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Widower Wednesday: What Red Flags Should I Look for When Dating a Widower?

Add comment October 29th, 2014

Widower Wednesday

Recently I received an email from a GOW who had just started dating a widower. Though the relationship was still in the early stages, she wanted to know what red flags she should be on the lookout for so she could know if he was ready to move on or not.

I’ve previously posted a list of red flags that anyone dating a widower should be aware of. While that list covers the biggest, most common ones, it doesn’t take into account other warning signs that the widower may not be ready to move on or individual circumstances, wants, and needs that come with each relationship. So, here are three things GOWs can do to see if there are other red flags they should be worried about.

1. Know What You Want in a Relationship

Before you can identify other red flags in any relationship, it’s important to know what you’re looking for when it comes to a man. You need to have a good idea what values you want a potential partner and what behavior you expect from him before you can identify red flags. Once you know what you want, compare that list to the widower’s values and actions. Do you feel that he loves and respects you or do you feel mistreated and unsure if how he feels about you? Mark anything that doesn’t line up with what you expect as a possible red flag.

2. Figure Out if You’re Making Grief-Related Excuses for His Behavior

After you’ve identified potential red flags, take a step back and see if you’re making grief-related excuses for his behavior. You determine if you’re putting up with a widower’s actions, comments, and behavior that you wouldn’t tolerate from a divorced of single man. If you are, you need to stop making excuses for his behavior. Allowing someone to misbehave for any reason is simply going to encourage them to keep doing it. You need to put your foot down and start treating him like you would any other guy you’d date and see if he’s willing to move on or not.

3. Decide What You Can and Can’t Live With

After going through the first two steps, take a long, honest look at the widower and decide if he was to stay exactly the same person as he is today (red flags and all), could you see yourself spending the rest of your life with him? Not everyone is going to line up perfectly with what we want in a spouse. What you need to decide is if the red flags you’ve identified are things you can live with or deal breakers. If you can’t live with them, then you need to decide how much more time and energy you’re willing to invest in the relationship that’s not going anywhere.

Don’t be afraid to walk away from a relationship that’s not going anywhere. Breaking up isn’t fun or easy, but in the long run it beats staying in a relationship that’s not going anywhere. Have the courage to be honest with yourself and the widower about any red flags. You’ll both be better off for it.

Add comment October 29th, 2014

Room for Two FREE on Kindle

1 comment September 22nd, 2014

My first book, Room for Two, is free on Kindle starting today. It will be available as a free download through Friday, September 26.

It’s also available for free in the Amazon stores for CanadaUK, Australia, Japan, France, Brazil, IndiaSpain, Italy, Mexico, and Germany.

If you don’t have a Kindle you can download  Kindle app for your phone, tablet, or computer for free.

Read the first three chapters of Room for Two here.

About Room for Two

“Sweetie, I’m home.” I tried to put as much kindness into my voice as possible. I didn’t want to have another argument – at least not right away.

Silence.

“Sweetheart?”

A gunshot echoed from our bedroom, followed by the sound of a bullet casing skipping along a wall.

Everything slowed down.

***

When a life is destroyed, when guilt says you played a role in its destruction, how do you face the days ahead?

Twenty-six-year-old Abel Keogh chooses to ignore the promptings he receives concerning his wife’s mental illness, and now he feels he is to blame for her choices. If only he had listened . . .

At some point in our lives, each of us face devastating afflictions and must eventually cope with loss. Regardless of how it happens, the outcome is still the same – we are left isolated, alone, wondering what we could have done differently, and where we can turn for peace.

This is Abel’s story in his own words. His search for peace and the miracle that follows is proof that love and hope can endure, despite the struggles and tragedies that shape each of our lives.

 

 

1 comment September 22nd, 2014

Widower Wednesday: Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend

19 comments September 17th, 2014

Widower Wednesday

Note: I’ve got a fun announcement coming out Monday. If you want to be the first to know about it, sign up for my newsletter.

***

Dana posted the following comment on a recent Widower Wednesday post.

I am a widower and want to know if it is OK to propose to my girlfriend and give her the engagement diamond I bought 30 years ago for my first wife.  It is large, beautiful, and I was planning to get it set in something my girlfriend would adore.  The diamond is special to me (more than any new store-bought one could ever be) and has been a token of my love for 30+ years.  Thoughts?

The diamond probably has a lot of meaning to you but it’s probably not going to have the same sentimental value to your girlfriend. This isn’t a diamond that your grandmother had or even your mother had.  We’re talking about a diamond that was worn by your late wife.

Think about that.

