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Show ALL Forums  > Dating Experiences  > Is there a stigma associated w recent widowers?      Home login  
Joined: 8/28/2009
Msg: 1
Is there a stigma associated w recent widowers?Page 1 of 3    (1, 2, 3)
I was wondering what the perception was out there about dating recently widowed men or women? It seems to me that a majority of women are afraid of dating someone who has been recently widowed. ie. a couple of months ago.

What I am trying to figure out is how this plays out over a longer period of time. IOW, are women still leery of a widower a year or two after the death of his spouse?

I can see their point to some extent. On the other hand some of the same people will be dating separated or recently divorced men which would seem to result in a different set of baggage.

I also had a thought that there might be a competition factor involved. If a woman is dating a guy who is divorced most likely the ex-wife is not in competition for the guy's feelings. If the guy is saying how lousy his ex was, then the woman can feel that the ex will not be a threat to her.

I'm wondering if there aren't some thoughts going through women's minds of "Gee the deceased spouse will always be in competition for his affection".

POF has been great for me so far. I've met and dated some really good people. The "i'm afraid to date you this early' has come up about 50% of the time. My thought is that the 'recent widowed' status will be a self correcting issue as time goes on however I am beginning to wonder about that.

I would appreciate any thoughts on this. I'm also not sure if there is a difference based on sex ... widows vs. widowers.

Joined: 10/28/2007
Msg: 2
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Is there a stigma associated w recent widowers?
Posted: 10/24/2009 6:34:54 PM
My thoughts, based on nothing more than opinion since I am neither widowed nor seeing a widower, is that there may be some hesitancy on the woman's part to date a widower. IMO there might be concerns that they wouldn't measure up to the deceased partner, that the widower would have his wife up on a pedestal, that you might be in some way emotionally unavailable, that she might need to walk on eggshells around you, that discussing the past at all is a no-no, that your son is going to have real problems with another woman around you and eventually him... those are a few things that come to mind. Are they fair or realistic? Dunno, but they are valid concerns. I would imagine these kinds of worries are the same for both genders.

Having said all of that, I can say that for me, it would make no difference if I wanted to contact a widower or if he contacted me. As long as he felt he was ready to start dating again then I would assume he had thought things through and that would be enough for me

I am sorry that you had to lose your wife- I cant comprehend that kind of loss- but I do wish you and your kid a great future
Joined: 10/23/2008
Msg: 3
Is there a stigma associated w recent widowers?
Posted: 10/27/2009 10:30:34 PM

A lot of people haven't gone through being widowed. So they don't know how to act. People avoid situations that make them uneasy if there is nothing forcing them to be there. And if they don't have any experience to draw upon, they are going to feel uneasy. They can't put themselves in your shoes.
They can't empathize or understand and don't want to make any social faux pas. Better to avoid than potentially do something wrong.

Very true, very true...

Your insight is refreshing...
Joined: 8/28/2009
Msg: 4
Is there a stigma associated w recent widowers?
Posted: 10/27/2009 10:44:46 PM
Thanks for all the replies folks especially Demondingleberry. I need to take some time and meditate on this a bit now.

I had underestimated the way that this situation can make people uncomfortable. In today's secularly oriented world most people have ignored the spiritual side of things and the question of life after death. (ie. a lot of the non-religious listings). Facing a situation where a death is involved probably makes people a lot more uncomfortable than I thought. BTW - I am in no way criticising those with 'non religious' listings. Everyone needs to follow their own path.

The reality is that if you bring someone home, a lot of your spouse's presence will be there either in things that they did with the home or just knowing the memories you have.

Another thing I hadn't considered is that when the relationship gets to 'that point' they might be a bit creeped out about being in the same bed you shared with your wife. I ended up changing our room around by rotating the bed 90 degrees, getting new sheets and pillows and a new bedspread. In the case of a divorce, the spirtiual side is not an issue.

Again, thanks everyone...
Joined: 10/23/2008
Msg: 5
Is there a stigma associated w recent widowers?
Posted: 10/27/2009 11:06:03 PM
A rare moment of demonstrative effort, Op...

Good luck!
Joined: 8/4/2007
Msg: 6
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Is there a stigma associated w recent widowers?
Posted: 10/28/2009 8:08:31 AM
Post #2, especially the long part - very insightful.

I lost my fiancee 5 years ago now, after 6 very happy years together. I often thought that the anxiety people found around me was because I was a walking, living, breathing reminder that in the end - we have absolutely no control over the things that really matter - like life and death. Some people can't face that.

If you are newly widowed OP, I would be concerned...and I say that having gone through it myself. Not everyone is the same, the path you walk will be different than anyone else's - but a lot of people rush in to fill the void in their life because they can't deal with the pain. For me - I know it's not everyone who does that - but it would be in the back of my mind.

