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how to date a widow

 
 
clarks
 
Reply Fri 8 Dec, 2006 04:40 pm
i have been dating a guy over a year. he is a widow of two years. we have been in a rollercoaster relationship. basically, things are great and then he backs away/needs space. i think there are a lot of feelings of guilt. i dont know if there is anything i can do to help him feel good about life and having a relationship or if he is just simply not ready to move on. he says he loves me and i am so in love w/ him. any advice???
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Type: Discussion • Score: 10 • Views: 12,916 • Replies: 22
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Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Dec, 2006 02:23 am
Do you feel he is still grieving his deceased mate? If so, would he be willing to seek grief counseling?

If not, have the two of you had discussions about the future of your relationship?

If he truly loves you, but needs to take things slow, he will let you know that immediately. He won't keep you guessing, because he'll want to make sure you don't get frustrated and go away. Set some relationship standards and stick to them. If he needs to take it slower, are you willing to wait? How much longer are you willing to wait? Are you willing to break it off if he continues to need more time?
0 Replies
 
NickFun
 
  0  
Reply Sat 9 Dec, 2006 02:33 am
My fiancee passed away two years ago. Believe me, it's very hard to get back into the dating scene again. I have had a few casual relationships in the past few months and I may be ready for someone to be more committed with soon. But I also know no one will ever replace her.
clarks
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Dec, 2006 06:33 am
thanks for the replys. he has had counseling, for about 8 months now. we have talked about the future, and he says he wants one w/ me. the main issues are committing to something....as simple as going to watch a movie on the weekend, needing space after a couple of great days together, and not being able to do things publically in the town where him and his wife lived, without feelings of guilt. the hard thing is that the first 3 months of our relationship, everything was perfect, i had all those things. and then he started to grieve, he says. we are to the point now where i am not doing things w/ him even when he asks because he cant treat me right all the time. it has been a year of this that i have tried a lot. he says it might just take me doing this to snap him out of what he is going through. does that make sense, or is it messed up?? how long do i give him to "snap out of it" before i do things that make me happy. everything i have read indicates that he has to be ready....what can he do to get ready...is it a factor of time or can he physically try some things. i think that if he just tries to do the things that are involved in a relationship he will enjoy them and want more...i am talking dates, time together, calling eachother..etc. i am really getting fed up and i know that is sad and maybe not fair, but i just dont know what else to do. i feel i have been very patient.
0 Replies
 
Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Dec, 2006 10:11 am
Clarks--

Welcome to A2K.

You have been dating a widower for a year and you'd like some sort of permanent commitment.

Quote:
he says it might just take me doing this to snap him out of what he is going through. does that make sense, or is it messed up?? how long do i give him to "snap out of it" before i do things that make me happy. everything i have read indicates that he has to be ready....what can he do to get ready...is it a factor of time or can he physically try some things. i think that if he just tries to do the things that are involved in a relationship he will enjoy them and want more...i am talking dates, time together, calling eachother..etc. i am really getting fed up and i know that is sad and maybe not fair,



Old traditional wisdom insisted on observing formal mourning for two years. New theraputic wisdom insists on a two year recovery after death or divorce before embarking on a new relationship.

You say you love this man. You also make it clear that for the year you've been dating, you've been making all the advances, all the compromises, all the spur-of-the-moment readjustments.

He is still grieving--and entitled to his grief. You are tired of dancing attendence on the raw grave of his former wife--and you are entitled to feel put upon.

Right now the two of you are at different life stages and your needs don't fit his needs.\

As for "snapping him out" of grief or wiring his head so that a light bulb goes off illuminating your worth and your needs--forget it. This man is not ready to replace his wife (although he's perfectly willing to use you and subject you to a certain amount of emotional bullying. Sigh. Moan. "I'm just not up to that yet, even if that is something you'd like").

If I were you I'd start seeing other men. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if by the 4th of July he's found another woman for a fine romance. You've done a lot of spade work in his recovery, but he's thinking of you as a self-effacing nurse and caretaker, not a woman with needs of her own.

Yes, you'd be taking a chance--but are you a hammer or a nail. You can't change him, but you can change your life.
Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Dec, 2006 10:11 am
Clarks--

Welcome to A2K.

You have been dating a widower for a year and you'd like some sort of permanent commitment.

Quote:
he says it might just take me doing this to snap him out of what he is going through. does that make sense, or is it messed up?? how long do i give him to "snap out of it" before i do things that make me happy. everything i have read indicates that he has to be ready....what can he do to get ready...is it a factor of time or can he physically try some things. i think that if he just tries to do the things that are involved in a relationship he will enjoy them and want more...i am talking dates, time together, calling eachother..etc. i am really getting fed up and i know that is sad and maybe not fair,



Old traditional wisdom insisted on observing formal mourning for two years. New theraputic wisdom insists on a two year recovery after death or divorce before embarking on a new relationship.

