Archive for March, 2011
Last week I shared stories from women dating widowers who had to figure out how to make a relationship when minor children (his, hers, both) were involved. This week we’ll hear from widowers from two widowers who both had minor children living at home when they started dating again. The first is a widowed blogger. The second will go by the name “Jack.”
Again, when it comes to commenting on these posts from others, keep in mind that each family and child is different. What works for one family/child may not work for yours. The purpose here is to share ideas—not tear down what’s working for someone else. Feel free to share your own thoughts or ask questions of these widowers.
From Split-Second Single Father
Here’s how I have handled dating since becoming a widower. I am the father of a seven-year-old girl, who was five the first time I dated someone after her mother died. I am currently in my second relationship. Both times, I have handled things as follows:
I made sure to tell my daughter about the first date prior to the date itself. We sat down and discussed it (over ice cream) as something that was going to happen once and if things went well, maybe a second and third and fourth time. This approach has also helped when she jumps immediately to the “Aah! You’re going to marry her!” phase, which it is clearly too soon to determine at this point. (Although I am quick to tell her that it COULD be a possibility someday or I wouldn’t be dating her in the first place!)
So far the relationships I’ve been in have lasted past the first date, so I make sure to keep the lines of communication open. I want to make sure that my daughter knows her opinions/feelings are important to me, while at the same time knowing that she will not be the ultimate decision-maker in the relationship. I believe that having this kind of communication will help if/when there comes a point when I do decide to marry again. (Ironically, I try to keep this kind of open communication with whomever I’m dating as well, which makes that relationship go a lot better also!)
I’m as firm a believer in protecting my daughter as I am enjoying those first few moments of getting to know someone new, so I don’t involve my daughter in the relationship early on (but I do talk to each about the other, as appropriate). And even then, I ease her in. It’s important to build the foundation for the relationship between the two of you, and that’s hard to do with kids around. Plus, it protects the child/ren from getting hurt time and again if Dad has a string of disappointing relationships. The time-frame has been different for each relationship, but I’d say waiting at least a month is a good rule of thumb.
In saying that, it becomes clear that time spent with the new woman will be minimal at first. That’s another thing the two of you (grown-ups, not the child/ren) need to discuss. The first woman I dated worked all the time and was also a single parent, so we only had one night a week we could go out.
The woman I am currently dating does neither of those things, but has been fully committed to taking things slowly. Which is why I make every effort to make the time we do spend together about her/us. After all, it IS a new relationship. There’s no reason she should feel second-rate because I have a child. Supplementing those other days with phone calls, texts, and/or e-mails helps too. Just make sure not to spend so much time focusing on her that your child/ren feel replaced – especially at first. (For instance I usually call my girlfriend after my daughter is in bed for the night, which also makes for uninterrupted phone time!)
The rules regarding how my daughter treats the woman do not differ from how I would expect her to treat any other adult. She will show respect both to her and about her, even if she is expressing negative opinions (to me – which has happened and really can be done respectfully.)
One thing that has surprised me this time around is how quickly my daughter has started to bond with my girlfriend. It makes me glad that I waited long enough to establish that foundation in our relationship, but it’s also a bit hard. I mean, she’s been ALL MINE for over four years and now I have to SHARE her! (If things continue to go this well, I’m sure I can adjust). Just be aware that your widower might be experiencing that feeling for the first time as well.
My first venture out into dating just seven months after LW’s death quickly became not ‘just dating’. I found myself with one woman (the first one I dated after LW passing) in a very romantic relationship. It was because we had known one another many years before. But also, I think, it happened as it did because I was filling that void left by LW’s death. I was not out with a plant to use a woman to fill that void and I honestly think if I had not known this woman before earlier in my life, the relationship would not have fast-forwarded as it did.
At the time I had two minor sons still with me in the home, ages 12 and 16. I made the mistake of pushing forward with this relationship and spent probably too many weekends away from my boys as she lived several hours away. As the relationship progressed to marriage engagement, I made plans to move to her city after the oldest son graduated from high school where I lived. My plan, which did not take my younger son’s needs into consideration, was to marry this woman and then young son and I would move to her home and the son would do high school in the new city. A wonderful plan for me. A selfish one though.
