Advice: Can a lonely widower find love?

Last updated 05:00 20/09/2012

His wife died 16 months ago and he's thinking about dating again. Is it too soon?

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I have a problem, I think. I am in my early 40s and I was widowed 16 months ago after my wife died from breast cancer. I have recently started to look for companionship again, with the view to having some company, a person to have dinner with, movies, walks on the beach etc, and if I'm lucky some intimacy. Im in no hurry to get too serious, but you never know. I have been totally honest with anyone I've met.

Ive met two ladies recently that I thought I liked and fit the bill as far as being fun, outgoing, had similar interests, easy to talk to. But, both couldn't see past the fact that I was a widower and that I had loved someone else, and to be honest, always will love her. One of my dates described feeling a bit like a third wheel. I can understand that might be the case if I was still grieving or talked about my wife constantly, but in fact I hardly mention her, in fact I make a point of not doing that because I'm doing this for me. I've moved into a new space. Im reasonably good looking, financially secure and a nice guy.

Am I doing something wrong? Should I lie and say I'm divorced? Should I just give up and give in to loneliness? Am I just being impatient?

Alone

I would encourage you to keep trying. You deserve to have companionship again, but you will need to be patient. You sound clear about what you are looking for and honesty is a great place to start, but you may have to be prepared to have a number of relationships before you find what you are looking for.

It is different when a loving relationship is ended by death.  Even if you don't talk about your wife constantly, the knowledge you were widowed from someone you cared deeply about will be part of who you are and may be more visible to the women you are dating than you realise.

There can be a sense for some new partners that they will not measure up, they will always be second choice, and that in some way the previous relationship is the foundation stone for this new relationship. And in a way it is all of those things, so it is understandable there will be a need for them  to know they are special, that they can be a significant part of your life and that you do value what they offer you.  All this is a big ask in a new relationship.

If you get this feedback again would you be comfortable asking  what you have said or done to give this impression?  It may even be that your comment about not being in a hurry to get too serious is somehow being communicated to the women you are dating and being experienced  as 'he isn't ready to move on'. 

If you are being really attentive to the women you are going out with, are responding to their company, are having fun together and are interested in finding out about them, it is hard to imagine feeling like a third wheel.

So for now, take your time and enjoy the companionship and romance opportunities.

For more advice and information on counselling, visit Relationships Aotearoa online or join them on Facebook.

We'd love to hear your take on this week's issue. Before you comment below, though, remember that this is a real-life situation. This reader has bravely shared their personal life with you; please show them respect by refraining from hurtful or abusive comments.

- Stuff

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