Dating the W, I listened to so many excuses… how I should be more compassionate, not be threatened by a ghost, be willing to at times of grief take second-class status…. In retrospect, I bent over backwards and way beyond what I should simply because i was a kind and compassionate person and I did feel guilty and sympathetic for his loss. Somehow, when someone loses a spouse to death rather than divorce there are all these built in taboos and people are supposed to tip-toe around the W and his Loss and the new woman is suppose to be akin to what I believe is being martyr.
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Having never date a W I had no experience and often got told it was me who needed to be more compassionate, understanding and my W was all to willing to enjoy that stance. He chose to get involved with you and be in a committed long-term relationshp. But he was selfish and unfair to you because he wanted to stay true to her and at the same time he wanted to have you too in serious committed relationship!
He said there was a sort of sickness in that family. Since I lost my father this past years I have had a new found understanding of loss and grief and what my former W must have gone through. I cannot imagine having finally found my new DH and then losing him and honestly I am not sure how I would handle it. However, I have watched my Mother after a nearly 50 year marriage this past year since losing my Dad.
However, I have thought long and hard if she did start spending time with a genlteman how would I react? Having been on both sides as GOW in the past and grieving daughter now happily married to a non-W. It doesnt lessen her marriage to my father … or our memories for her to move forward and try to carve out a little bit of happiness for what is left in her time here on Earth.
But by the same token, should the relationship get serious… and even though this is my father I am speaking of… I believe it would be only right Not to expect the new man to live in a constant shadow of my father. Or course, there would be times where we would talk of times gone by … but I think we would try to be conscious to consider his feelings and not make him feel the outsider by bringing my dad up at every opportunity.
I also would have no problem if my Mother chose to taken down a large couples portraits of her and my Dad off the wall if she remarried. That just seems rather cruel. If they were both ok with a few smaller photos including my Dad that it is up to them. But having large coupley potraits of my mother and my father when she is remarried to another man or he keeping ongoing shrines virual or actual WHILE seriously dating or remarrying is just plain wrong and disrespectful.
Living her life in memoradum is unnecessary. Now if she also choose NOT to remarry or date I support that as well. It is HER life and her happiness. That is the epitomy of selfishness. A relationship is about 2 people… yes we all comes with pasts and people we loved,.
As far a W photos, this up to each individual. DH said it was ridiculous to expect a new woman to be surrounded by photos of the deceased on all the walls while W was serious with her. I know you love me and always will. One is death… I would expect you to try to make your life happy. And if you are with another woman I expect you to heal and move on. I know you will remember me and love me..
Sure it would be nice to be remembered. If I am dead I cannot love him actively anymore. Our vows have been fulfilled and he is free to have a new spouse. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.. Yes, remember, but not live their lives there. DAW did certainly teach me a whole lot about life, about realizing nothing here in this life Earth is permanent and the ability to heal, love again, and adapt is something that should be celebrated rather than frowned upon.
Also I realize not all Ws act the way the one i Dated did, I want to be clear. Have respect for yourself and the type of relationship you want. So indeed she is a special woman but the vast majority of women out there are not such martyrs. They are real living feeling people who want their own happines and fulfillment in a relationship as well as being kind, compassionate and understanding to their partner. But when it come down to it a GOW is not a martyr, she is not your therapist and she is not your pastor or grief counselor or healer.
Thank you so much for your very thoughtful note, and best wishes to you and your husband for a long and happy married life. You provided the author of Almost DailyBrett and the readers of The Trouble with Widowers post a ton of thoughts and experiences to contemplate. From these, I would like to concentrate on two in particular: The more important point is you found the right man…not the widower…but your present husband.
If the widower is the right man and you know that in your heart…well the next steps are obvious. In my case I have found the right woman, even though I am a widower with a past and memories. I am confident about my future and optimistic. Jeanne may be second in chronological order, but she is not second in my heart. BTW, I will never settle. I am glad to hear that you did not settle either. Why would you blog in such a way? The power of the written word can have a massive impact.
