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His wife died 3 months ago; too soon to date?


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I'm in a sticky situation and could really use the advice of those who are not actually associated with it. Any comments/advice/opinions are greatly appreciated


To summarize, I met John 3 years ago. At the time, he was married and I was in a relationship so our relationship was strictly professional, but could be considered a friendship. As I came to know him better, I started to fall for him. Believe me, I never meant for it to happen, but sometimes I suppose you just can't control it. I feel like a did a good job of hiding my feelings for him, but after knowing him for about 6 months, he began to flirt with me. Nothing major, nothing morally compromising, and nothing to make me think he wanted an affair, but just enough flirting for me to notice that he treated me differently than everyone else.


We started to talk more often and it seemed that he would make up reasons to spend time with me. When we were together throughout the next year or so, we never once discussed the feelings I had for him or those he may have had for me, though I'm sure by that point he had to realize that I wanted him. Case in point, the man has morals.


But, then his wife's cancer got worse (yeah, i know..) and as it did, he talked to me more often. The month before she died, he texted/messaged me everyday. Still, never crossing the line of morality or professionalism, though. He needed a friend and I was there for him, to distract him.


She passed away 3 months ago and sadly, I've never seen him happier. It's not that she was a dreadful woman or that he was in a terrible marriage (true, it wasn't the greatest, but he loved her) but she was sick for so long.. I think he is just relieved that it is all over.


Now, we spend a great deal of time together. I still have major feelings for him and I get the vibe that he feels the same way, but when (if ever) is the proper time to tell him how I feel?


And, even if he's not ready for anything more than friendship, how do I go about telling him that when he IS ready, I'm here?


Thanks for your feedback.

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Be very very careful with this one. Sounds like this guy has been trying to cover up his grief and loneliness by latching on to you..and he started this while his wife was ill. While you may have real feelings for him, I don't think he is in a place to know if any feelings he may have for you are legitimate feelings for who YOU are as a person or if you simply fill a void in his life. I think you can be in for a world of pain if you declare your feelings.

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I've got no experience in this area to go off of, so just kind of a guess on my part. I think it'd have to be too soon after only 3 months, but you never know. Since it wasn't a surprise, he had time to prepare and may have healed faster.


I'd say remain a really good friend. Either he will ask you out when he's ready or he will talk with you about going on dates again. If he brings up going on dates with others, that's your cue to suggest a date between yourselves.

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It's only 3 months. He's trying to avoid the grieving process. In that type of scenario, everyone needs time to grieve. People grieve in different ways, but he's just delaying the process. Don't get attached to him. If you want to be there for him as a platonic friend, that's one thing. But don't expect him to fall for you because when it finally hits him, you're going to be greatly disappointed.

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It's hard to put a default time limit on this sort of thing, but for many people, 3 months would be too soon to date after losing a beloved partner.


Be there for him as a friend right now. I truly believe that if it it "meant to be" it will blossom into a romance when the time is right-and you may not have to say anything at all.


For now, you can make general statements that you care about him and/or that his wife was a very lucky woman to have him.


I'm not sure he is even able to grasp all of the feelings he will have. When someone suffers with a terminal illness for a long time there is indeed a sense of relief when it is over and they are in peace, but the loss itself (no longer having the well-verison of that person in your life) is still painful. -That is a different feeling than the feeling of relief. I sometimes wonder if it will be at least a year of profound ups and downs for him as he goes through the seasons, and various milestones that remind him of his wife. Those feelings will never cease, but with time will come acceptance, and hope for the future.

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I just wanted to write from the perspective of someone who is grieving. I know everyone grieves differently--for everyone, the expression of grief is very unique. It is difficult to know exactly what is happening inside for this man you have feelings for.


It has been 6 months since Matt died, and I am still intensely involved with grieving his death. I know I am nowhere near ready for or wanting of a relationship, but I can see how in our grief we seek out comfort from others, and sometimes we develop feelings of attachment and affection for those who have consoled us through a horrendous loss. I myself haven't been in this situation because most all of my grieving has been done alone.


