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Widower Wednesday: The Ultimate Dating Guide for Widowers Cover

4 comments April 16th, 2014

Here’s the cover for The Ultimate Dating Guide for Widowers. Book should be available in about two weeks. First chapter will be posted next week.

4 comments April 16th, 2014

Book Update 2

Add comment April 9th, 2014

Traveling for business this week so there’s no Widower Wednesday column today. Instead I thought I’d give you all a quick book update:

  • Second round of edits are back. Hoping to have time tonight to go through a good chunk of them.
  • Second round of the covers are in as well. Things are defiantly going in the right direction.
  • Once edits are finalized, everything will start being prepared for layout. Looks like were (hopefully) two weeks away from having this book ready

Finally, here’s a pic from dinner last night. Yes, the place has great bulbs. As a result, you can probably smell me a mile away. :)

Add comment April 9th, 2014

Widower Wednesday: I Want to Do the Right Thing

5 comments April 2nd, 2014

Widower Wednesday

Book Update: I verified all 82 footnotes in my upcoming book and sent it off for a second edit Sunday night. I also have cover in the works. Hope to have the cover and the next round of edits back in 7-10 days. If all stays on track, the book should be available sometime this month

***

The following question was left on a recent blog post:

Question. My “partner” and I met 6 months ago (3 months after his wife died). I have already moved in with him and we plan to live the rest of our lives together. It was a coincidence we met and fell in love immediately. He has 4 grown children Ages 27-32. I have met 3 of them. The oldest daughter and mother has not met me. My DP and I have made a few mistakes pushing the children to accept us, which hindsight was idiotic. He thought he knew his kids as well, but we understand that the kids are going through their own personal mourning as well. And they probably wonder if their dad really loved their mom after 33 years? who knows. My question is this – we made a decision to leave the house the same until after the anniversary date of her passing. I personally feel that giving the family one year without their mom for xmas, easter, mother’s day etc is only being fair. And since the kids visit once in a while the house, some of her photos are up until after that year. What are your thoughts on this? My other question is – there are photos of his kids with their mom and him – should he eventually remove those as well? At a loss here and want to do the right thing.

As long as you and your partner are both okay with this arrangement, I don’t see a problem with leaving the house the way it is for a year. My question to you is living in a house that’s unchanged something you can live with until the year is up? I understand keeping things up for the kids, but if they’re all adults and living on their own, they don’t live there—you do. If you can wake up every morning and feel comfortable in this place, then that’s great. If not, then you need to ask yourself why you’re putting yourself through this. There’s nothing noble about torturing yourself. The same goes for the photos of her and the kids. What can you live with? What can the widower live with? Talk about it now and hopefully you can arrive at a compromise that you both feel comfortable with.

There’s no right answer here other than you both need to put each other first. His kids are adults and have lives and homes of their own. They shouldn’t be dictating the house décor or what photos stay up or are taken down. Talk to your partner. Listen to him. Be honest with him about your wants and needs. Hopefully he can do the same for you. Hopefully the two of you can reach a decision that you can both be happy about.

Keep in mind that whatever decision is reached, his adult children may not be happy with it. In the end it’s up to your partner to have to explain to his kids why things are changing. Cross your fingers he can man up and do that and not let them control his home or your relationship.

5 comments April 2nd, 2014

Widower Wednesday: Book Update

Add comment March 19th, 2014

I’m in the middle of edits on my dating a widower guide so no Widower Wednesday column this week. It will return next week.

Instead, feel free to check out these other resources.

Thanks,

Abel

Add comment March 19th, 2014

Widower Dating Guide Update

Add comment March 17th, 2014

Send the widower dating guide off to the editor last night. (Yay!) Currently working on getting a cover done.

Hope to have it on the market in approximately 30 days.

Stay tuned for more updates.

Add comment March 17th, 2014

Widower Wednesday: Don’t Assume. Ask.

2 comments March 12th, 2014

Widower Wednesday

A couple weeks ago I got an email from a GOW who was upset that her widower she had been dating about six months hadn’t done anything for Valentine’s Day. Instead of the flowers, card, and usual things she was used to on that day, the widower had simply sent her a text message telling her how much he loved and appreciated her. The GOW was upset that he hadn’t been more thoughtful on that day and wanted to know if the widower was ready to move on.

From a man’s point of view, the widower’s behavior seemed rather normal to me. Not every guy in the world is get-the-woman-he-loves-flowers kind of guy. And to be honest, most guys would do away with Valentine’s Day if they could. Not because they don’t like the spirit of what the holiday represents, but because they really don’t like the pressure of feeling like they have to do something.