My youngest son did not complain. I learned later he suffered in silence at the prospect of moving. In the end, the relationship was not to be for several reasons, the engagement broke off and I found “Anne” a year later online. As that first relationship ended, then my youngest opened up and it became apparent he really had not wanted to leave the local schools for a strange new environment with no friends or siblings nearby. Gee….why didn’t I think of that???? I realized how selfish I had been. I was just going to pluck him out of the school system he had enjoyed since 2nd grade and not allow him to finish high school with his buddies. I had rationalized big time that the school system in the new city was one of the most well respected in the region and he would prosper there. But actually, there is nothing at all wrong with our local school. The realization of what I almost had done to my boy, (my baby) poured shame all over me.
Anne, on the other hand, has made no immediate demands. She wants us to take our time to be sure that all our children, hers and mine, are accommodated as our relationship matures, especially the most vulnerable, my youngest son. So youngest son has fully accepted Anne being in his dad’s life because she is not a threat. She cares about his well-being and he respects her for it.
I understand that some W’s perhaps tip the scale in the other direction too much, meaning they acquiesce too often to bratty children and rude LW family members at the expense of feelings of the GOW or WOW. But on the other hand, there is my case. Through this experience I learned that a W (me) can become self-centered as he pushes onward to fill that void left by LW’s death. A very special GOW (as in the case of my Anne) can step in and be a wonderful partner and wise aid to a W like me who needs to be ‘reined in’ occasionally to be sure ‘the kids are all right’.
March 30th, 2011
Once again, life imitates my soon-to-be released novel, The Third. From today’s The Telegraph (U.K.):
The European Commission on Monday unveiled a “single European transport area” aimed at enforcing “a profound shift in transport patterns for passengers” by 2050.
The plan also envisages an end to cheap holiday flights from Britain to southern Europe with a target that over 50 per cent of all journeys above 186 miles should be by rail.
Top of the EU’s list to cut climate change emissions is a target of “zero” for the number of petrol and diesel-driven cars and lorries in the EU’s future cities.
Siim Kallas, the EU transport commission, insisted that Brussels directives and new taxation of fuel would be used to force people out of their cars and onto “alternative” means of transport.
“That means no more conventionally fuelled cars in our city centres,” he said. “Action will follow, legislation, real action to change behaviour.”
From The Third, Chapter 2:
“You aren’t that young, are you?” Dempsey asked as he took a left on 12th Street, heading west. “I thought you were old enough to remember when just about everyone owned a car.”
Dempsey honked the truck’s horn, and Ransom watched as a lady reading the news board jumped in the air. He could remember car-filled streets, but the memories were few and hazy. The clearest was of him sitting in the backseat of his family’s minivan, looking out the window as his mom pulled into a parking lot filled with cars. Perhaps he remembered it so well because the summer sun had reflected off their windshields and reminded him of a sky filled with stars.
“I was five, maybe six, when the carbon taxes went into effect,” Ransom said. “I remember my dad coming home from work and telling my mom that they couldn’t afford to drive anymore. Sometime after that, I think the car was sold or given to a recycling center.”
The only difference? In my book cars are banned around 2040.
Scary, ain’t it.
March 29th, 2011
Update (3/27): I’ve receved a lot of emails asking if it’s too late to pre-order personalized copies of The Third. It’s not. Like Room for Two, I always have some copies on hand to sell. Just visit the store to order one. Or two. Or three.
First, thanks to those who who pre-ordered copies of The Third. Your book is one of these photographed.
I’ll be signing pre-ordered copies tonight during Earth Hour and mailing them out on Monday. And, yes, every light in my house will be on during this time. I’d hate to let all the good electricity go to waste!
Look for lots of well lighted photos tomorrow.
