In 2006, after the death of her husband, Richard Carlson, Ph.D., author of the best-selling "Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff" books, Kristine Carlson felt a loss that sent her on a healing journey through grief. These brave souls seem to share one issue in common: struggling to overcome the “fits and starts” initiated by their previously widowed boyfriends who emotionally withdraw from the relationship when grief is triggered. Insights From One Woman’s Journey As The Wife Of A Widower” primarily addresses women married to widowers, I do occasionally receive e-mails from women who are in serious committed premarital relationships with widowers as well.
Her partner is viewed by the world with a sad, long face, even when he clearly is in love again.The following is an example of “fits and starts” from a recent letter I received:“I have been dating a widower for the past two years. He says they were very happy and everyone I meet tells me how wonderful she was.Initially, he dove right into the relationship and we seemed to be the perfect match.After six months of dating, he withdrew and said he had to work out in his mind issues that were about him and his wife, and he wasn't ready to discuss them with me.He is very close to his late wife’s family and they celebrate her birthday and death every year.This attitude not only shapes the behavior of the man and chains him to his tragic role, but it renders his new love virtually invisible.