Monday, December 22, 2008

Dating a Widower at Christmas

Hi Terry,

I am one of your readers who's come across a tough dating issue.

I am single. I met a man 18 years older than me. His wife just passed away less than one year ago. We seemed to be getting along well, dating, taking dance lessons twice a week, and occasionally having sex.

Recently, his attitude suddenly changed. He wrote me an email, which I'd like you to help me understand. Is there any hidden meaning here? Should we stop dating? Or is it just a song?

Here are the contents of the email:

"(As the song goes....Que Sera Sera.....Whatever Will Be Will Be......who are we to choose ?...... that is something for GOD to decide and I don't think anyone can interfere.......)."

Thank you very much in advance.


Hello, C.-

Usually, it takes more than a couple of months to get over the death of a spouse, so I'm going to guess that your dance partner hit the ballroom before he was emotionally ready to do so.

Sometimes after a person's spouse dies, well-meaning friends advise them to "get out there" and "keep busy" before they've had a chance to process the loss. I'm not a bereavement counselor, but I do know that after my mother died, my father and the rest of us had a rough time facing that first year of birthdays and holidays without her.

So, here we are a couple of days before Christmas, and your friend's attitude has suddenly changed. He and his wife used to spend Christmas together, and he will wake up this year without her. The emotions he'd been suppressing by "getting out there" are coming to a head.

That's not to say I like the "Que Sera" email. Whatever will be will be, and while the future is not ours to see, you certainly have the right to choose whether or not you will continue to be this man's dance partner.

I don't know whether he wants to stop dating. I don't know if he even knows. I do know that it usually takes more than a few months to get over the death of a spouse (I'm repeating myself, but this is important).

If I were you, I'd treat this man kindly, but I wouldn't let him call the shots. You might meet him for fewer dance lessons (or none at all). You might keep your options open and date other people.

I would definitely cut out the sex.

It appears he's asking for space, so by all means give it to him. But give yourself the love, care, and consideration you deserve. Treat yourself as a treasure that's yet to be discovered.

He's taking care of himself. Please take care of yourself.