Would you wear a wedding band that your girlfriends ex or late husband would have worn? Wouldn’t you rather have something that was meant something to you?

Your girlfriend is a different person. If you’re going to ask her to spend the rest of her life with you, the least you can do is give her a new diamond or other precious stone—something that has special meaning for her.  You’re starting a new chapter in your life. There’s no reason to make your past life a part of it.

As for your late wife’s diamond, keep is somewhere special and safe and don’t let the feelings, emotions, or memories that come with it interfere with your new relationship.

19 comments September 17th, 2014

New Room for Two Cover

Add comment September 14th, 2014

Read Chapter 1 | Kindle

Add comment September 14th, 2014

Widower Wednesday: Trigger Warnings

1 comment September 10th, 2014

Widower Wednesday

Recently on the Dating a Widower Facebook group, there was a thread from a GOW worried how often the W might be forced to think about the late wife. The reason for her concern was that there were people with the same name as the late wife, places, and other things that could trigger a memory of her or their times together. When asked about whether or not it triggered memories of the past, the widower shrugged it off and said it wasn’t a big deal. The GOW wanted to know if he was telling the truth or sparing her feelings.

Here’s my take: Everyone has something that will trigger certain memories or emotions.  A song, for example, might bring back memories from high school, a first kiss or dance, or a vacation. For others a smell might trigger memories of grandmother’s house, a stay in the hospital, or a job. Some of these memories might be good. Other times the memory might be bad. The point is that everyone, including widowers, has them.

There could be 100 different things that set off a memory of time with late wife. But so what? There’s nothing a GOW or WOW can do about memory triggers. They happen whether we want them to or not.

The bigger concern should be how does the widower deal with memory triggers? Unless his loss is recent (18 months or less), most widowers are able to deal with these the same way other people do: they relive the memory for a second or two and then go on with their life. Once or twice a week something might trigger a memory of my past life with the late wife but 99.9 percent of the time no one knows that such an event has ever happened. But nearly 100 times a week I’ll have something trigger a memory about Marathon Girl or my kids.

And that’s the way it should be.

For example last night our five-year-old son came into our room sleep walking. After I put him back in bed, I had a short conversation with Marathon Girl about our oldest kid and how he used to sleep walk and how that freaked us out the first time it happened. One the way home from work I drove past an apartment complex that Marathon Girl and I lived in for a year. That triggered some nice memories. Then at work earlier in the day I overheard a co-worker telling someone else a story about her kids that sent a cascade of memories of my own children through my mind. Nothing happened to trigger a memory of my past life.

So unless triggers put him in a funk or get him talking incessantly about his past, stop worrying about it. Instead work on creating memories with him so that when he hears a song or sees something it reminds him about his new life instead of his old one. The time you spend together, the more triggers you’ll create.

1 comment September 10th, 2014

Widower Wednesday: Out-of-Control Teenage Daughters and Widowers

14 comments August 27th, 2014

Widower Wednesday

From the Inbox comes the following:

Abel,

I know this is not an issue that you have had to deal with personally, but I am in hope that your readers may be able to offer up some advice on how they have met the challenges of helping raise a child, specifically a teenager daughter, amidst the many obstacles of being a stepparent, the teenage years, the lack of authority, and a father who is reluctant to set down rules and boundaries.  It is greatly affecting not only the relationship between he and I, but the relationship that his daughter and I have tried to build over the last couple of years.

The most recent development is her admission to him that she feels like everything had changed (her freedoms) only since I came into the picture.  This admission came, not surprisingly, after we put some restrictions on her phone use.  She has failed to realize that as she matures, new rules and boundaries go along with that and her father seems ill equipped or reluctant to explain this to her.  I should note that I don’t say or do anything until I’ve discussed it with the W, but she still chooses to believe that it is coming from me, and not through her father and I arriving at a mutual decision.

Thanks,

N.

N.,

While I don’t have any experience being a step-parent, I do have experience being a father. It’s never good for any child to have one parent who’s doing their best to be a good mom or dad with the other parent is only passively involved. Even though I don’t have teenagers yet, my kids are always testing boundaries and trying to find out if Marathon Girl or I will give in on certain issues.

Based on what you said, her dad needs to start set rules and boundaries. Odds are she’ll listen to him more than you. Then the two of you need to get on the same page as far as what these boundaries are and what the punishments are if they rules are broken. Two different set of expectations only cause confusion and the problems you’re experiencing. The two of you need to get on the same page. While that may not solve all the issues, it’s a necessary starting point in order to address the problems she’s causing.

Hope this helps,

Abel

Readers? What suggestions do you have for N?

