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

horrors of dating a widower

If 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 can be many horrors about 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 after the loss of his wife.

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 sadly misguided because what you are really doing is hoping he’ll recover quickly. In addition, 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 and wasting time with the wrong guy. 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. Ugh!

You’ll be thinking, “If only he could focus on how good WE ARE together.” Trouble is, if he could, he would, but he just can’t go there now.

7 Signs of Readiness for Dating a Widower

how do you know when a widower is ready to dateWhat 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.

Men tend to move on from a woman who “helped” them get over the loss of a wife, or other emotional situation, because they don’t want to remember their time of weakness.

2. His Actions and Words Sync Up and 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. 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 with 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 go on too long, that’s 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. This is to be expected.

More Good Signs about Widowers

dating a widower


4. He Has 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. If he still has his photo with her on social media – same sign that he’s not ready.

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 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, that doesn’t bode well for a healthy, lasting relationship.

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. He 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. He 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 divorced man. Most men (and women) want to know you will 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 ready.

If he talks about his wife constantly, still has tons of photos of her even on Facebook, is inconsistent with his attention, he is not ready.

Should he express concern about what his family might say or doesn’t introduce you to anyone,  these are serious red flags, letting you know dating this widower is 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. He is not ready.

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 heart 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 rotten and heartless. When a man is not at his best, he can’t really give you what you want. He might care for and appreciate you, but he could also be leaning on you. And after he recovers, being with you will remind him of the time when he was weak and recovering. He can’t bear that 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 enjoys 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.


Find out how to connect with a great man in my free audio program 5 Surefire Ways to Attract a Quality Man


Single for too long, Ronnie wanted to find love. She put her skills from personal development and her spiritual path to work, dating 30 men in 15 months to meet her adorable husband Paul. Discovering the keys to manifesting and midlife dating, she founded It’s Never Too Late to help smart, successful women find love or live an empowered and magical life. Ronnie Ann Ryan, MBA, CCC, is a Certified Coach who has helped 1,000s of midlife women with her Love & Magical Life Coach services. She’s the host of the Breathe Love & Magic podcast and has been featured on NBC, ABC, & Fox News, NPR, BBC, eHarmony,, and Connecticut Magazine among others. Also, Ronnie is the author of 6 books which are available on Amazon.

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

  1. Hi Ronnie, I’m a single mum with 2 kids dating a widower for 1.5yrs. We’ve been cool all this time but last week he sent me this text. “A good and blessed morning my luv…Am not sure how you’ll take this but I know I will not be a widower for life. Last time I was sick and alone at the hospital and am getting older if such should happen again I will be all alone. So am thinking of getting a partner soon and that will equally give you room for a formidable husband to take care of your God sent angel kids. For life we are ever friends if you don’t mind.” I asked him what that meant because it looks like a break up message. He said I should be happy for him that he finally wants a partner. Then I saw the message in another light. But I don’t know if he has someone else but doesn’t know how to break up with me? I’m confused.

    • Hi Esther, I can’t tell if you see each other or are text buddies. Either way, this is not a good because if he was asking you to be his partner, he’d say that! You need to ask him IN PERSON what this means. This is not a texting conversation. I’m sorry to say that texting you like this means he’s a coward and is breaking up. He wants a partner and doesn’t consider you to be that woman. He prefers to be friends with you.

  2. Hi Ronnie, I am 31, I’m married to a widower 52, he is also a divorcee. I’m the third woman in his life. He manipulates me, abuses me emotionally, he mistakenly calls me by his late wife’s name sometimes. He helps my siblings financially, he is helping to sponsor my sister in uni but to be honest I’m not happy with him. He has 3 adult kids and 2 toddlers which I’m working my ass out taking care of. I have my 18 months old baby girl. I feel used cos he is very manipulative, when I complain, he finds reasons to blame me. He gets upset when I try to correct the toddlers. He treats them special and it’s obvious he doesn’t have such feelings for my daughter. He has the pictures of his late wife in his phone. He sleeps in the spare room, only come by when he needs sex. I’m a very pretty tall lady with potentials. Please help, do you think I should leave. This man started making money immediately he met me. We bought our first house 6 months ago, I think he likes it that my advice helps him succeeds but he doesn’t love me.

