Widower Wednesday: Listen to Your Gut

Over the weekend I got an email from a reader asking if she could write a guest Widower Wednesday column. She pitched a good idea so you’ll be seeing her post in a couple of weeks. Her email got me thinking and I’ve decided to temporarily open up my email box to queries from those who would like to contribute a WW column. It could simply be sharing your story (good or bad and what you learned from it), a guest column on a WW topic of your choice, or a response to a previous WW column I wrote. If you’re interested email me a short query and let me know what you want to share. As long as you have something worth saying, I’m happy to give you the green light to write something that will appear in a future column.


When I was dating Jennifer (my first relationship after Krista’s death) something about the relationship never felt exactly right. I remember going home one night wondering why, among other things, that Jennifer didn’t make my heart flutter the way Krista did. But since we started dating a few months after I became a widower I ignored my feelings. I thought that my feelings would change once more time had passed and my heart had more time to heal. It wasn’t until started dating Marathon Girl that I realized that nagging feelings about Jennifer and our relationship were spot on. However, since I had never been a widower before, I made up reasons to ignore the promptings I felt every time I examined my relationship with Jennifer.

I tell this story because one of the patterns I’ve noticed in the emails I receive from GOWs and WOWs is that they often have similar gut feelings about their relationship, or at least one aspect of it, and are looking for some guidance whether or not their gut feeling is accurate. About 95 percent of the time, their gut feelings are spot on. However, because they’ve never dated a widower before they’re unsure whether or not they’re making a mountain out of a molehill or if they should even listen to their internal promptings.

A good way to figure out if there really is something behind your gut feelings is to ask yourself if you would have the same concerns if you were dating a single or divorced man. Another tip is to find a quiet spot where you can sit and think undisturbed for a period of time and run the feeling through your mind. A third way is to talk to a friend or family member whose opinion you trust and see what they have to say about your concerns. (Or These can help give you the perspective you need to decide whether there really is a problem.

So today’s recommendation is to always listen to your gut. If you feel there’s something wrong with the way the widower is treating you or the relationship in general, there’s probably is a problem. This doesn’t mean the issue can’t be resolved and solved but it does man you need to take a step back and examine the situation. In the end you’ll have to decide whether to listen to your gut, but simply ignoring it and not doing the necessary legwork to know whether or not your concern is valid is inviting disaster.

I would have saved a lot of pain and heartache for both Jennifer and myself had I listened to my gut all those years ago.  Most people have a very good sense when something isn’t right in a relationship—even if they can’t put their finger on exactly what it is. Ignore your gut feelings at your own peril.