Of all the niches out there, you had to go and fall for a widower. “You, your new boyfriend, and his dead wife will be so happy together” is what you might often hear from people who don’t see in him what you see – a loving, tender soul willing to share his life with you. Although challenging, dating a widower can be incredibly rewarding if the two of you end up being a good match. We all have baggage and shouldn’t be judged for it, but widowers do come with a difficult past that often finds a way to rear its ugly head in the present. With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at how dating a man who vowed to be with someone else might pan out.
#1: His Friends Will Come Around (Hopefully)
Most men aren’t social butterflies and know people through their wives and girlfriends. Their social circle includes people who were also friends with his wife, and to make matters worse, he might be good friends with her side of the family as well. In all likelihood, you won’t be welcome to join their circle in the beginning, and you shouldn’t force him to make his friends like you or accept you. In time they’ll realize that you make him happy, that life goes on, and that he shouldn’t be alone for the rest of his life.
#2: His Kids Are A Different Story
Widows and widowers dating is further complicated if there are children involved. If your widower has kids, be it adult or young, they will not be happy seeing their dad with another woman, period. At the same time, younger kids will be more stubborn and less inclined to see the upside to their dad having someone in his life. If the children are adults, they’ll understand very well that their dad should not be alone, and that having someone makes life much more enjoyable. With this in mind, they won’t easily accept the fact that their dad is moving on, as healthy as that may be for him, which means they’ll be against any family dinner invitations sent your way. Don’t fight it because no good can come of it, and certainly don’t make him choose between you and them as you wouldn’t want a man who would turn his back on his family anyway. Don’t try to befriend them, and try to stay out of their way. In time, you’ll become old news which doesn’t bother them that much.
#3: The Guilt Will Be Your Burden Too
Widowers dating is tough because the present is not the only thing interfering with your relationship. Ghosts from the past are lurking around every corner, and there isn’t much you can do about that. The guilt that widowers feel for moving on is something you’ll have to get used to because like anything discussed above, it isn’t personal and has “nothing to do with you”. Want to plan a Christmas getaway for two? Sure, but he’ll also need to face his kids and tell them that not only will he be away for Christmas, but he actually wants to spend it with another woman. This will not be impossible, but his baggage won’t make it easy, that’s for sure.
#4: Shame Is A Given
In addition to feeling guilty, most widowers have to deal with shame for moving on and being happy with someone else. At one point in their life, they vowed to love someone else, but life isn’t fair and here they are, in the arms of someone else who wants to be there for them. Their hearts and minds know that moving on is best for everybody, but that doesn’t diminish that nagging feeling that they’re somehow cheating and betraying their dead spouse. Your widower is not the only one feeling ashamed, but the fact that most widowers go through this is not going to help you much. The best thing that you can do is to let him deal with his feelings on his own, while being there for him if he needs your support. Some of his burdens will be yours to bare too, but not all, and he also needs to cut you some slack and manage his demons as constructively as possible.