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Widows / Widowers ... dating advice

Tortured posted 11/15/2019 22:43 PM

Questions for widows / widowers or perhaps someone thatís dated one...

How long and how did you learn to make room for someone new in your life? Weíre you swept up in the passion for someone new that allowed you to make room for the new partner or did the new relationship need time to make that space?

Justsomelady posted 11/16/2019 08:32 AM

I have only pure observation from close family/family friends but think it just depends on the sensitivity of the person and how they process grief and pain.

My aunt was able to make room about a year and a few months after her husband died. She says she could move on relatively quickly because she had such a good marriage and she wanted that companionship again. She is a very no nonsense person and isnít in her feelings all the time. Also said it helped she married a friend of her Hís and he isnít jealous of or insecure about competing with a ghost. He joins her and her adult children in reminiscing and keeping her deceased Hís (who was a very good man and father) memory alive.

My neighbor on the other hand moved on in months from a very troubled marriage. He did it way too quickly not even six months, so I think he was numbing his pain w distraction. He is having some problems w the new woman now as a result. She is also insecure about the memory of his wife, I think. And his kids are pissed at the new wife and all the changes when they havenít gotten through stages of healing themselves.

My mom feels very deeply in her grief still - years later. She was very in love with my dad.They had some troubling marriage for years but it got better in the end...but despite ending up happily married, now as a widow she still does not want to move back into marriage or even dating four years later. I donít think she ever will and she doesnít seem sa about it or troubled by it.

I think it just depends on the personality. In my observations that matters more than the status of the marriage. I think it also helps if they feel like they can talk about this incredibly important person in their life without making the new spouse feel insecure.

[This message edited by Justsomelady at 8:37 AM, November 16th (Saturday)]

MakingMyFuture posted 11/17/2019 13:38 PM

I only have two experiences to offer. One was my friends dad who remarried very quickly after her mom died, the other is my own experience dating a widower.

My friends take on her dad jumping into a relationship very quickly ďwomen mourn, men replaceĒ. I had never heard that said before but have seen many similar examples since. I think some men are so overwhelmed by the grief and loss of companionship that instead of dealing with the grief they attach themselves to someone new.

A few years ago I dated a widower. It was 10 months past his wives passing. She had had cancer off and on for 13 years but the return and quick demise was a shock. I was the first person he had even kissed besides his wife who he loved dearly in 25 years.

I think it helped that I had no problem with him talking about her or mourning her. As I told him, itís not a competition. I wasnít there then and she is not here now. And he is not the same person after experiencing such a traumatic event. Like having more than one child. Love isnít divided itís multiplied. I did end up ending it though because he was WAY more into me than I was into him. And I felt like his feelings for me could be felt towards anyone (he hadnít dated and had nothing to compare it to). I ended up breaking it off and he quickly dated other women. After a few shitty coffee dates he met someone he really liked. They dated for over a year.

When they broke up, he reached out and I considered dating him again....we had plans to meet for coffee...until I found out she had dumped him the night before he reached out to me.

I explained to him that in over a year he had learned nothing, women are not appliances to be replaced and that if he ever contacted me again he should do so after learning how to be alone and actually date himself. She took him back, they are still together and she has no idea she is just an appliance.

[This message edited by MakingMyFuture at 6:36 AM, November 18th (Monday)]

EvenKeel posted 11/19/2019 07:27 AM

When I started dating SO, his SO had been gone for only eight months.

They were together for 13 yrs.

I had concerns with this. I felt he should taken more time, etc but agreed to go out with him hesitantly with my eyes wide open.

This has not been an issue in our NB. I think it is because she was very sick for a long time.

Like OP said, I have never felt like I was competing with a ghost in any way.

We have been together 3 yrs now.

I read where men in happy marriages tend to move on more quickly than woman. The article I read said if a man was in a happy relationship, then they equate moving on as a very positive thing.

I have seen this over and over in my community.

Justsomelady posted 11/19/2019 07:58 AM

I have also seen that phrase about men replace and women mourn. Mostly it has been true in my observations as well.

