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.

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

  1. Hi, I am separated with 3kids, I was dating a guy who was separated with 3 kids too, but his wife passed away unexpectedly, note; we were still dating. However after wife’s death he became distant and very emotional which I understood as he was grieving and in shock. Its only 3months gone since wife passed on and he is now telling me we should get married and move on. Is it right and should I marry him, am concerned he might b looking for comfort… I love him and he does too but we seem confused now. pls advice

    • Hi Kate, Wow, I would say no way to marriage right now. First, he shouldn’t be making any big decisions or changes for a year. I always say it’s good to know someone for a full year before you decide to marry. Neither of you know each other well enough yet. There’s no rush to get married. It’s even too soon to live together given he can’t be done grieving yet. I’d tell him you’re not ready and he needs time to grieve. Don’t feel pressured into this situation.

  2. Hi, I am in a relationship for 6 months. I am the first girlfriend since his fiancé’s death. He was with her 13 years and she died 3 years ago. He has a photo on his phone main page, in his house with her and her grown kids but not any of his own son? He still cooks Sunday dinner for her mother and constantly calls/texts them all. We go away for the weekend they are on phone. We can not spend a time without being disturbed. He told me he is not ready to forget his late fiancé but he loves me. I am his girlfriend and we enjoy each other. But am I ever going to stop competing against a ghost and is her family and him going to accept our relationship?

    • Hi Louise, If you don’t want to share your relationship with a dead woman, then you need to leave him. He has no intention of changing which is very selfish on his part and he told you he’s not ready. On the other hand, you are allowing this treatment. He wants you and her. Honor yourself and walk away to find a new man who is healthy and ready for the kind of loving relationship you want. He can’t give you what you want and staying longer will only make you feel worse. Be brave and walk away from this unhealthy tangled situation with your head high and seek what the kind of relationship you deserve.

  3. My boyfriend of 2 years lost wife 4 years ago. Not sure he’s ready for new relationship bc photos of his wife and kids were everywhere. He took many down, most of her clothes to Goodwill. Her diplomas are still up and knitting is still there. Feels like I’m living in his marriage. He says he’s just lazy after 4 years. Every other week we switch between his house and mine. No discussion of living together or future plans besides travel and concerts. I met his former in-laws and sons who are married with their own children. It’s a serious relationship, yet I feel used. I am giving him comfort, companionship, making his life easier. But I don’t feel he is all in. He is stuck, we are just dating and I need to decide if it’s enough.

    • Hi Magoly, Now that you wrote to me, what have you decided? Seems pretty obvious doesn’t it? You summed it all up perfectly. Why do you hesitate to walk away from this unsatisfying situation that is not right for you? Why are you over-extending yourself to him? Respect yourself, end it, and start again with someone new who is ready for and also wants the kind of relationship you want.

  4. I started dating a widower and see some red flags. His 2nd wife of 25 years died from suicide 4 years ago. They were very happy and deeply in love. After a couple dates he talked about his children and wife’s suicide. He seemed very sad. He mentions his late wife in conversation and has pictures up at home. He hasn’t gone through all her personal affects. He has the photo montage from her funeral in a room with some of her things and made a point of showing it to me. I was stunned, uncomfortable and didn’t know what to say – offer comfort? I said very little. He texts me, seems to pay attention to things I say but doesn’t ask a lot of questions about me, and we go out about once a week. He has dated a few women before me. Thoughts?

    • Hi Kerry, Unfortunately, this man is lonely but not ready to date. He’s created a memorial to his wife and showed it to you – yikes! He needs a bereavement group and therapy. I recommend moving on immediately if you want to protect your heart. You can say, “While I enjoy your company, showing me the memorial you created for your wife let me know your heart is still with her.” Don’t let him argue with you about it. Be firm for your own well-being. You deserve a man who is ready!

    • He’s not ready to date. I’m in the same situation. This man married 30 years (wife passed 8 months ago; in a relationship with me for 5 months). I realized he was hiding from being seen with me). Constantly talking about his wife… too many red flags. I am heartbroken.

  5. Is it possible to pull away from a “friendship” with a widower and revisit it when it’s been at least a year or more? Especially, if he comes back later to pursue you.

    • Hi Denise, Anything is possible, but don’t count on it. After all, you might meet someone who is ready now. And he might meet someone too. But you can always reach out in a year and see how things are going. But PLEASE do not wait for him to get ready.

    • chances are he won’t choose you after he’s healed.
      Read the article.

      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.

    • I agree Gabriella – never play Florence Nightingale – its a thankless job which leads to disappointment and heartbreak.

