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Dating a widowed man

(18 Posts)
susanellen Tue 23-Feb-16 09:45:13

I have been in an amazing relationship a widower for the past 7 months now - he unexpectedly lost his wife to cancer in February 2014. He's 32 and I'm 26. We became friends 6 months after she died, and then we became a couple in June 2015. He's done nothing but treat me like a queen - he's always buying me flowers, taking me out on amazing dates/trips away... he even introduced me to his late wife's parents 2/3 months into the relationship. He donated all of her clothes to charity in November 2015 (including the wedding dress) and he started to decorate bits of the house this month. I couldn't be more proud of him.

On Friday (this is almost two weeks ago now), I called him on my lunch break to have our usual chat and he said, in floods of tears, "I can't do this."

I won't lie, it completely caught me off guard. He texted me the following day to say "I deserve your anger. I'm getting help but I just need some time by myself. I know I've taken the coward's way out and I'm sorry".

I'm praying that this is just a blip and he'll come back to me...

Any advice?

Offred Tue 23-Feb-16 09:50:16

It takes a long time to get over the death of a spouse. TBH I think you need to leave it be and move on.

Whilst it's common for men to start dating again very quickly I think this is ill advised.

Let him grieve. I don't think he was really available.

Ready123 Tue 23-Feb-16 10:36:29

I think it is awful that he ended the relationship with a text message like that. He may be grieving, but you deserve much better. It is very selfish of him to treat you like that and apparently not to care if you are hurt. I have dated men like that in the past, and I would never go back to somebody who thought it was OK to treat me like that during or at the end of a relationship.

I am sorry if this sounds harsh because he is obviously in a very bad place. However, I really think that the way he has acted indicates that he is quite selfish. No matter how sad he is, it is not too much after 7 months to expect him to talk to you face to face.

I really feel for you - you must be feeling very hurt and confused. I am sure there will be someone better along who will be able to treat you with more kindness and genuine care.

BlueEnvelope Tue 23-Feb-16 10:49:39

I think your account of your relationship suggests you don't understand grief at all - it's as though you're listing all his 'achievements' in getting through the grief process, donating his wife's clothes, redecorating the house, introducing you to her parents etc, in order to convince yourself he's fine, or working on being fine, and that you didn't both rush into a relationship too soon.

Which would all be fine, only he clearly isn't at all over his grief. He should have talked to you, rather than texted, but it sounds to me as if you (and quite possibly him also) got carried away too quickly. There aren't time limits on grieving, and it sounds as if he has realised he leapt into a new relationship far too fast. Even if it was initially a platonic relationship, six months after a spouse's death is very soon to be forming a relationship that eventually turns into a grand romance.

I wouldn't hang about hoping it was a 'blip', I would wish him well and move on.

PovertyPain Tue 23-Feb-16 10:59:04

I'm sorry you've been hurt, but that poor, poor man. As the previous poster has said, I'm afraid you really don't understand grief.

When someone loses the person they love, they sometimes go into automatic drive. They feel they have to be seen to be coping so often start decorating, disposing of stuff and going out. It's a way of blocking out the pain, but you can only do it for so long and then the grief gets in. Can you imagine what he is probably going through now, wishing he hadn't gotten rid of certain items or changed things in the home that reminded him of his wife. He's probably feeling very guilty about 'moving on' and also guilty about hurting you.

FellOutOfBedTwice Tue 23-Feb-16 11:09:46

I know a man and a woman who were widowed very young. Both have taken 4+ years to start dating. I don't think it's a quick process unfortunately and think you're probably better off in a less complicated scenario.

Oldraver Tue 23-Feb-16 11:15:17

Is it very near the anniversary ? FWIW I found the second anniversary hit me harder than the first.

He may of been thinking he was moving on but has been surprised by his feelings.

susanellen Tue 23-Feb-16 11:22:09

The 2nd anniversary of her death was on 19th February.

We've not spoken since 13th February.

smilingeyes79 Tue 23-Feb-16 11:31:07

The 2nd anniversary is often a harder time than the 1st .... everyone expects people to be upset in the first year, there is more help, people around helping you. By the 2nd anniversary people are getting on with their own stuff assuming you'll be ok.