March 26th, 2011
Last week I asked readers to contribute their experiences about how they handled the dating a widower when minor children (from him and/or her) were involved in the relationship. I received a bunch of good thoughts ideas that I hope can help those who find themselves in similar situations. This week I’m posting four responses from women dating widowers. Next week I’ll post experiences sent in by widowers. (If there are other widowers out there who still want to contribute, please email me.)
For those who comment on these posts, keep in mind that each family and child is different. What works for one family/child may not work for yours. Some of the ideas below take opposite approaches to the same issues. The purpose here is to share ideas—not tear down what’s working for someone else.
Finally, please note that just about all of those who sent in emails requested to use pen names or post anonymously. All names below are not the contributors’ real names but characters names on LOST.
It is much easier to talk to the children about their mother than it is talking with the W. With the W, we have romantic feelings and it can be hard dealing with the love he had for her.
I have brought up their mom once in a while and asked how they were doing with it. Usually the answers are very matter of fact and not emotional (it’s been a year since she passed) I would not over due the topic, just kind of ‘check in’ with how they are doing.
I’ve learned not take things personally that the children want to hold onto. For example W daughter can’t sleep without her mom’s blanket; she keeps her picture by her bedside with her mom’s wedding ring. Near it, she has an old hairbrush. I made the mistake of saying she needed to get rid of it not knowing it was her mothers. She didn’t like me bringing that up.
I am in the process of making a big photo album of their mother from when she was little to when she died so they have one place with all the pix (instead of the scattered in boxes, albums, etc.) This way, as they age, and wonder for example, “what did mom look like at prom?” they can just look at this one big book.
The men can get overloaded easily especially those with small children. No offense, but it just seems women can multi-task better. If he seems to get overwhelmed with all of the roles he has, it is kind of natural for girlfriend to just jump into whatever role he needs filling (cook, mother, sitter, etc). Be careful with that. It is so important that he DATES you, takes you out alone. It is crucial if this relationship is to survive, to have time alone without the kids.
My W (now husband) had four children when we married—all under the age of 12. I had two girls under the age of 7. We took them all with us on the second date (he had something already planned with the kids.) Later he called and asked if my girls and I would to go with them—after consulting his kids, of course. About every third date included all of the kids, and when he asked me to marry him, it was contingent upon our children’s approval–which they all gave, after we answered their questions. We each talked about it with our own children, without the other one of us there.
Their mom had passed six month before from a 20-month battle with cancer. They stood around us as we took our vows–and his kids helped clear space for their new sisters in their home. After we had been married about 5-6 weeks, LW’s mom called my husband at work and asked what the children were calling me. He told her that they were calling me by my first name (which my 3-year-old was now doing, also.) She said, “That will not do. If she is the mother in the home she needs to be referred to as such. Ask them to call her a form of “Mom.”
DH told me about the call and at dinner that night, we asked the kids if they could find a respectful form of “Mom” and “Dad” that they could feel comfortable with. We told them wouldn’t mean “You are my birth mom. It would mean “You are the mother in this home.” He specifically told them that they didn’t need to use the same term as when they referred to their “real” parents. That was the last time any of them referred to either one of us as anything but “Mom” and “Dad”. I think that made a huge difference in the way they saw us as a family.
In my experience with a widower with children, the kid is pretty clear on if they want a new parent or not (the older one didn’t, the younger ones very much did). Respect that. Don’t ever tell a child they have to call you ‘mommy’ now (my son still goes back and forth on it years later. It’s fine. The relationship matters more than the title.).
If you’re a parent, you’re parenting a kid who lost one already, and they’re pretty worried about losing you too, so you need to be consistent and reassuring at all times. You’re there. You’re going to look after them. You’re not going to leave them. Ask them if they want to be adopted, don’t tell them they have to be adopted, if they’re old enough to understand that – otherwise you and your partner have to decide for them.
Communicate: what do you hope to get out of adoption? A stronger bond? Reassurance of your permanence for the child? The former in laws to go away/learn their place/whatever? Legal rights and responsibilities (especially big if you want to be sure you retain care of the child should the widow(er) you’re married to die themselves)?
