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Author: ellaluna Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 274  
Subject: Dating Advice Date: 8/2/2004 11:56 PM
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Yesterday, I posted this question about dating a widowed man on the Single Fools board:

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=21099818

I got some interesting responses but I think I need another perspective.

Here's a summary:

About a month ago I met a 42-year-old man (I'm 31) within the context of a social club. We hit it off right away, and he told me that his wife died three months ago after a long battle with cancer and that he isn't dating yet. We have become friends over the last month and have started hanging out with other people in the club.

Last week, after a party at my home, we ended up kissing. A lot of really lovely kissing. Then he told me that as much as he wanted to stay, his head was still pretty messed up and he couldn't. I told him that I understood, that he would always love his wife and it's ok that he's not ready yet, and that I want to be his friend, that my life is good, and that I'm not in a big hurry to get into a relationship. He told me that I am an amazing lady (as my heart melted) and that he's glad he knows me.

I'm crazy about him, but I mean it when I say that I'm not in a hurry. I know he needs time to grieve, and I know that only he will know when he is ready to date.

My big question is, what do I do in the meantime? I care about him a great deal and would like to be as supportive and understanding as I can be, but I want to make sure he doesn't feel pressured. I also want him to feel comfortable to talk about his wife and his grief if he wants to.

At the same time, I don't want MY heart to be broken, because I do really like him, more than I've liked anyone I've met in years. I don't want to be his rebound girl but I am very attracted to him and would be ready to enter, however tentatively, into a more intimate relationship with him when or if he's ready.

I hope this is an appropriate forum for this question, and that I haven't hurt or offended anyone. Thanks.

ellaluna
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Author: abbagirl Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 112 of 274
Subject: Re: Dating Advice Date: 8/3/2004 12:06 AM
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My big question is, what do I do in the meantime? I care about him a great deal and would like to be as supportive and understanding as I can be, but I want to make sure he doesn't feel pressured. I also want him to feel comfortable to talk about his wife and his grief if he wants to.

You sound as though you have exactly the right attitude about starting this relationship. Make sure that you say to him exactly what you've expressed here. It will take the pressure off.

It's a pretty well-known fact that, for whatever reason, most men are quicker about establishing a new relationship after they're widowed than women do, especially if they've had a good relationship with their spouse. Just go slowly, establish a really good friendship, and then take it a day at a time. And good luck to you.

Also, you might visit this site, to get a perspective on widow/er hood.There's lots of info there that might be of help to you.


http://www.fortnet.org/WidowNet/

Abba


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Author: GrandpaRalph Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 113 of 274
Subject: Re: Dating Advice Date: 8/3/2004 8:07 AM
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Hi ellaluna,

I am in a similar place in my life as your friend, though I am a bit older at 55. My wife died almost 5 months ago of pancreatic cancer, and we too lived with that reality for a few years.

I'm not sure what type of "social club" you met at, but if he is going there to meet people, he must have at least said to himself that he is ready to start socializing. Which may or may not be the first step toward dating and a more serious relationship. I have started struggling with the thought of doing something along those lines, but haven't yet. Our church has a monthly meeting of widows/widowers which they expressly say is for people "ready to start socializing" again. Seems like a safe place to start, but I'm just not ready yet.

I read the whole thread on the singles board, and perhaps missed it, but did not see any mention of children. Does he have any? How about his wife's family (parents, brothers, sisters). Depending on the specific situation, he may also be thinking of them and their reaction. When I'm ready, (and I hope to be some day), I intend to discuss my "readiness" with my children first, and my mother-in-law second. Not that they will get a "vote", but out of respect for how they may feel, and to give them an opportunity to discuss their feelings, and to make sure I get a chance to express mine. I have an excellent (even loving) relationship with my in-laws, and given the right discussion, would not anticipate a problem. On the other hand, since my wife was an only child and I now stand to inherit a pretty sizable chunk of change from her parents, I have to recognize that they do in fact have a "financial" vote of sorts. I doubt they would want any newcomers or newcomers children laying a claim to what they had always hoped would go to their daughter and her family eventually.

