One of the first dates I went out on after my late wife died was with a gorgeous redhead I met via an online dating site. We had exchanged maybe a dozen emails before deciding to meet and go out. Though she was aware of my widower status, it wasn’t something we had discussed in much detail.
We met at a local restaurant and for the first 20 minutes or so things were going okay. However, I noticed there were times it looked like she was trying to get the courage to say something or ask me a question. Since I was new to the dating thing, I wasn’t sure how to handle it. Instead of giving her some time to ask it or asking her what was on her mind, I kept asking her questions about herself or make small talk. Instead of helping, it just seemed to make her more uncomfortable.
Finally, near the end of the meal, she blurted out “How long have you been a widower?”
The question she had wanted to ask all night was finally out in the open. And, to be honest, it was the one question I didn’t want to answer—at least not on our first date.
I looked down and waited a moment before telling her. I wasn’t counting how long it had been since Krista died. I didn’t have to. Instead, I was trying to guess how she’d react when I told her that my late wife had only been dead five months. It seemed whenever women found out how soon I was dating a brief look of panic crossed their face and I could see them wondering how on earth a man could be dating so soon. (I didn’t blame them for feeling this way. I spent a lot of time wondering why I was dating so soon too.)
As much as I wanted to tell her that my wife had been dead a long, long time so she would feel I had adequate time to grieve, I knew that I couldn’t lie to her. If the relationship was to have any chance at turning into something serious, I’d have to tell her the truth.
I answered my date’s question honestly and from the way her eyes popped out of her head, I knew there wasn’t going to be a second date. We ended the evening with a handshake and I never heard from the redhead again.
I share this story because I had two emails this week that dealt with widowers either lying about their marital status or lying about how long their late wife had been dead. One woman who emailed me asked if she should be worried that the widower has represented himself as divorced instead of a widower. The second woman wanted to know if it was a red flag that the widower said his late wife had been dead a year when the truth was she had been dead two months. In both cases, the women had entered somewhat serious relationships with widower before the truth finally emerged. I suggested both women immediately end the relationship.
Successful relationships can’t be built upon lies—small or big. The truth always comes out eventually. While it’s possible these widowers were worried the truth about their marital status would ruin any chance at a future relationship, my gut says that wasn’t the case since they seemed content to continue living a lie until they were finally confronted with the truth.
If a widower can’t be honest about his marital status, there are probably a lot of other things he’s lying about too. While some widower infractions may warrant a second chance, widowers who build relationships on a foundation of deceit don’t deserve one more second of your time. It’s better to get out of these kinds of relationships as soon as possible instead of having to untangle yourself from a bigger web of lies down the road.