If you’re not the parent to the child emotionally you’re a step-parent. Co-parenting is always important, but it seems like expectations of backing each other up and making joint decisions are clearer when you’re both at the same ‘level’. The widowed parent really has to step up here, so talk about it before it happens. You’re an adult and it’s your household as much as it is anyone else’s, and everyone needs to treat each other with mutual respect. You’re an adult on their side who is not their parent. Be kind. Make few rules, and try to keep them neutral – things you need for your home, not ways the kid needs to be. (‘You have to do this because I say so’ goes over badly. ‘House rules: no music other people can hear two rooms away‘ sounds better. ‘Stop being so introverted/extraverted’ is a loser however you say it)
Big choices are up to your partner, their parent, and you wish them well but stay out of it when it’s not a crisis or something that really affects you directly. Agree with your partner when the child is not there about what your contributions – time, energy, money (activities! college!) will be. The kid has been through a lot, and they can use more kind, even tempered adults who want things to go well for them. They will ask you for things and need support from you that they would never ask for from their parents as they become adults.
Parent or step-parent, in-law or feelings, these kids aren’t just ‘til they’re 18. They’ll have kids, they’ll call freaking out in their 20s, they will count on your home as the backup when things go wrong for most of their lives if you form a good relationship. Don’t go in if you’re counting the days ‘til you can have your widow(er) all to yourself without those pesky children from the previous marriage. Don’t go in if you can’t bear them talking about and loving their late parent (and wanting pictures of her in their room, say, if you don’t have them around the house otherwise). As time goes on, there’s less of this, but you have to be pretty completely okay with it.
Little kids want to go over their memories, and they get conflicted about loving you and the deceased. You need to be someone they trust to talk about this, so you can help them work through it being okay to love both, and to be sad about their lost parent and happy about their relationship with you at the exact same time. Bigger kids don’t like that their parent is less and less a part of the milestones of their life, and they need to talk about that sometimes, and it may be hard to talk about with the surviving parent – someone they resent a bit for moving on and starting again with someone new. I have the ‘I didn’t know your mom, but I know she would be so proud of the adult you are becoming’ talk every few weeks. It’s not much, and I wish I had more to offer, but it’s something and I think it would be very tough for the teenager if they didn’t feel like they could seek it out.
Four years ago I became a widow after a loving and successful 23-year marriage. We had 3 kids, two boys 21 and 17 and a daughter, 13. In March of 2007 I met a W online. By this time I had been widowed 10 months with no idea or desire to date or marry again only a desire to support and be supported by others in my shoes. He widowed 5 months after a very loving 13-year marriage. He had 2 young children both under the age of 9.
In the beginning of our friendship we talked about the issues of bringing our kids through the grieving process all the while trying to grieve ourselves. Not a fun or easy task at all. As time went on we learned much about one another and eventually agreed that we would “meet” in April. It went very well. The next month the W drove to my home with his 2 children to spend a long weekend with my daughter and I. (My boys were away in college). Both of us were nervous about meeting each other’s kids and having the kids meet one another as well. Being spiritual people, we prayed that the initial meet would be successful and although we hoped for the best we prepared for the worst. To say it was fabulous is an understatement. W’s kids bounced out of his van and hugged me with tight squeezes. My son embraced the W and accepted him immediately. That weekend was magical filled with, what an outsider looking in would think was, normal family behaviors. After that weekend we met every other weekend and we all vacationed together. We married soon after.
By the third month the newness was wearing off and little scuffles between the kids began. Now our parenting skills and discipline skills needed to kick in. Being a teacher, a mother and the chief of discipline for years in my house, it was quite natural for me. For my W it wasn’t so. He was a dad, the bread winner, and his eldest was merely 9. Now he was thrown into being the “dad” to a 14 year old daughter. All of those nights of long discussions on parenting and discipline issues began to play back into my head. He was clearly a fish out of water and it showed. But as the weeks marched on he battled his anxiety and slowly pitched in and tried. Our family was becoming a “real” family. The 2 youngest called me Mommy and my kids began to refer to W as Dad. Here’s the key…all unprovoked. In their time they did it. We both had laid the law that the ONLY requirement we had of them was to RESPECT us as their parents. They did…above and beyond!
