Widower Wednesday: Widowers and Ultimatums

At least once a week I’ll get an email from a woman who’s reached a breaking point with their widower she’s dating. She’s so frustrated they wonder if the best way to either move things forward or bring things to a head is to give the widower an ultimatum to change or end things once and for all.

For example one woman described the promise after promise that her widower made about removing photos from his living room and kitchen so he could feel more comfortable when she visited. Despite repeated promises the photos remained on the wall and she was ready to leave and wanted to know if an ultimatum would be the best way to get him to remove the photographs.

Ultimatums usually do more harm than good to relationships. Yes, there’s a time and a place for them but I usually only recommend them when you reached a point when you’re willing to walk away from the relationship forever. Instead of giving ultimatums, it’s better to recognize the red flag and other warning signs that widower isn’t ready to move on and start a new life with you. Why put yourself through months or years of agony with someone who’s not willing to change?

Widowers who are ready to love again will treat you like the center of their universe. Though there may be moments and times of frustration, you should learn how to communicate with each other and work through widower (and other issues) together and so you can make your relationship stronger.

But if you’ve reached a breaking point with the widower you’re dating, there are a couple things to consider before taking such drastic step:

  • Don't give anyone an ultimatum unless you're actually going to follow through with it. So, if you're ultimatum is something like "Take all the photos down by Saturday or I'm never setting foot in the house again" then you need to have the resolve never set foot in his house again if the photos don’t come down by the deadline. If he keeps the photos up, you end up back in his house sometime after the deadline, then the widower will know that you’re a paper tiger and won’t take you seriously next time you ask for something. You’ve proven that he can do whatever he wants and there won’t be consequences.
  • Sometimes ultimatums backfire. Let’s say you tell the widower he has to remove the late wife’s clothes from the closet or the relationship is over. The widower may simply shrug his shoulders and decide that he’d rather keep the clothes instead of you and end the relationship right then and there. You have to be fine with that outcome as well or else you’re setting yourself up for some early heartbreak.

Again, you’re better off knowing when a widower isn’t ready to move on and end things earlier. But if that’s simply not an option at this point, be prepared for any and all possible fallout that comes from such a heavy-handed tactic.