Stages of dating a widower

I wasn’t sure how it would be possible encapsulate my own 10 or so years of dating after Arron’s death, but several weeks of thinking about it helped me narrow my focus.

I applied my mantra of “what would I have wanted to know” as I started out in the dating world?

I don’t want to make any major moves (me or him) at least until the first anniversary of her death, but I do want to enjoy him in the meantime. My response: I certainly appreciate your concerns about developing a relationship with a man so recently widowed, but you know yourself and this man better than I do, so in the end, only you can determine whether there is “anything wrong with this.” I can tell you that the relationship your man had with his wife and whatever ongoing attachment he feels toward her, both now and in the future, is unique to him, and how he reacts to this loss will be unique to him as well.

There is no right or wrong way to grieve, and there is no specific time frame.

Sometimes it's guilt -- a feeling of being unfaithful to a lost partner.

Sometimes families oppose new ties -- adult children fearing that a new woman will undermine the sanctity of their parents' long marriage.

Psychoanalyst Darian Leader calls this the Rebecca Syndrome, a reference to the Daphne du Maurier novel in which the heroine is terribly haunted by the ghost of her husband's late wife. Leader, the power of what has gone before will infuse even the most contented new partnerships. Social scientists have found that men look to reconnect because they want what they had before, what they're used to.

New York Times writer Elizabeth Olson notes just one man's unapologetic reason to want a new wife -- he's overwhelmed by household chores, and he can't find things around the house.

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Check out the book, Dating a Widower: Starting A Relationship With A Man Who’s Starting over by Abel Keogh, for more insight.

Even more encouraging is the knowledge that your husband’s love for his late wife will never diminish what he feels with you!

The beautiful part of a mature relationship is the understanding that there is room in our lives to embrace our experiences, our past and our present, as it helps define who we become in our future.

Remarriage itself is a daunting undertaking, but when one marries someone who has lost a first spouse, it can also be fraught with issues, emotions, and real-life problems that had never before been written about in the history of periodical literature…until now. Better still to have a relationship where you, too, can talk openly and honestly about your issues regarding his grief and his past, and how they both make you feel about your marriage.

Better to allow your husband the opportunities he requires to talk about where he’s at in his grief journey.

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