It goes without saying that accepting and moving on from the death of a loved one is truly a struggle. It requires the bereaved to use every single ounce of strength within them just so they could continue waking up each morning and live their lives the way they are supposed to. Now imagine having to deal with the aftermath of a loss—let alone jump back into the dating pool.
So, what happens when a man loses his wife? Will he still be able to open is heart and love someone else? Won’t the memories of his late wife haunt him and any potential lover? Surely, things will not be just a walk in the park. When you date a widower, what are the most common red flags that you should watch out for?
We took the liberty of listing some of the common warning signs in dating a widower…
• You resemble the widower’s late wife and therefore reminds him of her.
You know how one runs back to what is familiar? That’s what usually happens to widowers. They are drawn to people who remind them of their late wife. Same hair color, body type, eye color, and quirks– these are some of the things that could spike his interest in you.
However, if you and the late wife are really like two peas in a pod, you should tread lightly. The widower could only be dating you because he sees his wife in you and sadly, not the real you. You will end up like a place holder—you’re only in his life to fill the emptiness the late wife left.
• The widower doesn’t introduce you to his friends and family members.
Each person goes through the grieving process differently. Some people need more time to accept the loss and some bounce back easily.
So when a widower is dating someone new, it might be difficult for him to introduce his new lady to the people around him because he’s scared of what they might think. That it is still too soon for him to entertain the idea of someone new. Some people who were close to the late wife might still be grieving over the loss and this could cause conflicts.
• The widower compares you and his late wife.
As creatures of habit, we sometimes get used to how things are done. May it be as simple as how we want our coffees in the morning or the much more complicated things like how we discipline our kids.
Therefore, in relationships, specially those that has lasted several years, they grow accustomed to how their partners do things a certain way. So when a widower dates you and keeps on comparing you to his late wife, you will have to remind him that she is not you. That you are your own person.
The danger in letting this constant comparison slide is that the widower might get the idea that you are fine with how things are. He might unconsciously try to change you into his late wife; and unless you’re on board with that, you better tell him how you really feel before it’s too late.
• He never opens up to you about his grief.
Men like to appear tough and therefore they don’t like feeling vulnerable. This leads to them, avoiding topics that would make them emotional. However, as you spend more time as a couple, there should already be some level of trust and openness between the two of you.
So when a widower refuses to talk about his sorrows, you should start wondering if he is really willing to move on—or if he has even moved on at all.
• Shrines to the late wife are seen everywhere.
When someone dies, the mistakes they’ve committed dies with them. The family will only focus on the good things they have done thus putting them on a pedestal. Usually, the deceased is immortalized through photos, online memorial sites and sometimes, actual literal shrines.
So when a widower is really ready to welcome you into his life, those shrines will disappear and all the other ways of commemorating the late wife will slowly stop. Paying their respects to their dead loved one is one thing but trying to keep the deceased alive to a point where it’s already making you feel like you have to compete with a ghost is totally a different thing. You should know when to continue fighting for your place in his life and when to stop.
• He never verbalizes the words, “I love you”.
The widower takes you out on romantic dates and he never fails to show you how much you matter to him through his caring gestures. You even often exchange sweet nothings which excites you but something is missing. Then, you realize, he has never said the words “I love you”. Not even once.
When all of his actions are pointing at the same direction but he has never confirmed your assumptions with a sincere “I love you”, be alarmed. Because if he is planning on keeping you around, those words should already have escaped his lips.
• The conflict avoider. People have different ways and rates of mourning a loss and moving on from a loss. Sometimes, finding new love can make the process faster but it seldom happens for the family even in cases of natural death. Some widowers avoid such conflict of moving on to a new relationship earlier than the family of the departed would expect him to. This is also a signal that perhaps he is not yet sure that the relationship is worthy of the risk of having such conflicts with his departed wife’s family.
• The forever fan. Love can never be erased instantly even in death. You may hear a lot of praises and compliments each time a widower speaks about his departed wife. You may notice that hint of admiration and adoration but you need to check how you feel about it. You need to be as understanding as you can. You need to prepare yourself for such instances without feeling threatened or insecure. You may also need to check your similarities with his late wife as there is such a thing as rebound from a wife’s death wherein the widower looks for someone who will make him feel that he’s still with his wife.
• Stuck Up. When the widower seems to be far from moving on and it seems like he just needs someone to listen to him or someone to share his grief with, you can weigh how you feel. You need to feel if the relationship is worth it. If you think it is, then be a good listener and a good friend until he’s moved on.
• Her Home. If the house still feels like the late wife still lives there because of the portraits and her other things in almost every corner of the house, then you need to observe closely. When the widower cares so much about you, he will consider your feelings and although not instantly, you will notice that the late wife’s things will disappear one by one at least on the spots where you are frequently in.
• Man of Action. While many people believe that action speaks better than words, it is still a red flag if he can’t seem to tell you that he loves you.
In any relationship, it should always be a give and take kind of thing. You can’t expect the other person to just keep on giving without them, receiving anything in return. Open communication is also vital to having a successful and happy relationship. Never assume that the other person knows how you feel and what you’re thinking. After all, they’re not psychics. So when you date a widower, just keep these red flags in mind and know when to let go if you sense that he is still clinging to his late wife’s memory.