Today, I have adopted the younger kids and thereby am their Mommy. They were asked two years ago if this was something they wanted and we proceeded. We all live together in a very large, new home that is OURS. We still have those days where we are down or sad and yes the process of grieving is still happening and will continue to happen for years to come both for us and our children. The only difference is that now we handle it together and we support each other and our kids the best way we know how….with love, acceptance and understanding.
March 23rd, 2011
I carry two cell phones—one for personal use and one for work. My personal phone is with T-Mobile. My work phone is with AT&T.
I’ve been with T-Mobile for 10 years. I signed up with them back in the day when they were called VoiceStream Wireless. Though coverage was a bit spotty with them 10 years ago, those problems were resolved within a year or two of becoming a customer. (Let’s be honest, 10 years ago most cell phone coverage was spotty.) Aside from this one issue when I first signed up with them I’ve never had a problem with their products or services.
Whenever I call their customer service team, wait times are short, the reps know what they’re doing, and my problem or issues always gets resolved. I also like the fact that I don’t have carry a one- or two-year contract with T-Mobile. Marathon Girl carries her T-Mobile service month to month. When my contract expires in a couple months, I’ll be doing the same thing. Though I’ve been on the same talk plan for about five years, it seems that whenever my contract comes up for renewal, price around at competing products and services. None of them seem to offer the same bang for the buck. And since I’ve been happy with T-Mobile, I keep resigning with them.
My work phone is a different story. The coverage and signal from AT&T isn’t as nearly good—especially if I try to get online. Their network always seems congested. The few times I’ve had to call AT&T for support, the wait times have been horrendous and the customer service even worse. I’d probably be more upset about the AT&T service but the company foots the bill for the phone and I can (usually) do what I need to do with it when it comes to email and other work-related tasks, I tolerate it.
With this in mind, I wasn’t happy to read that AT&T was buying T-Mobile. The following two paragraphs especially jumped off the page.
AT&T customers have been disgruntled about the quality of the company’s network, especially for voice calls made over Apple Inc.’s iPhone. . . .
On Sunday, AT&T pitched the deal as a way to solve network congestion, by combining two operators using the same technology and alleviating a spectrum shortage that would keep T-Mobile from building a next-generation network.
Should this deal be approved, it sounds like AT&T is going to shove its customers on to T-Mobile’s network. If they end up combining that with their higher-priced plans and crappy customer service, it looks like I’ll be shopping for a new cell phone provider next year.
Sadly, it looks like my only other options will be Verizon and Sprint.
March 21st, 2011
Me and Marathon Girl, March 2011.
March 20th, 2011
Driving home from work this week, I caught a story on NPR about government regulators and culinary schools. Apparently regulators are upset that students are graduating with loads of debt and entry-level jobs that can’t pay off their loans.
[Roger] Hollis says he has taken out thousands of dollars in student loans to pay for an associate degree in cooking. Despite his work experience and his expensive degree, he’ll still be starting at the bottom, as a line cook. “Twelve, 15 [dollars] maybe an hour, yeah.”
Many former students say that with that income, it’s virtually impossible to keep up with their student loan payments. Newbies may spend years as a line cook; the average salary, according to the online industry magazine Star Chefs, is less than $29,000 a year.
Attorney Michael Louis Kelly represents California students suing the parent company of Cordon Blue, Career Education Corp. His clients say the school promised something it cannot deliver.
“The model doesn’t work,” Kelly says. “You can’t go to school, accumulate $30- or $40- or $50,000 in debt, and then go into an industry where you’re going to have to start out at $8 or $12 an hour anyway.”