 

14 comments August 27th, 2014

My Very Own Frankenfood

1 comment August 22nd, 2014

For the most part the garden has been a smashing success. Still, there are some things that haven’t worked out and I’m taking note so I don’t repeat the same mistakes next year.

Like my squash.

See the above photo. I planted the squash too close to a zucchini plant. The result has been my own kind of freakish frankenfood. Aside from looking weird, the skin of the squash is so think, it’s nearly impossible to peel. Which sucks because squash is one of my favorite foods and this year’s crop is pretty much uneatable.  (Note: Marathon Girl did cook one up and the taste was fine but that hard peel just sucked.)

So next year I’m planting the squash and zucchini farther apart. Maybe on opposite sides of the garden. And if my squash does cross pollinate with something, I hope it turns into something like this.

 

 

1 comment August 22nd, 2014

Widower Wednesday: Hey Jealousy

3 comments August 6th, 2014

Widower Wednesday

Last week someone using the name Uberconfused posted the following question on past post.

Hi Abel!

I have been dating my guy (A) for over 6 months now. In my books it has been 10 months but according to him we weren’t dating the first half of our relationship! Anyways, that’s not why I’m writing. A’s wife passed away two years ago from a brain tumor. He has a three year old and a seven year old. I have totally committed myself to being whatever being a part of his life entails including going to Disney with him and the girls, AND his late wife’s mom and sister! I really didn’t want to because I was uncomfortable with vacationing with them but it turned out to be a good vacation.

So now I am basically living at the house he bought a year ago, the talk of babies and marriage has come up and when I explain to A that I want all the things he’s already had with his late wife, like an engagement and the party and a wedding and babies his response is “I can’t guarantee that we’ll get married or have babies, but I will love you for the rest of my life.” This makes me really upset though j should add that he canceled his vasectomy to be with me because that was a deal breaker for me. He says he can’t see the future and maybe we won’t even be able to have a child! So I’m frustrated and annoyed and think his answer is bogus. So this has all happened in the last week. And then yesterday when I made a comment about checking with me about the girls going away for the weekend he made it perfectly clear that they are his daughters and not to question him about the decisions he makes.

So that’s not even why I’m writing . . . because his wife died of a brain tumor, he holds an annual fundraising gala in her honor. I think it’s a great cause and have helped out with donations and selling tickets as much as I can, even though it really makes me uncomfortable :( and every time his sister’s post a pic of him and his wife on the gala Facebook page I feel jealous… and I don’t really know what to do about it. I love him and the girls, but I truly worry that I’m missing out on some of the things I want and that I’m going to forever live in her shadow. I don’t want to feel jealous of her and I certainly don’t want to be her replacement.

Help!!!

Uberconfused,

In any relationship, it’s important to know what your deal breakers are. If getting married and having kids of your own are very important to you, then be sure you’re dating someone who wants the same things. If he says he doesn’t know if he wants kids, take him at his word. At that point you need to decide how much more time and energy you want to invest in someone who’s probably not going to give you marriage or kids.

As for the annual fundraising gala, don’t participate or help out if it makes you uncomfortable. Have something else planned with friends for the day and tell the widower you hope the event goes well. And after it’s all over, ask him how long he plans on holding these events and decide if it’s something you can live with.

If you’re in a relationship where you constantly feel like second place or you’re missing out on things important things, it’s time to re-evaluate the relationship. Decide what you can and can’t live with. If you feel like your wants and needs aren’t a priority with him, there’s probably a reason for that.

3 comments August 6th, 2014

Garden Update: Cabbage

Add comment August 1st, 2014

Happy to report that the garden is doing well. Most of the food we’ve been eating for dinner comes from the garden and we haven’t had to buy fresh vegetables from the store in several weeks.

This year I’ve also been able to grow some food that I have tried before. For example, yesterday we picked and ate the first cabbage I’ve ever grown. It tasted great. From the looks of things there are another five cabbages on the way. Considering this is my first attempt growing cabbage, I’m thrilled with the results thus far.

Add comment August 1st, 2014

Grand Canyon (North Rim)

Add comment July 20th, 2014

“You ever been to the Grand Canyon? Its pretty, but that’s not the thing of it. You can sit on the edge of that big ol’ thing and those rocks… the cliffs and rocks are so old… it took so long for that thing to get like that… and it ain’t done either! It happens right there while your watching it. Its happening right now as we are sitting here in this ugly town. When you sit on the edge of that thing, you realize what a joke we people really are… what big heads we have thinking that what we do is gonna matter all that much… thinking that our time here means diddly to those rocks. Just a split second we have been here, the whole lot of us. That’s a piece of time so small to even get a name. Those rocks are laughing at me right now, me and my worries… Yeah, its real humorous, that Grand Canyon. Its laughing at me right now. You know what I felt like? I felt like a gnat that lands on the ass of a cow chewing his cud on the side of the road that you drive by doing 70 mph.”  – Danny Glover, Grand Canyon.

