Widower Wednesday: The Ultimate Dating Guide for Widowers: Chapter 1

Add comment April 23rd, 2014

Chapter 1: Starting Over

On November 7, 1972, a relatively unknown lawyer named Joe Biden pulled off a big political upset. By just over three thousand votes, he defeated the two-term U.S. Senator J. Caleb Boggs. At twenty-nine, Biden became the sixth youngest senator in U.S. history.

Despite his narrow and amazing victory, Biden almost didn’t take the oath of office. On December 18, 1972, just five weeks after his huge election victory, Biden headed to Washington D.C. to interview possible staff members. At home in Delaware, his wife, Neilia, took their three children shopping for a Christmas tree. While running their errand, a tractor trailer slammed into the family car, instantly killing Neilia and their one-year-old daughter, Naomi. Biden’s four-year-old son, Beau, and three-year-old son, Hunter, were critically injured.[i]

In the weeks following the death of his wife and daughter, Biden was an emotional mess. He described the feeling of losing his wife and daughter as a “hollow core” that grew inside his chest like a big black hole.[ii] Though he never contemplated suicide, he suddenly understood how it seemed like a rational option to those who were in the depths of despair.[iii] There were also feelings of anger. Lots of them. Unable to find comfort in his Catholic faith, Biden would walk the streets of Wilmington at night, hoping to get in a fight so he could take his rage and worry out on someone else.[iv] Despite these feelings, he tried his best to focus on his surviving boys and “putting one foot in front of the other” so he wouldn’t be swallowed by that dark abyss.[v] His future in the United States Senate, something he had worked so hard for, suddenly didn’t seem that important. Speaking to the Democratic National Convention in 2008, Beau recalled his father saying, “Delaware can get another senator, but my boys can’t get another father.”[vi]

Biden was faced with a critical choice that would define the rest of his life: resign before taking the oath of office, or do the job the people of Delaware elected him to do. Life as a senator was a busy one. To be successful, it required a lot of energy—something Biden no longer had. Resigning most likely meant returning to practicing law. The latter wasn’t a bad option, but it wasn’t the one that Biden really wanted. Politics still interested him, even though his passion had been temporarily put on hold.

Eventually, with the urging of other senators and the thought that getting elected was something for which he and Neilia had worked too hard just to give up, Biden agreed to give his Senate career six months, planning to resign once that time passed. In January of 1973, Biden took the oath of office at his sons’ hospital bedside. Because he still wanted to be there for his sons as they recovered from their injuries, he gave up the home he and his late wife were planning to buy in Washington D.C. and commuted to and from his home in Delawarea practice he continued as long as he served in the Senate.

Life wasn’t easy for the young senator. Like most widowers, Biden struggled to make it through one day at a time. Initially, he did the least amount of work required for his job. He cast votes when needed, but avoided building relationships with other senators and didn’t work to get certain bills pushed through committee. “My future was telescoped into the effort of putting one foot in front of the other,” Biden wrote. “The horizon faded from my view. Washington, politics, the Senate had no hold on me. . . . I could not bear to imagine the scene without Neilia . . . .”[vii]

One of the things Biden did consider, though, was relocating to Vermont. [viii] It would be a perfect way to start over. No one would know anything about him, his two sons, or their tragic loss. He and his boys could begin a new life and put the loss of his wife and daughter behind them. Senate staffers started taking bets on how long Biden would last at his job.[ix]

But as the months passed, Biden grew tired of grieving. Though he still felt that big black hole inside him, he started taking his job as a senator more seriously and becoming involved in the actual day-to-day work of the Senate. He arranged for his sister, Val, to care for his sons while he commuted to work. His six-month self-imposed deadline arrived without him noticing.[x] For the next two years, Biden did the best he could, dividing his time between Washington D.C. and his home in Delaware.

As he began putting the pieces of his life back together, Biden started thinking about dating again. In March 1975, he noticed a series of ads in an airport with an attractive blonde model. Biden thought it would be nice to meet that woman.[xi] Just a few days later, he got that chance. One of his friends gave Biden the phone number of a woman he thought Biden would like. As it turned out, the woman happened to be the same model he had seen in the airport photographs. Her name was Jill Jacobs. Biden was smitten with her on their first date. When Biden went home later that night, it was the happiest he’d been in two years.[xii] He couldn’t keep Jill out of his mind. Jill, however, was less than enthusiastic about getting involved in a serious relationship. She was recently divorced and was finally enjoying being single again.[xiii] Besides, Biden was ten years older than her, and dating someone involved in politics, especially a senator, was something she had no real interest in.

Biden was determined and didn’t let her objections stop him from pursuing her. Slowly, their relationship became more serious. As Biden fell more in love with Jill, the shattered pieces of his life started to come together. His interest in life and politics was renewed. For the first time since Neilia died, Biden felt like he could be himself again.[xiv] Biden attacked his role as a senator with renewed vigor. He worked hard to make connections and build the relationships he needed to be influential and successful at his job.