Just remember OP - you can find someone wonderful, the love of your life for the second half of your life - but if they can't deal with the fact of what your experience has been before they met you - then you just won't work together.

I try to explain to people, using whatever they like - ice cream, cookies, pie...You love banana cream's your favorite, you have it always, never look at apple or cherry or Boston cream. Then one day - it's gone. It doesn't exist anymore. You mourn it being gone from your life. Eventually you try the other kinds. WOW - key lime! Woo's wonderful and fulfilling and you love it. Once in a while you will remember banana cream - sometimes, you will miss it dreadfully - but it doesn't mean that you don't love key lime...and in the end, that's what is at the center of your life now.
Joined: 3/21/2011
Msg: 7
Is there a stigma associated w recent widowers?
Posted: 5/28/2012 9:17:02 PM
This was a very sad read. My heart goes out to you all.
Joined: 4/14/2011
Msg: 8
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Is there a stigma associated w recent widowers?
Posted: 5/29/2012 1:12:41 PM
I have been following the threads on dating and not dating a widow or widower and whether to change your status from widow to single etc. I do indeed feel a widow or widower has to be ready to welcome another into their life. Is it possible that another person that has lost their spouse would be a good choice as a partner? They have experienced the loss of a loved one through death and it might be that they have more insight and less fear of any involvement. Seems those that are divorced feel uncomfortable and fear that which they have not known Just my thoughts!
Joined: 10/22/2008
Msg: 9
Is there a stigma associated w recent widowers?
Posted: 5/29/2012 5:28:44 PM

Could be something even more atavistic like; "widowed = proof of ultimately little control in life. I feel safe and secure when I can control my self, my environment, my life. So stay away from things that prove it is ultimately a fallacy and reminds me of my own mortality and insecurity of existence."

Well said DDBerry.

We all like to hang on to the notion that we have control over our lives as long as we can. When we come upon someone whose life was changed in an instant, we freak out because we certainly don't want that to happen to US! And we secretly wonder if they didn't somehow collude with the dead person. I believe there is a stigma of bad luck associated with widow/ers. In fact they might feel that themselves and not want to put themselves out there to have it happen again. The pain is just too much. The old saw,'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger' ignores the fact that it 'almost kills you'!

Folks who start dating within a year of their loss often just want some companionship and a sense of 'normalcy' again.
Not a serious relationship. More like something to break up the monotony of the grief that goes on day after day after day after day till we no longer count the days.
Joined: 3/14/2012
Msg: 10
Is there a stigma associated w recent widowers?
Posted: 6/3/2012 3:29:12 PM
I am ALWAYS leery of it. In fact, I won't date a guy that has been widowed, for the reasons you mentioned. don't judge me!
just a thought - a person is not obligated to tell anyone that their former spouse has gone into the great beyond. I don't care if they're dating or marrying someone new. It's nobody's business, although I realise most people don't think like that. I wouldn't expect a guy to tell me something he doesn't feel comfortable telling me. people are responsible for their own actions, reactions, and feelings in every matter, whether you tell them what they think you should tell them or not
 U make it entertaining
Joined: 7/17/2009
Msg: 11
Is there a stigma associated w recent widowers?
Posted: 8/12/2012 5:20:09 PM
I attended a woman's funeral a couple of days ago.
I've known the couple for 25 years.
When it came time to leave the wake, I spoke to the husband and gave him a hug with my condolences.
They were an amazing couple.
No children.

I have never thought of this man before, except on the way home, after we hugged.
His life will be exceptionally lonely, as there is no one.
I felt a spark of interest, and thought that there may be a fit .... one day.
Not now.
I know that grieving takes time.
A long time.

I wanted to start a new thread,
However, I did a search and found this one.
So this is somewhat on the same topic ...

I KNOW that this man needs time to grieve.
I have known this man for over 25 years, and feel that he would be worth the wait.
What would you suggest.
Joined: 5/20/2012
Msg: 12
Is there a stigma associated w recent widowers?
Posted: 8/12/2012 5:58:13 PM
Widowers seem to get into a new relationship in a shorter time frame than widows do. Sometimes that may be due to the women chasing the widowers. (Not referring to you, there, U make it entertaining - I mean that there will be competition for this guy, much sooner than you expect.)

If you have interest - keep in touch with him - he may be ready to date in six months, or a year, or two years, or longer. If you keep in touch and he doesn't get his head turned by a widower-chaser, you will probably be able to discern his appropriate readiness even better than he can. By that I mean, is he really coming to terms with his loss, or is he just looking for another warm body.