Why are government regulators worried only about students who attend for-profit schools? There are plenty of public and private schools who churn out graduates with loads of debt and little or no job prospects. Last year The New York Times ran a story about Cortney Munna, a former New York University student who racked up $97,000 in student loan debt majoring in religious and women’s studies. After college she found herself making $22 an hour working for a photographer. Back in January the same paper ran a similar story about law school graduates with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt who are unable to find work (or at least work as an attorney) and, as a result, can’t come close to paying back their loans. Shouldn’t government regulators be just as concerned about the cost and job prospects of private and state sponsored non-profit schools as they are about for profit schools?
The education industrial complex generally oversells the value of a degree. It’s something that public institutions do as much as for-profit universities. Kids go through the school system school hearing how a college degree will lead to great jobs and financial security. While this is statistically true in broad terms, rarely do you see these educators showing the market value of a science or engineering degree compared to, say, a liberal arts degree. I’m not saying that college degrees are worthless. It’s just that some have more market value than others.
Students looking to finance their education through student loans should be shown the cost of paying off the loan and realistic job prospects and pay upon graduation and be given some time to think about whether or not the cost is worth it. However, it’s hypocritical for Washington bureaucrats to zero in on just for-profit institutions when you have students graduating from state-sponsored institutions with loads of debt and job prospects that are no better than those who graduate from a for-profit culinary school.
Besides, a degree from any post-secondary education facility—public, private, trade, or for-profit—only goes so far toward financial or career success. In reality one’s work ethic, creativity, and ability to build relationships and adapt to a changing world are much better indicators whether or not you’re going to be successful—financially or otherwise. Instead of focusing on the value of a degree, students and post-secondary schools should teach the aforementioned concepts along with their degree-related material. The schools and their graduates would be much better off as a result.
March 18th, 2011
In the comment section of my last column a few of you asked for insight on dating a widower with minor children at home. A few months ago, I published a column on the subject. However, I don’t know if it was very helpful. Though I feel confident about addressing most widower issues, I have a hard time with the minor children one. I’m not sure why I feel this way about the subject. Maybe it’s because I I’d have no clue what I’d do if Marathon Girl were to die (heaven forbid) and I found myself a widowed father of four young kids. Maybe it’s because every kid is his or her own person and parenting needs to be tailored to the unique personality and needs of a child. Whatever the reason, this is the one widower-related area I don’t feel confident about dishing out advice.
So, I have an idea. Those who have ideas or experience in what works or doesn’t work with dating a widower with minor children and/or blending families with minor children, send me an email with your thoughts on the subject and I’ll post them in a future column. I’ll post your insight under your first name, pen name, or anonymously. Just write up something between 100 and 300 words on the subject and I’ll combine them into one column or two—depending on how many publishable responses I receive.
Sound like a good idea? Great. Now on to today’s Widower Wednesday column.
I’ve receive a lot of emails asking me to interpret the odd or strange behavior of widowers exhibit in relationship situations. As a result, I’ve come up with a guide that cuts through the BS of the most common situation s and lets you know what the widower’s really saying.
Odd Widower Behavior: After fawning all over a woman and telling her how much he loves her, the widower withdraws from the relationship and tells the women he a) wants to date other women b) needs more time to grieve or c) isn’t sure how he feels about the relationship. In all three cases he usually asks the woman to wait around while he figures things out.
What the Widower Means to Say: I jumped in to the relationship too fast and now realize it’s not right for me. However, I’m not man enough to be honest with you about this. Also, it’s a lonely world we live in. In case I can’t find someone else I want you waiting in the wings so I have someone to come back with.
Odd Widower Behavior: Despite being in a committed/exclusive relationship and telling the woman how much he loves her, the widower cries nearly every day over his late wife and/or visits her grave or special place at least once a week and/or continually steers the conversation to likes, tastes, and thoughts of the late wife.
What the Widower Means to Say: I’ve got some serious grief issues. I’m probably not even ready for a committed relationship. As long as you put up with this behavior, I’ll keep grieving. P.S. Please keep tolerating my grief because I sure as hell can’t deal with reality on my own.
