Friday, 9 January 2009

Dating A Widower

The lovely Christine Coppa, who looks after Glamour’s Storked blog, amongst getting books published and the like, has a reader after some advice.

She has found love, with a fellow widower, and is worried about how she will cope with the whole; being in someone else’s shoes, dead-wife-on-a-pedestal thing.

What do you think?

The comments on that blog post are very interesting, and wilfully, very helpful to Ms (not so) Single Erin.

I agree with the general theme, that while these issues are genuine, and understandable, any sound relationship will weather them with aplomb.

Much like Kerrie’s at Number 14 does.

In the months after Samantha’s death, nothing like this ever worried me, as I was nowhere near a place to even think about a future new relationship.

Then, when my ability to sit still for 30 minutes returned, I watched the first series of Extras, which was being screened for the second time.

Ricky Gervais is one of my favourite comedians, I love The Office, and his stand up stuff, I was not as enamoured with his last ‘lecture’, Fame, but the other two were hilarious.

The plot in the Ben Stiller episode of Extras series one, revolved around them making a documentary about an Eastern European widower’s harrowing ordeal.

His wife and son had been murdered in the Balkans War.

Probably not ideal comedy to be breaking myself back in to, but, in for a penny, and I so like pounds.

Gervais advises the hapless Maggie, not to get involved with this widower, as his wife would always be idolised and she could not hope to compare.

“First rule.” He says.

I can still see the comedy in it.

But it was also the first time it prompted me to think about it from a suitor’s perspective, and ponder if that is what everyone may think.

Not that I cared particularly.

Or even now.

One person’s thinking will not be the same as the next’s, so I do not like dealing in generalisations, or the saying ‘everyone does’.

That said, or typed, it was nice to read of another positive story, and reading so many commentors were not from that particular school of thought.

If it is meant to be, it will be.

Every relationship, every single one, is different.

And thank goodness for that.

The world would be a very dull place.

P.S. I MUST thank Ms Coppa enormously for linking to me, and not just for all of the extra traffic, but because my late wife would be buzzing with pride, Glamour was her, very, very, favourite publication. 'You can fit it right in your handbag'. And if you have found your way here from her wonderful blog, you may want to start with my about me posts.



The Dotterel said...

You're right of course. I think the adage 'if it feels right, it is right' is as good as any. If it really, deep down, feels like the right thing then it probably is, no matter what.

Kevin Spencer said...

I absolutely bloody loved Extras. The one with Les Dennis in was my fave I think.

Mama Nabi said...

Not exactly the same scenario but when I first started dating my guy who is divorced, I thought some of those thoughts including, "Would I still be here if he and his ex decided to have another go at it, especially since they have a child together?"

I would also be nervous about the child... and would never want him/her to think that I am trying to replace his/her mother.

Yes, I think (perhaps because I, too, am a parent) that dating a widower may be "challenging" initially but once you establish that your relationship is different from the one he had with his wife, it should be no different from any other relationship. (Unless you are a spitting image of his wife, then you might have some thoughts about being a replacement...) For me, the tricky part would be the child... I would be more nervous about putting the child at ease, making sure he/she will always have his/her mother, that I wouldn't even come close to filling those shoes... but am willing to be available as emergency backup. :-)

I didn't read any of the comments to that article - so I might be repeating some of the other sentiments - but I think it's also the widower/widow's responsiblity as well as the new partner's to see the new relationship as just that, a NEW relationship. Not one to fill the void the old one left.

Mama Nabi said...

(holy long comment! SORRY!)

Tismee2 said...

Just as it's possible to love all your children equally but in different ways, I'm sure it must be possible to love another partner the same.

Samantha will always be with you, but I'm sure you once posted that she wanted you to find someone else and be happy??

As you say, when he time is right, it's right.

Crash Course Widow said...

K, here's my two bits:

(Or maybe more like 20 bits. ;o))

So come, Mr. Single Parent Dad...spill the beans...have you tried dating at all yet as a widower??? (You can email me and let me know, if you want some privacy or to give a more colorful summary. =))

I'll have to go check out that Number 14 blog....

