November 10th, 2010 | 16 comments
Dating a widower is not only hard on the late wife’s family, but it can be very hard on the widower’s children. When I receive emails asking me how to deal with children, my advice differs depending on whether the kids are minors still living at home or legal adults. In this Widower Wednesday segment I’m going to focus specifically on adult children—those who are 18 or older. (I’ll focus on young children and teenagers next week.)
Seeing their father with another woman can be hard on his kids no matter how old they are. Many of them are still grieving their mother and can’t understand how dad can move on and “replace” Mom. It’s a natural reaction and I don’t blame anyone for wondering why their father wants to date again. If it weren’t for my own experience, I’d probably have a difficult time seeing my dad with someone else if my mom were to pass on.
Since there’s nothing you can do about the thoughts or actions of another person, don’t concern yourself with whether or not his adult children like you or approve of their father dating again. You can always try to win his adult children by showing them love and respect no matter what they say or how they treat you. What you should keep a sharp eye on, however, is how the widower responds to his adult children’s childish and controlling demands.
For example, a woman recently emailed me about a widower she was in a committed relationship with. The widower’s adult children invited him over for the Thanksgiving but made it clear that she was not invited because it was too painful to see their dad being affectionate with someone other than their mom. Instead of telling his kids that the new woman was part of his life, the widower decided to abide by his children’s wishes and spend Thanksgiving with them.
In short, this widower chose his kids—who are grown and have families of their own—over the new woman in his life. It’s not a good sign if you’re looking for a successful, long-term relationship. Instead of giving in to his kids, the widower should have explained that he was in a committed relationship with someone else and would be happy to call them over the holidays since he can’t attend without this special woman.
You want a widower with a backbone—one who can say NO to unreasonable demands from his adult kids. Because if he can’t stand up to them now, odds are he’s not going to stand up to them when Christmas, birthdays or other occasions roll around. Instead of being at his side, you’re going to find yourself in the number two position time and time again.
Talk about it with him all you want but odds are at this stage in the game if the children are controlling of their father, it’s not going to change unless the widower put you first.
Finally, thanks to all those who submitted holiday widower issues. If you still have holiday some, please send them in. I’ll start answering holiday questions on November 24 and for several weeks following. If you have any other dating a widower issue you’d like to me address, send me an email.
Entry Filed under: Widower Wednesday