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Dating a Widowed Man

 
 
shanhun
 
Reply Tue 10 Apr, 2012 02:00 pm
I am just going to honest. I have a lot of experience when it comes to dating a widowed Man. I have been in a relationship with a widowed man for over a year. We met 6 months after his wife died of pancreatic cancer. She was only 35, He is now 40. To be honest when he told me he had just lost his wife I wanted nothing to do with him, but he was persistant. I eventually thought to myself that if I can help him through this rough time it makes me the better person not even thinking that I may fall in love with him.(DUH!!!!) So here I am in love with a guy who hasn't even removed his wifes clothes or shoes from the closets. I understand people grieve at their own pace and I have never put pressure on him, however. I am starting to think that him and I are not going to go anywhere. He tells me he loves me, we have gone away twice, he talks about marrying me, I have met his whole family- The only people he hides me from are his in-laws. I feel like I will never be first in his life. He feels obligated to take care of his in-laws, they even come before me. I love him dearly and would love to spend the rest of my life with him, but not sure if I can take not being the true love in his life. Is that selfish? Her ashes are in the bedroom. he has moved the pictures of her off the main floor and moved them to the bedroom. At least he has one photo of me up. Will this get better? or am I holding on for nothing? Please help. My advise is to stay away from anyone that just lost someone. In the end you will get hurt. I have not heard one happy story, Has anyone married and lived a happy life with a recent widower? Probably not. We are just the buffers to help them get through it. Help!!! So confused.
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Apr, 2012 02:30 pm
My mom married a widower who had a young son.

My dad's family embraced my mother and welcomed her into the family, as did my brother's mother's family. We all became one big happy family.

My mom and dad stayed married until in death they did part, 45 years later.

So there's your happy story.

Of course you won't be his first love. Is he your first love? Most of us have loved someone before we met the person we married.
0 Replies
 
firefly
 
  3  
Reply Tue 10 Apr, 2012 07:29 pm
@shanhun,
Quote:
not sure if I can take not being the true love in his life. Is that selfish?

I don't know if it's selfish, but I think you are being unrealistic if you expect this man to forget his wife or to remove all traces of her from his home just yet. He loved her, and she was a part of his life, and she will always remain a part of him. That doesn't mean that he can't also love you. The question is really whether you can handle your jealousy regarding his feelings for his deceased wife since you feel you are competing with her for his affections.

People grieve in different ways, and this man is apparently not yet ready to remove his wife's clothing and shoes from the closet, either because that would be too emotionally painful for him to do, or because it might give him comforting memories to see these things, or both. It is something you might ask him about quite directly. If he is open to discussing the subject, you might ask him if he would like you to help him pack those items away in boxes, not necessarily to give them away, but just to store them away, as some sign that he is willing to embark on a new chapter of his life with you. His response to something like that might tell you whether he really is emotionally ready to make another lasting commitment.

Similarly, he should not hide you from his in-laws, or from anyone else in his life, if he is really serious about having a future with you, and you should address that with him. He has been a widower for a year and a half and there is nothing inappropriate about his wanting to be in another serious relationship. His in-laws know that their daughter is gone, they know he has remained devoted to them, and they should acknowledge his need to be in new relationships, even if it is painful for them to do so, because, hopefully, you will not threaten his relationship with them, or at least you won't threaten it if you are smart. He shares a bond with those people, as well as sharing a great loss with them, and they are obviously important to him. If he is serious about marrying you, he can't go on hiding you, and he should be willing to at least let them know he does have a relationship with you, even if he finds it awkward to include you in that part of his life. His willingness to discuss this issue should also tell you how ready he is to make a lasting commitment to you.

There are certainly worse things than a man who remains devoted to his deceased wife's memory to and her family. It means he is capable of abiding love and commitment and loyalty--all of which are wonderful qualities, and certainly worth a little more patience on your part as he continues to go through the bereavement process. How much more time you want to give him might depend on how he deals with the issues of his wife's clothing and making your existence known to his in-laws. And, the next time he talks about marrying you, ask him if that's a formal proposal, and, if so, tell him you'd like to start thinking about setting a definite date because you need to plan your future. That should wake him up a little, and help him to realize that he might lose you if he hesitates too long.
Quote:
Has anyone married and lived a happy life with a recent widower?