Have a great day!

Single Parent Dad said...

The Dotterel - Sumised beautifully.

Kevin Spencer - Wicked wasn't it. Mine was the one with Daniel Radcliffe and Warwick Davis. Merchant's agent talking to Warwick is brilliant.

Mama Nabi - And that is the same for any relationship with a single parent, argueably easier when there is only that single parent.

Tismee - She did, the night before she died, that woman knew everything.

Crash Course Widow - Eloquently put Candice.

And for the record, no, I'm yet to 'date'. But, I never really have.

Penelope said...

This is a really interesting topic. If I'm honest then I think I would be concerned about dating a widower for exactly the reasons mentioned. I hear what people say about "if it's right it's right" but it would still worry me.
Sorry to dash your hopes Ian - tee hee! ;o)

Marsha said...

If you are open to it, you can love again. As the above poster commented, you love your children differently yet equally--works the same in romantic love. I thought a widower was the only way to go, for me (disclaimer--I am a young widow). I didn't want the baggage a divorce often brings (I know they aren't ALL this way). I also wanted someone who would, by nature, understand the whole grieving thing. Great post-very insightful.

txmomx6 said...

This certainly made me stop and think about what the next guy (if it happens) might wonder and maybe worry about.
Very thought provoking .... I liked it and I'm glad you posted about it and the link.
I enjoy your blog and learning what men go through who are on the path.

Roads said...

I think Penelope's comment says a lot. And, for the record, I think that you will always know when you are ready, and you will know that at the same time you will never ever let Samantha go.

And frankly, that's fine for you, and it's absolutely the way that it really should be.

For the person you go out with, however much she loves you, and as Penelope frames so perfectly, there will always be that concern.

Now you can so easily say the sugary-sweet stuff like, 'If it's right, then love will find a way.' Of course that is true.

And yet, the realities always are more complex than that, and the relationship simply has to deal with that configuration.

Just another part of the territory. No insurmountable obstacle, but not an insignificant one, either.

Good luck in getting out there. To you and whoever the lucky lady may one day be.

abel said...

You're right. If it's meant to be, it's meant to be.

I lost my late wife when I was 26. I remarried when I was 28 to someone I call Marathon Girl. We've been together almost six years. We had to deal with some widower-related issues when we were dating but everythign worked out because I really believe things were meant to be.

Good luck.

Single Parent Dad said...

Penelope - Folks are different, there are things that would render a person out, that others would not bat an eye at. But, you're too old for me anyway ;-) F

Marsha - The ability to love, in the way I would define it, is limited only within you, and not in the number you engage. IMHO. Thanks for your comment.

Txmomx6 - Glad it was food for thought Janine, thanks for your comment.

Roads - I think there is an element to any relationship of always trying to convince the other of your love. The other side cannot know your thoughts, and in this instance that task probably becomes more difficult.

I agree, not insurmountable nor insignisificant.

Abel - Nice, thanks for sharing your story, or the basics of it anyway. Thanks for your comment.

Penelope said...

I'm going to smack your arse if you go on about my age anymore YOUNG man ;o)

Crystal Jigsaw said...

If she's meant to be with you then she will accept you for everything that is yours.

Great blog. Used to love The Office but not too sure about Ricky Gervais!

CJ xx

Jo Beaufoix said...

Definitely, if it's meant to be then it will be. And yay for the link. :D

La Viuda de A. said...

Hi, I am a widow of 3 years now. My husband was a widower himself when I met him. I knew that he had loved his wife very much, and that just made me love him more, knowing that he was capable of that kind of love, that he was a loving person. I also knew that it had been a real marriage with its challenges and advantages and that our relationship was different. I really never felt jealous or in the shadow of his first wife.

For me being a widow now, I do wonder what my potential mates might think on this topic, but I haven't gotten far enough into a serious relationship to find out, though I'd very much like to. I imagine I could be prone to making comparisons, but not to glorify one man over the other so much as to recognize and appreciate how each man and each relationship and each moment in my life is different.