I try to imagine if someone came along and offered me tender support, caring, friendship, etc. Maybe I would cling on to them in my yearning to feel anything besides the incredible pain I feel now. Sometimes love does blossom from these circumstances, but it is always a bit riskier in this way because a lot of the grief work has yet to be done, and the sorrow must be healed in its own time. It might be that a romance can provide a refuge and a break from the hard work of grieving, but you want to be sure that the love you share is beyond a beautiful reprieve---


Right now, you are approaching your feelings and your needs from quite a different place, because you are not involved in working through a significant loss. This man has just experienced something very profound, and naturally, like all we all do, he wants to transcend the painful feelings and experiencing peace. I don't think he would be intentionally "using" you or wishing you any harm, but it might help to recognise what the circumstances are and be good to yourself, be cautious, and allow some time to pass before pursuing something more, for both his sake and your sake.


This is only my humble advice. You know in your heart what is best, and you are able to choose the course of action you feel is right. All of us here can only know a little snapshot of the larger picture of your experience, and so we can only offer what we might have learned, or what we might understand as truth for our own lives.


But only you can know fully what is proper, what is your truth. I have come to understand this life in a much different way since Matt died, and I realise now that there really are no mistakes, only experiences for growth. I also know that pain is as much a wonder and a joy as are feelings of happiness and bliss--I didn't understand that until now.


I know you deeply care for this man, and that is beautiful. I think love and compassion are enriched when we help someone through a very difficult time. Just be sure that there is an equal exchange, that you will be more than a balm for a broken heart.....


Blessings to you....

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I wouldn't make this about expressing 'my' feelings, I would make it about his. He's the one who could view any romantic disclosure from you as insensitive, or not--we can't guess about that.


For my own sake, I wouldn't rush this into premature romance. I'd research about grieving spouses and try to learn all I can about potential psychological and emotional pitfalls of hooking up with a widower too quickly. You don't want to be used as someone's emotional red cross and then discarded, and you don't want a quick commitment only to find that he's projecting all kinds of leftover baggage onto you that doesn't belong there.


Be smart.

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I am engaged to a widower. We have been together for a little over a year. His late wife died 3 years ago and battled Cancer for two years. Even though everyone grieves at their own pace, I would not recommend dating him for at least a year. I would back off and let him go through the grieving process without any distractions. The first year of anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays would be really challenging. Even after three years, my fiancee and I shed many tears around these special dates.

If you are still seriously considering dating him, I would read up on the grief process, encourage him to go to bereavment counselling, and prepare yourself for a possible emotional rollercoaster.

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His wife was sick for over 4 years before she passed away, with constant ups and downs along the way; many times we thought it was the end but she would pull through.


I know 3 months isn't a long period of time, regardless of the situation, but I feel like he started grieving long before she passed. Is that possible?


It seems like he is just so ready to move on with his life. He is full of energy, always smiling, and is throwing himself headfirst back into his career. His personality is a complete turnaround from when she was sick.


I don't plan on dumping my feelings on him anytime soon, but at the same time, he is an attractive, intelligent man who is well known in our community. Women well soon be swarming him (if not already). Perhaps he really is oblivious to my behavior and doesn't realize I am interested. Who knows.

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I wouldn't ever say to turn your back on a widow/widower but do tread carefully with this one. Perhaps it is a good idea to slowly build a friendship first then see what happens. The widower is not purposely causing the confusion you may find but I know from my experience back in 2008 that if they are not over the person who died (and whether they truly can be fully over them), you are going to find it very hard to draw their full commitment to you. Alas, if you give yours to them, the relationship will feel very unbalanced and it is you that will be shortchanged.