My cousin met his second wife at a bereavement group--they had both recently lost their spouses to cancer and they married about a year after they met. They were both much older than the man you are involved with, and the second marriage was different for both than their first had been. But they were quite happy and devoted to each other, and it was a successful marriage, although when they each died they chose to be buried next to their first spouse because those people had been their partners for most of their adult lives, and the children of those marriages wanted their parents reunited in that way. But my cousin and his second wife truly loved each other for the time that they were together, and both their families were thrilled and happy for them that they had found love again.



PUNKEY
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Apr, 2012 08:07 am
Well, I have found that men grieve differently than women. Did he attend grief groups at the funeral home or local agency?

IMHO - 18 months is not enough time to grieve - and to also make a full commitment to another person. He is just coming out of shock, now.

Please accept that this is going to be a long time in his being able to really commit. You are his "today" woman, but he has all the past to sort out.

You can help him by repainting the bedroom (with him) and changing furniture around and encouraging him to begin to sort thru her things. (Better if his in-laws helped with this, it's part of the grieving process)

Good luck.


0 Replies
 
shanhun
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Apr, 2012 11:53 am
@firefly,
Thank you do much for the advice. I never realised how many other people are in the same situation and feel the same way I do. It takes a really strong person to date a widow. I understand that now. I understand that he will always have a past and will always love his wife. He understands that the love and relationship he has for me is different then the relationship he had with his wife's. He understands that is doesnt make it bad.....It's just different. I am not the most patient person and I am just afraid I am wasting my time. I see the potential and I see the love he has for me. I guess the relationship is just not moving at the pace I want it too. He has made changes for me and I for him. I am afraid he will wake up one day once he is over his grieving and realise I am not the one for him. Also. I am not familiar with dealing with death. My boyfriend thinks his wife was perfect, along with their marriage. I know. knowone is perfect. neither are relationships. Is it natual to think this way when you lose someone? You only remember the good? Thank you again.
firefly
 
  4  
Reply Thu 12 Apr, 2012 01:05 pm
@shanhun,
shanhun, I can understand how you feel about this relationship and why you are wondering whether it has a lasting future.

But I don't think you are, at all, wasting your time with this man, because you like being with him, you say you love him, and you can even imagine spending the rest of your life with him. As long as the relationship has those positive aspects, and is satisfying in the present, just enjoy being with him. None of us knows how a particular relationship will turn out in the future, and this one doesn't sound particularly risky, or a bad bet.

It's good that this man loved his wife, and that his memories of her, and his marriage, are good ones. Not only does that suggest that he's not saddled by a lot of guilt and remorse and regret and unresolved conflict regarding his wife and marriage, it also suggests that his grieving process may be considerably less complicated and lengthy than it might be if that were not the case. This man really liked being married--which is going to make him want to re-marry probably sooner rather than later. And, right now, he is thinking of you in that regard.

He may simply need more time to fully dissolve the bonds of his first marriage in his own mind and heart. He needs to keep his happy memories of his wife and marriage, but he does need to displace his commitment and current feeling of attachment from her to you. He does need to begin taking her clothes and shoes from the closet, and storing them or giving them away, because being able to do that, as painful as it is to do, helps in the grieving process because it is a recognition of his changed reality, a recognition that her physical presence in his life--and his bedroom--is over. It is further recognition that his marriage is over, and it's that recognition that will help him to consider another marriage without psychologically feeling like he is cheating on his wife.

