Dating a Widow Who Won’t Remove Photos of Her Late Husband

Posted by in communication skills in dating, dating after divorce, dating in midlife | 0 comments

dating a widowHi Sandy,

Five months ago, I met the most wonderful woman. She lost her husband 3 years prior to us meeting. Our relationship has grown quickly, probably because we’re both 58 and know what we want in a relationship. I’m spending more and more time with her. We are talking about moving in together and possibly getting a new home.

Where I need you to chime in is about the family pictures around the house, most of which include her husband. I realize this is where her children where raised, and her husband was taken from her. She didn’t have a choice as I did with my divorce.

While I’m okay with some photos of her late husband, my heart aches at seeing him as a screen saver on her computer or his nameplate on her desk. At what point can I expect her to change these things or put them away? I know he is deceased and isn’t a threat. I feel she is trying to hang on to some of those memories, which I can understand to a degree. Yet, I’m thinking she hasn’t fully let go and truly ready to move on. Is this my issue that I’ve got to get past? Do I have some jealousy over a deceased person? Can I gently ask her to change or remove some of these items?

She has asked me if the family pictures bothered me and I responded that this is her children’s home. I guess I’m feeling that if she is ready to move on, she should be putting me first and replacing or removing his things in a few of these places. I’m just trying to understand the process here.



Dating a Widow: Is She Really Ready to Move On?

If she was, wouldn’t she remove her late husband’s photos? 

Dear Norm,

Congratulations on finding this wonderful lady! I love hearing success stories of finding love the second time around. You sound like you’re in love, and the feeling is mutual. And yet, dating a widow can present a host of issues. I can only imagine what it’s like for you to see her late husband’s photos everywhere you look.

I think your idea of starting over in a new home is a wonderful next step. New memories will be forged in this new environment, and you both have a chance to start over.

But we still have the issue of your discomfort with his photos. I love that you’re sensitive and don’t want to hurt her feelings or push her away.

Here’s the deal: If she didn’t sense your discomfort, she wouldn’t have asked if you were uncomfortable with the photos. However, you initially told her you were okay with them, which is why she hasn’t taken them down.

And while you’re understanding about her need to have some family photos, you’re not okay with ALL of them, and that’s what you need to address. Here’s a way to address your concerns in a sensitive way.

First, get her buy-in to the conversation. That means asking if it’s a good time to talk about something important to you. Assure her that everything is fine, but without checking in, you won’t have her full attention.

Here’s a Sample Script 

  • Be clear about your objective: “I love you very much, and I’m looking forward to sharing a new home with you. That’s why I want to talk with you about your husband’s photos.”
  • State your intention: “I want to hear what you think and share my point of view so we can reach a better understanding.”
  • Start with appreciation: “Thank you in advance for having this conversation with me, honey.”
  • State what happened and how you felt: “When you first asked if I was okay with all of your husband’s photos in the house, I said I was. I do understand that you loved him very much, and you should have photos of him and your children. But when I see his photo on your screensaver and on the nameplate at your desk, I feel a little unsure of your love for me. I’m wondering if you’re ready to move on and start a new life together.”
  • Make a request: “I’d like to know if you’re willing to remove his photo from your screensaver and put the nameplate away. It would make me feel so much clearer about your readiness to move on and start a new with me.”
  • Listen to her response: “I’d like to know what you think.”
  • Brainstorm for a solution together: “What would work for you?”
  • Appreciate: “Thank you so much for talking with me. I feel so much better and much closer to you.”

Be open to her response, and I’ll bet you come up with a mutually agreeable solution.

Norm, dating a widow is not easy, and it’s uncomfortable to have these types of conversations. But the more you practice speaking up when your feelings are hurt, the more authentic and intimate your relationship will be. You will also create the safety of having these types of tough conversations in the future.

Best of luck with this wonderful lady and enjoy your new home together!

Photo credit:

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Dating at this age can be confusing, but not anymore. Dating coach, Sandy Weiner, hosts a fabulous (very low cost/high value) online group of women to gain clarity about men, dating, and relationships. She helps you stay focused and positive towards your goal of attracting the love you deserve. Click here to learn more about the Inner Circle coaching group.




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