Your first entry is heavy with anger and that of a martyr, you do seem to contradict yourself. I note you, and your present girlfriend only respond to the comments you like. As already suggested, I doubt that your girlfriend is as secure as you maintain,. Since I wrote that rather long post. I do apologize for the length! I do feel despite my happy marriage I was still in the healing process of that 3-year relationship with W. The relationship with my W was not giving me what I need.
He was not the right person for me. Maybe for someone else. He had a lot of hang ups. I still contend that but many of them had nothing to do with his loss. He had trouble with change in general in other areas of his life. He left his family members dictate his life in many ways and our relationship was not so much about 2 hearts… us making a future together… and that is why ultimately I believe I felt second best. He just had trouble moving forward in general as I said.
I believe he did have some issues to work through, but so did I. However, now that I have found the right person at the right timing, we are building the life I used to hope for with the W. Our marriage is of 2 hearts and I feel I have let go of the past past marriages and the past relationship with W. In time we all heal and when we find the person right for us we can certainly accommodate past relationships and work through thigns. For me, DAW simply did not work out well. Wrong W, wrong relationship, wrong timing. I said it was like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. I fault myself for clinging to relatinship for several years that simply was not meeting my needs.
My bad experience is not relfective of all Ws indeed I am sure there are many Ws who are ready and would make wonderful partners. However, there are a set of unique challenges and issues DAW younger W that many women are simply not prepared for and they have a tendency to enter these relationships rather naively — thinking how much different can it be from dating a divorced man.
There is no competition. I had the attitude that dating W is somehow better or worse than a divorcee. It depends on the people involved and their preferences. There are pros and cons to both widowed and divorced people. I am not married to a divorced man and for me it has been easier but possibly not true for someone else. I think a lot of angryn hurt? There are Ws who are truly not ready and use a woman for compasionship and physical love without giving themselves fully. There are no set standard of rules. If photos and shrines or your W is making you unloved and second best — then do what you feel is best for yourself whether that be walking away or sticking it out for awhile or bringing it to discussion with your partner.
Many well meaning GOWs try so hard to be accommdating and sympathetic to grief and loss that they become martyrs of sort and give W a special preference they would not give other men in dating relationships. There is nothing wrong at all with being accommodating and giving a person time, but the relationship is no tmutually satisfying — as in any other relationship — then move on. Only you can decide what is right for you. If pics, shrines, and other things your W has doing on do not bother you then that is fine as well.
Now, happiy married I would think if I ever became Widowed I would likely put the former marriage things away I was seriously involved with another but that is me. We are all different. No need to apologize for your lengthy missives, RiverClark, about the issues associated with life and love with a widower. I am pleased to hear that you are happily married, and found the right person. And part of ensuring that your Mr. Right is indeed the right person is verbal intercourse…yes, daily communication.
Never go to bed mad. If there are two wills, then there has to be way together to reach an accord. Heaven forbid if you ever become a widow I hope not , but if you did…please find another right person, someone who understands there was a spouse before. You should not be forced to put each and every momento away. The key is understanding and communication. Reading these from some time ago is odd. I think we all heal differently and in different ways. The relationship I had with a Widower was hurtful in many ways, but this was but one man — not every widower.
Ultimately, for me this relationship did not work out. However, I have friends who were dating widowers and the relationships did work out. I have been blessed to find my perfect fit. He happens to be a divorcee also. We do have common ground in that we both had a similar experience but we rarely discuss our ex spouses. Well we do mine on occasions because he is very much in the picture and living in an area around our home and I have 2 sons with him.
So it is sort of hard to cut him out of the equation. So divorce situation also have their unique challenges. My husband is a class act and in fact surprisingly so is my ex, in this regard. This being said ex and I have been divorced a very long time- over 16 years so much of the fresh anger that is so associated with nearly divorced couples is long gone. The bottom line is life does go on for all of us — divorced or widowed. The widower I dated years ago I hear is engaged and I am happy for him. Life is too short. We heal, we move on and we love. My wife died 22 years ago in a car accident 8 months after we were married.
I had just turned 32, she was It was a perfect storm of a tragedy, as we were preparing for another big marriage ceremony in her native country. She died 4 days before we were to depart for this and we ended having a funeral instead of a reaffiming marriage in the same church almost on the same day. I was black with grief for 4 years, I nearly died as well, and eventually moved to another city, another job, another personhood to save myself. About 5 years after her death, I met another woman who wanted to hear little of my former wife, my former life. We now have a nine year old son.
