7 Signs A Widower Is Serious About Your Relationship

When starting any new relationship, you probably feel a mixture of exhilaration, excitement, and even a little bit of nervousness. When you begin a relationship with a widower, you add another level of complexity to an already tricky endeavor.

Dating a widower can look very appealing. He’s likely a little older, has shown his ability to be in a committed relationship, and may seem more mature than other men his age. It can also present unique difficulties. You may find yourself wondering if he loves you or if his heart still solely belongs to his late wife. Ultimately, we’re here to tell you that love is not a finite resource, that people may fall in love several times in their lives, and that there are ways to navigate this new situation that brings happiness to you and your new beau. Ultimately, you may need patience, willingness to open your heart, and lots of communication to move forward in your relationship. Let’s talk about all those things!

How is Dating a Widower Different from Other Relationships?

It's no secret that dating is hard. We all struggle in the quest to find "The One." In that, we often run into complications we never saw coming. When dating a widower – a man who has lost his wife to death and has not remarried – then you will experience some unique challenges.


First, dating a widower is not the same as dating a divorcee. A relationship ended by the death of a spouse has no equivalent. Learning to live – and to be happy – after the death of a loved one can feel like a betrayal, especially when they are still going through the stages of grief. Grief doesn’t necessarily end as life goes on, either. You may find that grief becomes a secondary figure in your relationship for a long time. While it may be difficult, it’s normal for that loss to be a part of him for the rest of his life.


It's important to realize that your widower has likely already met the love of his life once before you. He chose to marry her and they shared their life together. That doesn't mean he cannot love again. We all can love throughout our lives many times and in many ways.

Still, it may be difficult for a widower to see his relationship with you as a new beginning - at least at first. It may be a slow process of learning to love again and opening himself up to the future. He may be afraid to start a new relationship when it means he could be hurt again. It can take a lot of patience on your part to develop a meaningful connection with a widower.


Because a widower was married previously, it’s not a stretch to think that there may be children to consider in the situation. Dating a father comes with a host of considerations to make that may make your relationship more difficult or at least complicated.

If his children are young, he may be spending a lot of time and energy raising them alone in addition to his other responsibilities. If they are adult children, he's likely still putting in the effort to be part of their lives (and vice versa). He may struggle to balance his time, at least at first, between dating and being a family man.


Lastly, loneliness may be a factor in your relationship. It’s likely that a widower is lonely, especially if his wife passed recently or if he hasn’t dated since her death. Loneliness can often make people jump into relationships and situations without thinking through the long-term dynamics. We aren't saying your partner is just looking for anyone to spend time with. However, understanding his motives must factor into your evaluation of the relationship.

How Long Should a Widower Wait Before Getting into a Serious Relationship?

We’ve talked about the long road of grief and how it changes over time at before. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we also must say that there’s no set time a person will spend mourning after a loss. It's not a quantifiable length of time. Some people may grieve heavily for months and others may take years to feel like themselves again after suffering that kind of loss. For some, dating again after the death of a spouse may feel like a betrayal.

Typically, men begin dating about a year after their wife dies. This depends greatly on their age, the length of time they were married, and whether they have children in the relationship. Specifically, it depends on the age of those children. You may hesitate to date someone when you are the first person they date after their loss, especially if you have concerns about being in a rebound relationship. Rebound relationships are very common for people who have abruptly ended a long-term romantic relationship.

We are not arguing that men are incapable of finding love again. Many men marry after losing their spouse. They have happy and loving relationships that last many years. Finding love after a loss is not impossible. It requires the widower to accept his loss and learn how to move forward. If that's the case, he's looking forward to sharing his life with someone new and is ready to make new memories with someone.

Essential Tips for Dating a Widower

Once you've met a man you like, enjoy his company, and wish to have a serious relationship with, his status as a widower may give you pause. You may not know how to approach this relationship without finding yourself in uncomfortable or potentially heartbreaking situations. It can be difficult coming into someone's life after they've lost a spouse. We collected a list of dos and don'ts for dating a widower that may help you develop a happy and healthy relationship with your new romantic partner.