I remember not being spoken to for days whilst she grieved over her husband who died five years ago. Rightly or wrongly, it isn't the way to be treated and you have to ask whether your sanity and heart deserve that. To be a pivotal person in their lives, they need to be able to open up fully, leave the past where it is to an extent (not disrespecting their spouses memory of course) and allow themselves to love you back. That is the only way it can work.

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I totally agree with, and underline, what CAD says. Very sensible.


Be very very careful with this one. Sounds like this guy has been trying to cover up his grief and loneliness by latching on to you..and he started this while his wife was ill. While you may have real feelings for him, I don't think he is in a place to know if any feelings he may have for you are legitimate feelings for who YOU are as a person or if you simply fill a void in his life. I think you can be in for a world of pain if you declare your feelings.
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He may well feel relief now, as in as an immediate reaction, because no doubt he was tired and stressed from the caring role. But, and this is highly probably, the grief will kick in months from now, maybe a year from now. And grief takes manifold forms, believe me. He may even feel guilty, then, about his interest in you prior to his wife's death. You are getting good advice from other posters. Three months is definitely not enough. Many would say it takes two years to get over the spouse's death.


There is a site you might like to look at called


link removed


which specifically deals with issues regarding grief on the death of a spouse or family member.



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I also put my vote in for too soon. There is no set time limit for grieving the loss of a spouse, but I have read anywhere from 1 year to 5 years to properly grieve the loss of someone that close to you. I also agree with him possibly trying to "ignore" the process by getting involved with you. I fear that if you were to pursue a romantic relationship with him now, it would really be too soon and could end disastrously. I would hang tight and wait for him to express to you if he is interested in pursuing some type of relationship with you.

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This guy sounded "iffy" about the relationship before she died, possibly even before her diagnosis. While he never cheated on her, clearly the interest was there. If you are interested in him, go for it. I really don't think he needs "more time".

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I am a widower and I can honestly say, time is not the factor. No one can say 3 months is not long enough. The thing about losing a spouse is the grief never goes away. It just changes from being your every thought, to being less of the forefront on your mind. I did my share of counseling after my wife passed. Within 4 months my counselor, very well respected in her profession, said she felt my kids and I were doing very well and wouldn't need to see her unless something changed. She check in here and there but we were doing fine. Yeah there still feelings that we deal with but life is meant to be lived.


The one thing I will agree with is let him be the one to acknowledge the relationship when he is ready. As potentially the first person to date him after his wife passed, he will probably have feelings of guilt and it will take some time and understanding to get past that. Be patient with him and be a good friend first. You both have a lot to sort through and patience more than time is your ally.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Okay guys, I listened to most of you and for the past month, I've made our "relationship" all about him. I've held back from telling him how I feel because I realize he should be the one to take the first step, which will happen when he is ready.


But, now I get the feeling that he is ready but is just unsure of how to proceed. I think it's been so long since he's dated that he doesn't quite know how to go about it. Normally, I would have no problem helping a guy "make the move," but with him everything is just so....fragile...that I'm scared I will make a mistake and scare him off.


Help, please!


Should I go ahead and make the move or keep waiting?


PS, I'm positive he is interested in me, it's not a question of that, it's just how to go about acknowledging our emotions in the most appropriate manner...

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well, you could do something nice for him. i'm a fan of making some sort of art to express my feelings indirectly. do you like to make mixed tapes? something with a catalog of songs that say what you're feeling. or a sketch if you like to draw. create something. that might get the point accross without being too overbearing.

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Have you asked him what his plans are for his future? Have you asked what his thoughts are about having a romantic relationship at some point in his life again?


Not in a "with me" sense, just in a general sense...


Maybe try to find out if he is interested/ready to explore a relationship with anybody, before you offer yourself for the position...


It's such a personal thing. And there is no right or wrong time. But if he isn't ready, you risk making him feel like you've been hovering around like a vulture, waiting for your opportunity (which clearly isn't the case). If he is ready, starting off the conversation in general terms, could be a gentle way to ease into any discussion of you and him.

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