    • Hi Edith, If you are a smart woman with potential, you don’t need to ask me if you should leave him. I can’t tell you that – its for you to decide. Clearly you are unhappy and this man treats you poorly. Why do you need my permission to move on? Be strong. Take care of yourself. Do what is right for you and your child. If you feel taken advantage of and used, what advice would you give yourself or another woman in this same position? Follow that advice,

  3. His wife of 25 years past away 4 years ago. She was beloved by his family and friends and of course she was his everything. Add to this that he brings a female friend of 4 years who he feels an allegiance to because of her support all these years. They did date. It “didn’t work for him” yet he allows intrusive calls and texts any time day or night. She admitted that she wants him and is trying to break us up. I am not a jealous women. He has other female friends who I have met and really like. It is hard enough dealing with the sainted departed wife. Adding his sainted go to female is draining. He is also very involved with his departed immediate family. Her mother stays with him when in town several times a year.

    • Hi Jann, You didn’t ask a question but it sure sounds like a difficult situation. This man has too many allegiances to make you his priority and that can feel hurtful. If that cuts into your self-esteem, it might be wise to look for a new man with a less complicated life and more freedom to focus on loving you. Sometimes a situation is just not workable and there is nothing you can do but walk away to save yourself.

  4. Hi, I met a widower a few years ago (we both have a child in last year of HS) and we’d run into each other once a month or so. My divorce was delayed due to COVID, but when my husband moved out my widower friend said he was interested. Soon we were in a physical but sporadic, consistent relationship over 8 months. We understood when my divorce was final, we’d become public but we kept it secret, very intense, but no actual sex. He intimated, in an indirect way, he wanted to be a couple and leave the area next year when kids go to college. When I told him my divorce would be final on 6 weeks, he did a 180. He said he doesn’t want marriage and wants to date other women before my divorce is final. Not sure why he suddenly went cool but I’m hurt and I feel kind of used. Or am I just misinterpreting a sane and rational response/approach? I’m not even sure if he will contact me again at this rate. I’m so confused.

    • Hi Kerry, Of course your feelings are hurt and you’re confused! He gave you every reason to hope for more but now that it’s time to go public, he’s not ready? What a crock! This is a selfish man who took advantage of you. Some men think if they don’t do the “deed”, then they haven’t crossed any lines. Not true. He needed companionship and physical release and you were willing. The secrecy part is your tip off something is wrong and seeing you sporadically. He got together when he needed a little something. Are you sure you want a man with this kind of integrity which is not much if you ask me? My advice is to walk away, take time to heal, and then look for a man who is ready and available for love. No secret meetings or other nonsense.

  5. Hi, I have been dating a widower for 9 months and he’s darling. He has three boys [15,18,21] who I get on with. His house is FULL of photos of his departed wife. I don’t mind the “family ones” with children, but the two in the bedroom upset me. He doesn’t talk about her that much, but they were together for 25 years. Last week we went for a meal for my birthday. He broke down crying about how much he misses his wife. I felt heart broken and devastated. He evaded the subject when I brought it up the following morning, but it’s constantly on my mind. I feel like the other woman. He speaks of a future together, but doesn’t clarify. I’m so confused and with any other man I would leave. He doesn’t notice how horrible it is to be constantly reminded he was in love before and still wears their wedding ring (on his other hand). It’s really making me sad and confused. Please help!

    • Hi Sam, I don’t know how long his wife has been gone but clearly, he’s NOT READY. He may love and appreciate you, but he is not done grieving. I’m not sure how he can heal if you prevent him from feeling by putting up with this. You say you’d leave any other man but not him – why? He can’t possibly make you happy when he can’t let her go. You really only have one choice which is to tell him to call you when he’s through grieving, ready to take the photos out of the bedroom at a minimum and take off that ring. That will show you he’s made progress. He’s just not capable of the kind of relationship you want right now. If you stay, you are accepting continuous heartbreak and poor treatment, even though he doesn’t mean to hurt you. Doesn’t change the facts. When you stick around, he doesn’t need to change a thing. I can’t say when he will turn things around or even if he will, but for your own self-preservation, I’m sorry to say, you need to end this.

