From the inbox comes the following series of questions:
Would you please clarify on your blog, whether you dated both 'Jennifer' and Marathon Girl - at the same time, whilst keeping each of them a secret from each other, fits the definition of two-timing or 'hedging your bets'?
In your book and blog, your account of that situation seems to differ; in some descriptions you imply you made a clean break with Jennifer 'before' you met and courted Marathon Girl - yet your book depicts that you did not end your relationship with Jennifer until you had 'first' simultaneously secured your relationship with Marathon Girl, both of whom you dated/courted - at the same time.
The account in Room for Two is accurate. I started a long distance relationship with Jennifer a few months before I met Marathon Girl. There were a couple months where was trying to win over Marathon Girl while still having the long distance relationship with Jennifer. Once things got serious with Marathon Girl, I ended it with Jennifer. If I've ever implied on my blog that I made a clean break with Jennifer before I got serious with Marathon Girl, that was certainly not my intent.
What I did was wrong. Very, very wrong and if I could go back in time and do things differently, I'd have ended things with Jennifer as soon as I started running in the mornings with Marathon Girl. At the time I very emotionally confused about what it meant to fall in love the second time. The relationship with Jennifer never felt right—even when we were first dating. I thought this was because I was still trying to move on from my late wife's suicide and once that happened the relationship with Jennifer would feel right.
What I didn’t understand at the time was that I had misgivings about my relationship with Jennifer because it wasn't the right relationship for either me or her. It had nothing to do with opening my heart to someone else and everything to do with opening it up to the wrong person. It wasn't until Marathon Girl and I had been serious for several months that I realized that the same feelings I had for the late wife were the same feelings I had for the late wife. Once this clicked in my brain, all the feelings I had for Jennifer made sense.
I share this not as a justification or excuse for my behavior but to add some context as to why I behaved in such a manner.
Would you have kept Jennifer if things between you and Marathon Girl, did not work out?
The relationship with Jennifer might have lasted a little longer but not much. My relationship with Jennifer was stressful in a lot of ways and the distance between the two of us didn’t help matters. I doubt it would have lasted through the summer.
Is this scenario normal for widowers, and if so why? Is it excusable for widowers, but not other men?
Based on emails from women dating widowers over the years, I'd say it's not normal. But it does happen on occasion. I think about half of the widowers who behave in this manner are, like me, emotionally confused about how they should be feeling and simply attach themselves to someone because they want companionship—even if it's with someone they don't truly love.
That being said, the other half are simply predators who enjoy two-timing (or three-timing) the women they date. These men know what they're doing and enjoy playing this game with as many women as possible. Be wary of such men. Their actions aren't based on confusion but simply because they love seeing what they can get away with and playing games with other people's feelings.
I do not find this kind of behavior excusable in the least. It doesn’t matter if the guy is a widower or not.
What would you advise women who find themselves in Marathon Girl's situation, to do, if they find out at the last minute that their Widower had been keeping another lady in the wings/on the side, a secret during the entire dating/courtship, in case things between the two of you, didn't work out?
Dump him. Wash your hands of him and move on. You deserve better.
But wait, you say, Marathon Girl didn't end things with you when she found out about Jennifer.
Yeah, you're right. She didn't end things but I sure wouldn't have blamed her if she had.
As to why she didn't end it with me, I'll let her answer that question for herself.
Marathon Girl: Abel and I were not dating each other exclusively at the time he told me about Jennifer. Though we had a couple of good dates when he finally told me about her, we weren't to the point where I we had agreed to date only each other. When I was first dating Abel, I was still dating other guys and Abel wasn't aware of that. I was still leery about dating a widower and kept hoping that things would work out with one of the other guys so I could tell Abel that I had a boyfriend and end things with him. Had we been in a serious relationship and dating each other exclusively, I would have felt and reacted differently about Jennifer. There would have been no second chances and we wouldn't be celebrating 11 years as husband and wife this week since we never would have gotten married in the first place.
That being said, I don't feel like I'm in the same position as the letter writer. It sounds like she is in a more committed relationship then Abel and I were when this information about a second woman came out. Unless he can give you a really good reason as to why he had a woman on the side (and let's face it, there isn't one) while in a serious relationship with you then I'd end it. He's not worth your time.