Widower Wednesday: He Keeps Talking about the Late Wife

Note: This is the first installment of Widower Wednesday.  Each Wednesday I’ll be addressing common widower issues that come into my inbox. If you’d like to suggest a topic or ask a question, send me an email.


It seems the topic in my inbox this week has centered on widowers who talk about their late wife their past relationships. Women want to know whether this is normal behavior and when the widower will start talking about the present and future instead of the past.

Yes, it’s normal for widowers to talk about the late wife and their life together. This need to talk about the late wife and their past life together often helps make the transition from the old to new life. As widowers make room in their heart for a new woman, the topics of conversation should evolve from the past to you and your future together.

Since everyone grieves differently, when he starts to make this transition depends on the person. Some widowers can do it in a matter of weeks; with others it takes a bit longer. As a rule of thumb, if you’ve been with someone for six months and they’re still talking about the past and showing no interest in talking about you or your future together, I’d be very concerned whether or not the widower is ready to move on.

Another red flag to watch for is widowers who constantly talk about the late wife. One of the recent emails I received said just about any topic of conversation was tied in to what the late wife liked or thought about a certain subject. This seems to go beyond a healthy talking about the past. Deciding what to have for dinner, for example, shouldn’t turn conversation about what the late wife liked or didn’t like to eat. If the widower is making her a part of every conversation you have, it’s a sign he’s still grieving and not ready to start a new life with you.