We had always kept in touch on a low level over the years, a Christmas card, a letter once a year, and I had only visited once a year after her death, well before meeting my current wife. For me, it was a liberating experience, revisiting her grave and facing up to guilt about her death which is completely unwarranted by logic but the heart thinks otherwise. My wife is very upset by this, and I understand that, we discussed her death and the aftermath only a few times very early on in our courtship and it has never had a place in our relationship.
And judging from what I read of other widowers, she has gotten off very lightly, again, no shrines, memories, pictures, toiletries. Probably, it went to the other extreme, a sanitization of my life of any hint of my previous wife. That is why society looks upon us so kindly, it is the payback for the expectation that we are to be strong and stoic.
In my case, after 15 years of marriage, I allowed myself one week of looking back with my previous wife and her family. It is hard, very hard, being a widower, in my life it has been the greatest challenge. It has been an unbelievable ride…many highs…. We spent most of our times together in the home he shared with LW — I was surrounded by everything that was them — her sweater was still on the chair where it was left the night she died. Those 2 years were bar none the most incredibly difficult two years of my life.
But what I learned about myself…about life were invaluable. I learned compassion, understanding, patience, perserverance in a way that nothing had ever taught me before and my life has been a very difficult one for many many years. I learned about real love…. What works for one couple would kill the relationship of another.
This has caused me great hurt but I have faith that he will eventually see his promises are now to me, to the covenant of our marriage. To all of you who have posted thus far…you are brave wonderful folks. Thank you so much for expressing your deep-held feelings about dating and marrying a widower. I give him credit for fidelity and that surely is an important virtue ,but that is where my praise ceases and desists. The wearing of this ring obviously hurts you. He knows this is true. He needs to clearly understand the gravity of his actions. You are not asking him to forget his deceased spouse.
You are asking him to be more sensitive. He should abide by your wishes, if you want my humble input. I appreciate your reply to my post very much — thank you from my heart. I plan on making a memorial garden for her in the spring. We talk openly about their life together and I am honoured that he feels comfortable to do this. I have calmly talked to him twice about her ring and what it says to my heart but he refuses to take it off so now I must leave it alone.
Sadly I know in my heart of hearts if he keeps it on it will do harm to us. Again many thanks for a place to come, share and receive support and understanding. He says he loves me and I love him, but, he too has the photos of his wife and her needlework all over their house. Everything is the same except he removed her clothing from their bedroom. He has a 4 BR home but sleeps in their marriage bed. This did not bother me for most of our relationship, but, now I am concerned that he is still living the life they lived when she was alive.
I am divorced so I get to feeling that I could never compare to his beloved, perfect wife. At the same time, I enjoy his company tremendously. He has opened up a new world of happinss for me. Heard the greatest motto the other day: I am happy to hear that your widower did remove the clothing of the deceased spouse from the bedroom…that is an important start. She is not coming back. There is no reason to compete against her. Wear a smile on your face. Most importantly, talk to your widower. If something makes you really uncomfortable, ask him if will make a change. Otherwise, live with the needlework and maybe add your own flourishes and touches.
Most of all, make the best of your happy relationship. I am a widow of almost four years. I just tonight thought of looking up help on this subject.
He proposed eight months ago, but I have two young girls and he wanted time to get used to them before we get married. His one is out of the house while the other is an older teen at home still. He has never removed pics at all of any sort, but has given away all but her wedding dress. I asked about six months ago how were our pics going to fit in with hers all over the place, every wall. I thought about telling him to ask our Pastor and other people like his sister or best friend what they think of the pics when he is getting remarried. I have been dating a, widower for three years.
I was married for a long time and am very secure in my new relationship but it is a very difficult emotion to address because it is the mother of their children and their late wife. He has taken pictures of him and his wife down but left family pictures up which I find perfectly acceptable and have started adding my own to the collection. Do we have issues that come up, yes.