In addition, adjusting from a married relationship a dating relationship with someone with different expectations doesn’t happen overnight. Maybe the widower and his late wife didn’t do anything on Valentine’s Day and so he wasn’t really thinking about what the new woman expected. I know that most of my relationship mistakes with Marathon Girl were because I was still used to doing things the way the late wife expected them to be done instead of the way Marathon Girl wanted things done.

Anyway, I asked the woman what reason he gave her for not doing what she wanted and that the whole thing sounded like an innocent mistake. A few days later I heard back from her and it turned out the entire thing was a misunderstanding. She hadn’t even brought the subject up with him until reading my email. When she did ask him, he told her he didn’t know what she wanted that day and thought the text message was sufficient.

I share this story because I’m seeing more and more examples in my inbox of something happening in a relationship and the GOW/WOW assuming the widower isn’t ready to move on or start a new relationship with them.

Please don’t assume this unless you have a factual reason for feeling that way. You can avoid a lot stress simply by asking the widower why he made a certain decision or why he said or acted in some way that you didn’t like.  There might be a simple explanation for it or maybe the widower simply didn’t know what you expect of him. We’re not mind readers. Maybe the widower isn’t really ready to move on but at least determine that before assuming that things are a certain way.

Relationships are a wonderful thing but they only last as long as both parties learn to communicate with each other. That can take a lot of work and effort in and of itself. If there are any worries or concerns, bring them up with the widower. It’s not always the easiest thing to do but it can pay big dividends in the long run.

 

2 comments March 12th, 2014

Widower Wednesday: Can’t Buy Me Love

1 comment March 5th, 2014

Widower Wednesday

I’m in the midst of finishing up the widower dating guide with a deadline of getting things to my editor no later than March 15. Therefore today’s post will be brief.

I was reading a philosophy book the other day and the following quote from the book made me stop and think:

“Love is for its own sake. It works only as a gift, never as a reward. It can’t be earned or bartered or insured. It is a grace and it is freely given or not given at all.”

Though that chapter of the book had nothing to do with dating, marriage or anything like it, it made me stop and think about some of emails that fill my inbox on a daily basis.

It takes the effort of two people to make a relationship work. If one person isn’t giving it their all or simply not as invested in the relationship (or its future) as the other person, at some point it will fall apart. Often the person who is trying the hardest to make things work wants things to work so bad they’ll do just about anything to make the other person care more about them and their relationships. Sometimes they’ll put up with bad behavior from the widower or his kids. Other times they’ll give up their careers, spend lots of money on the other person, or move halfway across the country in hopes that these actions will make the other person and appreciate them more.

Sadly, these sacrifices rarely, if ever, pay off. Usually the person who gave up everything is often left with nothing but a broken heart.

So if you find yourself in a relationship with a widower who doesn’t care about you or the relationship as much as you, stop trying to make him love you. Either he will give you his entire heart, or he won’t give you any of it. There’s not a lot of middle ground and nothing you can do to make him open it up to you. He will either love you for who you are or he won’t love you at all.

1 comment March 5th, 2014

Widower Wednesday: Two Timing Widowers

2 comments February 26th, 2014

Widower Wednesday

From the inbox comes the following series of questions:

Would you please clarify on your blog, whether you dated both ‘Jennifer’ and Marathon Girl – at the same time, whilst keeping each of them a secret from each other, fits the definition of two-timing or ‘hedging your bets’?

In your book and blog, your account of that situation seems to differ; in some descriptions you imply you made a clean break with Jennifer ‘before’ you met and courted Marathon Girl – yet your book depicts that you did not end your relationship with Jennifer until you had ‘first’ simultaneously secured your relationship with Marathon Girl, both of whom you dated/courted – at the same time.

The account in Room for Two is accurate. I started a long distance relationship with Jennifer a few months before I met Marathon Girl. There were a couple months where was trying to win over Marathon Girl while still having the long distance relationship with Jennifer. Once things got serious with Marathon Girl, I ended it with Jennifer. If I’ve ever implied on my blog that I made a clean break with Jennifer before I got serious with Marathon Girl, that was certainly not my intent.

What I did was wrong. Very, very wrong and if I could go back in time and do things differently, I’d have ended things with Jennifer as soon as I started running in the mornings with Marathon Girl. At the time I very emotionally confused about what it meant to fall in love the second time. The relationship with Jennifer never felt right—even when we were first dating. I thought this was because I was still trying to move on from my late wife’s suicide and once that happened the relationship with Jennifer would feel right.