    • No the ring has to go and so do the two pictures. Create new memories. If he can’t respect your feelings and value your needs, then he’s not ready.

  6. I met a widower shortly before the year mark of his wife’s passing. They had only been married for a year but were together a few years prior to that. There had not been any red flags and all had been going well but then the holiday season came. He said he thought he was ready but now suddenly feels he isn’t. I know that the season can bring on a lot of emotions unexpectedly. I’m 24 and he is 29 and this is the first person I have been serious about. I really want things to work but is this a red flag? Or what I am hoping, the sudden emotions of the holidays talking and not that he truly isn’t ready

    • Hi Julia, Yes the holidays are a tough time for missing someone. But not ready is not ready. You are only 24! You have plenty of time to find a man who doesn’t have this kind of emotional baggage. Give him space and date other men. And if after the holidays he shows back up and you haven’t met anyone else, you can discuss getting back together. Just don’t wait for him to get ready – that’s a major waste of your time and heart space.

  7. I am 73, my friend is 75. He was married 45 years and his wife died suddenly in June. We went to school together…never dated. He reached out to me via social media and we have gotten together with mutual friends every weekend since (We live 75 miles apart.) We text and he calls me sometimes daily. Obviously, he loved his wife and participates in grief counselling which helps him. He stays busy visiting with his friends to avoid being ‘home alone’ so much. I sense a mutual attraction and find the thought of having a physical relationship appealing. If he and I end up in a relationship, should I tell him up front I’m not interested in marriage? I don’t mind being a friend with benefits, but at this age, I do not want marriage -what to do?

    • Hi Judi, First of all he is no where near ready for a relationship, so I advise you to steer clear of that idea. Be his friend, sure but don’t be his Florence Nightingale nursemaid transitional relationship. Also friends with benefits is not being in a relationship – its very casual with no commitment or strings attached. I don’t think you want that. You can be in a committed relationship without getting married or living together. Any discussion of this kind is very far off so I don’t think it’s necessary to declare this up front at all. My advice is to enjoy what is and leave it at that. After a year if he shows romantic interest, then you can see how it goes.

  8. Hi Ronnie, I’m dating a widower for almost 3 years. He always comes to my home and spends a night or two, but he never invited me to sleep at his place. When I asked why, he said he never said I must not come to his place and the other time he said he wanted to get his bedroom in order. But he never invite me to stay, nor introduced me to his friends or family. Is it a red flag? Concerned

    • Hi Aletta, Yes this is a big red flag and a concern – especially for three years! He is keeping you a secret for some reason. Maybe he fears his family and friends won’t accept you or people are doing a lot for him and he thinks they’ll stop if they know about you. Or, maybe he’s not really a widower. How do you know he’s a widower because he’s sort of acting like a married man. Whatever his reasons are, he’s not blending you into his life and that makes me very suspicious. He is not fully committed to you.

      If you feel strong enough, you might want to tell him its time to meet some friends and family after 3 years. If he doesn’t agree and pushes back, that let’s you know something is very wrong and he might already have a woman in his life. At that point, for your own self-esteem, you may decide to leave him. Good luck with this and be brave for your own self-worth and self-esteem!

  9. Hi. I’ve been on Tinder for a while, and I met a man who is very recently widowed. On his profile he clearly stated that he is only interested in friendship and good conversation, which I respect and am fully capable of providing. I’m not looking for a relationship with him, per say, and we’ve only been out on one date, after which he kissed me. I understand that he’s not ready for a relationship and I’m not trying to enter a relationship with him, I sincerely wish to be his friend, but I’m unsure on how to proceed in a way that won’t give him the wrong impression. What do you suggest I do? Do I stay away, or should I just continue to be a supportive friend?

    • Hi Anel, The best thing you can do is respond only and don’t initiate anything. Avoid being his helper or supportive friend. It’s not your job to nurse him back to emotional health. If he wants to go on and on about his wife, I encourage you not to see him or be that helpful woman – its the surest way to heartbreak. You will get attached – he’s already kissing you! He probably misses affection etc. and he’ll lean on you, take your support and caring, feel better, then find someone else. Happens every day. Don’t fall for that.

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