Over the last month I've received a dozen emails from women dating widowers that could have been carbon copies of each other. Their stories go something like this: I fell in love with a widower and things were going great until out of the blue he ended the relationship. When I talk to the widower about why he ended it, he told me the only reason he started seeing me was because he was lonely and/or missed having a sex life. He says this is something he normally wouldn't do but the loss of his wife has forced him to make poor choices. These emails are always difficult to read not only because they're heartbreaking but because such situations can, for the most part, be avoided with a little understanding some of the physical intimacy issues that come with having a relationship with a widower. Though I've briefly mentioned some issues in my previous essays, I've decided to devote an entire column to this subject seeing how this is the biggest issue of late that comes through my inbox.
When it comes to physical intimacy, widowers find themselves in a tough spot. For years we've had a great sex life with a woman that we love. For most of us this was unexpectedly taken away from us and now we find ourselves missing not only the woman that has been part of our life for years but having regular, intimate moments with someone we love.
Our desire for physical intimacy is a big reason most of us get back into the dating game. Once there, however, we find it difficult to balance our need for intimacy with the ability to form a committed relationship. Forming a strong relationship with another woman is difficult and it's easy for us to fall into the trap of telling someone that we love them and want to be with them simply because they fill a hole in our heart and meet our physical needs.
I rushed into my first serious relationship after my first wife's death too quickly. There were a lot of relationship red flags I overlooked because I enjoyed the company. If I would have taken things slower and thought a little more about what I was doing and why I was doing it, I would have realized the main reason for having this relationship was because I missed having someone to talk with and someone to hold and to kiss. Fortunately for both of us, we never become physically involved with each other.
Though the death of our spouses is tragic, it should not serve as excuse for us widowers to use a woman to simply satisfy the physical intimacy that we miss from our marriage. If widowers want regular sex but don't want a committed relationship, hire a prostitute. We should not be wasting the time and emotions of a woman who's looking for a committed relationship when we aren't ready for one. Yes, it is tough trying to figure out how we really feel about becoming seriously involved with someone else but we always have a choice how far we want to take the relationship. If widowers feel confused about the feelings they're having toward another woman, be cautious and take things slow. Doing this will save a lot of heartache not only for us but for the woman we are dating.
Most women tend to view sex differently then men. For them sex loses a lot of its power and meaning outside a loving, committed relationship. Though women understand that becoming involved with a widower is going to involve issues that people wouldn't have to deal with in a normal relationship, many of women see our first marriage as a sign of being able to have a committed relationship with a woman.
Women who are dating widowers and want to lower their chances for a broken heart should think long and hard about when they want to become intimate with a widower. There will be a lot going through the widower's mind -- especially if you're the first person he's become physically and emotionally intimate with since his wife passed away. I would recommend taking a long time before you become physically involved with a widower. It's important to make sure the widower is serious about having a committed relationship with you before you decide to become sexually involved.
If the widower is a good man and serious about having a committed relationship with you, it won't be a big deal that you want to take the more physical aspects of the relationship slowly or put them on hold for several months. However, if the widower complains where you have drawn the line and says the relationship can't progress unless you become more physically involved with each other, then consider ending the relationship. A good man (widower or not) will never pressure a woman to take a relationship to a physical or emotional level that she is comfortable with.
After Marathon Girl and I started dating regularly and spending nearly every day with each other after work at her apartment or my house, it took us nearly a month before we had our first kiss. We took things slow because we both understood the physical and emotional issues that losing my first wife brought to the relationship and wanted to make sure we were becoming involved with each other for the right reasons.
Marathon Girl told me very early where she was drawing the line when it came to the physical aspect of our relationship. I respected her decision because I would have done just about anything to contribute to the relationships success. It wasn't always easy because Marathon Girl is extremely good looking and the more in love I became with her the closer I wanted to become to her physically. However, I respected the line that she drew and when the time came when we were both ready to become more intimately involved with each other, there were no regrets about our wait and both of us knew it was in the confines of a loving, committed relationship.
To save a lot of heartache and hurt feelings for widowers and those who are dating them, take things slow. Make sure you're both ready to take this step. Widowers comes with a unique set of challenges but it can also be very rewarding if the time is taken to make sure both partners are excising the caution needed to make sure the relationship is being built on a strong, secure foundation.
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