Dating a widower...

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2009
Dating a widower...
Mon, 06-23-2014 - 7:16pm

I've been dating a widower for about 2 months.  He has kids, so we see each other only once a week, and have been sleeping together for about a month.  The problem is, we are still not exclusive.  His wife died about a year ago and I am really the only person he's dated since then so he feels like he needs to see more of what's out there.  I also think generally he is not ready to be in a full-on relationship, he has a lot on his plate and everything is still very fresh.

It's hard because I understand and agree with his reasoning, but we just don't know when he is going to figure everything out.  I feel like my feelings are kind of on pause (seeing each other once a week is also not enough!).  Also, for all his talk, he hasn't gotten very far with the dating other women thing because he doesn't have time to!

He's a great guy and I have had a really hard time finding men I enjoy spending time with.  I feel like he is definitely what I am looking for, so I don't want to just set him free.  I am just afraid I've met him too early in his process.

How long do you think it's reasonable to be with someone and not be exclusive?  Should I continue to date other people?  I haven't been because although he's looking for other women, I think trying to focus on more than one man at a time is not fair to anybody.  But I'm going a little crazy so maybe I should.  Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Mon, 06-23-2014 - 9:35pm

IMHO, jumping into bed with someone after just a month, which, according to you, was only 4 actual dates, is inappropriate and unwise, especially if one is looking for a long-term, meaningfull relationship.  It is also not wise to sleep with a recent widower, AND someone who openly states he is looking for other partners.   Expecting exclusivity after only 8 dates, even if you are providing him with sex, is also ridiculous.  

Back off.  Tell him you have reconsidered the booty call, and it was a mistake.  If he wants to continue to see you, fine, but you need to allow him to grieve, attend to his children, explore his options, AND you both need to respect one another.   That means learning about each other WITHOUT sex clouding the picture.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Tue, 06-24-2014 - 11:23am

If someone told me that he was "keeping his options open" or "I have to see what is out there," that would mean to me that the guy is not ready for a relationship.  I know that some people can have sex under those circumstances but for me it would be difficult to wonder if the guy was having sex with other women as well.  I think if I was going to date someoen casually (which is basically what this is) I probably would not be having sex with him, as difficult as that would be for me.  But I think that having sex tends to make you feel like you should be more attached to the person.

I definitely think that you should date other men--first of all, what's good for him is good for you.  Remember that saying--don't make someone a priority where he is only making you an option.  Basically what he's doing is kind of insulting to you, although at least he's being honest that he's not ready to be in a committed relationship.  so if that's what you are after, this is probably not the guy for you.  If he's a nice guy and you enjoy spending some time with him, going out to dinner or the movies, then fine, keep doing that, but you have to be kind of arm's length here.  If he hears that you are dating other men as well, then he might have second thoughts about whether he wants to find someone else also if thinks you are great and he fears losing you.  If he doesn't seem to mind, then you also know that he's not that serious.

I have to disagree with Sabrtooth about 8 dates not being enough time to be exclusive.  I have been married twice and with both of those guys, we were exclusive right away--I don't think we ever even had a discussion about it because we didn't have to--when you meet someone you really click with, then you just don't want to date anyone else.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-25-2013
Tue, 06-24-2014 - 11:32am

Believe me. I know how frustrating it is to find someone who is handsome, intelligent, fun to be with, and someone you could imagine trying to make a long term thing with--but he doesn't have the same dating goals as you. I've been there. I made that call at about the same time frame as you're in at the moment. I broke up with that guy, and know that I made the right decision. People need to date a person with the same dating goals. If both people like to date others and it takes them a long time to decide to be exclusive with someone, that's okay for them. There is no right or wrong. It's not my style and I choose not to be with someone with opposing dating goals. I think you're similar to me. You have great chemistry with someone and enjoy their company, and want to be exclusive to see if it can go for the long haul. There's nothing wrong with that. Breaking up with the no commitment guy freed me to be single when my future husband came along.

On our first date, he asked me out for the next night. Thereon, he called me daily and set up dates with me 2 or 3 days a week. We decided by the 3rd date to be exclusive, and now we've been together 5 years and married for 3. We were on the same page in our dating goals and how we did things felt right for us. 

I recommend you stop dating him and move on. If you stayed and waited until he's ready to be exclusive, it may not be with you. All this time, you'd be giving him sex which is what he wants, without the daily effort and exclusivity that you want. This is your life and you need to do what's best for you. If he doesn't worry about you being snapped up by someone else when you're both free to date other, then frankly, he's just not that in to you. If you are having trouble meeting men, try to spread your net wide. Keep on striving for a man who meets ALL of your needs and hopefully you will be successful. I went through a lot of frustrating and upsetting dating experiences before finding a good man. You can do it too. Good luck.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-24-2014
Tue, 06-24-2014 - 2:08pm

I'm a widow and I wasn't ready to date that soon after my husband's passing.  Yes, everyone grieves in theri own way, but he may not be as ready as he thinks he is. Hence the reason he's "still looking".   Also, he still has children at home. Where are they at in the grieving process? That will impact how he handles dating too.

As another poster stated, he obviously has different dating goals than you do.  I think too much has happened too fast.  I would back off and explore other dates too.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-29-2010
Thu, 06-26-2014 - 2:31am

I think you should date other people because he is not ready for a commitment or even to be exclusive. It may be a long time before he is ready, and then you don't know if he will decide that its you that he wants to be with. Then there is the issue of his kids, you didn't say how old they are but they will come first for a long time and that may influence how serious he will get with any woman. You can try to stay friends or keep some kind of connection with him if you really feel like he is Mr Right at the Wrong Time but that might result in heartbreak if he chooses somebody else. Sometimes things are just not meant to happen, can't say about this case, but it seems pretty clear that nothing serious is going to develop anytime soon---so if your goal is a permanent relationship, move on.