Odd Widower Behavior: After sleeping with a widower for the first time, the widower breaks off the relationship the next day saying he isn’t ready for a relationship.
What the Widower Means to Say: I was just using you for sex. Now I’m off to my next conquest!
Odd Widower Behavior: The widower tells a woman how much he loves her and wants to spend the rest of his life with her. Yet he always hides or lies about the relationship to friends/family/loved ones. He may even ask the woman to hide in the basement when friends unexpectedly drop by.
What the Widower Means to Say: I value the feelings of my friends/family/loved ones more than I value my relationship with you. I’m spineless and dishonest. Thanks for staying with me.
Odd Widower Behavior: Despite patiently waiting for a widower to get over his grief the widower still won’t make any long-term relationship commitments or discuss the future of the relationship. The widower also refuses do things that will make the woman feel like number one. As a result the woman constantly feels like number two or a third wheel.
What the Widower Means to Say: I don’t know how I feel about you. However, I didn’t realize how long I could string out a relationship using the grief excuse. Why didn’t I think of this excuse years ago? I love that no one questions or confronts my bad relationship behavior because I’m a widower. I’m going to keep this up as long as possible.
March 16th, 2011
If you look across the menu bar of my website, you’ll notice a new link: Store. Yes, I’ve finally migrated my store to my website.
This means that those who have been wanting to, can now pre-order a copy of The Third before the official release date. Just click here to start shopping. Though I don’t know when I’ll get my copies, anything order before the end of the month will be shipped before the book hits store shelves. I’ll even personalize it to you or whoever you’re giving a copy to.
You can also pre-order copies from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your local bookstore.
For those who prefer e-readers, though I don’t have an exact release date yet, e-book versions (Kindle, Nook, etc.) of The Third will be available sometime before the end of April.
If you live outside the United States and Canada and would like to pre-order a copy of The Third, drop me an email. I have some options in order to get the book shipped out to you in an affordable, timely manner.
March 14th, 2011
Marathon Girl and I were able to get away on a 3-day mini vacation to southern Utah last week. I’ve never been down there in March. The red rocks and snowcapped mountains were beautiful. The above was taken outside St.George Utah, on March 6. Click on the photo for a widwer shot.
March 12th, 2011
In the spirit of walking the walk when it comes to putting your spouse first, Marathon Girl and I took a trip to southern Utah, without the kids(!), for three days last week. It was a great chance to rest, relax, and put each other first. Our relationship is stronger because of it. I highly recommend planning a getaway with your own spouse if you feel the relationship needs it.
Last week I received an email from a woman who is dating a widower (wife died 2 years ago, they’ve been dating 15 months) who is doing everything right. He’s made her feel like #1 through his actions (as opposed to his words), and done everything he can to provide a safe, loving home for her and her children, and recently proposed. She’s looking forward to a long and happy life with this man.
There’s only one problem. There’s a small memorial tattoo (a heart with the late wife’s initials inside the heart) on the widower’s chest. Every time the woman sees the tattoo it serves as a reminder of his past love and life with her. Though she’s accepted his past and past marriage and the fact that he will always love her, the constant reminder is driving her crazy.
She’s talked about the tattoo with the widower. He doesn’t see a problem with keeping it. He says it was something he got when he thought he’d never love again and doesn’t think it’s something that needs to go. He also doesn’t want to go through the pain of having it removed.
The woman doesn’t want to lose this great man but doesn’t know if she can live seeing the tattoo every day for the rest of her life and wanted to know if she should learn to live with it or cut and run before she goes nuts.
My thoughts: If the tattoo bothers you that much, then maybe it’s best to move on. You’ve had 15 months to adjust to the tattoo and apparently it’s bothering you more now than the first time you saw it. Just keep in mind that you might be losing an otherwise great guy. I’m not faulting you for feeling this way (Marathon Girl wouldn’t have married me if I had one) just asking you to weigh the pros and cons of ending things over the tattoo.
