new relationship is hard, not because of me, but because my new friend moves toward me, then away. She now has broken through and says she loves me, and I her. I’m not sure where this will go, but I want to love her as she has never known it before. I hope she gives us a chance. I am 62, she is 60. We also went to high school together, but didn’t really know one another. I am still not completely sure that this will be the kind of unconditional love that I had with the LW, but I have hope. Sorry for this being so long.

    Reply
  30. Whattodo

    I have been dating a widowerfor 16 months, his treatment of me is wonderful, very affectionate, caring and attentive. The problem is he never talks about his feelings towards me, I have asked him how he feels and tells me he is confused and that His late wife is still very much in his life and heart. She passed away 3 1/2 years ago very suddenly. We are both in our mid 60s and he had one lady in his life, a marriage of 40 years. During our conversation recently and asked him again and said that I need to feel my man is in love with me as I love him, and still doesn’t give me an answer. He likes me to go to his family functions, friends and now meeting his late wife’s family at a special function. He talks of holidays in the future, in which we have planned a year ahead. this man treats me as he looked as if he loves me but there is nothing verbal, no love language. He has never been a verbally affectionate person but I am yearning to hear the words I love you after 16 months of relationship.

    Reply
    • Jackie Pilossoph

      You have every right to hear those words after 16 months. I feel bad for your boyfriend, but does he realize that everything in this relationship isn’t about him? Is he in therapy? Maybe the two of you could see a therapist together and you could bring this up. I feel for you and yes, you deserve to hear those words. You are not wrong. xo

      Reply
  31. Whattodo

    Hi Jackie, thank you so much for your thoughts. I mentioned therapy for us together but he said that he felt that he wanted to do this alone, and agreed that he needs to see a therapist as he did shortly after his wife passed away. That was four weeks ago but still hasn’t done anything about it. He has told me he feels guilt, and finds it hard to open up his heart completely to another woman. I asked him did he really think he was ready for a relationship when we met and he said probably not but said he doesn’t want to lose me. People say actions speak louder than words, but being he is an incredibly kind person and very thoughtful, it still doesn’t convince me of how he feels about me, whether it’s love for me that he feels. He’s not at all verbally affectionate and gets rather embarrassed if I call him Anything but his real name. He doesn’t often reciprocate when I sendhim a loving message, often responding as thank you. At this stage I don’t want to lose him but can’t wait for ever, I need him to tell me how he feels. I brought this A few days ago after it was getting me down and quite overwhelming but still will not discuss his feelings even though I was upset.

    Reply
    • Jackie Pilossoph

      Here’s the thing. I feel very sad for him that his wife died, and I can’t pretend to know what he is going through or how he feels. But, let’s not forget, you are in this relationship, too. and, he isn’t meeting your needs. Wouldn’t it be refreshing to text your boyfriend “I love you sweetie,” and he texts back, “Love you, too. You are amazing and I can’t wait to see you tonight?” That is what you want (i think) and he isn’t giving you even remotely this. So, this is YOUR decision. I will say, my gut says, if he loses you, he will take it much harder than you. Hope that helps.

      Reply

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