When you find someone compatible with you, it's easy to fast-track the relationship (especially when you are dating as older adults). When dating a widower, you must take things slowly and allow time for them to develop. While you may be ready for a serious relationship immediately, it may not be the same for the widower. By moving too quickly, you may end up intimidating him, or he may become emotionally closed off.

Not only is it better for the widower (as this may be their first relationship since losing their spouse), but it's also good for you. You should give yourself time to evaluate the situation to see if it's right for you and that you're being treated like you should be.


One of the most important tips for dating a widower is to avoid asking too many questions about his deceased wife from the beginning. Take the time to get to know him without bringing these serious, heavy topics into the conversation immediately. You should wait at least a few dates before broaching the topic (if he does not bring it up first). Get to know him slowly and let him open up to you on his own terms.

This might be a difficult tip to follow. Odds are, you have questions about his life, history, and former relationship. It's natural to want to know everything about someone you are interested in dating. You want to feel close to him and part of that comes with him confiding in you, right? However, you can't push these things before someone is ready to share. If you bring up painful things, even unintentionally, he may retreat and become emotionally unavailable. That is a normal response, but it may not help your future relationship prospects with him. If you give him time, he will open up to you naturally if your connection is genuine.

Alternatively, he shouldn’t be using these early dates as an excuse to talk about his wife, either. That may be a sign that he isn’t ready to be dating.


While we suggest not prodding into a widower’s past (specifically around his deceased spouse) on the first date, that doesn’t mean we advocate not talking about serious topics. The best way to strengthen any relationship is through communication. You should be upfront about your expectations for a relationship. If you are looking for something casual, that needs to be said. If you are looking to settle down very soon, that is also something that needs to be said. You will want to make sure your needs and wants to align with one another. You shouldn’t constantly be guessing what each other wants or how you are feeling. That only leads to miscommunication and issues further down the line. Communication is the key to every successful relationship.

More importantly, you need to listen when he talks, even when it's not what you want to hear. He may indicate he isn't ready for a serious relationship. He may be looking for someone to take the place of his deceased wife too soon. Those might not be the choices that are best for you. Once he opens up to you, he may even discuss his wife more frequently – especially if his marriage was loving and happy.


Losing a spouse is a traumatic experience. It’s very important to respect that trauma. Losing a loved one to death, especially if that death was unexpected or untimely, can cause a deep, sorrowful pain that takes time to fade. It may live with him for his entire life. If you are entering into a serious relationship with a widower, you need to recognize that trauma and pain as part of him. It is not something that can be fixed by the right person or by a healthy relationship. Surviving the death of a loved one is the hardest thing a person can do.

When dating a widower, it’s important to recognize the signs of trauma and learn how his reactions and behavior may be influenced by them. Grieving people often have triggers to seemingly unimportant and unoffensive things. It does not give him permission to treat you badly. However, it may help you understand why he reacts to certain conversations or activities more strongly than someone else might. Over time, these reactions should lessen.


Family can be an important part of anyone's life. When dating a widower, you may find yourself in a situation where you are asked to spend a lot of time with a family you don't know all that well. It can be difficult to integrate into a family that has lost a loved one. They may be suspicious about your intentions and the introduction of a new woman into your partner's life. However, it's important to be polite and respectful to them anyway.

Be kind to his children as well. Your relationship with a widower’s children is often a crucial part of a successful relationship. This may be easier said than done, as you may find your blossoming relationship met with either hostility or welcome depending on the circumstances. You should make it clear that you have no interest in replacing their mother or lessening the bond they have with their father. You aren’t there to erase their past or their mother’s importance. You can, however, take time to get to know them individually as well.