Despite the progress Biden was making, Jill was still very hesitant to get married. She was about to start a job in the fall as a teacher and was unsure about becoming a mother to two young boys. Biden asked Jill to marry him. She said no. He asked her three more times. She turned him down again and again and again. Finally, exasperated, Biden told her he loved her too much to just be friends. She finally accepted his offer and they were married on June 17, 1977—four-and-a-half years after the death of Biden’s late wife.

Biden was well aware of Jill’s feelings about politics and told her he wouldn’t run for re-election in 1978 if it meant making her happy. At home one day, they discussed his future. Biden picked up the phone and dialed a reporter at the Wilmington News-Journal to tell him he wasn’t running for re-election. As the phone rang on the other end, Jill took the phone from him, hung it up, and told him not to make the call. Later she told Biden, “If I denied you your dream, I would not be marrying the man I fell in love with.”[xv]

Biden ran for re-election, won with fifty-eight percent of the vote, and continued what was to become a successful political career. He was re-elected five more times to the U.S. Senate. In 2008, after a second failed attempt to become the Democrat’s presidential nominee, Barack Obama asked Biden to be his vice presidential running mate. During his acceptance speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, Biden said something that summed up his life and career: “Failure at some point in your life is inevitable, but giving up is unforgivable.”[xvi]


It wasn’t just luck that brought Joe Biden and Jill Jacobs together. Before they met, Biden made three important decisions that readied him to date and eventually remarry. Jill already had many concerns about getting serious with him, and had Biden made different choices before they met, their relationship might not have lasted very long. Biden wasn’t thinking about dating or having a new relationship when he made these decisions. Even so, they helped him build a foundation better prepared him to date and eventually marry Jill.

Choice #1: Biden Kept Himself Busy

Biden’s first important decision came weeks after Neilia’s death: He had to decide whether or not to be a senator. No one would have blamed Biden for quitting the Senate after losing half his family. He could have easily returned to Delaware and quietly continued his law practice. He could have folded, stayed at home, and let the anger and the big black hole in his heart consume him. Instead, Biden chose to work. At first, he did so half-heartedly, doing just the minimal amount of work to get by, but his job gave him a routine and something to help pass the time and distract him from his loss.

Keeping busy is important after loss. Whether it’s a job, hobbies, or other busywork, it’s important to have something else to focus on. Though it doesn’t matter what you do, it does help if what you’re doing is something you are passionate about. Work gives you a routine and a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Those with nothing to do focus on their grief and sink deeper into sorrow and despair, which is bad for their physical health, state of mind, and overall quality of life. It also makes it difficult to date when you’re sad and thinking only of yourself.

After the loss of my wife and daughter, my job was about the only thing that got me out of bed in the morning. Like Biden, I did the minimal amount of work necessary. I’d show up, do what was required, and leave as soon as I’d put in the necessary hours. I didn’t socialize with coworkers or attend work parties or other events. I got in and got out and did it five days a week. I didn’t love my job, but looking back, it was good that I had something to distract me for eight hours a day.

If you don’t have a job to go to, find a worthy cause and volunteer your time. There are plenty of charitable, religious, civic, and political organizations that are looking for people to help move their cause forward. Find one that you care about and see what you can do to help. Keeping busy will do wonders for your state of mind and help return some meaning and purpose to your life.

Choice #2: Biden Chose to Be a Father to His Sons

Biden had two young boys who were both seriously injured in the accident. They needed a father. Biden knew that being a senator would be a time-consuming job. His sister, Val, and her husband moved in to help care for the boys while he was away at work, but Biden knew his boys were worried that he would leave for work, get in some sort of accident, and not come home. Biden made it his priority to come home every night, eat dinner with them, and talk to them before they went to bed.[xvii] He did this even if it meant turning down invitations to parties and other social functions most senators attended after the Senate’s business was concluded for the day.

Biden also gave his boys the right to talk to him at any time for any reason. It didn’t matter who he was meeting with or what he was doing—Biden told his staff to put his boys through whenever they called.[xviii] When car phones became available, he had one installed in his car so he could talk to them on the way to and from work.[xix] Finally, he gave his boys the permission to come to work with him whenever they wanted. All they had to do was let him know they wanted to come, and he would take them to the office.[xx]

Being a single father is hard. Combine the duties of a single dad with the loss of a spouse, and it can make a difficult task nearly impossible. Biden, however, did everything he could to be a father to Beau and Hunter. That meant supporting the family, enforcing house rules, and trying his best to give them a semblance of normal life. And when he realized he couldn’t do it alone, he reached out to his sister and asked for help. Juggling work life and home life wasn’t easy for Biden, but it would pay dividends years later when he introduced his sons to Jill and they started a new life together.

