Widower Wednesday: A Widower’s Heart

I’ve got a couple inquiries as to the official launch date of the Dating a Widower book. I don’t have a firm date other than late August. I was hoping to get it out earlier but Marathon Girl is expecting a baby the first week or so of August and trying to release the book around her due date probably isn’t the best idea. I hope to nail down an official release date by the end of this month.


On a recent discussion thread in the Dating a Widower Facebook Group a woman made an acute observation about the widower she’s dating. She noted that when the widower is thinking about the late wife or still grieving he tends to distance himself from the new relationship. When the widower’s thoughts are focused on her he and their relationship tend to grow stronger. She, and several other woman who have similar experiences, found this push/pull aspect of the relationship to be very aggravating and frustrating and wanted to know why he was acting that way.

The answer is pretty simple: Men can only actively love one woman at a time. Though the human heart has a great capacity for love, men can only put one person at the very top. When a widower’s actively mourning the late wife or spending inordinate amounts of time thinking about her, then the woman he’s dating is going to be pushed from the top spot. And it’s usually a big fall from to the number two— just ask any woman who’s been shoved from the top.

All widowers struggle to some degree with putting feelings for the late wife to the side. This mean just about every woman has experienced the push/pull aspect in the relationship. The problem happens when the push/pull goes on for days or weeks and is a constant part of the relationship. For example, some women will email me and say that the widower will go through an emotional rough spot and not contact her for an entire week before saying he’s ready to get back together. Sometimes they’ll repeat this push/pull pattern every month. Others might me dating widowers who have three or four good days followed by three or four bad days. If your relationship is experiencing push/pull moments that make you feel like you’re on a never-ending emotional roller coaster ride, that’s usually a sign that the widower is having a difficulty moving on or has his own doubts about the relationship. Healthy relationships are always moving forward.

Though Marathon Girl and I had our own push/pull moments they were never that frequent or that extreme. For every time Marathon Girl felt pushed away there were 10 or 20 times she felt I was pulling her closer. In other words, for every step backwards there were 10 or 20 steps forward. If you feel like your relationship is moving backwards or treading water, maybe it’s time to do a gut check and figure out if the widower is really ready for a committed relationship with you.

Widowers will always love and have feelings for the late wife. There’s nothing wrong with that. However as the widower starts a new relationship he needs to move those feelings for the late wife in a different part of the heart—a place where they won’t compete for the number one spot. If he’s unable to do that, odds are the new relationship will eventually fizzle out.

So how does a widower put those feelings for the late wife in a special place? That will be my topic of next week’s column.