It does sound a little like the bedroom has turned into a sort of shrine to his wife--with all the photos, her clothing, and even her ashes. That can't possibly help you to feel comfortable in that room because you're surrounded by reminders of her and so is he. Some of those photos of her should be replaced by photos of you and by photos of you and this man together. Space in the closet should be available for you to use if you stay over often, or if you want to begin living with him. He doesn't have to move her out of his mind and heart, but he literally has to allow you the space to move in, if he plans on continuing a life with you, and that's going to involve cutting down on the size of the shrine.

I think you have to talk about these things with him, simply in terms of how you feel and without pressuring him too much. If you need him to make some changes in that bedroom, so you don't constantly feel like there is a threesome in there, let him know that. You're not asking him to get rid of her, or her place or importance in his past and in his memories, you are just asking him to make room for you in his current life, and that's not an unreasonable request given the basically good relationship the two of you have. This new relationship needs room to grow--and you literally need room in that bedroom for it to happen. So, I think you have to raise the subject of helping him to pack her clothes away, and perhaps putting away some of her photos, or placing them in an album, and replacing them with photos of the two of you, perhaps on one of the vacations you took together. Those photos are part of the history the two of you are building as a couple, and they are something you both can relate to.

The suggestion another poster made about repainting the bedroom and doing a bit of redecorating is not a bad idea. It would be a project you could both work on to make the bedroom a special place for both of you. You could shop for new bedding and window treatments, talk about the kinds of colors and patterns you like, and make it a room you both feel good in. If he is willing to do those sorts of things, it would be another indication of how willing and able and ready he is to move into a new chapter in his life. If the two of you are eventually able to move into a new place, a place that does not contain so many memories of his wife, and a place that would be "ours", that might be even better, for both of you. But first I'd start with just making your presence felt in that bedroom and trying to tone down her presence somewhat. Take it one step at a time.

As long as this relationship is good for you in the present, and you see its future potential, I think you should hang in there. You are sensitive to the fact that he is still mourning a great loss, but his relationship with you is also helping him to deal with that loss by bringing something new, and hopefully wonderful, into his life. So, while a certain amount of patience might be needed in this situation, I don't think that should stop you from expressing your own needs or trying to get those met. He needs to understand your situation just as much as you need to understand his--that's how you'll build a firm foundation together.

People often tend to remember beloved spouses as more perfect than they were, and there is no harm in that. Be happy for him that his memories are such good ones--and let him know that. Be happy for him that he had love in his life before, and let him know you want to make sure that he feels loved by you as well. His deceased wife is not in competition with you, she helped to let him know how good marriage can be for him, and that's why he's talking of marrying again. She took care of him in the past, and helped to make him the man you now love. She's more your friend than your rival. Think about that. Smile






0 Replies
 
Cary45
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Apr, 2012 03:59 am
Good afternoon.
I suggest you try to get this man a spark to open up to you. Considering the fact that he still remembers it very often. That should explain to this person that life does not end on this, and that is to live on without stopping.
0 Replies
 
gsuri1999
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Oct, 2012 03:55 am
@shanhun,
i really like u r ideas, i want to chat u if u give me mail id , we can explore more in this matter
0 Replies
 
Ella45
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Apr, 2013 12:52 am
all advice so far has been good advice. I am also dating a widowed man. His wife suddently died almost two years ago. He waited a year after her death before he started dating again. He told me he did have casual conversation with a few women, but choice to date me because he liked my personality the best. Anyway, we're 10 months into dating, without sex but have gotten very close. The desire is there, but he's not ready. I recently asked him, is he ready to be happy again. This question alllowd him to open up more about his real feeling about his wife's death. He stated, he just got the fact that she's not coming back. Wow. Anyway, during these past couple of months we have planned to got to Jamaica in a few months also he has no problem with bringing me around his family. I do know he likes me a lot. I just know now for sure he's still mourning. I also, let him know that as much as I understand his position he still has to be fair to me. He still has pictures up and her belongings in the closet. The house hasn't changed a bit. He says the pictures are for the kids, to give them some since of comfort. I believe it's for him too. The kids are 20yrs old and 21yrs. old. He hides behind them as well. He did say he would take the pictures down when our relationship becomes stronger or the kids move out. I also, believe this is why he's not ready for sex as well. He's very affectionate otherwise and fourplay is very heavy almost frustrating. I'm being patient to the best of my ability, but at the same time I did have to let him know that I signed up to be also happy in a relationship and that means the full package. Therefore, time will tell, but I still have to protect myself.
specultr
 
