Widower Wednesday: Divorced vs. Single vs. Widowed

Widower Wednesday

As I have some major deadlines at my day job, today’s Widower Wednesday will be a quick one.

Recently I was chatting with a woman who was dating a widower and more often than not felt that she was competing with a ghost.  While she was telling me one of the things the widower recently did on a trip they took, I asked the woman if she would tolerate similar behavior from a single or divorced man.

“They aren’t the same thing,” the woman said. “An ex is an ex for some reason. A deceased spouse is gone for a different reason. You can’t compare the two.”

I get this response a lot when I pose this question so I thought I’d explain the real reason I ask it. I’m not asking you to compare divorced or single men to widowed men or even compare one relationship to another. I’ve had two good marriages but each one was unique. Comparing them is like comparing apples and oranges. Both are great fruits to eat but they’re nothing alike when it comes to the way the look, feel, smell, and taste.

Rather, what I’m asking is to think about how you expect the men you relationships with to treat you. All relationships have boundaries. What are your boundaries? Do they change depending on who you date or the circumstances you encounter? Should they change?

Even though Marathon Girl and the late wife are very different people, they both met my personal standards for women I wanted to have a long term relationship with. Ironically, when I dated Jennifer (my serious relationship between the late wife and Marathon Girl) I found myself making excuses for her behavior and letting my normal relationship boundaries slide. I did that because something didn’t feel right about the relationship.  I thought that if I changed, it would alleviate the uneasy feelings I had about the relationship. Instead, I ended up in a bad relationship that ended up with a lot of hurt feelings and broken hearts when all was said and done. Had I maintained my standards and boundaries, the relationship never would have gotten to the serious stage in the first place.

So if you’re not sure about the relationship with the widower, ask yourself if you’d still be with the man if he was single or divorced. Don’t compare him with past boyfriends, husbands, or other people you’ve dated. Instead do some soul searching and decide if the widower meets the standards you want from men you date. If he doesn’t, ask yourself why. The answer could be enlightening.