When is it okay to introduce a widower to a woman to date... three or six months?
Our friend’s wife died suddenly very soon after a cancer diagnosis (four weeks). He was devastated as were their two children.
Our friend’s early-50s, has a good job, and most of the household was looked after by his late wife who worked part-time.
My husband and I had a couple of quiet dinners with him at our place, and he talked all night about her and their life from when they first met.
We’re wondering how to help him socially.
It’s almost three months since this terrible loss and we’re the only people he’s seen, outside his work, since the funeral.
Should we invite him to a small gathering at our place or at a restaurant? We have a couple of single-women friends for him to meet – one who’s divorced, another who’s been a widow for six years and dates.
We just want to help him find companionship. But we don’t want to offend him. We loved his late wife, and miss her. But we think she’d want him to feel free to meet women and have a normal social life.
A Widower’s Friends
Slow Down. You’ve already been very supportive by staying close to him, and letting him air his memories.
But there’s a line that should not be crossed regarding grief: There’s no one-timespan-fits-all for moving on from a loss.
If you start talking about his meeting other women before he’s comfortable with hearing it, it could cause him to turn his grief feelings into anger at you.
If he’s easily tearful, seeing few friends besides you, mostly talking only about his late wife and their past, he may need professional help from grief counselling far more than “socializing.”
You may try to gently suggest he seek that help…. but stay clear of any talk about his dating or meeting women unless he’s the one who raises it.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the woman who’s pregnant with another man's child as a result of her committing adultery, wondering whether to tell her husband (June 23):
“You said the husband might have the character, integrity and understanding to raise the child in a loving home.
“I say, his NOT wanting to raise another man's child does NOT mean he doesn't have strength of character. It shows he DOES have integrity, and strength to not be shanghaied into raising another man's child.
“I couldn't help but think: Would you say the same thing if the husband had sought solace in another woman’s arms, she ended up pregnant, and he wanted his wife to raise the child as her own? Would you say she lacked strength of character and integrity if she refused?”
I would say that it shows fine character and integrity on the part of any woman or man, who decides to raise an innocent child conceived “unintentionally” when a partner cheated.
You forgot to mention that I also said she must tell her husband the truth, immediately. And that both she and her husband must find the integrity, responsibility and compassion to make sure the child’s raised in a loving home, whether theirs or another, through adoption.
Also, I wrote, “if he’s all that (she) described of her husband, he may have the character that allows him to raise this child with you as a loving father.”
I understand that wouldn’t be your choice.
FEEDBACK Regarding the man, 80, dreaming about meeting a younger woman, then awakened anxious/confused about the possibilities of gay sex (January 7):
Reader – “I so appreciated your response to the fellow lost in a “never-gonna-happen” fantasy about a threesome.
“As an "older person" myself I felt a momentary pang of sympathy for this lonely soul. But your brisk answer was so forthright, so dead-on, so true, that I cheered.
“We have to worry about the REAL stuff now - human rights and our planet, gun control and voting rights, racial justice and reproductive rights.
“We can't afford to get lost in our go-nowhere self-concerns. Thank you, for not just telling it like it is, but as it must be!”
Ellie – I feel strongly that we need to put aside minor quibbles and stand up on behalf of a safer future. We especially need seniors to support moves toward a better, healthier world for their grandchildren and great-grandkids.
Tip of the day:
People who get mired in the deep sorrow of a loss, should consider getting grief counseling.