Widower Wednesday: Secret Relationships

REMINDER: If you want to contribute a personal story to my final widower relationship guide, you have until midnight tomorrow to get it to me. Click for full details of what I’m looking for.


Sometimes I’ll get emails from women who are in secret relationships with their widowers. These aren't the kind of relationships where only the widower wants to keep things quiet. Rather, both parties decide it’s best to keep things under wraps. The most common reasons for hiding their from the world are: 1) concerned that others might think it’s too soon for the widower to be dating again, 2) worried what his/her kids will think or how his/her kids will react to the relation, 3) think that that others might they the two of them were carrying on an affair before the late wife passed on. There are other reasons too but those seem to be the most common ones.

Whatever the reason for keeping their love a secret, my advice is always the same: Don’t do it.

His family, friends, and kids aren't stupid. Your family, friends and kids aren't stupid. Odds are your “secret” relationship is obvious to everyone. By hiding it, you’re making it hard for people to trust either one of you. In addition to fostering distrust among friends and family, you’re also giving them a lot to speculate and gossip about the reason that you’re both keeping the relationship under wraps.

Unless you've got minor children at home, it’s no one’s business who you’re dating. But that doesn't mean you should act like you’re just “friends” at parties, church, or anywhere else the two of you go when there’s a lot more going on. If someone asks if you’re a couple, say “Yes!” Don’t let the thoughts or feelings of others dictate your relationship. You’re both adults. Please act like one instead of goofy high school kids or a pair of star-crossed lovers.

For those who do have minor children living at home, once things become serious with someone else, please work on a plan tell your kids what’s going on. You’re forthrightness and honesty with them is going to go a lot farther than lying to them about your love life. Unless they’re really, really young, they probably know what’s going on anyway. If you decide it’s best to keep your minor children in the dark for any reason, then you probably shouldn't be dating in the first place.

So act like a grownup. Don’t be ashamed of your new found love or feelings for another person. And remember, if a relationship has to be a secret, you probably shouldn't be in it.