My hunch for us both is that the partners who would be bothered by this idea of the dead partner on the pedestal are probably people whose concerns rise from their own insecurities and therefore are most likely not the ones for us anyway.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately I found it be true. They do idolized LW . Also the Lw family. It's hard enough to meet each other's family but to have to now meet the Lw family as well? Wow asking alot. Suitors understand the in-laws have become a part of your life but we wonder too where OUR family will fit. What will you call OUR family if we become married will you still refer to your Lw family as father-in-law etc... What will our family be called In-laws #2?

In the end there IS a reason people perceive that a widower will idolize a deceased spouse and that they will be lacking in comparsion because often (not always) that is exactly what happens unintentionally or not. Who wants to be somebody's second best or consoliation prize because they cannot have the person they truly want? At least in Divorced situations - while there is bitterness and anger very often and sometimes exspouses carry a torch for one another - mostly divorced people are expected to put the past behind them - leave it in the past and move forward. The new suitor doesn't have quite the same issues to deal with. Not that divorced issues cannot be a problem. They can, but at least your new love isnt still madly in love with and pining for the lost spouse as in many widower cases. Unfortunately seen a lot new suitors vilgently try to be with a widower and be hurt very greatly because they compare, hang on to memories, or cannot let go to more forward with someone new. It's sad for everyone involved. But widowers are mostly given a free pass for bad behavior because they have suffered a loss to death. If a divorced person surrounded themselves with photos of their ex and pined and cried and went and gave flowers to their ex on their anniversary etc.. no one would tolerate it - ceratinly not a new love interest. Yet this is exactly what dating a widowed person entails -and the new love is supposed to suck it up no matter how this makes them feel and they are being uncompassionate if they have twinges of insecurity, jealousy or just are plain tired of sharing your man with another woman, a ghost, surrounded by her photos, trips to the gravesite, all the sad anniversaries. the new suitor wonders when it all ends if EVER. Whencan the two you engage in NORMAL two-way relationship not this 3-sided triangle with the Late spouse. There are people who can handle all this and there are people who cannot. But I think most would-be suitors have NO CLUE what they are getting when they start dating a widower. They are being hurt themselves but they already care for the widower so they give more and more slack. And of course we are supposed to be compassionate with deaht (muc more so than divorce) so we suck up an awful lot of hurtful things. After awhile they become resentful of the widower themselves for not caring enough about THEM to think for a moment the new relationship requires time, effort, and to be FREE from all these entanglements and to LET GO...Also the widower need to put the new love as the MOST important priority - even above the their late spouse (for serious relatioships), You just ahave to. YOu cannot expect a new woman to be your second place to your late wife. Not to say you do this but to widowers in general. I am sorry for your loss, widowers, but tread carefully and with compassion when engaging a new person in your grief. They are simply looking for love and to be cherished as we all are. That is why we all date and long to find a partner right? They don't long to be your "second best."

Anonymous said...

Why is the assumption those bothered by the idolied LW or LH are inscured. NO mostly unture. Imagine a moment dating a divorced man or woman who talked incessantly of his ex... had pictures of his ex all over teh house, reminsced constantly over the their marriage. Would you like to be called INSECURE for not liking this very much. Yet widowers do this ALL the time and yet the new love interest is the insecure one?? I think you need to have another look. Sure there are super jealous and insecure people, but even the most secure person can get tired VERY rapidly in being a grief counsler and listneing to the perfect LW or LH stories... So I very much disagree.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the last two posts. Before I had dated a widower I didn't understand all of the emotions that can come along with it. I always thought that OF COURSE I would understand and be there for him and do everything to honor her memory. Now I have definately looked at things from a different point of view.

I am currently dating a Widower and we are trying to make it work, but there are so many new issues that constantly come up. I feel torn. I love him, I love his children, I want to honor his LW memory. I am grateful to her because of the role she played in his life and for the wonderful children she brought into the world.

