Dating A Widower? He’s Ready As Long As You See These 7 Signs

horrors of dating a widowerIf you’re dating a widower, you may have found one of the best partners for a long-lasting, loving relationship. A widower didn’t go through the pain of breaking up a marriage and divorce, so he doesn’t have that kind of emotional baggage. In fact statistically speaking, widowers are the most likely people to marry again.

Men who were married and still loved their wife, usually want to find that kind of romantic partnership again. They like having a woman around and sharing their life. Most widowers aren’t afraid of commitment either – they enjoy it. So, there are many wonderful aspects of dating a widower.

However, if you are questioning his readiness for a relationship, that is another story and something to be vigilant about. There are many horrors of dating a widower. Even the most amazing man, who has not completed the grieving process, needs to be off limits or you will regret getting involved.

Thankfully, you have nothing to worry about as long as you see these seven signs that let you know he is READY.

Dating a Widower Who Is Not Ready

dating a widower While you may have some trepidation about dating a widower, most seek love again more quickly than widows, usually after one year vs. as long as five years on average for women. However, you really want to steer clear for a full year.

On the other hand, there are a number of serious concerns if his grieving is still going on. That’s why you want to know if he’s ready for a new relationship or just feeling lonely and filling time with you.

The last thing you want to do is “help” him get over his deceased wife. This requires extensive emotional support on a topic that will cut through your heart – his love for another woman. You cannot compete with the dead.

Helping a widower is misguided because what you are really doing is hoping he’ll recover quickly and ignoring the obvious fact that he’s not ready for the real thing with you.

All your good intentions in this case to ease his pain and connect with him will simply lead to devastating heartbreak.

The Horrors of Dating a Widower

Don’t make excuses for any man’s behavior, especially the widower you’re dating.

If he exhibits signs that he’s not ready, and you are serious about finding lasting love, then you are barking up the wrong tree, as the saying goes. Please don’t do this to yourself! You’ll find a list of the red flags about dating a widower towards the end of this article.

The horrors of dating a widower are notorious. From being hidden from his family, keeping the relationship a secret, sneaking around and more. This is a surefire way to completely lose your dignity and ruin your self-esteem.

You are better off leaving and starting over with a new man who is READY.  Nothing is worse than hanging in there waiting for some guy to get over his wife.

You’ll be thinking, “If only he could focus on how good WE ARE together.” If he could, he would.

7 Signs of Readiness for Dating a Widower

Good Signs When Dating a WidowerWhat are the good signs to watch for? If you are enjoying a widower’s company and see these seven signs, he’s probably ready for the lasting love you want.

1. It’s Been a Year

Most widowers will get back out there to date and hopefully find a new partner after about a year.

This is the average period of grieving for most men. And statistically, these men are the most likely to marry again. Yay!

If it’s only been a few months, it doesn’t matter what a great guy he is – he’s NOT READY! Stay away no matter what a great catch he seems like or how nice, charming, or sexy he is, if you don’t want to be heartbroken.

2. His Actions and Words Match

When the guy you’re dating says something and then follows through, this is always a good sign.

But it’s even more meaningful when you’re dating a widower. This shows he’s ready for a relationship because a man’s actions are what matter most. Talk is easy, but actions show a man’s true intentions.

This is actually true for any man you date, of course. You want someone who you can count on and whose word is like gold.

When you encounter a man who walks his talk, you are dating a man who has integrity. Some men talk a good game, but if they don’t deliver on that, what’s the point?

If he can’t follow through, take care of yourself and your heart, be smart and walk away.

3. He Doesn’t Talk About Her Constantly

A widower who is not ready constantly talks about his wife. Everything brings up a memory of something special about her or an aspect he misses.

You cannot win against a fond memory, so don’t even try. His wife now has been placed on a pedestal and you, even though sitting right next to him, cannot compare. He’s simply not ready to date you or any woman seriously.

If he brings her up once in a while and doesn’t wax on too long, that is normal, something to be expected and hopefully isn’t hard to tolerate.

Should you be offended by his talking about his wife, then he’s not the right man for you. If he was happily married for many years, he’s going to talk about her to some degree and might feel wistful on her birthday or anniversary.

