5 Red Flags to Watch for When Dating a Widower

Widow and Widower by the beach, arm in arm

Whether you are a widow dating a widower or any single woman considering a man who lost his wife, there are some important considerations to keep in mind. 

If you are looking for a commitment-minded gentleman, a widower can be an excellent choice! He’s already made one commitment that lasted and didn’t end the marriage by choice. 

Statistically, most widowers tend to have enjoyed married life and often marry again within a year or so. Widows on the other hand can take up to five years to consider looking for love again.

However, you can’t rush into anything with dating a widower because you need to be sure he is READY for love again. Grieving is a process and that takes time to go through and heal. 

How do you know if the widower you met or are already dating is ready? The best way is to watch for these red flags that let you know he’s NOT ready.  Watch for these five warning signs to avoid getting attached to a man who cannot be fully present in a new relationship with you right now. 

1. He’s lost, forlorn and needs help

You may have a lot of empathy, but you don’t want to start a relationship with a man who is still grieving. A widower like this has nothing to give you because his heart is broken. He might need a good listener and companionship, but this will not be the romantic relationship you are looking for.

When you step in to be Florence Nightingale, you will be investing a lot of time and energy without much reward. Quite often, when he starts feeling better, he’ll dump you and find another woman. 

This is because you remind him of his weakness and suffering and who wants that? Not him. He’ll breakup with you and you’ll be standing there wondering how this could happen. 

I know this is hard and he pulls at your heart strings, but don’t do it. Look for a man who is emotionally healthy and relationship ready. He’s not the one.

2. He talks about his wife A LOT

This lovely man just can’t seem to help himself. No matter what subject you discuss, sooner or later he’ll bring it back to his wife. He loved her deeply and that feeling is still vibrantly alive for him.

That means he’s not ready yet. You have no way to know how long it will take for him to feel ready to love again or even love you without thinking of her constantly. The last thing you want when dating a widower is to help him get over her because that’s the fastest way to heartbreak instead of love.

3. He doesn’t ask you out

You met this amazing man and you talk for hours. It’s like you’ve known each other forever. But it would be great to SEE him and go out together. Trouble is, he’s not asking. That’s a sure sign he’s not ready to date.

No, he’s not shy, unsure of himself or worried you might say no. He isn’t asking you out because he doesn’t want to. Not yet and who knows when he’ll be ready. This is another instance when you should walk away if you don’t want to get hurt.

When dating a widower, you might be tempted to ask him yourself to get the ball rolling but I don’t recommend that unless you want to always be the one to initiate.

4. He won’t tell his kids about you

Let’s say you’ve been dating a widower for months and everything is going well. He talks about his wife, but within reason. There’s only one little thing that’s nagging at you. He hasn’t told his kids about you. 

Even though they’re in high school or older, he seems reluctant to mention that he’s seeing someone.  If he’s hiding his dating activity, being his little secret is not romantic or a positive sign. Yes, this is another big fat red flag that he’s not ready.

You may need to negotiate this with him if you’ve been together for more than six months. Or you may need to face the fact that you aren’t fully a part of his life. Perhaps you think you can handle this and wait it out, but I wouldn’t advise waiting too long.

5. Her photos are still up all over the house

Dating a widower, you would expect some evidence of his wife at home. A few photos, especially family pictures make sense. But when he has made a shrine of his home, you will not overcome that.

I had a client, Betsy, who had moved in with a widower who lost his wife three years prior. They didn’t rush into anything, taking each step in the relationship one at a time. But she couldn’t bring any of her furniture or decorations with her when she moved in with him.

You don’t want to be demanding. On the other hand, you cannot keep quiet either. Standing up for yourself and your needs is important in any healthy relationship. Be sure to speak up and address your concerns, wants and needs. 

If he doesn’t want you to touch any decor that was his wife’s, do not move in. You’ll be miserable before long because he’s not ready to let her go.

The good side of dating a widower

Now that you know the red flags to watch for, you can go ahead and date a widower to see how things go. As long as you keep your eyes open and are honest with yourself, you’ll be fine. There are plenty of widowers who are ready to move on romantically and share life with you.

Whether you are a widow dating a widower, a widower dating a widow or a widow and a widower dating each other, it’s never too late to find love again. People fall in love every day at any age. If you desire love, do something to find it. You deserve the joy and partnership that a healthy relationship provides.

International Love & Dating Coach Ronnie Ann Ryan has helped smart, successful, single women who have hot careers, but a chilly love life find love for over 17 years. The author of four books, her Amazon Bestseller Is He the One? Find Mr. Right by Spotting Mr. Wrong, sold more than 17,000 copies. Ronnie has been featured by ABC, NBC, and Fox News, BBC, NPR, MSN.com, Huff Post, Fox News Magazine Online, Yahoo.com! and eHarmony among others. Get her free book 7 Dire Dating Mistakes that Keep You Single 

To find out more about Ronnie, click here.

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