Getting swept up in the excitement of a new relationship is hard to avoid – and who wants to, it feels great!
But the biggest issue is that it’s hard to think clearly and take notice of warning signs and red flags that indicate things might not be so rosy when a relationship is new.
In addition to this, dating a widower comes with its own challenges and potential issues.
To help you see through the fog of romance, here are 15 warning signs dating a widower you need to be aware of:
15 Warning Signs Dating a Widower
1. They’re Still Grieving
Grief affects people in many different ways and it’s not always easy to tell if someone is still grieving and how badly it’s affecting them.
However, if you’re dating a widower, it’s important to be aware that they may still be grieving and this could impact your relationship.
Look for signs like them being withdrawn, not wanting to talk about their late spouse, or seeming distant and emotionally unavailable.
One of the biggest red flags when dating a widower are signs that they’re not ready for a new relationship, even if they think they are.
Related – How to handle feelings of insecurity when dating a widower.
2. They Don’t Want to Talk to Anyone About It
This goes hand-in-hand with grieving and dealing with the whole process.
Your partner may not want to talk about their previous relationship or spouse with anyone, including you.
This may work for some, but more often than not it’s only going to cause problems in the relationship.
3. They Compare You to Their Deceased Partner
This is a big one. If your partner is constantly comparing you to their deceased spouse, it’s a sign that they’re not over them yet.
In addition to this, I’m sure you’ll agree that it doesn’t feel good, and it’s only going to make you feel like you’re second best.
4. They Won’t Let You Get Close to Them
If you find that your partner is constantly pushing you away or keeping you at a distance, it’s another warning sign that they’re not ready for a new relationship.
It’s possible that they were never the type of person to open up, but without an emotional connection, you’re never going to have a close relationship.
5. They Feel Guilty About Dating
There’s a lot of societal pressure on widowers to stay single and not date again, at least for a certain period of time.
If your partner is feeling guilty about dating again, it’s going to impact your relationship.
They may feel like they’re betraying their late spouse or even like they’re not being faithful to them.
It’s a red flag to look for as it means they’re going to find it difficult to be fully committed to you.
6. Their Children Are Not Accepting of You
If your partner has children from their previous relationship, it’s important to take into account how they feel about you.
If their children are not accepting of you, it’s going to make things difficult and put a strain on your relationship.
This is the case with any relationship, but obviously, there are additional challenges with them losing a parent.
7. They Rush Things with You
Some widowers take things slowly, but some will want to rush things with their new partner and this is a warning sign to look out for.
They may feel like they need to replace their partner or the love they felt as a way of burying the pain, or they might just be in need of company.
Whatever the reason, you shouldn’t rush into a relationship with anyone, especially not a widower.
8. They’re Burying Themselves in Work or Some Passion Project
If you’re dating a widower and can see that they’ve been spending a lot of time working or on some kind of project since their loss, it’s a sign they’re trying to take their mind off things.
This is often a way for people to deal with grief, but it’s not a healthy way to cope and can lead to problems in your relationship.
You’ll get to the point where you want more from them and they’ll eventually hit the point where they need to face their feelings.
Related – Common relationship problems you might experience dating a widower.
9. They Try and Change You
When someone you’re dating tries to change you it’s always a red flag and something you shouldn’t just pass off as a ‘quirk’.
When dating a widower, in some cases it’s going to be that they want you to take on the role of their late spouse or be like them in some way.
Even if it’s nothing to do with their late partner, it’s a sign of controlling behavior that should not be tolerated.
10. They Have Trust Issues
It’s not uncommon for widowers to have trust issues, especially if their late spouse passed suddenly or in an unexpected way.
They may have trouble trusting you, or they may be afraid that you’re going to ‘leave’ them as their late spouse did.
Either way, it’s a warning sign to be aware of and something you need to be aware of.
You’ll need to work on trust if you’re going to make the relationship work.
11. They’re Constantly Afraid of Losing You
If your partner is always asking you where you are, who you’re with, or what you’re doing, it might be a sign they’re afraid of losing you.
It can be a sign of possessiveness or insecurity, and it’s something you need to address early on.
It’s not uncommon for widowers to develop attachment issues, so it’s something you need to be aware of.
12. You’re Doing All of The Chasing
Widower or not, it never feels good to be the one constantly doing the chasing in a relationship.
If you’re always the one initiating contact, making plans, or trying to get them to open up, it’s not a good sign.
You – or they – may pass this off due to them being widowed, but whatever the reason it’s something to pay attention to.
13. They Disappear for Days at A Time or Longer
If your partner suddenly disappears for days or weeks at a time, it’s definitely a red flag you should pay attention to.
It could be that they’re struggling to deal with their grief and need some time alone, but it could also be a sign that they’re not ready for a relationship.
Either way, you shouldn’t have to put up with this or pass it off as a way they’re dealing with their grief.
You’re in this relationship too and deserve to be treated with respect.
14. Their Friends and Family Aren’t Welcoming to You
If you’re dating a widower and their friends or family don’t seem to be welcoming to you, it’s going to put some additional strain on your relationship.
They should warm to you over time, but it might be a sign that everyone needs longer to come to terms with you entering their life.
15. Their Behavior Is Erratic and Out of Character
When someone’s behavior is erratic and out of character it’s definitely a red flag you should pay attention to.
This can be especially true when dating a widower.
They may be all over the place emotionally, which can make it difficult to have a stable relationship.
You need to be patient and understanding, but you also need to make sure you’re taking care of yourself too.
Related – Can our partners really see us from heaven?
How Soon Is Too Soon for A Widower to Date?
The passing of a spouse or loved one is one of the most difficult life experiences to go through.
And when it comes to dating, it can be even more challenging.
So, how soon is too soon for a widower to date?
The answer will vary depending on the person and their unique circumstances.
Some may be ready to date soon after their spouse’s passing, while others may need months, even years to grieve and heal.
There is no ‘right’ answer, but if you’re thinking about dating a widower it’s important to have an honest conversation with them about their grieving process.
This will help you both decide if it’s something you’re ready to take on.
It really comes down to communication, and if they’re not ready to discuss this it’s a sign that they’re not ready for a new relationship.
How Do You Know if A Widower Is Serious About You?
When dating a widower it’s important to take things slow and give them the time they need to heal and grieve.
But you can still look for all the same signs that they’re serious about you as you would when dating anyone.
Some things to look for include:
- They introduce you to their friends and family
- They make an effort to spend time with you
- They include you in their plans
- They make an effort to get to know you and your interests
- They’re open and honest about their feelings
- They’re patient and understanding
- They take things slow
If you’re dating a widower and they check all of these boxes then it’s a good sign they’re serious about you.
Of course, only they can decide if they’re ready for a new relationship, but if they’re showing all of these signs it’s a good indication they are.
Dating a widower can be challenging, but if you go into it with your eyes open and honest communication it can be a rewarding experience!
Image credits – depositphotos.com/stock-photo-close-up-of-happy-senior
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.