More Good Signs about Widowers

dating a widower

4. Just a Few Photos

It’s understandable that after many years of marriage with a woman he loved, his deceased wife will be in photos.

A few here or there makes sense and is expected. However, if he’s got her picture by his bedside and all over the house like a shrine, this is a major RED FLAG.

He’s still deeply grieving and not ready for a relationship with you. Don’t ignore this about dating a widower, thinking you can simply talk him into putting those photos away.

They are a statement about where he is in his healing process which cannot be hurried, no matter how well you get along or how much he seems to like you.

One of my clients just told me how a man on the Bumble dating app reached out to her. Out of six photos, half of them included his wife! Talk about the horrors of dating a widower!

She liked him and wanted to know what I thought. I told her NO WAY. I can’t even imagine what this man was thinking, can you? This is a true story!

5. He Pursues You Consistently

As with any man, you want him to pursue you consistently. This means he calls you weekly, takes you on a date at least once a week if not more, and texts in between (if he’s a texter).

This is what you watch for as a sign he’s genuinely interested in you.

When dating a widower, this is particularly important. Should he see you sporadically to have some female company, get emotional support or avoid feeling lonely.

Once you see a man weekly and your time together becomes more frequent, this is a really good sign for sure. Keep in mind, consistency builds a relationship.

So, if his contact or dates are more sporadic, he’s probably more casual than you think and not serious about you or finding love perhaps.

Dating a Widower Over 50

dating a widower 6. Introduces You to Family

When you are dating a widower of any age, if he’s extremely concerned about not upsetting his family with you, he’s not ready to date.

You want to be with a man who is confident in himself, his actions and his choices. A man who fears what his family will think about you or his dating, is not standing on his own two feet.

Don’t think that everything will be alright once they see how great you are together. Trust me, that is not what they will think.

In a case like this, the family (including children, parents or in-laws) is concerned with preserving the status quo and the loving memory of his wife.

You cannot win if there’s any competition with her ghost – you WILL lose.

7. Introduces You to Friends and Family

Another great sign of a man’s genuine interest and readiness is when he starts introducing you to the people who matter most in his life.

Once you start meeting friends, and family members in particular, then you know you are on a good track.

Understand that with the children, especially if they are young, it may take longer.

This makes sense in the case of dating a widower or a man who is divorced. Most men (and women) want to know you will likely be around long-term before you meet the kids.

Warning Signs and Horrors of Dating a Widower

To sum up the warning signs, if it’s been less than a year since his wife passed and he talks about your future together, but never follows through, he is not be ready.

If he talks about his wife constantly, still has tons of photos of her even on Facebook, is inconsistent with his attention, please rethink dating him.

And, if he expresses concern about what his family might say, or doesn’t introduce you to anyone, keep in mind these are serious red flags, letting you know dating this widower is probably not a wise choice.

Sometimes widowers want to keep your relationship a secret, will tell some family members but not others or not introduce you to his friends. Things must be out in the open or you are witnessing the horrors of dating a widower.

Only he can decide when he’s healed and ready for a serious, lasting relationship with a new woman.

Don’t invest your time and life in helping him recover. This is a thankless job and will lead to heartbreak. As soon as a man feels better and more emotionally whole, he will usually walk away and find another woman to commit to.

Why is that? It seems so rotten and heartless. When a man is not at his best, he can’t really give you what you want. He might really care for and appreciate you, but he could also be leaning on you. And after he recovers, then you remind him of the time when he was weak and recovering. So, he moves on.

You will not win him over by nursing him back to emotional health.

The Good News About Widowers

good news about dating a widowerNow, the good news is that a widower knows how to love and usually wants to marry again.

He’s not phobic about commitment and likes having a woman in his life. So, if you are dating a widower who is showing all the good signs outlined in this post – excellent!

Enjoy this time with your new man and take things slowly to be sure you are both making good choices. There’s no need to rush. Taking your time allows you to savor every joyous moment.

