Sex and the Grieving Widower

I got a couple of mentions in a Huffington Post article titled "Sex and the Grieving Widower."

Women who date widowers are sometimes stunned when an actively grieving man presses eagerly for sex. Our culture mandates no "correct" grieving process, and grieving is unique to every individual, but most experts agree that men and women mourn in different ways. Women are less likely than men to seek comfort in sex while grief endures, says a writer at, citing one reason why a women who is dating a widower "might be amazed that he wants to make love to you."

Silent brooding, isolation, and even anger are stock elements of male behavior, while women tend to "talk it out" with close friends. Support systems are emblematic of the female experience; men do not cultivate support structures in the same way women do.


Abel Keogh, author of The Ultimate Dating Guide for Widowers, believes that a widower's impulse to find someone new is ultimately sex-related. "When it comes to sex," he writes, "most widowers find themselves in a tough spot. When their wife passed on, so did regular sex. The desire for sex is one of the reasons widowers start dating again."


Recently I posed the question of sex as therapy, distraction, or denial to a friend who was widowed some years ago at the age of 57. He seemed surprised at the question. "A man's grief doesn't mean he stops thinking like a man," he said. "Sex is -- what we do."

Read the full article at the Huffington Post.

Where's Abel? At #Storymakers15

I'll be at the Storymakers writing conference this week. Thursday I'll be teaching a publication workshop and Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at the Utah Valley Convention Center in Provo, Utah. I'll be participating in the state's biggest book signing with the following authors:

The signing is open to the public so feel free to stop by if you're in the area. If you're part of the conference, I'll see you there.

Widower Wednesday: Moving On

Remember: You don’t need the understanding of others to move on from all the bad things life throws at you. Moving forward requires you to act.

Moving on means getting your butt in gear and making changes. Acting like a victim isn't going to change or improve your circumstances.

Widower Wednesday: What to do if the Widower Your Dating Has Red Flags

I'm traveling for work this week so this post will be a quick one.

Often I'll get emails or read posts on the Dating a Widower Facebook group about red flags GOWs see they see as they get to know their widower better. It could be that he has photos of the late wife up, is still wearing his wedding ring, or won't tell friends or family about the new lady in his life. When a red flag emerges, many times the natural reaction is to wonder if the widower is ready for a relationship or should even be dating again.

Red flags don't mean a relationship is doomed. What it means that there are some issues that need to be discussed and worked on before things can continue moving forward. For example, I had several red flags when Marathon Girl started dating me:

  • I wore my wife's wedding ring on a necklace around my neck.
  • I had only been widowed 6 months when we started dating.
  • There were pictures of the late wife in my house.

Marathon Girl could have walked away from the relationship when these red flags came up. (And to be honest, I wouldn't have blamed her for doing just that.) Thankfully she was willing to see what I would do to alleviate her concerns before she bailed. She let me know the photos made her uncomfortable. The next time she came over, they were gone from the living room and kitchen of my house. In the following weeks they came down from other rooms in the house. When it came to the wedding ring, she let me know that that she didn't think I was ready to move on and let me decide if I valued the ring more than here. As for the short time being widowed, there wasn't much she could do about that other than make sure I was showing progress when it came to put the past life behind me and start making a new one with her.

So if your widower has a red flag, the first thing you need decide whether or not he's worth hanging around for. If you are, then you need to be able to talk to him about the issues and let him know what he needs to do before the relationship can continue moving forward. Finally, you give him a reasonable amount of time to make the changes. (Note: A reasonable amount of time isn't years. At the high end two or three months is sufficient for most red flags.) Some changes can be made quickly. Others may take some time. What you want to see is that he's figuring out solutions and making progress instead of making excuses why things aren't changing.

Remember that men show love through their actions not their words. Widowers who are serious about you and the relationship will figure out a way to resolve your concerns and put you first. If you find that the red flags persist after you bring up the issues, then it's time to move on.