If you’re thinking about whether to date a widower, you should pay special attention to how to do it right.
A widowed man inevitably goes through a sort of a personal crisis not many people experience in their dating years of life.
Which is why you should always bear in mind that things cannot be the same as if you were dating a single or even a divorced man.
There are things you can do to make it all go smoothly, and then there are things you should never allow yourself to do.
Let’s go over both.
What a widowed man is going through
But first, we need to understand what being a widower really means.
At any stage of life, going through the loss of one’s spouse is the number one stressor, one that brings the most profound life-changing experience. It comes with a maximum of points on the famous Holmes and Rahe stress scale.
This means that losing a wife bears the immense danger of becoming ill and having psychological and physical disturbances. Furthermore, a widower, especially when there are children involved, has to take care of a never-ending list of every day (and, hopefully, once in a lifetime) errands.
Whatever his level of involvement in these matters might have been prior to his wife’s death, he now has to take care of it all by himself.
A deeper psychological side of being a widower
What we described above are just the issues a widowed man has to deal with upon his wife’s death. What is even more important to understand is what he goes through psychologically and emotionally.
Whenever we lose someone close to us, we need to go through the grieving process. Depending on a number of factors, it lasts from anywhere between months to decades.
Which is why you should be mindful of everything we’re talking about regardless of the fact that your new fling’s wife might have passed twelve years ago. You’re still dating a widower, and the same set of rules applies.
After the initial shock and a denial of the reality of his wife’s death, he will go into a phase of experiencing profound pain, and even guilt.
After these stages, the widower will feel anger that this has happened to his wife and try to bargain. This is a phase filled with many “If only”s. When nothing works, he will fall into depression.
However, especially with adequate help, depression is followed by the acceptance stage. This is when most grieving men start dating again.
What to do when dating a widower
One thing that you probably realize by now is this – his deceased wife will inevitably become a saint. Regardless of how they got along during their marriage, and how she really was with time, the dead wife becomes an angel. And this is understandable. It is also something you should learn to accept. In practice, remember that there isn’t a competition.
Whatever you do, respect your new partner’s idealization of his late wife.
Never try to be better than that image. Even if you see that things obviously weren’t the way he describes them. What you should do is talk openly but with sensitivity about how issues that arise make you feel.
Expect your new man to feel blues from time to time. Especially on holidays, birthdays, anniversaries and the way to handle it with success are – allow him to grieve.
Ask how you can make things easier for him. If he needs some alone time, make sure he gets it. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you. He’s grieving the loss of a huge chunk of his own life.
The Big no-nos of dating a widower
The far biggest don’t of dating a widower is talking badly about his late wife.
As we said earlier, things might have not been as idyllic as he now remembers them, but you really shouldn’t be the one to burst that bubble.
Never try to secure your position in his life by trying to push her out. Absolutely no need for such a move.
Also, never try to be like her. Yes, you will surely feel the need to try and rise up for the challenge but do it in your own way. Don’t change, and don’t try to resemble her, or mimic their relationship. This is a slippery psychological slope for both. Remember, he came to like and love you after an enormous loss and pain. So, don’t change what he liked so much.