Don't have time to write a column today due to some unforeseen stuff. Instead, here's an excerpt from my latest book Life with a Widower. Look for a new post next Wednesday.
Unfortunately, not every relationship with a widower is going to work out or even end well. There are lots of reasons relationships come to a close, but with a widower, it’s usually because he isn’t ready to move on, open his heart to someone else, or treat the new woman in his life like number one. But whether the relationship ends for those reasons or others, breaking up is still a distressing and difficult situation — especially if the relationship seemed promising at some point.
However, just because it ends doesn’t mean it’s over. Time and time again, I’ve seen the widower lure his recent breakup back into his web, only to burn her a second time. This chapter will help you walk away with your head held high and avoid being used and abused by widowers looking for someone to use and abuse.
He Says He’s Changed
The first thing that happens a few weeks after the relationship ends is that out of the blue the widower calls and tells you he wants to get back together. To entice you into his arms again, he’ll say that he’s had time to think things over and is going to change his behavior, and that he is finally ready to open his heart to you.
His offer can be very tempting — especially if you still have feelings for him. But I suggest that you don’t readily agree to it. Widowers usually reach out to contact a past flame when they want one or more of the following three things:
- They’re lonely and need someone to fill the void.
- They’re horny and want nothing more than an outlet for their sexual desires.
- They miss having someone to wait on them hand and foot and need someone to take the place of the late wife.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that the widower has suddenly come to his senses and wants to make you the center of his universe. There’s no easier target for a manipulative widower than an ex-girlfriend — especially when he can play to her fantasy and claim he has miraculously overcome his grief and is ready to start afresh.
Widowers don’t change their stripes unless they have a really good reason for doing so. If he treated you like a mistress, was stuck in perpetual grief, or made you feel like number two again and again, odds are, you’re in for more or less the same kind of treatment the second time around. So if a widower contacts you after a breakup, save yourself further heartache and don’t answer the phone or reply to his texts or emails. Your silence will speak louder than any returned phone call or text message you could send telling him it’s over. Eventually he’ll get the message and move on to someone else who hasn’t wised up to the game he’s playing.
If you think your widower’s the exception to all of the above, and you want to reply to his overtures, I implore you to think long and hard before doing so and read Chapter 10: Giving Widowers a Second Chance. I’m a big fan of the saying, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” If you end up getting burned a second time, you have no one to blame but yourself.
The second way a woman gets burned again is when a relationship with a widower comes to a sudden, unexpected end, and she wants to know why. She reaches out to him to figure out what happened. When she doesn’t get a satisfying answer from the widower, she thinks he hasn’t told her the real reason. She keeps trying to get an answer and obsesses about it until she drives herself crazy.
Don’t torture yourself like this. In the end, it doesn’t matter if the relationship ended because there was another woman, if he was still in love with the late wife, or if he simply wasn’t ready to move on. The widower isn’t consumed by any of these thoughts. He’s moved on to the next chapter of his life, and he isn’t giving you a second thought. By focusing on the breakup and letting it occupy your thoughts, you’re getting burned again and again and again.
When I ended things with Jennifer, the woman I seriously dated before Julianna, I just told her that things weren’t working out, and that I was going to date someone else. It wasn’t the best or classiest way to end things, but I just wanted the relationship to be over. I didn’t spend a lot of time wondering if things could have worked out differently or how Jennifer was doing. Instead, I focused on Julianna and her wants and needs and moved on with my life. That’s just the way guys think.
Jennifer, however, was in fits about it. Through a mutual friend, I heard that for a long time after the breakup, she kept expecting me to change my mind and come crawling back to her — something that was never, ever going to happen. Fortunately, Jennifer was eventually able to move on and find the love of her life, but she spent a lot of time wondering about things that made no difference in the end. Don’t be like Jennifer. Focus on putting the pieces of your life back together and on being happy.
There’s nothing wrong with having a good cry and a couple of “you” days to get him out of your system — that is natural and normal — but don’t spend weeks or months brooding about what could have been done differently, or think that things will change if the widower gets back in touch. I guarantee you, the widower isn’t worried about you. Instead, he’s watching football, drinking a beer, and thinking about the next woman he can bring into his web. The quicker you can move on, the less power the widower — and the past — will have over you, and the sooner you can start a new and better chapter in your life.