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.