I sounds to me like he was physically moving on, on the surface it looked positive etc but somewhere inside he is still grieving for his wife and the life they had.

firesidechat Tue 23-Feb-16 11:36:33

I was just going to say that it sounds like the anniversary of her death so a very difficult time for him, poor man. I'm fairly sure that it I lost my husband it would take more than a couple of years to even think about anyone else, if at all. I am quite a bit older though.

As to whether he will come back, who knows. As hard as it is I would give him the space he needs just now. At least he has been honest with you.

firesidechat Tue 23-Feb-16 11:40:18

In the grand scheme of things you haven't been together that long. Maybe he genuinely thought he was ready, but now realises that it's too soon. Maybe your not the one for him.

A friend of ours lost his wife and he did start dating quite soon afterwards. He is on his third girlfriend I think and has been with her for some time.

Justaboy Tue 23-Feb-16 11:46:11

I think having been in his position it can be very difficult to deal with this happening that's the say the death of a spouse and so very young.

However my gut feeling says don't abandon him just yet, this may well be part of the grieving process and I think he has found a wonderful lady in you and you a very good man in him. Just for the time being back off a bit but let him know your still there for him, and see if you can get him to talk to a bereavement councillor.

Whatever happens I hope it works out for the both of you! I think you'll make a lovely couple just given some time.

Cabrinha Tue 23-Feb-16 11:47:26

My fiancé is a widower - it took him nearly 3 years to decide to date again, and I'm his second girlfriend.

He isn't "over" his wife, but he has moved on.

I think your boyfriend moved too fast, and that's catching up with him now.

But also... my fiancé told his previous girlfriend that he loved her - and he knew he didn't. He can see now that he wanted it, was willing it to be right. He had such a happy marriage, he wanted that situation back. He would have been a wonderful boyfriend to her outwardly - he's a good man, caring, sensitive, fun. But he didn't love her.

I suppose there's a possibility it's the same in your situation - sorry, this is harsh to say. Aside from it being too soon, he might have been throwing everything into trying to make it perfect - when you weren't "the one". My fiancé definitely realises he did that with his ex. He and I have got a long engagement planned, and one reason is that I've told him - he needs to be sure he's not doing it again!

Give him a lot of space!

TheNaze73 Tue 23-Feb-16 11:48:38

Being honest, he doesn't sound like he'll be avaliable for some time, I'd move on. No ones fault here, just life

susanellen Tue 23-Feb-16 11:52:19

I've just let him know that I'm there for him and I'll respect his decision. The last thing I want to do is abandon him.

Cabrinha Tue 23-Feb-16 11:56:34

Just seems a bit OTT to me - always buying you flowers, all the amazing dates and trips away - and especially that he introduced you to her parents when he'd only been with you a couple of months! That's the bit that really makes it seem like he was possibly doing what my fiancé did with his ex - rushing it, because he wanted it to be right.

I appreciates that the introduction wasn't really soon after her death. But still, introducing someone 18 months after her death, who he'd only been seeing for a couple of months? Even though you were friend for a short while before.

It just looks to me like he was trying to convince himself you were a big new relationship.

My fiancé is a lovely man, and he never set out to hurt his ex girlfriend - but looking back he can see he projected what he wanted into their relationship.

Bree85 Tue 23-Feb-16 12:08:12

This is sad. sad I guess it is best when you give him time. If he really loves you, he will come back and I know he will. Just give him the time to heal.

offside Tue 23-Feb-16 13:11:07

I started reading this, thinking you were the DP of my best friend's dad, but the cause of death is different.

My best friend lost his mum VERY suddenly 15 months ago and within 3 months his dad was dating someone else, 15 months down the line and he has moved her into the family home with her two school age children and is playing happy families. My best friend no longer has a home to go to that he recognises as his dad redecorated within weeks off his mum's death, a woman who he doesn't know has stepped into his mum's shoes and there are two children in the house who have taken his and his brother's bedroom. It breaks my heart. I think this is his coping mechanism and I can't comprehend it working out.

Maybe your exDP's coping mechanism was throwing everything at you, creating a life he was grieving for and wasn't acknowledging his true feelings. I agree with PP, in that the second year anniversary approaching has probably caused him some reflection.

Please leave him to grieve. If it is meant to be, he will contact you again when he is ready.

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