Widower Wednesday: Abundance vs. Scarcity

For those who missed it, the final Marrying a Widower cover can be viewed here. The book will be available next month. I hope to have an exact release date soon.


Over the last couple weeks I’ve been emailing back and forth with a woman who’s been dating a widower for nearly two years. For the last six months she’s realized that the widower isn’t ready to give her the kind of relationship that she wants. Even though she knows he’s not ready to make her number one, she’s still having a hard time leaving him. With her permission, I quote from one of her emails the reason why she won’t end it:

I know that in some ways I’m settling but I don’t know if I can ever find someone else who will even treat me halfway decently. The widower’s may not make me number one but he’s not abusive nor does he have any bad habits. I dated off and on for years after my first marriage ended in divorce and most of the available men had serious problems I didn’t want to deal with. I feel like if I leave him and start over that I either won’t be able to find someone or end up with someone who won’t treat me right. Plus, I do love this man with all my heart. I don’t know if I have the strength to go through another relationship.

Some of you may be familiar with the scarcity vs. abundance mentality. It was coined by Stephen Covey in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. For those who haven’t heard of it before, Covey defines those terms as follows:

Most people are deeply scripted in what I call the Scarcity Mentality. They see life as having only so much, as though there were only one pie out there. And if someone were to get a big piece of the pie, it would mean less for everybody else. The Scarcity Mentality is the zero-sum paradigm of life.


The Abundance Mentality, on the other hand, flow out of a deep inner sense of personal worth and security. It is the paradigm that there is plenty out there and enough to spare for everybody. It results in sharing of prestige, of recognition, of profits, of decision making. It opens possibilities, options, alternatives, and creativity.

So what does this have to do with Dating a Widower?

I often read emails from women who are willing to settle for unsatisfactory or unrewarding relationships but hesitant to leave them. There are lots of reasons for this but they usually express sentiments similar to the concerns the email sent me. They’d rather settle for half a loaf then patiently look for someone that can make them truly happy. These attitudes are the relationship version of the scarcity mentality. It’s a mentally I know very well.

When I started dating again after Krista’s death, I felt like damaged goods. I didn’t think there was anyone out there who would want to marry a young widower. One of the reasons I got into a relationship with someone I really didn’t love was because I thought I my widower status made me less than desirable to women. I figured that settling for half a loaf was better than getting nothing. Thankfully, I met Marathon Girl and realized that I had been selling myself short.

Granted, a mental paradigm shift won’t fix a relationship or guide you to someone who will treat you like a queen. However, it’s how you mentally approach a problem that helps you decide what action, if any, to take. If you’re unhappy with the person you’re dating but don’t think you can do any better, odds are you’re not going to take the necessary steps to improve your situation. Conversely, if you believe that there’s someone who will treat you like a queen, there’s little incentive to stay in a less than fulfilling relationship

So if you find yourself in a relationship with a widower who’s not ready to move on, marry you, or otherwise give you the relationship you want, don’t think so little of yourself that you end up settling for someone who doesn’t really love you. It’s a big, big world out there with endless possibilities. In the end if you stay with someone who won’t make you number one, you’ve got no one to blame but yourself.