Dating a Widower With Kids
What to Expect when dating a widower
Dating someone who has been married before and has created a life with someone else before you, is not easy and there are many struggles and challenges that you will face.
Thinking very carefully before entering into this relationship is of vital importance, especially if you have not been married before, or if you have had no children of your own, as you might not get the chance to be married or he might not want to have any more children.
A widower has made a life with someone else and he has been through a wedding, in-laws and has created a family already, so before you start to get serious you need to discuss a future and what you would like before you or he can fully commit.
A widower is even more of a challenge as with everything in life, time is the only thing that can heel wounds.
You need to be sure that he is in love with you and that he is over his wife or ex.
It is also important to understand that there is an external family that will want to share experiences with the children. Grandparents and siblings of your boyfriends late wife will want to stay in contact and there is no option here but to accept it.
Memories of their mother will be important to them and your boyfriend or husband will want to share these with his children so that they will always remember who bore them. This is also something that you will have to accept.
For a widower that was almost divorced before, there might be no hidden feelings but for a man that has just lost his wife, you can be certain that it will take time for him to move on and dating as soon as it has happened will ensure that he is not over his late wife. Should you date him soon after his has lost his wife, your life will not be a happy one as he will always be thinking of his late wife and will want to spend as much time as he can soaking in all the memories, his children will be constant reminders of his late wife and he might still be in mourning, with depressive behaviour and will not show much interest in you or your life.
Children who have Lost A Parent
Children that have lost a parent might display many emotions and act out, after losing a parent. You need to be patient and understand that they are hurting. It is important to know that they might suppress their real feelings and resent you. They will resent you in some way and if not now, later there will come a time where they will hate you and wish for their real mom to be there, instead of you.
Some children cry and scream and mourn right away, letting out all their emotions; anger, rage, sadness and finally acceptance. This is the best way for them to move forward.
Other children hold their emotions in and they move forward but will one day in the future have an emotional outburst, either with resentment towards you or they will behave in inexplicable ways by displaying unusual behaviour in many different ways. They could become distructive or isolate themselves from their peers and home- life.
Kids who are six years and younger will not have much of a problem moving forward as they are too little to understand what has happened but children who are six and up will know what has happened and you will have to face the fact that they will need help with understanding the pain and emotions that they will be going through.
It is of benefit to both the parents and the children to ensure that you have an open discussion about what has happened and how everyone feels. You will need to work through this as a unit in order for your family to move forward and be happy and at peace.
Some families need to speak to someone other than their parents or family and therapy is a good idea to get children who suppress their feelings, to deal with their grief.
Children need you to heal the hurt and let them know that there is hope for the future. You need to let them know that they can turn to you at anytime for any reason, to speak about their hurt.
Adopting Children from Older Ages
It is extremely difficult to take on children that have already been raised by a mom and dad. You are coming into a family that have already built a life and made their set of rules.
Your ideas of raising children might be very different to the way your partner has been doing it and change cannot happen overnight.
If they have been used to doing things in a certain way, it is extremely difficult to change bad habits or create new rules.
As partners you need to know what is expected from each of you and the children in order to build a life and a home together.
A mutual understanding between partners is important and you need to be supportive as well as your partner needing to support you too.
Your family will eventually develop and grow with the rules or ideals from both your backrounds, if you work together.
If you are alone in the way you believe children should grow up, then you are wasting your time as you will never gain any respect and your home will fall apart.
As long as you give love and affection to the children and make them feel that they belong, you will already be halfway there.
The older children remember more and it is important to let them talk about what they remember and allow them the freedom to speak about the past, whenever they feel the need to do so.
You are a parent but at the same time, they already have a mother, even if she is no longer there, she will always be considered their mother and you need to ensure that her legacy continues through to her children.
Becoming Mom to the Little Kids
The younger the child, the easier it is to raise them. They do not understand what has happened and they will not remember much.
It is your job to ensure that they will grow up to know who their mother was and to give them as much information as you possibly can.
Raising the younger ones is a lot easier as they will learn from you and your ideas and family values will be easier to install.
In the beginning, they might be a little moody and cry but this is because they are missing the nurturing, which you cannot give them but as a women, we all have a maternal instinct and all you will need to do, is give lots and lots of love.
Patience is something that you will need a lot of and as long as you try your best to give them all the love that you can, then you will be fine.
What Children Expect from You
If you have come into a relationship before the children have lost a parent then things might be a bit easier for you because they are already familiar with you and might be able to communicate their feelings to you.
You can never expect to take their mother's place and it will be important for them to learn everything about their late mom, they will want to look at photographs, they will want to see home movies and they will also want to stay close to their mother's family.
The children will want information from their father and he will be expected to give them that information freely.
Family of the late wife, might resent you from the very beginning as it is part of their grieving process and they will also be unsure of your intentions with the children.
Having an open communication with them is important so that they can see that you do care and you will love and cherish their little ones.
The children will expect you to give them information about their mother and they will want to be in a loving and understanding environment with people that they can share their feelings with.
Be a mom, someone to talk to and let them know that you are there for them. Help them heal and let them know that there is hope for a future.
Father's who are Widowers
Men do not do things in the same way that women do and most of the time, ensuring that children eat properly, get enough sleep and stay healthy is up to the mother to do.