Best wishes to you.
 U make it entertaining
Joined: 7/17/2009
Msg: 13
Is there a stigma associated w recent widowers?
Posted: 8/12/2012 8:06:37 PM
Thanks for the input SCC-SAF and jj3966

The LAST thing I want is to be labeled as is a widow-chaser.
I've heard of it being done, and find it hard to make any type of communication because of that.
He is a really nice soul, and I do feel that I may be a person who he could have a few laughs with.

If you can get past his initial grieving without becoming jealous, you may have a chance.

I have no issue with him discussing his wife.
I have the utmost respect for her, and feel so sad for him.
At this point I have no romantic interest in him, just a genuine concern for him.
And this is a good thing.

He is not a computer person, so I thought I would send him a homemade sympathy card offering to bend my ear anytime he felt like he needed someone to talk to.
There is a 1.5 hour distance between us, so that has to be taken into consideration.

So jj3966, seeing as you do not recall much of the time frame after your husbands passing (and I offer my condolences) should I then send a follow-up a month or 2 later asking how he is doing?

Would this be considered a thoughtful thing to do?
Joined: 5/20/2012
Msg: 14
Is there a stigma associated w recent widowers?
Posted: 8/12/2012 8:44:37 PM
I know you didn't ask me but I will chime in on this one too - That failure to recall is actually almost universally common and is known as "widow's fog". It may last for a year, off and on.

Yes, it would be VERY thoughtful of you to check in every month or two. Especially keep it going after the first couple of months, when everyone else has moved on and forgotten that the loss is still very fresh in his eyes. People will forget about checking in with him and letting him know that they're thinking about your care and concern will be appreciated.

There are a lot of people who think that a widow/er should be "over it" after six months or a year. That's not very realistic. Yesterday (Saturday) was the 12th anniversary of my husband's death and it was the first year where I didn't have any twinges at all. And I've had a couple of great LTRs since he died and really did "get over it"...but, at last, it doesn't hurt.
Joined: 7/25/2012
Msg: 15
Is there a stigma associated w recent widowers?
Posted: 8/13/2012 6:36:22 AM
In my opinion, yes there is. And I've been out with 3 widowers over the years. I didn't know enough before I met the first one to ask the right questions (when did his wife pass away; did they have a good marriage). If I had, I would have found out they had a wonderful marriage and she only passed away 6 months ago. He definitely wasn't ready to move on. The second one, his wife had been gone for about 3 years and they seemed to have a so-so marriage and I found out they'd only been married for a couple of years when she passed away. I went over to his house a couple of weeks after we'd been dating and he'd built a shrine in his living room for her -- complete with pictures and candles! I can't compete with a ghost who'd apparently been elevated to saint status in her passing. So as if I learned nothing from my first two experiences, I met another widower last year and he cried during our entire meeting after showing me pictures of his deceased wife.

Don't get me wrong -- it was very sad. I can't imagine loving someone enough that you literally can't go on with your life without them. I can only hope to experience that sort of love one of these days.

Chances are slim that I'd ever willingly meet another widower due to my past experiences, but I guess we should never say never. It all depends on the circumstances and the person, right?
Joined: 11/3/2012
Msg: 16
Is there a stigma associated w recent widowers?
Posted: 12/12/2012 8:24:56 PM
Very good thread and some very good points made.

I am a recent widower. 8 months in. One point that I would like to make.

After a long relationship, however it ends, either divorce, separation or demise. It is VERY difficult to meet new people. Sure you get invites for dinner, the occasional "set up" for a , "ooooh, Helen is single too" dinner. But in reality you are still half of the show. Your friends mean and want the best for you.........but.

Fortunately for me, although I didn't realize it at the time, two of the guys I work with are either widowed or divorced. Both are level headed and helped me through the worst. The other widower advised me to join this site to break out. I've only been on it a very short period. The good thing is that I come home, log on and can chat to another person. I'm sure some people have been put off by the widower status. It's not the elephant in the room, I can and will talk about it. As one of the posters on this thread said, better to be honest than hide it.

On the flip side, one poster mentioned a shrine to his wife. Hmmmm, that's a good question. Have I changed the house around. No. Will I.........?????? At the end of the day "we" made this house. Yes I burn a candle for my wife every night. The analogy of the desserts was a good one, and made me think.

IF this site manages to at least get you out of your cycle and interested in meeting other people, it has done its job.

Any new relationship is a tightrope walk. Anybody over the age of 21, who has been in a relationship brings baggage with them. Like airports, it all depends on the baggage handlers

Just some thoughts. Feel free to critcise.
Joined: 9/12/2010
Msg: 17
Is there a stigma associated w recent widowers?
Posted: 12/13/2012 12:15:25 PM
I personally took over a year before I thought I was ready to date and went on line...encouraged by my daughter..
I have met some widows and have known of other widowers...some have taken a few more years to mourn and others are out trying to meet others within a few months.

