by Dawgelene "Dr Dawj" Sangster- You meet this beautiful woman, strike up a conversation, love her energy and personality and decide you want to take her out. During the conversation she tells you she is a widow and you bypass that quickly because you want to get this lady on a romantic date and show her how great of a guy you are! You take her out a few times and never really talk about her being a "widow" because you are having such a great time in her company. One month into your fairytale encounter and beautiful dates, she disappears without a trace and stops returning your calls. When you finally connect with her, she tells you that she thinks you are wonderful but she needs time to regroup and maybe you are moving too fast. You are upset and don't understand why she just can't get into you. STOP! Before you get upset with the next widow you meet and want to date, please consider the following list on things to consider when you find out someone is a widow, and be sure to ASK more questions in the beginning.
- How recent was the death?- You do not want to find yourself in a situation with someone who has just lost a spouse, and might only be looking for someone to talk with and get companionship from rather than a relationship. Or, someone who is looking to fill an immediate void before healing, which may cause them to "run for cover" when reality settles in.
- Are there children involved?- The children may not take too well to the mom/dad dating someone aside from the parent they shared their life with. With most older/adult children (from experience), they will be the "gate keepers" of the widowed parent and may run some serious interference when trying to call the house and visit. You may even get a pop in visit at a restaurant you take the widow to.
- Did they have a business together?- This is very important because the deceased spouse will potentially always remain an important part of the business and the widowed person's life. Are you prepared to hear customers mention the spouse or see/hear the widow speak/act in a very positive way about their spouse for years to come? My husband and I did photography and marriage mentoring together, so many people knew us as a team. I still do the photography and ministry work helping married couples and women to respect their men. I use the relationship I had with him as an example of how strong love can be, and how it can withstand challenges until death parts you.
- Are you comfortable visiting the house they shared together?- Would you sit on the couch, sleep in the same bed or eat at the same table? These are all things to consider. My hubby and I shared our home for 12 years. 6 months after he died, I moved out because I could not stand to wake up there emotionally. I lived in an apartment for a while until I was ready to move back. I am back now and I have conversations with potential dates on whether they would be comfortable coming to dinner at my house?
- They may still cry at the drop of a hat- Please try to understand that it is NOT you or something you did. I don't do this as often but I still cry sometimes when I get overwhelmed because my hubby was my true rock, best friend and we were hardly ever apart for 15 years. I depended on him for daily direction, love, support, and just being there to support my every dream and plans. I thank God daily for new angels sent to give me the assistance I need to press forward.
- Watch out for shrines- I know this may be a bit on the "crazy" side of things, but widows can miss spouses so much that they build a shrine to remember them. I found myself having items around my bed, a shrine in the corner of my apartment (hence the odd looks from the maintenance men after repairing my cabinet); and I stopped short of having a stuffed life-sized doll image of him with his face taped to it in the back seat of my car ( call me weirdo!). My daughters and friends had to talk me out of it. I felt like I needed that to feel safe when driving in his absence (he was a police officer ya know).
- Marriage may never be an option- Okay, this is not how I personally feel but I have heard some widows be very adamant about never getting married again. I don't think that falling in love again should be closed off, but it is not unusual in the beginning for a widow to not ever want to think about being married to someone else. I believe in love and marriage and so did my husband, so I know marriage will find its way in my life again just not at this immediate time.
- Holidays may be odd- Holidays, birthdays and other family-centered" days may be odd especially if you start seriously dating and go around the widow's family! Please understand that you may or may not receive a "warm" and "fuzzy" reception so don't be offended. The person may or may not want to celebrate the holiday with you. They may just want to be around the family in the beginning so don't be offended.
- They are starting over- Life is really beginning again as far as potentially sharing it with someone. They may move, get a job, take up a new hobby, lose weight, travel or whatever they feel the need to do. Don't take offense to this new freedom they are enjoying, which may cause them to not necessarily lock into a new relationship.
- Don't Assume- This is a very WIDE area to cover so I will make it brief. Don't assume you know how they feel, how they will act, think, react, love or even respond to anything that is different from what they were accustomed to for probably many years.
This is my list in a nutshell but I will say that it requires patience and willingness to step into the life of a widow. What has been your experience in dating a widow? If you are a widow, what has been your experience in dating again?
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