You say you love this man. You also make it clear that for the year you've been dating, you've been making all the advances, all the compromises, all the spur-of-the-moment readjustments.

He is still grieving--and entitled to his grief. You are tired of dancing attendence on the raw grave of his former wife--and you are entitled to feel put upon.

Right now the two of you are at different life stages and your needs don't fit his needs.\

As for "snapping him out" of grief or wiring his head so that a light bulb goes off illuminating your worth and your needs--forget it. This man is not ready to replace his wife (although he's perfectly willing to use you and subject you to a certain amount of emotional bullying. Sigh. Moan. "I'm just not up to that yet, even if that is something you'd like").

If I were you I'd start seeing other men. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if by the 4th of July he's found another woman for a fine romance. You've done a lot of spade work in his recovery, but he's thinking of you as a self-effacing nurse and caretaker, not a woman with needs of her own.

Yes, you'd be taking a chance--but are you a hammer or a nail. You can't change him, but you can change your life.
0 Replies
 
clarks
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Dec, 2006 12:11 pm
i feel you are right noddy....we are just at different points in life and i dont fit his needs....and he doesnt fit mine.
we are going to get together and talk tonight regarding what i can/can't live w/ and what he can/can't live w/ as far as a relationship goes. it is either going to be a go or its not. considering i want normal relationship things like commitment, consistancy, consideration, someone to be there for me, i dont think that i should really have to sacrifice too much. i have a feeling he is going to what me to be understanding when he wants alone time. do you think it is fair for me to give him that or will i just be cheating myself in the long run. i feel like i could deal if he needed sometime to reflect on things a day or two during the week, at this point, but i want to be involved in the weekends and most the week....with the hope that it will grow stronger and into a normal relationship. it sounds like i am compromising my values and needs, but isnt that how you make something work sometimes??? i feel like i should give a little, but dont want end up feeling like second best all the time..........i dont want him to think he can give me things and end up not being able to cuz hes not ready..and at this point i think i am a little too hard on him cuz of this past year....i dont know
0 Replies
 
Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Dec, 2006 12:40 pm
Clarks--

You aren't happy with the regularity and frequency of attention this man has been giving you.

He wants you to understand his limits.

You're tired of understanding his limits. You'd like a little more time and energy devoted to your limits, your needs.

Just because you have needs, doesn't mean he's the man to fufill them. If you are feeling Second Best most of the time, that is the way you are being treated.

He may or may not be ready for a deep relationship. You need a deep relationship.

The happy ending you hanker for is not guaranteed.
0 Replies
 
123katie
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2009 03:04 pm
I am in the same position. I am curious to see how things turned out now years later for you? I have been seeing someone for almost a year and what you described was our relationship to a t. When you love someone though, its very hard to walk away. I give him space and time but like you said, how long? And there is no answer unfortunately. You have to do what your heart tells you- no one else can understand what you feel.
RBlaine2
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2009 10:07 pm
@123katie,
I have come to see that this is a common story. I posted two months ago under "thing were great, but she has backed off". I am curious, when he backs off, needs his space, is there an explanation? In my case, I guess I understand the guilt, the fear, the ups and downs. What threw me was the objection she made. Anyway, hope your roller coaster smooths out. I too wonder how it is two years later for clarks.
0 Replies
 
tourismgirl
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Jan, 2009 11:05 pm
@NickFun,
Quite frankly, you shouldn't be looking for a replacement for your fiancee. You shouldn't even be comparing someone to your late fiancee and if you still find yourself doing that, then you simply aren't read to date. Once you are ready to date, you will meet the right person who will sweep you off your feet and your time with your late fiancee will become a pleasant, but distant memory.
0 Replies
 
ffazniah
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Feb, 2009 12:28 pm
Re Clarks
I too am going through the same thing. My one big dilemma is how long will it take him to make me feel like I have become the new No1 lady in his life. I do feel like there are 3 people in this relationship and I know he has to let go of her to let me in properly. That is emotionally and into a proper committed relationship. How long can I put up with not feeling as happy as I should - I don't know, we have been together 18 mths. I love him so much, however I am starting to feel neglected and I dread an anniversary coming up because of the withdrawals - i.e. birthdays, valentines day, her death, christmas etc. We spli up for a month because he realised he needed to grieve and got back together 1 mth later. I don't feel he was ready, but we both worried that one of us would not be there when he was. I seem to read about a lot of widowers who say they love/have strong feelings for their new partners and talk about living together at some point and then its like feelings of betrayal come in and they withdraw and say its too soon and backtrack. Its a mess dating a widower and it seems the new partners have a bad time, probably because by the time we realise that this is no normal relationship, we have fallen in love. A lot of people seem to say walk away for your own sanity. I have not read an email from any new partner that it has worked out for yet. Are there any out there?
sullyfish6
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Feb, 2009 08:02 am
He's just not ready yet.