They were a big part of our pasts. The other major issue is that when we have a row his children see only his point. They live eith us and he turns to them and I have nobody as my children are adults. I do think this is a consideration widowers need to consider when bringing a new partner into the family home. It is difficult for a woman to take over a home where there was a mother because the ground rules in that house were hers. Thank you for your blog.
Proper Etiquette for Dating a Widower | Dating Tips
I have found most of the view points regarding this topic very interesting. I am a widow, just over 1 year now, after 28 years together. I have to confess this is by far the strangest state of being I have ever experienced. I can identify with those of you who have had others express their opinions of where you should be mentally and emotionally adult children can be very vocal. That said I would like to comment on several points that have been brought up. I was married and divorced once, married again then widowed.
I have spent more of my life at the age of 51 as a wife than I did as a single woman. There is a part of me that still loves my ex-husband and that will never die nor do I wish it to. When you love someone and commit yourself to them in marriage they become a part of you — that does not go away just because the marriage ends. That person had a hand in shaping who I am today and I would not change that.
I speak of my ex and our life together some good things some bad things because it is part of my life. I speak now also of my late husband Michael, both the good and the bad for the same reason and there is a part of me that will always love him because he too is a part of me. As a human being I am not limited to the number of people that I can love or even limited to how many I can love at one time. When or if the time comes that I find another man that I choose to share my life with he also be the beneficiary of a love that knows no limit because that is what I choose to give.
He will not be deprived of my love when I share my memories or experiences of the past and because I share does not mean that I have placed my love of him on hold it is simply the sharing of who I am as a person, of how I became this woman that stands here today. As for pictures etc…there will always be pictures of my late husband because he existed in my life, our daughters lives, and our beautiful grandsons lives.
Those pictures are little slices of life that bring happiness and heal aching hearts. They remind my grandsons that their Papa loved them with all his heart and that he was proud of them. His trophies are a reminder of who he was as a competitive man and are a reminder for the grandsons that hard work and practice are what makes a man a successful man. Should this make another man who may enter my life intimidated or feel that I am incapable of commitment to him or hold him as third best? They are there for the benefit of my grandsons and my daughters. This is what healthy relationships are made of, the blending of our lives together.
When I married I became part of his family and he became part of mine, because we had children and grandchildren together those extended family members became even more permanent and involved in my life. Anyone thinking about marriage to a widow or widower faces the same predicament one would face if marrying a divorcee with children — you are gaining a whole lot of family and possibly some baggage you may find difficult to handle.
Be aware and talk it out. All in all, healthy open honest communication with one another is the key, working it out so that each person feels they have been not only heard but are deeply loved. What works for you and what works for another may be vastly different just as with everything else in life, you have to find what fits for you.
Distance yourself from those who are negative there is a difference between negativity and loving concern listen only to those who have proven themselves trustworthy and committed to what is best for you, that want you to love the life you are now creating. You can not change what has happened, it is done, but you have the power to create something new on the foundation of what was already built!
Please accept my apologies for a tardy reply. Maybe the old adage, better late than never, applies in this case. Reading and re-reading your well thought-out comments essentially dove tails with my sentiments. Both of us have pasts that involve someone special who left the Earth way too early. We do not forget, and that is not reasonable for someone to expect that.
Today, I am happily married once again, this time to Jeanne who understands me and communicates beautifully. I did just that and I am happier for it. Sorry, a bit off topic and specific here but I would greatly appreciate it if someone knows the name of the painting picture shown in the article. That is the older man sitting in front of the picture of his wife above the mantle. Any help would be appreciated — Thank You! The child she left behind is encouraged to have any and all mementos of his mother in his room that he wishes.
Her name will be spoken and her birthday will be celebrated. There will be a memory garden in our backyard. I am content with this because I have compassion for a motherless child. I have no doubt that I am the center of his universe. However, my husband-to-be understands that his marriage to her ended the very day she died and while he is welcome to keep whatever memories he has of her tucked safely away, it is not my desire to live with reminders of their relationship scattered throughout the home where I am living, cooking, cleaning, loving, laughing and mothering.
I simply will not live in the romanticized shadow of a deceased wife. She is his ghost, not mine.