Overall, based on what I read here and on the other board, you seem from my perspective to be giving your friend the space he needs, while leaving the door open. I suspect "dating" someone is going to be very uncomfortable for me, if and when it ever happens. I was married and faithful to my wife for 33+ years. Reasonable or not, I would still feel like I'm cheating on her at this point. I hope that will change, because I really don't look forward to growing old alone. I hate being alone.

Good luck, and please let us know how it works out.

Ralph



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Author: AlisonWonderland Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 114 of 274
Subject: Re: Dating Advice Date: 8/3/2004 8:39 AM
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I hope that will change, because I really don't look forward to growing old alone. I hate being alone.

My mother had had Alzheimer's, probably for a dozen years. In her last years, my father was very lonely, although he didn't really say much about it, but I know it was difficult. My mother died in April and by June, he was dating. As a matter of fact, he was pursued, otherwise the dating might not have happened so quickly. We joked that there were quite a number of women interested in a reasonably attractive and mobile 70-something year old man. He said, at one point, it was nice having someone with whom to share things or have someone with whom to hold hands. My brothers and I had no problems with his dating. We'd all rather that he's happy and occupied with his own life. He and my stepmother have been married about 7 years now, and it's great.

~~ Alison

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Author: GrandpaRalph Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 115 of 274
Subject: Re: Dating Advice Date: 8/3/2004 12:15 PM
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Alison,

We joked that there were quite a number of women interested in a reasonably attractive and mobile 70-something year old man.

My father and his 4 brothers all lived into their 90's (two of his brothers are still alive), all outlived their first wives, and all but my dad remarried. My brothers and I also joked about some of the women openly flirting with my dad in his early 90's, but he would have been quite a prize, I suppose. He was not only reasonably attractive (didn't look a day over 78, and unlike me, still had a full head of hair), but was also very mobile, including a driver's license. He just never found the right one I guess.

Glad to hear you and your brothers were OK with your dad's decisions, and that he too has found someone to share his life with.

Ralph



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Author: ellaluna Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 116 of 274
Subject: Re: Dating Advice Date: 8/3/2004 2:04 PM
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I read the whole thread on the singles board, and perhaps missed it, but did not see any mention of children. Does he have any? How about his wife's family

No, they never had any children. It wasn't possible because they were more worried about treating her. His wife's family was difficult when she was alive and did not offer support to him or her while she was undergoing treatment. Now that she is gone, he has no desire to continue a relationship with them, as they have been even less supportive since her death.

I suspect "dating" someone is going to be very uncomfortable for me, if and when it ever happens. I was married and faithful to my wife for 33+ years. Reasonable or not, I would still feel like I'm cheating on her at this point. I hope that will change, because I really don't look forward to growing old alone. I hate being alone.


I was reading about dating a widow last night, and one of the things that hit me pretty hard is that every step is difficult. I think the phrase used was "fits and starts". I think that no matter how ready you think you are, no matter how long it has been, there are still going to be emotions that come up. I am trying to recognize that and separate my own insecurities from the emotions he is going through right now.

It was a good article, here's the link if you want to read it:

http://www.authorsden.com/visit/viewarticle.asp?AuthorID=6783&id=10858

Thanks Ralph. I appreciate your thoughts.

ellaluna

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Author: GrandpaRalph Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 117 of 274
Subject: Re: Dating Advice Date: 8/3/2004 5:52 PM
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ellaluna,

That was indeed a very good article.

I did some googling using various "Dating a Widow" phrases, to see if anything equivalent for women existed, but could not come up with much more than message board content. If the situation is really different for women compared to men as it concerns dating after being widowed, I'd sure like to understand those differences. For reasons I never even thought twice about, I had already pre-decided that if I was ever to start seeing somebody again, they would most likely be a widow. I guess I assumed that would put us on a level playing field. Perhaps that is not the case. And then of course there is always the nagging question with divorced women of "what went wrong, and whose fault was it?"

Ralph

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Author: ellaluna Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 118 of 274
Subject: Re: Dating Advice Date: 8/3/2004 6:26 PM
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For reasons I never even thought twice about, I had already pre-decided that if I was ever to start seeing somebody again, they would most likely be a widow. I guess I assumed that would put us on a level playing field. Perhaps that is not the case. And then of course there is always the nagging question with divorced women of "what went wrong, and whose fault was it?"