It’s easy for widowed parents to think only of themselves and neglect their duties and responsibilities as a parent. Sometimes they’ll give their kids too much freedom while they deal with their own issues. They may stop enforcing house rules, stop expecting their children to get good grades, and start excusing bad behavior because the kids are grieving. However, Biden’s commitment to his children wasn’t just a way to help his children adjust and heal—it was also a way to help mend himself.[xxi]

Choice #3: Biden Embraced His New Life

Eventually Biden realized that being holed up in his office thinking about his late wife and daughter all the time wasn’t doing him any good. He started putting more time and effort in to his job. As a result, his self-imposed six-month deadline to give up his job as a senator came and went without him noticing.[xxii] He stopped thinking about moving far away and started living the life he had. He also stopped being angry at God and realized that there were many other people in the world who had problems and challenges that made his look small in comparison. Biden still had his health, a Senate seat, and two boys he could go home to every night. To remind himself of what he still had, Biden kept a cartoon on his desk of someone who just suffered bad fortune shaking his fist at God and asking, “Why me!?!” To which God replied, “Why not you?”[xxiii]

Rather than giving up, he adjusted to life as a widower and single father and worked to overcome the challenges that were thrown in his way. In addition to becoming more involved in his job, he also went on the occasional date.[xxiv] There were still plenty of difficult days ahead, but they became fewer and farther between the more he started living his life and accepting his new reality. By the time Biden met Jill, he had reached a point where he was more than ready to open his heart to someone else and begin a new chapter of his life.

Starting Over Is a Choice

In the weeks and months following the death of his wife and daughter, Biden defined himself by his loss. He was a widower: nothing more, nothing less. Eventually, he started thinking of himself as a father and a senator. With the support of family, friends, and Senate colleagues, he was able to take the shattered pieces of his life and build a new one. It’s not hard to imagine Biden’s life taking a different direction if he had let the anger, despair, or sadness get the best of him.

In order to date successfully again, you need to reach a point where you identify yourself as something other than a widower. This isn’t something that just happens. It’s the result of choices you make before you even think about dating. It involves laying the groundwork and being mentally and emotionally ready for the possibility of opening your heart to another woman. Reaching this point takes a lot of time, patience, and work. It involves navigating an emotional minefield as well as dealing with children, friends, family, and former in-laws who are still grieving the death of a mother, daughter, and friend. It takes the mental fortitude to pick yourself up from the ground (or get out of bed) after a bad day. There are going to be lots of setbacks and adjustments. There will be days where all the effort you’re making is for nothing.

But once you’ve laid a foundation, when you find that special someone, things will fall into place. Suddenly your life will be full of laughter and joy, and you will find yourself glad to be alive. And because of all the grief, the pain, and the setbacks you’ve endured, you will relish and cherish those moments of joy and happiness like you’ve never cherished anything in your life. Suddenly that missing energy, passion, and zest for life that left when your wife died will return with a vengeance.

Successfully starting a new chapter in your life doesn’t require falling in love again or tying the knot a second time. It doesn’t even involve dating again, unless dating is something you want to do. Starting over involves making the necessary mental adjustments in order to deal with life without your spouse by your side. It involves making a conscious decision to be happy and move forward even on days when it takes every ounce of strength just to get out of bed in the morning. But for most widowers, having the chance to open their heart and love someone just as intently as before is what gives them the passion and spark to embrace work, hobbies, and life with renewed vigor.

If you’re thinking about dating again or have already started dating, keep reading. Dating is an entirely new adventure the second time you try it.


[i] Elisabeth Bumiller “Biden Campaigning With Ease After Hardships”, New York Times, December 14, 2007 http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/14/us/politics/14biden.html

[ii] Joe Biden, Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics (New York: Random House, 2008), 80.

[iii] Ibid., 80.

[iv] Ibid., 81.

[v] Ibid., 80.

[vi] Beau Biden, Transcript of Remarks delivered to the Democratic National Convention, Politico, August 27, 2008, http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0808/12913.html.

[vii] Biden, Promises to Keep, 80.

[viii] Ibid., 86.

[ix] Ibid., 88.

[x] Ibid., 93.

[xi] Ibid., 100.

[xii] Ibid., 101.

[xiii] Ibid., 101.

[xiv] Ibid., 118.

[xv] Ibid., 116.

[xvi] Transcript of Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s Speech at the Democratic National Convention, New York Times, August 27, 2008, http://elections.nytimes.com/2008/president/conventions/videos/transcripts/20080827_BIDEN_SPEECH.html.

[xvii] Biden, Promises to Keep, 88.

[xviii] Ibid., 89.

[xix] Ibid., 89.

[xx] Ibid., 89.

[xxi] Ibid., 88.

[xxii] Ibid., 93.

[xxiii] Ibid., 96.

[xxiv] Ibid., 96.


Add comment April 23rd, 2014

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.



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

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