We cannot reiterate enough how important this tip is. As you grow closer to your widower, he may begin to talk more about his past. Depending on the specifics of his previous relationship, it may be difficult for a widower to move on fully from his deceased wife. He may bring her into conversations and discuss things he liked or didn't like. In these moments, you should be careful not to criticize her or talk poorly of her.

Even in an argument, you should never bring her up. A widower only has his memories of his spouse, which means he may only be remembering the best parts of the relationship. It’s easier to do that when you’ve lost someone. Arguments and annoying habits no longer feel important. You shouldn’t be competing with her memory but you should take care not to bring her into your relationship in any negative way.

Part of loving a widower (and seeking a future with him) is understanding that he will always love his deceased wife. It does not diminish his love for you. It does not mean that you should be second in his heart or in his affection.


Dating a widower can be hard. Just like any relationship, it takes effort and time to develop into something real. It’s also a possibility that dating a man who has suffered such a loss may not be ready for a serious relationship with anyone. Recognizing that there may be setbacks – or even that this may not be a long- term relationship – will help you decide whether to pursue something romantic with him. It can also help you better identify red flags in the relationship if they occur.

7 Signs A Widower Is Serious About Your Relationship

So you’ve been dating a widower for a few weeks or months and now you want to know if he’s serious about your relationship. If only it were as easy as a set of behaviors or indicators to check off a list and you’d know for sure! Unfortunately, relationships and love don’t work that way. Love doesn’t come perfectly packaged and identical for everyone. It’s nuanced, ever-changing, and a little messy sometimes. Everyone’s relationships are different. As such, everyone’s timeline for falling in love and making a commitment is different. Adding in the fact that you are dating a widower only makes things that much more complicated.

However, there may be some signifiers that let you know he’s at least committed to your relationship and thinking about the long-term with you. Here are 7 signs that a widower is serious about your relationship.


How involved are you with the important people in your partner’s life? One of the biggest indicators of how he feels about you is whether he has introduced you to his family and friends.

Sometimes, it can take time for a widower to feel comfortable introducing a new partner to his family, especially if he has children. That may be a slower process that takes a few months or even a year. He needs to feel comfortable (and that you are going to be a permanent part of his life) before he brings a new person into his children's lives. However, he should begin introducing you to other people in his life, whether it's casual friends or people he spends a lot of time with. It's a good way to know if he's serious about the relationship and how deep his feelings are for you.

If you’ve been dating someone for several months and still haven’t met their friends or have been introduced to their family, then you may begin feeling like a dirty little secret instead of a cherished romantic partner. That is a serious red flag in any relationship. When a widower isn’t introducing you to the important people in his life, then he isn’t treating you as if this relationship is long-term. If he isn’t ready to tell people that you are together after a length of time, then he isn’t ready to date at all.


You can always tell how your romantic partner feels about you when you start talking about the future. Does he avoid the topic? Does he never mention anything about long-term plans for his life? Does he mention vacations? Family visits? Moving in together? If not, you may want to take a step back and re- examine what sort of communication you two have. It may be that he doesn’t see himself with you for the long haul. It may be that he doesn’t know how to see a future with anyone at that moment.

Sometimes, a widower struggles to see any future. This is especially true soon after the death of their spouse. After all, the future they thought they had is no longer there. It will never be there. It may take time for them to open themselves up to the chance that something else is possible. That is a risky choice! Opening yourself up after a loss is always a risk. Anything can happen. So if he is talking about where he sees himself in the future and you are part of it, then it is a good indicator that he sees you as a long-term partner.

With any relationship, this step takes time. You can’t rush this step. You also can’t wait years for him to decide. He may still be coming to terms with dating. He may also not be looking for a serious relationship. You won’t know until you take time to communicate your wants and needs with one another so you are on the same page about what you’re doing together.


One way to gauge your partner’s feelings for you is how much he involves himself in your life. Does he take an interest in the things that matter to you? Does he ask about your day? Does he want to know about you as a person and not just in the context of how to fit you into his life? These are important things to ask yourself when you are assessing your relationship with a widower.