However, I’m wondering if a compromise can be reached. Have you asked him about altering the tattoo? What if he filled in the heart or altered it in some other way so it obscures the late wife’s initials or doesn’t look like a memorial tattoo. Seems like that way he keeps the tattoo but turns it into something that’s not just a reminder of his past life. Maybe the two of you could visit the parlor where it was done and see if the people there have some ideas or options for the two of you to consider.
From your email, he seems like a great guy—a cut above most widowers who start dating again. If it’s just the tattoo and only the tattoo issue that’s bothering you then I’d try to find a way around it. It sounds like you have a relationships where you talk to each other, bring it up. See if the two of you can find a solution that makes you both happy.
I know there are women who read this column who are with or dated widowers with memorial tattoos. How did you guys deal with it? Any suggestions on how to resolve this issue?
March 9th, 2011
For those who who prefer not to read the web version, I’ve uploaded a PDF version of The Third, Chapter 1 that you can download. In addition, I’ve updated the web version of Chapter 1 to reflect the minor changes made by the latest round of editors. Enjoy!
March 7th, 2011
I know, I know. These Weekend Photograph posts are susposed to contain origional photos of mine. But I’m without Internet access this weekend and had to schedule something to post at the last minute. I saw the following on author David J. West’s blog last week and it cracked me up. Next week I’ll post something origional which will not only be cool but explain why I went three whole days without a computer or Internet access. Promise!
March 5th, 2011
After reading the post about Marathon Girl and me celebrating our 8th wedding anniversary, I got an email from a reader expressing frustration with the widower she’s dating. She asked how Marathon Girl and I were able to overcome the widower issue and make things work.
That’s a good question and one I didn’t have an answer to off the top of my head. After mulling it over the last couple days, I think the biggest reason it worked out was because we both wanted it to work out. Once we both realized that we wanted spend the rest of our lives together, we did everything we could to make it work.
I moved on because I wanted to start a new life with Marathon Girl. I wanted to open my heart to her. I wanted to marry her, have a family with her, and spend the rest of my life with her. Because I wanted to do this, it wasn’t hard to assign the late wife a small, special place in my heart give the rest of it to Marathon Girl, and then go out and actually start a new chapter in my life.
Marathon Girl wanted to marry me but wasn’t going to settle for being number two or feeling like there were three people in our marriage. Once she saw that I was moving on (and not just talking it up), it was easier to accept my past and the fact that a small part of my heart would be always reserved for the late wife.
It also meant we both had to be willing make some sacrifices. For me it meant selling my house and moving to a place where we could start over. It meant that I wouldn’t spend as much time with friends and family of the late wife as I did in my old life. For Marathon Girl it meant a longer commute to work and postponing graduate school for awhile. We were willing to do all that and more because we valued our relationship (and future marriage) over everything else.
Looking back, I don’t have any regrets about putting Marathon Girl first. (I assume she’d say the same thing.) By making her number one, we’ve been able to overcome the ups and downs that come with any relationship and will continue to do so as long we make each other a priority over everything else.
There are a lot of things that make our marriage work. But when it comes to the widower issue, it took both of us moving forward, making sacrifices, and starting a new life together. You both have to want to do these three things and then go out and do it (as opposed to just talking about it). If only one person in a relationship is willing to do those three things, then odds are it’s not going to work out.
March 2nd, 2011
A quick update on the Creative Writing goals I made at the beginning of year.
- The Dating a Widower manuscript is now in the hands of my publisher. No word yet on whether or not they’ve accepted it. Hope to have an update by my next monthly update.
- The Third is scheduled for an April release. More details will be forthcoming. In addition to being available on Amazon, bookstores, and e-book format, I’ll also be selling personalized copies from my improved online store for those who want one. The new store will be up within the next two weeks.
- Worked out the kinks with the “White Whale” book I’ll be pitching in May. With plot and character problems mostly worked out, I’m hoping to make more progress and have a first draft completed by the end of the month.
For more information on these and other writing projects, keep your eye on this blog or join my mailing list if you want the scoop before anyone else.
March 1st, 2011