Not "there" to be as intense as you are. Can't trust - himself, life, the future. Guilt, fear, and mostly, lack of trust.

You have to figure out if he is worth waiting for or if you need to move on.

I would insist on professional grief couseling, however. (Most larger funeral homes offer the classes free) Some people carry around delayed grief for years. It affects their behavior for a very long time, and comes out sideways in many cases (drinking, depression, shopping, etc.) if it is not resolved.

And don't forget, the man you love today may not be the man for you when he does "heal" and is ready for a relationship. Or he may not think you are the one for him, then. You may be a "transitional" relationship for him - a buffer - filling time while he heals.

Like I said, he's just not "there" now.

Good luck.
askmenow
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Jul, 2009 12:35 am
@sullyfish6,
I agree. Grief is unique. Some may grieve for 1 year, 2 years, maybe the rest of their life. I could see that he is not yet ready for a relationship. Be patient to him and tell him to be gentle to himself.
0 Replies
 
askmenow
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Jul, 2009 12:42 am
@ffazniah,
I am a widow, I am lonely, I want to date, but when somebody I like asks me out, I turn down. You may be able to date widow/widower but it is very difficult to keep the relationship until the grieving process is over. For how long? sometimes forever.
0 Replies
 
sullyfish6
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Jul, 2009 10:54 am
It's hard to get into that dating scene again. So think like a teenager just starting out. Your parents may have put down the rule that you see this person in a group setting. Have gatherings instead of thinking that you have to be alone with anyone.

When you are ready to be alone, you will make that move.

Do something about feeling lonely. That's no way to live - and you can ask yourself if you would want your loved one to feel like that, if things were different.


0 Replies
 
katttrip1967
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Aug, 2011 03:31 pm
@clarks,
Hello, I lost my husband to cancer a little over a year ago, and tried to date after 6 months out of pure loneliness, and it was a disaster. I now know that the grief process must be completed before I can even entertain thoughts of being in a relationship with someone else. The needing space thing is a normal part of the grief process, sometimes I don't want want to see or even speak to anyone, but it must be very frustrating and confusing to someone who is not going through this. I'm sorry you are having to deal with it, and trust me, he is not doing it to hurt you, it actually has nothing to do with you. Give him the space he needs, and I wish you the best of luck!
PUNKEY
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Aug, 2011 11:44 am
One day at a time.
Don't put any time limits or expectations on your relationship with him (the widower)
Just try to be pleasant and make new memories.

He will allow those consumng thoughts to lessen and get less overwhelming, but it takes time. Don't crowd him or talk about the future.

Just be there today, enjoy today.

I speak from being a widow for 28 months. I was married for 25 years.

I am seeing a nice man. Just 2 - 3 times per week. That's all I can give him at this time. I don't want any more and when I start feeling like he is suffocating me, I back off. I literally can't breathe.

He knows what is going on because I have told him that I will bolt if I feel suffocated. He either understands this or it's nothing. I tell him I am sorry but that's all I can do right now.


riverclark
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Nov, 2011 11:01 am
@PUNKEY,
I guess if he is willing to settle for this that if fine. Understand your grief but possibly you shouldn't be in a relatinship. this new man is a person too, just like your late spouse. he deserves to be treated with the same love and respect no jerked back and forth and told he is suffocating. Be respectful. don't use other ppl to ease your grief and loneliness and then also use your grief as a shield and or a weapon. You are CHOSING to be a relationship so be in IT. It's not fair to have one foot in and one foot out. The man is probably putting up with it bc he is kind and trying to be understanding. Grief is a selfish monster. Think beyond yourself. If you aren't ready for more then stop seeing men until you are ready to totally give yourself.
0 Replies
 
riverclark
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Nov, 2011 11:04 am
@katttrip1967,
He may not be doing to hurt her intentionally but he needs to consider if he should be dating at all. If you are able to give yourself toyour new partner than you really have no business being in a relationship. Your Late spouse is gone. Do your grief work and then date - don't drag innocent ppl thorugh your grief and make them believe they have a chance at a relationship with them. That is using someone to ease your loneliness. Not cool
0 Replies
 
 

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