  0  
Reply Wed 1 May, 2013 01:14 am
@shanhun,
If he doesn't put you on a pedestal, you need to find another man.
0 Replies
 
Chi
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Jun, 2013 11:19 pm
@shanhun,
I have been dating my widower for about 10 months now. I can tell you that he is really ready to move on and that he loves me because without me asking for it or saying anything, he removed all his LW's pictures, clothes, etc except for a few that she kept in storage or gave to their children. He has a photo of me in his room and made it clear to everybody that I should be respected and he will never tolerate any disrespectful or rude behaviour towards me. He makes me feel that I am the most important. And his in law family was not very thrilled about me and our relationship... so guess what ? All those not happy for us, he excluded in our life and he didn't want to subject me to any kind of bad situation. He still has contact and relations with some in laws but only those who were reasonable and respectful of us and who were genuinely happy for him. If your widower treats you the way he does, it is clear he is not ready to move on. So don't force it and have the courage to leave for your sake and for his. You deserve someone who will put you first in his life, not second, not third and not last.
PUNKEY
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Jun, 2013 08:21 am
I'm going to repeat my personal "truisms" from my experience from talking with hundreds of grieving spouses

1) Men and women grieve differently and many men want a woman by their side immediately, but not to make another commitment. They need to be taught how to be single and independent again.

2) First year is shock, 2nd year is realization, 3rd year is wonderment and trying to find focus, 4th year is ability to see the "and" in life i.e. they can have the past AND the future. Allowing someone else in their life would be the accepting of this "and."

3) Most men never did any decorating so the home would stay the same for forever unless someone prods them into painting, redecorating. But they really have to want to do all that. They just don't think it's important. A neutral friend is best here to help out. Any other person might be viewed as having ulterior motives.

4) People who date widows have their work cut out for themselves. Extended families can make or break the relationship, too.

5) Men need grief counseling, but most refuse to go.



0 Replies
 
mrskam
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Nov, 2013 01:34 pm
@Ella45,
I was taken by your story because it is so similar to mine. I also have been dating a widow for 9 months after chatting online for two months and webcaming. He also lost his wife suddenly, while I lost my husband to cancer three months after his loss. We have taken it slow. No sex yet. We discussed this because he had sex with several women in the beginning and they are all gone and he wanted me to be around for a long time. We recently went on a trip for 6 days and it was absolutely incredible. We genuinely like and respect each other, have fun and enjoy each other's company and after this trip he is talking to his kids and friends about me, where everything was a big secret before. It was recenlty two years since his wife passed and it seems the family is more ready to accept the fact that he is dating again. It has been a long road and I needed a lot of patience but I knew from the start he was worth it. I was only in his house briefly but I did not see a shrine and I know he disposed of clothes a long time ago and is also been redecorating bedroom and now living room. He will always love his wife. He is supposed to because that is part of what makes him the man he is. I am willing to take second place in his heart if he will let me. I wish you good luck and I think you should stick with it, be patient with him. I too am not happy there is not sex. But we have something so much more that a lot of people don't have because they plunge into the sex thing too soon. Taking it slow has been kind of fun actually and I think if the sex happens it will be spectacular and worth the wait. Good luck to you. Mrskam
Romeo Fabulini
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Nov, 2013 01:45 pm
Shanhun said- "My advise is to stay away from anyone that just lost someone"
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes, they're not thinking straight and need months to get over it.
For example i got chatting to a local widow who'd just lost her hub and I said "Oh well, try to move on with your life and find yourself a nice lonely man out there", but she took it the wrong way and ranted at me "I don't want another man thank you very much! My husband can never be replaced!" so I stopped talking to her after that.
Pity, I could have cheered her up by taking her on a trip to Venice on the Orient Express, or a Caribbean cruise or whatever..Wink
PUNKEY
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Nov, 2013 02:02 pm
@Romeo Fabulini,
"Oh well, try to move on with your life and find yourself a nice lonely man out there"

WRONG thing to say to grieving person.