If you want more dating advice tailored to you and your circumstances, let’s chat! Schedule a complimentary session with me and fill out the short application to discover what might be blocking you from finding love and if coaching is right for you.

Updated 11/18/20

Single for too long, Ronnie wanted to find love. So, she made a few tweaks and then dated 30 men in 15 months to meet her adorable husband Paul. Discovering the keys to midlife dating, she founded It’s Never Too Late for Love to help other smart, successful women find love too! Her mission is to share her proven dating advice  and keen insights about men with women everywhere who are serious about finding love with the right man. Ronnie Ann Ryan, MBA, CCC is a Certified Coach who has helped 1,000’s of midlife women with her Love & Dating Coach services. She’s been featured on BBC’s 5 Live Radio, NBC, ABC, and Fox News, NPR, eHarmony, MSN.com, MORE.com, Connecticut Magazine among others around the world. An established author, you can find her 6 books on Amazon.

91 thoughts on “Dating A Widower? He’s Ready As Long As You See These 7 Signs”

  1. My widower won’t accept gifts from me. If he does, he won’t use them or puts them in a very inconspicuous place as not to draw attention. Please respond.

    Reply
    • Hi Mary, I don’t know what to tell you except don’t buy him gifts. Not everyone can receive a gift – perhaps it makes him uncomfortable. Why don’t you ask him in a nice way about it to discover his preferences?

  2. Hi there,

    Thank you for your thoughts. I was trying to see if what I felt was normal. Being single and moving into a new family ..to get advice on how others have done it. I will seek the help of a professional and get their advice if this is something out of the norm of what you typically see. It’s just been challenging to find people that have dated a widow as their isn’t anyone I know who has.

    Best

    Reply
  3. Hi, I have been dating my boyfriend over a year. He is proposing next month. I met his kids and most of his family. He met my family as well. I have never been married and don’t have kids. I love my boyfriend deeply and know he feels the same. I do find it challenging being in his house as there are pictures of her everywhere. Every room and the bedroom. He asked me what I thought about moving into their house. I took some time and declined. I told him that I would never feel like it was my house. It’s challenging sometimes when I am with his kids and family. It’s awkward when they bring up stories or we watch tv with a giant picture of her and the kids under it. This is unchartered territory for me. His kids seem to like me and and his youngest treats me like her best friend. Getting engaged and planning a wedding is supposed to be one of the happiest times in your life. However since he told me he was going to propose I unexpectedly feel sad. I’m sad that all of the firsts that we will have will be his second. I just turned 40 and have always wanted a child. I love his kids but am afraid I will never be a part of the family and will always just feel like his girlfriend. Any advice?

    Reply
    • Hi CB, This could be a series of coaching sessions because there is so much here. But I will be brief and direct to give you an answer. First the good news: 1) You didn’t complain about the relationship and love each other. ) His kids and family like you and treat you well. 3) He’s serious and asking you to marry.

      Once you marry will you live in this house with him? Or will you ask him to buy a new house? That would help if possible but it isn’t always. You have to expect to hear stories about his wife and her as a mom. That will not change. But you can put that photo someplace else so you don’t have to see it while watching TV. For you to live there he’ll have to let you change some things, remover her stuff if still around and photos too. Leaving a few will be necessary.

      Regarding how you feel like an outsider, this would be good to work through with a professional. Your view point is understandable but can be shifted. You could get that sense of belonging and even notice things right now that you hadn’t thought that show you do belong. And if you want a baby, that could work to your advantage – not sure if that is part of the plan.

      Lastly, your sadness at not being his first is something that needs to be worked out, otherwise you will end up with resentment. Yes, he did this before, but you are getting a man who knows how to do marriage vs. having to break in a guy. That might have advantages! Talk to your boyfriend and see if together you can find ways to make wedding planning feel special for you. If he loves you he will do this. So much of your feelings are perspective and your story doesn’t sound the same as the many women who posted here.

      I hope you will take steps to turn your thinking around and embrace all the love that is there for you. Speak up, learn how to clarify what you want and ask for it. Don’t sit back and let this happen passively. Be a part of it and get some of it your way. I believe this is totally possible to enjoy and work out if you give it a shot.

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