At the same time, I feel like everything ends up being about HIS issues. Everyone feels sorry for him and makes excuses for everything he does. My feelings are being pushed aside. I don't consider myself an insecure person like people have mentioned above. Quite the opposite actually, I know my value and I know that I deserve respect and if he can't give this to me (no excuses) I will have to end the relationship. I have stayed with him so far because he has been open and willing to work on the relationship, but I think that anyone considering dating a widower should atleast be aware of the potential issues. I also believe that anyone who is a widow/er and who is dating has the responsibility to be open with any potential partners. They must realize that they have feelings too and not ignore their feelings.

My biggest issue with my Widower is the Face Book and You Tube "shrines" created in his LW memory. I'm definately torn on the idea of these. I can see the benefit of them in the grief process, but 4 years after her death and seeing them constantly can also be painful for a spouse/partner trying to start a new life with the widower.

Single Parent Dad said...

Blimey, you, latest anonymous poster, caught me out. I wrote this a year ago. Thanks for commenting though, and I agree with you, I think.

I think it takes someone of incredible emotional strength to successfully date someone who has been widowed. And that needs to be appreciated. I am not sure you can expect those that surround the widower to really understand that, but the widower himself should certainly have an immense understanding, and appreciation of that, in my opinion.

I don't speak, or type, from experience, but I'd hope that's the way I would play it.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you - for sharing your views, especially on how a new partner may feel on the things as a widower we continue to do, that can be hurtful.

Anonymous said...


generic viagra said...

For a person who date a widower is very difficult 'cause man don't express his feelings very often. And some time they don't want to talk about it. Just be lovely and have a lot patience. said...

I just happen to be passing by when I read your post. Nice post and keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

I have read extensively on this subject and have experience of being a live-in girlfriend of a widower. It has its difficulties and for me they lay in the non-acceptance of the late wifes family whilst you are trying madly to make good relationships with the children (the animosity can be perceived by the children and hinder their response to you) They also are about physical remnants of their lives ( I had the clothes in the closet, the photo displays whilst I lived in their marital home. I hated her taste in all things and it grated even more when I knew it was 'of her') Sometimes it is hard to accept that he could love me as much - I do not have his children (unchangeable) and have not been through those relationship bonding 'firsts'. Most of the time I am OK with the insecurity it throws up, this is probably because he is loving sensitive and caring. But at times it feels overwhelmingly difficult to get my mind to settle in a logical state where I know that someone can love 2 people as much (indeed I do as I have 3 children ). I think that it is different to a divorce scenario. I believe that there is an unfair balance between the care and thought that goes to the bereaved members of the family and the lack of understanding and empathy offered to the new partner now fighting for her place and validity beneath the shadow of the cannonised mother/wife/sister/friend/co worker. I have to say that it is imperative to discuss most of my feelings with my boyfriend and he mostly understands - I am never sure how much it hurts him as he struggles to explain that he really does love me and that he sees our relationship as another chapter. Life is hard and all we can do is our best. I love him dearly and trust that he loves me - we can never know - we have to trust. So I feel that these insecure thoughts, in time will diminish completely. To remain positive is key and to be open to discussion is important too - no matter how irrational it may seem. To also know that there has been enough of a distancing journey from the death to the start of the relationship is so important. Everyone heals at different rates and some never heal because they don't really want to - because to them to heal is to signal a lack of love or respect for the dead spouse. I needed to be as sure as i could be that he was ready so we did take everything very slowly - stopping to check all the way. - I felt that i owed that to myself.

Jony Gibson said...

I was searching the internet to find advice about dealing with this type of situation. This is all very good advice I would love to hear more about your successful experiences.

Single Dad Dating

african woman said...

As I observed about my cousin dating someone who is divorced man at first her parents are against it because they don't like the guy but later on when they finally known the guy they tend to like him. The guy has 1 child and is really a pretty girl and very sweet. My cousin is still single at that time but when she met Jim(the divorced guy) they both decided to get married.

August 6,2011 the wedding day of my cousin. It was one of the most memorable wedding I've ever seen. You can really feel their love for each other and you will also witness how happy they are!

All I can say is that no matter how hard the situation is if you really love that someone you will really make a way and fight for it.

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