What I didn’t understand at the time was that I had misgivings about my relationship with Jennifer because it wasn’t the right relationship for either me or her. It had nothing to do with opening my heart to someone else and everything to do with opening it up to the wrong person. It wasn’t until Marathon Girl and I had been serious for several months that I realized that the same feelings I had for the late wife were the same feelings I had for the late wife. Once this clicked in my brain, all the feelings I had for Jennifer made sense.

I share this not as a justification or excuse for my behavior but to add some context as to why I behaved in such a manner.

Would you have kept Jennifer if things between you and Marathon Girl, did not work out?

The relationship with Jennifer might have lasted a little longer but not much. My relationship with Jennifer was stressful in a lot of ways and the distance between the two of us didn’t help matters. I doubt it would have lasted through the summer.

Is this scenario normal for widowers, and if so why? Is it excusable for widowers, but not other men?

Based on emails from women dating widowers over the years, I’d say it’s not normal. But it does happen on occasion. I think about half of the widowers who behave in this manner are, like me, emotionally confused about how they should be feeling and simply attach themselves to someone because they want companionship—even if it’s with someone they don’t truly love.

That being said, the other half are simply predators who enjoy two-timing (or three-timing) the women they date. These men know what they’re doing and enjoy playing this game with as many women as possible. Be wary of such men. Their actions aren’t based on confusion but simply because they love seeing what they can get away with and playing games with other people’s feelings.

I do not find this kind of behavior excusable in the least. It doesn’t matter if the guy is a widower or not.

What would you advise women who find themselves in Marathon Girl’s situation, to do, if they find out at the last minute that their Widower had been keeping another lady in the wings/on the side, a secret during the entire dating/courtship, in case things between the two of you, didn’t work out?

Dump him. Wash your hands of him and move on. You deserve better.

But wait, you say, Marathon Girl didn’t end things with you when she found out about Jennifer.

Yeah, you’re right. She didn’t end things but I sure wouldn’t have blamed her if she had.

As to why she didn’t end it with me, I’ll let her answer that question for herself.

Marathon Girl: Abel and I were not dating each other exclusively at the time he told me about Jennifer. Though we had a couple of good dates when he finally told me about her, we weren’t to the point where I we had agreed to date only each other. When I was first dating Abel, I was still dating other guys and Abel wasn’t aware of that. I was still leery about dating a widower and kept hoping that things would work out with one of the other guys so I could tell Abel that I had a boyfriend and end things with him. Had we been in a serious relationship and dating each other exclusively, I would have felt and reacted differently about Jennifer. There would have been no second chances and we wouldn’t be celebrating 11 years as husband and wife this week since we never would have gotten married in the first place.

That being said, I don’t feel like I’m in the same position as the letter writer. It sounds like she is in a more committed relationship then Abel and I were when this information about a second woman came out. Unless he can give you a really good reason as to why he had a woman on the side (and let’s face it, there isn’t one) while in a serious relationship with you then I’d end it. He’s not worth your time.

2 comments February 26th, 2014

Widower Wednesday: Ask Marathon Girl II

1 comment February 19th, 2014

Widower Wednesday

 Today Marathon Girl answers more of your questions. You can see what questions she answered last week here.

Question from Tiffani: How did you deal with Abel’s “moments” where he struggled with memories, grief, or other things related to the death of his wife?

I tried to be supportive of his needs and loss by letting him talks about it (if he felt like it) and work through it. I even encouraged him to write a book about it if he felt that would be helpful since he enjoyed writing so much. (Note: Room for Two is what resulted from that suggestion.)

Even though I did everything I could to be supportive, it was hard to see Abel sad and thinking about someone that wasn’t me. Don’t kid yourself and think that these moments are a walk in the part because they’re not. But at the same time I didn’t want Abel to bottle it up and not feel that he couldn’t talk to be or be with me when those moments hit. I felt it was better to know how he was doing (even if it hurt) than pretend that everything was okay when that may not have been the case.

Question from Jessica: Who did you get support from when you needed to discuss your relationship with Abel? Friends? Family? Someone else?

Even though my family is big on communicating and talking to each other about relationships and just about anything else, it was hard to talk to my mom, sisters and others that I normally relied on for support. It wasn’t that my mom and other family members didn’t want to help but they really didn’t know how to help me as none of them had experience with dating a widower. At least I could talk to Abel about it.  It took some time but I was finally able to get him to see what it was like for me and the struggles I was dealing with even if he there wasn’t anything he could really do to overcome my own insecurities and feelings about dating widower. In the end I had of had to blaze my own trail and trust my gut that I was doing the right thing and making the right choices.