If he views this as a serious relationship, he will make the time to look beyond his own life to share the parts of yours that matter. Your partner should be interested in what makes you into the person you are.

He shouldn’t be interested in changing you to fit any mold that makes it easier. If he loves you, he will see you for you. He will start to take an interest in the things you love, the things in life that are important to you, and the people in your life that you care about.


How much do you know about your significant other? When you are a widower long-term, then it should feel like any other romantic relationship in this sense. If he’s introducing you to his friends and family, then he should be including you in other aspects of his life. What does he like to do in his free time? What is important to him? He should be sharing his values and expectations. If the relationship is serious, he should also be opening up to you about other things as well.

Emotional intimacy is important. You should be the person he turns to when he's had a difficult day and needs a sympathetic ear. He should come to you with his worries and stresses. He should be sharing those important life moments – good and bad – with his partner. If he views you as a partner, then he will include you in these things just as much as he includes you in his future plans.


While it’s no secret that physical intimacy is an important part of romantic relationships for most of us, it’s also not the most important part. If a widower is pressuring you into physical intimacy, it may mean that he is not ready for a relationship beyond a superficial one. There’s nothing wrong with that so long as that is within the established parameters of your relationship. However, if you want a serious relationship, that may be a sign he isn’t ready for one.

You can tell that he views your relationship as serious when he begins to focus on more than just the physical aspects of your relationship. He isn’t pressuring you for just that aspect without focusing on the other parts. He wants to discuss his life with you. He wants to be involved in your life. He wants to do things with you that do not involve intimacy, like plan outings or do things you both enjoy.

If a widower is serious about your relationship, he will wait to become more comfortable and focus on building a bond before intimacy enters the equation.


You should expect a widower to speak about his past and his deceased spouse. That will always be part of his and those memories are important to him. Things may inevitably come up that remind him of the past. In a healthy relationship, your partner should talk to you when those times happen. However, those conversations should come up without comparisons to the times he spent with her. That is a definite sign he’s not prepared to handle a new relationship.

You shouldn’t be competing with a memory. You symbolize a new relationship, not a continuation of an older one. You also shouldn't be treated as his therapist. He shouldn't be trauma-dumping on you when he’s having a bad day. His support system should include a professional if he begins to use you as the sole person he talks to about his pain and grief. He shouldn’t be pressuring you to act or dress like his late wife. He shouldn’t be comparing you to her (even during an argument or stressful situation).

If a widower is serious about your relationship, he will treat you like your own, individual person without comparison. You shouldn’t have to act like someone else to gain his affection. You also shouldn’t be in constant competition with the memory of a person who is no longer there.


Just because someone says the big three words – “I love you” – it doesn’t mean that they are taking a relationship seriously. It doesn’t mean they are committed. Anyone can be guilty of this, not just a widower. Ultimately, people in relationships often say what they think you want to hear to avoid difficult conversations, confrontations, and the reality that they aren't as invested as you are in the relationship. It is only when his actions match the words that you know he's serious about you. He'll go out of his way to make your day a little special. He pays attention to you and wants to make you happy.

Ask yourself these questions when evaluating your relationship with him:

    • Do his actions match his words?
    • Does he say he respects you and then actually treat you that way?
    • Is he putting in the same amount of effort that you are in this relationship?
    • Does he make plans with you and keep them?
    • Or is something often coming up suddenly and breaking your plans?

When dating someone, make sure they are being honest about their intentions and their feelings. You can tell if a widower is serious about a relationship when he starts to act like you matter. You won’t be the only focus in his life (he probably has children, a job, or friends as well!) but you will become one of his priorities instead of a distraction to pass the time.

Dating A Widower Frequently Asked Questions

How do you know if a widower is ready to date?

Despite how much effort and time we put into a relationship, we may never really know what the other person is thinking. In fact, they may not know the answer to that themselves, especially if they are learning to date again after losing a spouse. If you are considering serious a relationship with a widower, then you may be worrying about whether it’s the right time for them to start a new relationship. Here are some ways to know if a widower may be ready to date.