I have dated men about their late wives..imo...If you think of her so often and feel the need to keep bringing up their name or the shouldn't be dating yet.
Mind you...I prefer... someone walking down memory lane to the bitter man blaming everything about his life that is wrong.. on their ex....ugh!
Especially, if it's been several years since the divorce.

I would probably raise a wary eyebrow....if someone that was wanting to date too soon after a loss....
Are you that needy for companionship? I kind of view little to no respect as well...for the deceased wife.
Am I or would I be that easily...replaced?
I also think age is relevant...some people have never been alone their entire life.
Harder on men(I think) in this situation.
Again....all up to the individual person.

The good thing is that I come home, log on and can chat to another person
Joined: 9/17/2011
Msg: 18
Is there a stigma associated w recent widowers?
Posted: 12/13/2012 12:39:58 PM
There is a stigma associated with just about every category on these dating sites.

I just came across the following in a woman's profile:

"Men with kids can't be trusted."
She felt that they could still be having sex with the kids' mom.
Joined: 11/7/2012
Msg: 19
Is there a stigma associated w recent widowers?
Posted: 12/13/2012 4:29:11 PM
Loss is loss, no matter what. I lost a brother two months ago. Thanksgiving was hard. I expect Christmas to be brutal. The men, I have met, I have shared this with, just to let them know that normally, I'm a more fun-loving, happy, upbeat person. This way they get to decide on a second date or whatever. Most are understanding, as most people have issues of some kind. I think my forever guy is on the other side of the grief/loss bridge. Maybe two years from now. Right now, I cry every day, no matter how hard I try to suppress it. I have figured out that it is healthier to move thru the pain. Acting out - drinking or whatever, does nothing to lessen the pain, just numbs it for a little while. Putting one foot in front of another, being kind to myself, extra sleep, working out, eating well(watching the junk food), helps me tremendously. Reaching out to friends when a day is especially hard, all of this helps. Am I ready to be that fabulous woman for a guy, - No, I realize that and they do, too. I have gone on a few dates with guys willing to just be friends or take things slowly, like a snail. Just my two cents.
Joined: 9/22/2012
Msg: 20
Is there a stigma associated w recent widowers?
Posted: 12/14/2012 5:13:40 PM
I would be concerned I would not measure up! How can anyone fill a void so big?
Joined: 11/6/2012
Msg: 21
Is there a stigma associated w recent widowers?
Posted: 2/15/2013 1:46:56 PM
I dated a widower, he was quote young with little ones to raise. I can honestly say I really loved him. She had been dead quite sometime, and he had returned to the are they once lived. I was the 1st woman he dated. He was very good to me, but he often needed to alone. I know he missed her terribly in a weird way so did I ...I am grateful to have been able to love him enough to be supportive of his grief process. I still here from him from time to time....
Joined: 3/23/2012
Msg: 22
Is there a stigma associated w recent widowers?
Posted: 2/16/2013 5:44:38 AM
Widowers stigma? Hell, with the petty crap that is out there, I am sure there is a stigma if you have a hangnail.
Joined: 6/3/2013
Msg: 23
Is there a stigma associated w recent widowers?
Posted: 2/10/2014 4:45:25 PM
Oh I'm supposed to change my status to single, so I don't put people off by being a widow?

Pope…..don't let the negative folks bum u out here …..

And yes, for those if your just freshly broken up, separated, divorced,widow,widower, etc that would be a 'red flag" till the dust has settled….. before looking to stop the bleeding with a another .

As the only stigma is those who don't rush back in before the healing etc is first done…..

Popengena u will do fine……as a very good… and better….and even a…. best catch……

I just get the feeling it won't be through this site.

Yes the grieving is……..etc,etc is over…..

I just got that feeling too….. as u are one of the 'good ones'….and much success in your next chapters of life…….good luck
Joined: 2/14/2010
Msg: 24
Is there a stigma associated w recent widowers?
Posted: 2/10/2014 6:58:03 PM
I grew up in a neighborhood with a lot of Italian immigrant families, and one thing that really stood out to me at the time is I saw quite a few old women who were dressed totally in black. I later found out that they are widows and the tradition was to dress totally in black to let people know they are widows-like some kind of widow uniform. I never understood the reasoning behind this. Even the Italian kids I hung around with at the time didn't understand the reasoning behind it, other than it was tradition. Even now, I will occasionally see an old woman who is dressed totally in black and know she is showing her widowhood. But if an Italian guy dressed totally in black, it would look like he was auditioning for a job in the Mafia.
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