There are ways to help a child remember her mother without having a marriage that has 3 people in it! You can have compassion without adhering to the professional grievers. It is not healthy to have a memorial garden in your new marital home. It echoes what a push over you are and confirms desperate need to please this man whom has little consideration for your feelings!
Dating widower problems
You are allowing her to become your ghost! I am,sorry was seeing a widower for 5 months. His wife died 2 half years ago. I was respectful of things like the funeral song if it came on I would be silent or walk out the room as I knew it still affected him. We went on holiday at his request and had a perfect holiday. No cross words just a lovely relaxing fun time. I thought we has grown close.
How To Date/Marry A Widow or Widower
On our return I was going away a few days later with my friends prearranged. It was on my ret that it seemed to go wrong. I saw him once that weekend, he works away sun-Thurs. I saw him a lot of the next weekend, then news was broken that a good friend of his,his sons wife to be had been diagnosed with the same thing his wife had died of. Off course this would devastate anyone and bring a lot of memories.
Although I wanted to be there he said no. So the following Thursday I said I needed a quick chat which he agreed. I said he could but in a different way. How can I help him. Is this something he will come out of and regret his decision. I have never rushed him or even expected anything I knew it would be a long process.
What did I do wrong??? Is this normal pattern of behaviour. He told me a couple of times the bad times seem less since I have been with you,but not this time. Sorry to ramble am so confused and sad x. Thank you for taking the time to write to me in response to my seven years as a widower. Please let me first state that I am not a psychologist, so you can take or leave my comments. You should not blame yourself. The problem lies with the widower, not you. He is not over the loss even after 2.
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The question is when will be move on? There is no reliable answer. This can only be threatening to you, if you allow it to be. Always remember that the late spouse is dead. He or she is not coming back, so you are not going to lose your new mate to him or her. There is no competition!
In general, when you get to know someone you want to share your past with him or her. It is the same for a widowed person. This time it just happens to include a person that is no longer alive. Simply ask your questions respectfully, so it is not regarded as prying but as a genuine interest in the deceased spouse and their relationship. If you pay close attention, you actually may learn many interesting things about your new partner, for example: If this ends in a non-stop crying jag each time the name is mentioned, this will also be a good tip-off that your new partner is really not ready to recouple.
If there is only some lingering grief , try to figure out together how to move forward - how to create new memories so the old ones can be tucked away and only revisited when fondly remembering a late spouse on a birthday or another special moment or day. Keep in mind that the heart is a very accommodating organ. It can expand to let new people in without kicking out the old residents. That is very good news for you and your new relationship! You can gently drop some hints about the pictures, especially if they are on the bed stand table.
If there are children and some of the pictures are family pictures, it is probably unrealistic to think that every picture will be put away. Perhaps you could suggest moving them to a child's rooms or at least off the wall in the living room. Another alternative, of which I learned from a woman who was dating a widower is that she intended to have two walls of pictures in their new home.
One would include those of her intended and his late spouse, and the next wall would be a continuation of pictures of the life they were leading. Rather than demanding that all the pictures be put away, you might want to have a heart-to-heart discussion about how they make you feel. Without being put on the defensive, your new partner, wanting to please you, will probably try to be accommodating.
If circumstances require that you move into the home shared with a late spouse, it would be beneficial to have a frank discussion about what can be changed to make you feel as if it is your home too. The house should not remain a shrine to the late spouse, but there may be some special keepsakes that hold sentimental value or children may want something of their mother or father to remain in the home. Try to be cognizant of these facts and not insist that everything that belonged to the late spouse be disposed of. As much as you may want it to, throwing away items will not erase the memories of a former spouse.
Parents of the deceased may be very concerned that when a new marriage takes place that their child will be forgotten. They also may be concerned that they might have less access to their grandchildren. Reassurance goes a long way to settle their concerns. Daughters tend to cling to Dad and sons are big on being the man around the house for their moms.
If this is done successfully, this issue becomes less of a problem. Try not to be step into or be cast into the role of the wicked stepparent.
It takes time for children to work through being loyal to the deceased parent and to still be able to like you without feeling guilty about it. Afford them ample time to accomplish this monumental task. Patience is the watchword.