Widower Wednesday: Never Settle

FINAL REMINDER: Friday is the last day to submit your story for the upcoming Dating A Widower book. Thanks to all those who have already shared your story. I’ll start reading them this weekend and should have selections made by the end of the month. To submit your story, just send me an email.


Going through the dating and marriage routine with Marathon Girl was a very different experience than dating and marrying the late wife. Since I had a fairly successful (albeit short) marriage the first time around, I had a better idea of what qualities any future spouse had to have and what trivial issues I could live with.

For example, something I looked for the second time around was someone who was good with money and could live within a budget. The late wife was pretty good with money (as am I) and it was nice not to have money worries hanging over our marriage. As I started dating again, I realized I’d have a hard time spending my life with someone who had a hard time controlling their spending or mountains of unpaid consumer debt no matter how pretty or smart she was. After getting to know Marathon Girl while we were dating, it was a relief to know she had the same view about finances, money, and spending as me. On the other hand, I could have cared less what kind of music Marathon Girl liked, whether she was a morning or a night person, or liked sushi. Those things weren’t important to me or having a successful marriage.

Sometimes I’ll receive emails from someone who’s dating a widower and even though he’s done a decent job of moving on and treating the new woman like number one, there are other issues that the woman is having a hard time with. For example, the widower may be a complete slob and the woman a neat freak. He may have problems with excessive alcohol consumption, drugs use, or pornography or issues with spending money wisely, getting it on in the bedroom, or finding steady employment. Other times it may boil down to different religious or political views may come between the couple. Whatever the problem is the question that is asked is whether or not it’s worth waiting around to see if he changes.

My advice is always the same: Never settle for a relationship with anyone if the person has any issue or habit you can’t live with. Dating a widower is more than just making sure he’s moved on and is ready to start a new life. It’s about knowing he is someone you can see yourself spending the rest of your life with if he never changes.

We’re all imperfect and have bad habits and issues we’re struggling with. Some people try to improve their lives. Others are happy just the way they are. What you need to decide is whether or not the foibles and imperfections of the widower is something you can live with. When I married Marathon Girl I do assuming that there was a zero change she may never like sushi. Eight years in, she still hates it. However, I knew I could live with her and love her even if she hated it for the rest of our lives together. On the other hand, I knew I was marrying some who had similar values and beliefs as myself—something I couldn’t compromise on if I was going to happily spend the rest of my life with someone.

Life is short. We can choose to live it with someone who we can love or someone who will drive us crazy. Others may like relationship drama, but I prefer waking up next to someone who I can’t wait to spend another day together. Whoever you become involved in a relationship with, at some point you’re going to know whether or not he is someone you can see yourself spending the rest of your life with. It is at that moment we need to have the courage to either live with it or move on. It may not be an easy choice, but it’s one that can have a profound affect on the rest of your life. Therefore, choose wisely.