Even if a widower is ready to date again, he may not be ready for a serious relationship. It is perfectly normal for a widower to consider a short-term rebound relationship instead. It’s important to be open and honest about your expectations in the relationship at the beginning so no one gets hurt in the process.

How long should a widower wait before dating?

There’s no right or wrong timeline for dating again after losing a spouse. The answer can depend on many specifics about the situation and the people involved. Some people may wait months. Others may take years. Ultimately, some people may choose never to date again. There’s no right answer here other than “when it feels right.”

For most men, they may feel ready to have a healthy relationship around twelve months after their spouse has passed. Any earlier than that may indicate that some feelings may not be fully processed or that he is looking for companionship without a serious relationship.

Do widowers marry again?

Sometimes they do! While there’s no solid research on the percentage of widowers who marry, there is data to show widowers marry at a higher rate than divorcees. The average time before a widow or widower remarries is typically anywhere from three to five years, though that depends on several other factors like age, length of the marriage before death, and the presence of any children from the relationship. These factors are important to consider when thinking of dating again. They are also important for anyone thinking of entering a relationship with a widower.

How do I know if a widower truly loves me?

It would be so much easier to date if we always knew how someone felt about us. A relationship begins and you feel like you two are having fun together, enjoying one another, and growing closer. However, it can be hard to tell if this is a casual situation or if he has genuine feelings for you.

Here are a few indicators that he is serious about the relationship and cares for you a great deal:

    • He introduces you to his family and circle of friends.
    • He talks about a future that includes you as part of it.
    • He does not compare you to his past.
    • He is genuinely interested in your life, interests, and hobbies.
    • He isn’t singularly focused on being physically intimate.

Can you love again after losing a spouse?

Love is not a finite resource. There is no end to how much we can love someone or how many times in our lives we can love. It is not always easy to open ourselves to it, but it can be done. We all can love again after losing a spouse. However, that doesn't mean everyone has an interest in doing so.

Many times, widowers are afraid of being hurt. They may not be ready for another loss if things do not work out. The widower may need more time to process those feelings before he chooses whether to pursue love again. And for some, they may never feel like they want to do so again.

It also does not mean that someone stops loving their spouse even after they have passed. If you date a widower, you may need to realize that they will always love their first spouse. It doesn't mean that they won't – and don't – love you just as much.

How do I compete with the memory of a widower’s spouse?

The short answer to this question is that you don’t. It isn’t a competition. There’s no way to win that even if it were. The memory of his spouse will always be there and may always be part of your relationship in some small way. He may have photos of her on display forever. He may talk about her occasionally. There may be reminders of her in his home. However, you should not view this as a competition. Instead, you should recognize that our past makes us who we are.

Additionally, he should not be wallowing in his loss while dating. Nor should he be comparing you to his spouse. Those are red flags that should give you the indication that he’s not ready for a serious relationship.

Why is dating a widower so hard?

Dating is difficult for everyone but dating someone who is still grieving (and may be grieving for a long time) makes things especially difficult. Grief is a difficult process that takes an emotional and physical toll on a person. It likely will be present in your relationship, especially in the earliest parts, for a while. That can make it harder to date a widower even if you both have feelings for one another.

Finding Love Again With A Widower

While dating someone who has lost a spouse may come with some unique experiences, it is not all that different from dating anyone else. You may find that some issues are more prominent while others are less of a problem. In the end, everyone we date is a unique person and every relationship is a unique experience. However you may wonder – is my widower partner serious about our relationship?

The key to a successful relationship with a widower depends on two things: your willingness to embrace him and his past and his own willingness to be open to new love. We hope you've found someone willing to do just that. Take your relationship slowly, be realistic about your expectations, and let your connection blossom!

August 28, 2023 by Jeri K. Augustus