Better: "You were lucky to find such a wonderful person in your life and to have him/her during that time. Perhaps some day you will love like that again."
Romeo Fabulini
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Nov, 2013 02:25 pm
Divorcees can be just as bad as widows, I dated a divorcee named Miriam a few years ago, her hub had run off with a younger woman.

But she couldn't get him out of her mind, and when we sat snuggled up and kissing on a seafront bench she kept saying "I still love him".
Eventually my patience ran out so i said "Look, FORGET HIM, he's history so just move on with your life, he's gone for good!"
"Oh no he hasn't" she replied sheepishly, "I let him visit me now and again to mow my lawn and do odd jobs around the house!"
So I said "LOOK, as long as you're seeing me, I don't want him coming anywhere near you, okay?"

She mumbled wimpily "but i still love him" and that decided me to ditch her , I politely saw her to her bus, waved her goodbye and we haven't had any contact with each other since..Smile
mercy13
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Dec, 2013 02:34 pm
@Chi,
Wow. You are a blessed woman. I met & fell in love with a widower. He is no where ready. In fact, he seems to take one step forward & ten steps backwards. The one year mark of her passing is coming up soon. He is one of the kindest, Sweetest men I have ever met. He stole my heart but I don't think I will ever have his. It's sad to think he will let happiness pass him by but I understand he's not able to move on. One it's to soon, and two I'm not sure he will ever get over the loss since it was a very trama passing. I can't say I'm sorry for allowing myself to fall for him but it sure is painful to know there doesn't seem to be alot of hope for us. Not to mention seeing how much pain he is constantly in. His wife was a very lucky woman to have been loved so much by him. No regrets here, just he wasn't in so much pain.
0 Replies
 
Romeo Fabulini
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Dec, 2013 02:45 pm
Grief can make people act funny so give them time to see if they'll get over it.
For example every time I went in a local grocers I noticed a lady customer just standing there, it turned out her hub had recently died so she used to stand in the grocers most of the day because she couldn't bear being in her empty house without him.
I used to chat with her every time I went in, and eventually said to her- "There are a lot of lonely men out there, so I'm sure you'll meet somebody when you feel able to move on with your life"
But she snapped back at me- "I beg your pardon??? Nobody can every replace my husband!!!" and she wouldn't talk to me any more.
I don't care, i was planning to treat her to some trips out so it's her loss not mine..Smile
0 Replies
 
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Dec, 2013 02:47 pm
@Romeo Fabulini,
I think this should be your new sig line...

"I politely saw her to her bus, waved her goodbye and we haven't had any contact with each other since."

hmmmmmmmmm...
0 Replies
 
Romeo Fabulini
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Dec, 2013 03:01 pm
Quote:
Rockhead said: I think this should be your new sig line- "I politely saw her to her bus, waved her goodbye and we haven't had any contact with each other since."

I said that in a different thread about ANOTHER woman (Miriam)!
We only went on a couple of dates and got on great, kissing and cuddling on a seafront bench with the seagulls watching, but every time we came up for air she whimpered "I still love my ex-husband...i want you to know i still love him"
My patience eventually ran out so I said- "Look Miriam, he left you and ran off with another woman so FORGET him!" but she wimpily replied- "But i still love him and let him come round my house to mow the lawn and do odd jobs for me"
After I regained the power of speech I said "Look, as long as you're seeing me, I don't want him coming anywhere near you, is that absolutely clear?"
But again she whimpered "But I still love him..."
That finished us, I walked her to her bus without a word, waved her off and then went home to watch my "World's Deadliest Prison Gangs" video, she's history..Smile
 

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