Importance of healing before dating

Five women respond to last week's widower-dating story

Last week, Fran, a widow of three years, shared her story about dating a new widower. Their first date was four months after his wife had died. A year and a half later, he stopped seeing her. She wondered if she should wait for him to heal or move on with her life. Five widows responded.

Shirley said: "Tell Fran this guy is not Mr. Wonderful! He's just a needy widower, still mourning, and she is not his social worker, lover, friend, or future wife! It's time for Fran to move on, call her women friends, get out of the house and enjoy herself."

An anonymous woman wrote: "Years ago, when in college and still so immature, I dated a fellow who had lost his wife to a terrible accident. It was just like Fran described - at first, it went well. Then, I heard this from him, "I have to go home and just cry."

"When someone loses someone, they grieve; it is like a roller coaster, and even more unpredictable than that."

Mary:"Fran should give the man a due date and tell him the due date is for her.

"After that specified timeframe, she will move on. Sure he misses his wife. But she needs to tell him that life is for the living and his wife would want him to live."

Marti said: "Unfortunately I learned the hard way. I married a widower six months after his wife died. I should have known better, but he convinced me that he knew without a doubt that he wanted to be married. He was so happy.

"Two years later, we divorced. He said he was just not ready, that he wanted to be single. We did not have a difficult marriage or any confrontation. I believe he wanted to 'replace' his wife and obviously could not.

"Later, he withdrew and started spending more time alone, like he did when married to his first wife. They lived a very habitual and predictable life; he said our life was too hectic for him. Too busy.

"I should have known better and will be more cautious if I decide to date another widower.

Barb said: "I met a widower online. We went to lunch; it went great. Had a dinner date, it too went great. We set up another date during which he said that while he had strong feelings for me, he knew he could never remarry.

"I was floored as that was not what he had said on the website nor in any conversations we had. It was something he discovered in the dating process. While I had grown through my grief and was ready to settle down, he was stuck in his grief and to this day is still on the site, looking just for dinner, movie, and theater dates. When we met he had been a widower for seven years and me for just over three years."

The comments of these five widows should remind recent widowers that broken hearts take a long time to heal. And women who date recent widowers need to be aware of the risks involved. Rushing into a replacement marriage won't work.

© 2010, Tom Blake

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Tom Blake is an expert on dating after 50. He has appeared twice on the "Today Show" and has written more than 500 columns on dating and relationships. His "Single Again" column appears in The Orange County Register in southern California, is read worldwide and is often featured on msn.com. He is a professional speaker. He spoke at the national AARP convention in San Diego in 2002, and in Chicago. His book, Middle Aged and Dating Again, is a humorous account of his first year of dating after his third divorce. His second book is Finding Love After 50: How to begin, where to go, what to do. His latest book is titled How 50 Couples Found Love after 50. To ask a question or receive Tom's free weekly column on middle-age dating and relationships by e-mail, click on www.findingloveafter50.com or E-Mail.

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