Father's usually allow their kids to eat sweets whenever they want to and let them go to bed anytime as they do not think maternally. Women understand that if you eat too many sweets you will get sore teeth, if you do not go to bed and get enough rest, you will not be healthy.
With this you need to know that he will feel guilt and the children will be given things and they will be allowed to do anything that they want in order for their father to stop them from feeling sad.
Making rules and taking over from the bad habits that he has formed, will be a very challenging and daunting task as the children will resent you or they will let you know that their father has allowed them to do what they do.
Father's do not really think of the consequences of eating badly, or lack of sleep or even too much television as it has always been left for mom to deal with, whilst dad is at work.
Changing bad habits is something that needs to be done immediately or else it will never change and things might get unpleasant otherwise.
You and your partner need to talk about health and the care that children need so that you both understand from the very beginning.
Your partner also needs to understand that your commitment to him and his family is a huge responsibility and that if you are in it for the long - term, then you have to get the respect as a parent and the support from your partner.
Allow him to give his children what he wants to but there are limits for guilt and it cannot be something that is done too often as this will teach the children that love can be bought and when they act up, they will know that dad will give them what they want.
Give him enough time to help them grieve and eventually talk about things but once they have all settled then it is time to ensure that the children grow up knowing about discipline, respect and love, unconditionally.
If he does not support your efforts by talking behind your back or by allowing his children to treat you badly, then your relationship with him and the children will never work and you will have only frustration and hurt.
Would you Adopt his Children?
Adoptive or Legal Guardian
When taking on the responsibility of becoming a legal guardian or adoptive parent to your boyfriend or husbands children, you need to know that the road you choose is not going to be an easy one for you.
There will come a time, now or years down the line where the children will wish that you were not around and they will either hate your or accept you, but they will never really see you as a mother figure.
You could be living happily and suddenly find that the children you have sacrificed your own life for, will turn around and acknowledge their father and their birth mother. You might not be mentioned or thanked for being there as a parent.
With this, you must understand that you need to do the best that you can with raising them and even though they will one day knock you down or leave you alone, the concellation will be that you did a great job at raising these children as your own and as long as they are healthy, happy and successful, then that is all you could hope for.
Great Advice for Women Dating Widowers
These points are of great value to you if you are thinking of going out with a widower.
Before you date, you must know whether your partner is grieving or if he is ready to move forward.
You can never replace the children's mother but you can be a goo mom, that will love and care for them.
The family will always want to remember the mother and memories will always come up and be referenced.
Never compare yourself to their late mother
Ensure that there is a mutual respect between you and your partner about how you would like to raise the children.
Give them all the love that you can even though, they might never really appreciate it.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
I’m dating a widow with four kids from ages 8 to 12 for the past 4 months. He is already talking about love and our future. Could this be possible or is he trying to fill a void?
Some people mourn faster than others but I think 4 months is rather soon. How long was he married? Go with your Instincts here and take it slow because it is a huge responsibility.Helpful 6
My partner's 32 year old daughter seems to be in continuous grief (via Facebook) for every single anniversary, birthday, holiday, and Mother’s Day. When does it subside? It’s been 24 years, and she still posts pictures of her mother and father together...more now. This includes wedding pictures, so where does that leave me? Then I have to see all the comments from family and friends.
A child's love for their mother never dies and grief never goes away we just learn to live with it. If you have been together for a very long time then perhaps you should talk to her father about photos that are appropriate. Talking about her mom might help too because perhaps she never got to communicate her feelings. It's difficult to be in this situation because you must understand that you are not the first love.Helpful 6
I have been seeing my widowed (4 years) partner for nearly a year, his daughter of 21 lives at home with her boyfriend. My partner has re-decorated his bedroom and wants me to stay over some nights, his daughter has a real issue with it still being her mum's bedroom and gets very upset when my partner tries to broach the subject of me staying. We book weekends away, so we can be intimate, but we can't keep doing this. How do we get around this issue with his daughter's discomfort?
It's never going to be easy for his daughter to accept you but I think that the father needs to sit down with her and explain that, he loved her mother and she will never be replaced, but he has found someone that he loves and would like to share his life with. It might be uncomfortable but she needs to understand that he also needs love. Once he has spoken to her you can then tell her that you are not taking her mom's place and that you do have feelings for her father who would like to be happy. She will eventually accept it.Helpful 5
His 32 year old daughter seems to be in continued grief (via Facebook) for every single anniversary, birthday, holiday, and Mother’s Day. When does it subside? It’s been 24 years, and she still posts pictures of her mother and father together...more now. This includes wedding pictures, so where does that leave me? Then I have to see all the comments from family and friends.
You should talk to the daughter about her feelings. She has every right to grieve and remember her mother, celebrating her. Tell her that you respect her feelings but ask her if she could avoid the wedding pictures because it is insulting to you.Helpful 4
I'm pregnant with my partner who lost his late partner a year ago in a car that she was driving. He wants his late partners family (parents, cousins etc) to be involved. What boundaries should I set? I didn't want their involvement but I know it would be harsh to stop them from seeing our child.
Being pregnant is a wonderful experience and to avoid it becoming stressful, you need to decide what makes you comfortable and what doesn't. Give your partner the opportunity to let his late partners family meet the baby but I think possibly, the pregnancy itself should be you and your immediate family. Perhaps they can visit a day in the hospital or when you get home. When you feel uncomfortable or something is not right, then talk to your partner.Helpful 3