Question from Anonymous: What was the hardest thing for you about dating a widower?

That no one knew exactly how hard it was to date a widower or all the issues that I had to make peace with. A lot of people thought it was like dating someone who had been divorced when it was nothing like that at all. A lot of Abel’s family and friends would say or do things that made it more difficult whether it was someone on the day we got engaged saying that Krista would be okay with Abel remarrying or condolence cards that came in on the anniversary of her death after we were married. I don’t think they did it with the intention to hurt my feelings but their actions seemed focused on Abel or Krista. My thoughts and feelings usually weren’t taken into consideration.

Looking back, I wish a lot of the support groups for women dating widowers that exist now would have been around eleven years ago when we were dating. I think it would have been a lot easier for me if I had someone to talk to who was experiencing similar things.

1 comment February 19th, 2014

Widower Wednesday: Ask Marathon Girl

5 comments February 12th, 2014

Widower Wednesday

Last week one of the threads on the Dating a Widower Facebook group spawned a series of questions. After reading Room for Two, someone wanted to know more about Marathon Girl’s side of the story. So I took some questions from the ladies of the group and asked Marathon Girl to answer them. I’ve posted the first two questions below.

If you have other questions you’d like to ask Marathon Girl, post them in the comments below or send me an email and we’ll post them in the coming weeks.

Question from Lorie: How did you know Abel was ready to move on and make you number one?

Marathon Girl: The first big sign to me that Abel was ready to move on was he put his old wedding band away for good. To me that was the last big thing from the past he was holding on to. Mentally I think he was ready to move on but he still had to take that step of taking it off and putting it away. Once he took that step, I was ready to have conversations about the two of us spending the rest of our lives together. After that it was making sure that his actions matched his words. There wasn’t much debate in my mind that he wasn’t ready. There were small setbacks from time to time but mostly there were giant leaps forward. I couldn’t have married him if I had any doubts about his readiness to make me the center of his universe.

Two questions from Jessica: 1) After reading Room for Two, I want to know why you decided to go to the cemetery with Abel on anniversary of his late wife’s death. 2) Why did you want to know so much about Krista when the two of you were dating?

Marathon Girl: Losing a spouse helped make Abel the man he was then and is today. I didn’t want to cut myself from that part of his life. I wanted to see how Abel was doing and have a better understanding of where he was. I also wanted to support him if he needed me. I didn’t think I could do that staying at home. It wasn’t an easy thing to see your husband crying over someone that he loved but I did it because I felt it was the right thing to do for Abel and our relationship. I have no regrets about that decision and am glad that I did it.

As for your second question, I’m an inquisitive person by nature. Abel loved someone enough to marry her. In order to better understand Abel and where he was coming from and what he had been through, I needed to know more about his relationship with Krista. If I pretended that she never existed, I’d be losing out on learning more about Abel and who he is and what made him the man that he was when I was dating him. It was also good to know about the kind of relationship Abel wanted the second time around.  I’m glad I did it as I was able to get a better picture of the man I was dating and how his first relationship influenced and shaped him.

5 comments February 12th, 2014

Widower Wednesday: Our Engagement Story

Add comment February 5th, 2014

Widower Wednesday

Just a reminder that if you’re dating or married to a widower, consider joining the Dating a Widower group on Facebook. There’s a great group of ladies there who are there to listen, laugh and cry with you, and help you through any issues you’re experiencing.

***

When I asked Marathon Girl to marry me, one of her sisters was living in Illinois. Since she wasn’t able to hear our engagement story in person, we decided to make an audio recording of what happened and send it off to her. We made the recording, mailed it off, and I forgot all about it.

Last weekend my sister-in-law said she was going through some things and found the recording we made. She converted the recording to digital format and emailed it to me. After listening to it, I thought I’d share it in part so readers know that dating a widower can actually turn into marriage. Also, I thought it would be fun to hear our engagement story as I don’t think it’s one I’ve publically shared before.

You can listen to the story at the MP3 link below. It runs about 4:30 in length.

Abel and Marathon Girl Engagemnt Story (MP3)

Add comment February 5th, 2014

My Super Bowl XLVIII Prediction

Add comment February 2nd, 2014

By the score 28-17.

Oh, come on. You didn’t really think I was going to pick the Seahawks did you?