I know what you mean. I've just started dating again (after a four-year relationship ended) and I've been using Match.com. I, too, couldn't see myself with someone divorced, for the same reason you mentioned. And I had left "widowed" out of my preferences because I ignorantly assumed that I wouldn't want to date someone "old enough" to be widowed.

After I met this man (before I thought he would possibly ever be interested in me) I had to go back to my profile and change EVERYTHING. I never thought I would have so much in common with a widowed man over ten years older than me. It really blew apart a ot of my preconceived notions of what was involved with love.

Sometimes I feel sort of sad, that I couldn't meet someone like him who hasn't gone through the pain and grief of losing a wife. But then I realized that so much of who he is today was shaped by the last twenty years he spent with her, and I felt profoundly grateful to her.

It sounds corny, but after he left my house the other night, I stood there in my living room talking to her out loud, thanking her for loving him and promising her that whatever happened I would treat him well.

Sorry, I'm babbling on. It is interesting and strange that there is so little information available on this topic.

ellaluna



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Author: abbagirl Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 119 of 274
Subject: Re: Dating Advice Date: 8/3/2004 6:59 PM
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It sounds corny, but after he left my house the other night, I stood there in my living room talking to her out loud, thanking her for loving him and promising her that whatever happened I would treat him well.

Wow. Sounds to me as though you have a great start on what might turn out to be just a fabulous relationship. Doesn't sound the least bit corny, to me.

Abba


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Author: GrandpaRalph Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 120 of 274
Subject: Re: Dating Advice Date: 8/3/2004 8:55 PM
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ellaluna,

It sounds corny, but after he left my house the other night, I stood there in my living room talking to her out loud, thanking her for loving him and promising her that whatever happened I would treat him well.

Sorry, I'm babbling on. It is interesting and strange that there is so little information available on this topic.


You obviously haven't read many of my past posts here, or you would know that talking out loud to the dead isn't something that sounds all that corny to me.

(I recall feeling silly at one point, but not corny.)

Please feel free to continue "babbling". But I don't think anyone here thinks that's what it is.

Ralph




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Author: ellaluna Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 121 of 274
Subject: Re: Dating Advice Date: 8/4/2004 3:04 PM
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You obviously haven't read many of my past posts here, or you would know that talking out loud to the dead isn't something that sounds all that corny to me.

(I recall feeling silly at one point, but not corny.)

Please feel free to continue "babbling". But I don't think anyone here thinks that's what it is.

Ralph


You are right. I think I just feel a little silly because I never met her. But I did feel like she was listening.

I saw him again last night. We've definitely stepped it back a bit. I think we both need to go a lot slower. I'm happy with that. I need to get to know him better, and vice versa. I'm glad he feels like he can talk to me.

I see him hesitating a bit--he doesn't want to be a burden, as if he ever could. But with a little prodding, the floodgates open. He really spent the first few months after she died in his house. Now I think he's feeling lonely, and needs human contact. I think we are both lucky that we are hanging out with a very cool group of people at the club.

I'm really glad you guys are here. I hope I can give back as much as you've given me.

Thanks,

ellaluna

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Author: SisypheanFool Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Motley Fool One Everlasting Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 124 of 274
Subject: Re: Dating Advice Date: 8/6/2004 5:16 AM
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Yesterday, I posted this question about dating a widowed man on the Single Fools board:

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=21099818

I got some interesting responses but I think I need another perspective.


I lurk the Single's board and was tempted to decloak to respond to you, but I just don't feel comfortable to be posting on it. Though I love some of the repartee that goes on there.

Having just discovered that this board got dropped from my Fav's, I'm just getting caught up. I'm glad to see you over here in a place where I don't hesitate to give you some feedback. It's pretty late, so I'm not sure if I can hang long enough to get all my thoughts typed out. But I'll get started and circle back to finish it later.
I think you're limited to Ralph and myself for getting any feedback from a widower's perspective. So fire away with any questions that you may have about my experiences - you'll find that there's no subject area that's taboo with me (i.e. I'm a nutcase and ain't ashamed of it).

