Finding Love After 50

Widower and widow dating. How long to wait? Author and columnist Tom Blake provides dating information and advice for widowers, widows, divorced men, divorced women, middle-aged singles boomer singles and senior singles who are dating again and hope to meet a mate.



Widower and widow dating.
2004 by Tom Blake

Widower and Widow Dating. How long to wait?

For The Register's South County Weekly Newspapers

April 22, 2004

After the loss of a spouse, how long should widowers and widows wait before dating? Shell, 47, Dover, Ohio, a widow of four years, e-mailed: "I've been dating a 52-year-old widower of only one year. His children -- ages 24 and 21 -- still live at home and there are pictures everywhere of his wife. In the bedroom there is a giant picture of he and his wife on their wedding day. Plus, on her side of the bed, the night stand is like this little shrine that has been set up."

Shell enjoys the widower but is concerned because he wants her to move in. She says she's not jealous but adds: "I just don't want to live with a ghost."

Marcia, Laguna Beach, says, "How can Shell even consider moving in? The outcome is predictable. The man is not done grieving and the children who are still at home will resent her, and especially will resent any changes she tries to make to their mother's home."

 Lauren, Rosyln, N.Y., wrote, "I shall stay away from a widower if it has been under four years since the passing of his loved one."

Lauren dated a widower of two years. "He wanted everything in the beginning, was moving very fast, and then it all fell apart as he went back to grieving her. He would come out of it now and then, but had his moments especially on holidays and birthdays."

Roger, Huntington Beach, a widower, disagrees with Lauren's four-year rule: "Yes, widows and widowers need time to grieve. Realistically, you'll grieve the rest of your life. I started dating five months after my wife's death. Three months later, I met a beautiful woman with whom I've been in a relationship for over nine months. Lauren's timetable is rigid and unfair. She may be missing out on men who are ready to move on with their life but haven't fit into her required grieving period.

"My wife's memory will always be with me. I remember the good times far more than the bad, but having a shrine, or a lot of pictures and memorabilia around isn't healthy either.

"Every circumstance is different. We all have to go on with our lives. My wife's death made me appreciate life even more. Our time on Earth is so short and precious nobody should waste it."

Dr. M.P. Wylie, Irvine, a relationship expert, said, "I have a friend who married a widower of two years. He waited one year after his wife died before asking her out and they married a year later on the anniversary of their first date.

"They moved into his home and redecorated the master bedroom with a new style and furniture. He added on an office/quilting room for her. They've been happily married for two years, traveling the world, playing golf and have a great time."

How long should widows or widowers wait to date? As Roger stated, every situation is different. People need time to grieve and heal before trying to bring a new person into their lives. How long depends on the circumstances.

Weekly comments

A new "Journey to Love" 10-session class begins in Irvine today. Contact Dr. Mary Pat Wylie at 725-3366 or sign up at

Kathy, 59, widow, Las Vegas: "Being by yourself is lonely as hell. It's hard to meet anyone nice in Las Vegas. Most of the men my age are into the swinging lifestyle. I have told many guys that HIV is on the upswing with seniors, they don't seem to care."
Response: You're wise to avoid the players.

Linda, Orange County: "I've done Internet dating. The 'scientifically' matched men didn't even bother to contact me. The men that did were 'scary' and usually much older."
Response: Internet dating has a significant downside.

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