North Rim, Grand Canyon National Park, July 15, 2014

 

 

Add comment July 20th, 2014

Widower Wednesday: Second Place

4 comments July 16th, 2014

Widower Wednesday

From the inbox comes the following question:

How do I handle the days when the widower I’m dating is missing his wife. It reminds me that no matter how much he loves me I will never be the one he really wishes he could be with. I feel I’ll never know what it’s like to be that loved and cherished and wanted. I dated a widower once before and I couldn’t handle this feeling. I truly love this man and I am trying so hard to accept this. Do you have any advice?

Thanks,

T.

Hi T.,

You shouldn’t be dating someone who still wishes he was with someone else. It doesn’t matter if that person is alive or dead. You should feel just as loved and cherished as the late wife. Widowers who are serious about starting a new chapter in their lives with someone else should be able to put their love and feelings for the late wife in a special place in their heart and give 99.9% of their time and attention to the woman they are with now. If you’re widower can’t do that, you’re always going to feel second best. You need to decide if that’s a relationship you can live with.

Hope this helps,

Abel

4 comments July 16th, 2014

Grilled Peaches

Add comment July 7th, 2014

We had a neighborhood party on Independence Day. I always enjoy these activities because there’s plenty for the kids to do and I get a chance to chat with neighbors and get to know them better. And there’s the food. A big, yummy potluck dinner where I get to try new things to eat. The highlight was trying grilled peaches—something I had never considered grilling before.

Here’s a pic as they cooked on the neighbors grill.

Before you cook then, you brush on a light coat of oil on the bottom so they don’t stick to the grill. Cook them on the top shelf for 5-10 minutes. (Cooking time varies depending on how hot the grill is on the inside. Cook until their slightly squishy when you squeeze them. To server you top them with a spoonful of a delicious mixture of Greek yogurt, honey, and cinnamon.

The result is this warm mouthful of yumminess. It’s like manna from heaven. Only better.

Add comment July 7th, 2014

Widower Wednesday: Online Dating Profiles

9 comments June 25th, 2014

Widower Wednesday

The following question was recently left on this post by Sonia.

I was recently matched with a man online who is widowed. I’m interested in meeting him and we have plans to meet this week. My problem is two of his profile pictures are of him and his deceased wife. Forget dealing with photos in the house; she’s a part of his dating profile! I feel weird about it. Is it a red flag? Should this concern me? Or is he just oblivious? I don’t want to inadvertently run from a potentially great man, but I also don’t want to put myself in the middle of something that could be a disaster.

Sonia,

This is a first for me. I’ve never heard of someone posting a photo of the widower and the late wife on a dating site. You didn’t mention how old the widower is? Is he getting on and years and doesn’t understand internet dating etiquette? My level of concern really depends on how long he’s been widowed. Recent widowers, especially those new to the dating game, are pretty clueless when it comes to things like how the photos of their late spouse can affect potential relationships. If he’s been widowed for awhile and been dating for a bit, he should know better.

That being said, I don’t see a problem with going on a date to get a better feel of where he’s at emotionally and if those online pictures should be something you should be really concerned about. My personal opinion is that it’s hard to get a real feel for someone unless you can spend some time with them in person.

So go out for coffee or lunch. Something short and sweet. If after one date you feel, he’s not ready then time to move on to another profile.

Hope this helps.

Abel

9 comments June 25th, 2014

Where the Sidewalk Ends

Add comment June 8th, 2014

On my walk today, I found myself in a Shel Silverstein poem.

Add comment June 8th, 2014

Where’s Abel?

4 comments June 6th, 2014

I’ll be participating in the first annual Indie Author Hub Writing & Publishing Conference tomorrow (June 7) a the Courtyard Marriott Hotel in Provo Utah. About the conference:

That’s right, it’s conference time! Not just any conference, but a conference targeted toward all aspects of indie publishing. This year, our self-published keynote speaker is NYT bestselling author of A Different Blue, Amy Harmon. We will also have 21 breakout classes in three tracks: writing, book creation, and marketing/business. We are so excited to have many experienced and successful self-published authors and other professionals who have agreed to share their time with us.

You can find more information about the conference here.

4 comments June 6th, 2014

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