Recently I received an email from a GOW who had just started dating a widower. Though the relationship was still in the early stages, she wanted to know what red flags she should be on the lookout for so she could know if he was ready to move on or not.
I’ve previously posted a list of red flags that anyone dating a widower should be aware of. While that list covers the biggest, most common ones, it doesn’t take into account other warning signs that the widower may not be ready to move on or individual circumstances, wants, and needs that come with each relationship. So, here are three things GOWs can do to see if there are other red flags they should be worried about.
1. Know What You Want in a Relationship
Before you can identify other red flags in any relationship, it’s important to know what you’re looking for when it comes to a man. You need to have a good idea what values you want a potential partner and what behavior you expect from him before you can identify red flags. Once you know what you want, compare that list to the widower’s values and actions. Do you feel that he loves and respects you or do you feel mistreated and unsure if how he feels about you? Mark anything that doesn’t line up with what you expect as a possible red flag.
2. Figure Out if You're Making Grief-Related Excuses for His Behavior
After you've identified potential red flags, take a step back and see if you’re making grief-related excuses for his behavior. You determine if you're putting up with a widower's actions, comments, and behavior that you wouldn't tolerate from a divorced of single man. If you are, you need to stop making excuses for his behavior. Allowing someone to misbehave for any reason is simply going to encourage them to keep doing it. You need to put your foot down and start treating him like you would any other guy you'd date and see if he's willing to move on or not.
3. Decide What You Can and Can't Live With
After going through the first two steps, take a long, honest look at the widower and decide if he was to stay exactly the same person as he is today (red flags and all), could you see yourself spending the rest of your life with him? Not everyone is going to line up perfectly with what we want in a spouse. What you need to decide is if the red flags you've identified are things you can live with or deal breakers. If you can't live with them, then you need to decide how much more time and energy you're willing to invest in the relationship that's not going anywhere.
Don't be afraid to walk away from a relationship that's not going anywhere. Breaking up isn't fun or easy, but in the long run it beats staying in a relationship that's not going anywhere. Have the courage to be honest with yourself and the widower about any red flags. You'll both be better off for it.