  6. I was widowed 12 years ago and have had a few relationships. Last year I met a widower who lost his wife 2 years ago. We had a magical 6 months and now it’s all gone wrong. His daughter is 25 and comes home on weekends and his mother in law lives with him (early dementia). At the start, he said he’d change his home circumstances, but never did. His daughter said it’s disgusting he’s cheating on her mother! I haven’t met anyone in his life. He met my boys, my mum, and all my friends. I don’t see him regularly as I’m not allowed at his house and he lives 2 hours away. We meet halfway for dinner or the cinema. I want more and to be included in his family. Am I asking too much? I’ve told him I can’t carry on like this and something has to change something or I’ll need to walk away. Am I doing the right thing?

    • Hi Jacqui, Yes, you are doing the right thing and should walk away now even though its hard. He’s not letting you into his life. Although it’s good when together, he’s not ready for a REAL relationship. The only thing you can do is leave, heal, and start again. My dating advice is to never expect a man to change. If you think circumstances are difficult or not to your liking at the start, they won’t improve. Move on quickly rather than take a man’s word that he’ll change. Accept a man for who he is when you meet him and if he’s not what you want, keep looking or you’re settling and sure to be unhappy.

  7. i have been dating a widower for almost 2 month and seriously he talks about his wife and feel bad. things turned out bad the very day we decide to meet! it was heaven on earth but few hours later his mood change and everything about him change too. he wakeups after two days to tell me he is not sure if he is ready about the relationship because he fell he is cheating his late wife. I feel bad and heart broken but don’t know what to do because I love him

    • Hi Danwinna – You met him once and you love him? That’s a problem right there! I encourage you to let go now because there is nothing you can do to get this man ready to date you. Don’t let yourself get attached to a man until you see if he’s got the right stuff to be your potential mate. Build your self-esteem, so that you are a complete person, happy with her life without a man. Then you add the man. The man cannot make your life – that is a recipe for continuous heartbreak and disaster.

  8. I met my boyfriend almost 4 years ago. His wife had passed 2 years before that. He had 2 girlfriends before me that were about 4 month relationships. I moved in with him 2.5 years ago, and I have not taken down any photos of her. There is one of her with her and her family, and one with him. I’m ok with that. He just started a new job and asked me to decorate his new office. When I walked in yesterday, only 1 picture was up. It was a family picture with her and his kids. Not sure why that hit me hard…. But it did. He originally told me he wanted to marry again, and since then said he doesn’t. Her family has included me in Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. It all seems good…. Or does it? Is it time to go? Or still be patient that he may change his mind?

    • Hi Kelly, Is the only complaint the photo? I agree, it’s strange that’s the only photo he put up in his new office. But you didn’t tell me a bunch of stuff he does wrong except the photo and the marriage issue. If the photos are the only issue, and you enjoy each other, I’m not sure leaving him is the answer. Only leave if marriage is your bottom line. Otherwise, if you’re happy together, and most of the time with him and his family is good, I’m not sure what’s wrong with that?

  9. hi I am seeing a widower . I’ve known him for 20 years plus but we were both married. but when we met we knew there was something there. six months ago he called me still had my number ask me out and of course I accepted. I knew there was a reason for him calling either he was divorced or his wife had passed and of course his wife has passed. we’ve been together 6 months he claims he truly loves me and he has grown married children and grandchildren. should I still be patient in meeting his family. or is he waiting to see if this relationship is a long lasting one before he introduce me to his family.

    • Hi Olivia, You didn’t say if you’ve already talked about this with him. If you haven’t, it’s time to ask him. Keep it simple like, “When will you introduce me to your family?” This will start the conversation. If he seems unsure, you can ask why. You want a man who will make you part of his life and 6 months is long enough to at least get that started. If he says no, then you want to know why you have to be a secret because that is not a good sign for your future. If he says he needs more time, get him to agree to date. If he won’t, then he’s not ready for a full and honest relationship.

  10. Hi I lost my husband of two weeks in December last year but we we’re together for 20 years. He died within 2 weeks of diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. Then a widower of 8 years came to help me through a friend… suddenly it ended 3 months later with a cuddle then him turning up unexpectedly, he knows I am moving away to start again, but he cuddled me then asked to kiss me!! It really took me by surprise. He loves my smile etc. and I can tell he likes me. He is very old fashioned, I am not sure how to handle this as he was married 40 years and I think I have stirred up emotions about his wife he breaks into tears… I don’t want my heart broken.

    • Hi Di, First so sorry about your husband. Second, it doesn’t matter if this new guy likes you. Do you like him? You didn’t say that. So, my advice is DON’T be swayed from your plans by a little unexpected cuddling. You could think of it as positive feedback from the Universe that you are a desirable woman without changing your plans to move. Don’t abandon what’s right for you and the life changes you’ve chosen for a man you’re not with.

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