Add comment February 2nd, 2014

Chinese New Year Birthday

Add comment January 31st, 2014

This is what happens when your birthday falls on Chinese New Year. (Click on image for larger version.)

Add comment January 31st, 2014

Another Great Obituary

Add comment January 30th, 2014

Awhile back I wrote about an great obituary that appeared in the local paper. Though the one below isn’t written in the first person, I thought it gave great insight in the deceased. Wish more obituaries did that.

Leonard Mason Smith, 86, a veteran of World War II and Korea and longtime resident of Pine Island, Florida passed away on November 27th, 2013.

Leonard Smith was a very private man. If you wanted to know his cause of death, he would have told you that it was none of your business. If you asked Penny, his beloved wife, she would tell you that he had cancer, but not to tell anyone. Although his prognosis was dire, he battled on, lived his life and survived several years beyond the experts’ expectations. He did not want his obituary to suggest that he lost a long battle with cancer. By his reckoning, cancer could not win, and could only hope for a draw. And so it was. Leonard Smith hated losing.

***

Leonard Smith hated pointless bureaucracy, thoughtless inefficiency and bad ideas born of good intentions. He loved his wife, admired and respected his children and liked just about every dog he ever met. He will be greatly missed by those he loved and those who loved him. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you cancel your subscription to The New York Times.

Leonard Smith would have thought that this obituary was about three paragraphs too long.

Read the full obituary here.

 

Add comment January 30th, 2014

Widower Wednesday: Book Review: Unremarried Widow

4 comments January 22nd, 2014

Widower Wednesday

For those who want to read the story of how I met Marathon Girl and started a new life with her, Room for Two is now available for Kindle, Nook, iPad, and Kobo.

***

Back in 2009 a journalism student named Artis Henderson emailed me to ask if I was willing to be interviewed about my experiences of being a widower and moving on. I agreed to the interview. The article she was writing never made it to print. However, she did pull some quotes from the interview and use them in her relationship column for a Florida newspaper.

Fast forward to 2013 and we reconnected via Twitter. As I read a little more about her, I noticed that she too was a widow. I checked the dates of and realized that she was a widow when she interviewed four years earlier though, to her credit, she didn’t disclose that fact when she spoke with me. I noticed she had a memoir, Unremarried Widow coming in January 2014 and she asked if I wanted an advanced copy. I took her up on the offer. I wasn’t asked to write a review of her book in exchange for the copy but decided to do so anyway because after reading it I thought that the book might be helpful to readers of this blog.

At its core, Unremarried Widow is a love story—and a beautifully written one at that. It’s the story how Artis fell in love with her husband Miles (despite being his polar opposite in so many ways), losing him in an army helicopter crash in Iraq, and put her life together after the fact. It also weaves in the story of Artis childhood and mother who was a widower herself after losing her husband to an airplane crash and the similarities of their experience, grieving, and moving on.

Though I always knew that men and women grieved differently, it wasn’t until I read Unremarried Widow that I really understood what that difference really is. The biggest one is that women grieve in groups. Though only briefly mentioned, Arits spends time with a grief group in Florida and a military support group. There she finds women that she can lean and rely on and help her give strength to move on. Men are rarely present at these groups and when they are there, they don’t last long. (At one point the women in the group joke that the widowers who didn’t show up for the weekly session were probably out on a date. I don’t think they realized that the widowers were probably doing just that.)

The other big difference is that widows don’t have an internal need for a relationship that widowers do. Arits goes back to school to fulfill her dreams of being a writer—something she put on hold as she moved from base to base with Miles. She travels. She works for a newspaper.  She goes back to school. She does have a few short relationships but dating again isn’t a priority or a necessity for putting her life back together. And even though she still misses Miles, life and her decisions take her on a path where she rediscovers herself and how to be happy with her new life as a widow.

Where Artis really gets kudos from me, however, is that when presented with evidence that her husband’s helicopter crash may not have happened the way the Army said it did, Artis refuses to get dragged down into an extended investigation. Instead she focuses on moving on and adjusting to her new reality declining repeated attempts from the widow of the other pilot to get at the truth. Such a thing is hard to do but Artis manages to do it with kindness and grace.

Unremarried Widow is one of the few grief memoirs that I’ve been able to read from cover to cover. That’s because it’s not about grief but love, hope, and redefining your life when life takes an unexpected turn.

***

You can purchase a copy of Unremarried Widow here. Follow Artis on Twitter here.

4 comments January 22nd, 2014

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