Just because people ask a question, doesn't mean there is a substantive answer to be found...
In the first emails Tim and I sent each other we mentioned previous relationships – my failed marriage and his wife’s death at 36 from breast cancer – but only in a fact-finding kind of way.
And when we met over a pint in a Hampshire pub, we touched on those subjects again but agreed they weren’t right for a first date.
They were quiet conversations, for some reason always after Sunday breakfast in the flat Tim had shared with Jane.
They lasted for as long as Tim needed to talk, and I was happy to have them.
I had fallen in love and wanted to know everything about this incredible man, including what had happened.
Being with someone whose first wife has died – a wife he loved very much – has the potential for a difficult subsequent relationship: a past love that can never be matched (not that it should be a competition), a woman who doesn’t grow old, rosy-hued memories that will only ever gain lustre, worries about comparisons that can’t be checked face to face.
A study conducted in 1996 found that, by 25 months after a spouse's death, 61% of widowers (men) were either remarried or in a new romance compared to just 19% of widows (women), but this is by no means a case of 'one size fits all'.
Patience is therefore of the essence in the early days of dating, as both you and your new partner will be trying to weigh up if this is a road you are ready to go down."The widow or widower is either ready to move on or they're not.
Most have not, because of the very issues you have raised. My advice here is to a woman who has met one of the “gems” that I introduced to you at the start of this article: one who had a good, long marriage…knows how to love, communicate, commit, work through problems …misses being married…pours himself into [a relationship].
(Meaning a relationship with HER.) It is to This Man — the one who knows how to love and is ready to do it again — that I advise a woman to extend kindness, patience and empathy.
If you find yourself getting involved with a person who is bereaved by the death of a spouse, your dating experience is probably going to present some unique challenges. Everybody experiences it in different ways and at different times.