Quick comment, my observation is the opposite of Abbagirl's regarding widows vs. widowers based on the group I was involved with. I'll expound on that another time as I'm curious on Abbagirl's experience.
Not that this aspect has any direct bearing on the matter at hand for you, other than that there doesn't necessarily have to be a rebound girl for him.

Since your brain's radar got a couple of blips out that were audible over your heart strings is something to heed. I'll back Abbagirl's suggestion on how to proceed.
I didn't pick up on how long he's been widowed, but bear in mind that the 1st year of widowhood is not only the grieving process of going through the 1st's of everything alone (the build-up leading into the dates were always worse than the day itself for me), but some pretty substantial redefinition of myself away from a role that I assumed would be continuing for a few more decades. This is something that is multidimensional beyond just my role as husband and father. Hell, I'm 5 years down the road and I'm still being redefined in some respects.

One thing you really need to answer for yourself is if you're secure enough with yourself to understand that he will have periods of grieving that has nothing to do with the (potential) relationship you share with him. The two of you need to be communicative enough to convey this to each other, else these will be met as landmine after landmine which will doom your relationship.
Any love that he has for his wife is unique from that which he will develop for you. His retention of this love for her does not diminish his capacity to love you, though I suspect that it will feel like you're living with a ghost at times.
For all the depth of love I have for my wife, I'm not looking for a clone as a replacement. So despite the assumption, any potential mate isn't measured by how she compares to Holly, but to what I'm looking for in a partner as the person I am today.

My only attempt at a relationship was after 3 years as a widower and this understanding was the breaking point of that relationship as a couple. We're still friends and were friends for over 20 years before we tried this.
It's too late for me to expound on this enough right now. But let me leave it at her not being a rebound by any stretch. I'd love to try to pick this up again when we're in better proximity to work through things better.
Snapshot: I was working on finding a job to relocate up to Seattle near her before the economy and job market took a dump. So we quit trying to work through things as it would be lunacy to try while over 1,000 miles apart.

Anyway, I gotta get some shuteye lest I be a total ogre when the kiddies wake up.


Hope this helps some,
Keith


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Author: ellaluna Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 125 of 274
Subject: Re: Dating Advice Date: 8/6/2004 1:01 PM
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Wow, Keith, thank you so much for your response. you have given me a lot to think about.

So fire away with any questions that you may have about my experiences - you'll find that there's no subject area that's taboo with me (i.e. I'm a nutcase and ain't ashamed of it).

I definitely will. This is completely unexpected and foreign territory for me, although I do feel strangely prepared for it in many ways. More on that later.

there doesn't necessarily have to be a rebound girl for him.

This is good to know, at least for me. As I've thought about it, I've realized that we are in each others lives at this time and place for a reason. I can't pretend I'm not infatuated with him right now, nor can I try to force something to happen or not. I need to accept that we are drawn to each other and not worry so much about what may happen, while proceeding with reason.

One thing you really need to answer for yourself is if you're secure enough with yourself to understand that he will have periods of grieving that has nothing to do with the (potential) relationship you share with him. The two of you need to be communicative enough to convey this to each other, else these will be met as landmine after landmine which will doom your relationship.


Well, yes and no. Interestingly, I am in a very comfortable place in my life right now in terms of accepting who I am and what my inherent value is. I'm still terrifically insecure at times, but I have also worked long and hard at my communication skills. The more I talk to him about her, the more I realize how different she and I are, and the less "competition" I feel. I think dealing with her cancer over the last thirteen years and certainly shaped who he is as a man today, and that man is the one I know and am learning to care about.

I also think that the man he is today is a different man than the one who married her--not that either of us is better or worse for him, just that he is where he is. He's exploring things he was never able to and I think a big part of that is him trying to rediscover who he is; perhaps feeling lost in that he is no longer able to define himself as part of a couple, and trying to do activities that they didn't share as a couple in order not to miss her so much.

Yikes, I do go on. Can you tell I think about this a lot? I'm sure I will be back here often. As I said, we are taking this very slowly. There's a part of me that wants to rush headlong into this, but even as much as I know that he's not ready, I know I'm not ready either. I, too, am in the process of redefining myself and it's interesting and exciting to have a friend like him to explore this with.

Thanks again,

kelly marie









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