I disagree with my aunt and others who say that they move on because the marriage was happy. Although I am glad my aunt is now happy and donít have a problem w her relationship - particularly because her new man is so not insecure and is able to talk openly about her deceased husband. I think her decision says more about my aunt and her mindset. My neighbor that I mentioned had an unhappy marriage and replaced his deceased wife in a matter of months, despite his kids problems with it. I see his story countering that philosophy of ďhappy marriage, widowed person can move on quicklyĒ I think that sentiment does a disservice to people who donít move on quickly. Itís not like it can be proven by science it is just a random opinion. Were you in less of a marriage then Iíd you didnít move on quickly ? By similar logic, one could say they may arguably have had some thing even more deep if they couldnít move on quickly - perhaps they feel things more deeply and mourn a long time. It doesnít mean they didnít love their spouses any less - their capacity for live may actually be more than those who move on quickly.

I think speed of ďmoving onĒ can truly only say something about the indiviudual, the widowed person, doing the moving on themselves. What that is exactly I am not sure but think it involves attitude, emotional needs and depth. I think it says less about the relationship they had with the deceased. I do think there are many variables and factors that go into that, including length of illness. I am just skeptical of anyone leaving any relationship for any reason, death, affair what have you, and jumping headfirst into an new dynamic too quickly. Not saying it canít be good but I think it is likely a dynamic the person cannot help without therapy and would easily repeat again with another person.

From the success stories in my viewpoint - biggest thing is donít compete with the deceased and be ok with them talking about the person and let that memory live on however needed, respect important milestones they may have with the kids or be ok stepping away from a day while they go to a gravesite w kids etc.

[This message edited by Justsomelady at 8:01 AM, November 19th (Tuesday)]

wildbananas posted 11/19/2019 09:12 AM

This was way before my time but my father lost his first wife and from what my (step)sister said, he started dating within a couple months. She also said she never saw a happier couple than the two of them - all she ever wanted was what they had.

He ended up marrying my mother about 18 months after his first wife passed away. I think he and my mother had a good marriage and they were together for 42 years... but it was nothing like what he had with his first wife. And I know my mother struggled with feeling like she was competing with a ghost off and on throughout her life. (Case in point... after my father passed, my mother told me and my sister that his first wife could have him in heaven for now... but once she got there, he was HERS. After my mother passed, my sister and I wondered how THAT was going. )

All this being said, I don't think grief ever goes away; we just learn to live with it. It's completely normal to have waves of sadness now and then, and to miss the person you lost for the rest of your life, even if you're happy with your current partner. Grief is funny like that.

Tortured posted 11/22/2019 10:02 AM

Thanks everyone for the different perspectives....

Just started dating a widow who is struggling with grief and whom really isnít ready to date.

My key learning.... every couple should have a conversation about letting their SO move on after their own death. All the BS on this site have learnt how short and precious life is when itís stolen from us. Watching someone struggle with their new beginning after the death of their spouse because of guilt and grief is sad to see.

PricklePatch posted 11/27/2019 23:19 PM

I married a widower. His first wife passed when they were 27. He started dating a year later. We met 4 years later. We have now been married 23 years. We generally do very well together. He continues in therapy over the past issues. We never had a issue over her. I was happy he had someone who loved him.

My sisterís second husband is a widower. He is very clingy. They are moving into a retirement community due to a stroke. He is still very attached to items from previous marriage. I donít think it helps my sister is jealous.

My Dad had his second wife honking the horn in front of our house a week after the funeral. She was my bff from grade schools mother. They we away for the weekend 6 weeks after my Mom died. Lied, said he was going camping by themselves. Turns out she was married 5 times previously. Married him, got a back up man a year later. Dumped my Dad.
We told him to slow down. He told us when your in a good marriage aka my Mom, itís to much to be alone. I lost a lot of respect over this with my Dad.

Phoenix1 posted 11/27/2019 23:30 PM

Stereotypes are just that. My father has been a widower for 11 years and has no interest in "replacing" my mother. Everyone handles the dating timeline in their own way.

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