Dating a widower

Today is our 10th anniversary. I want to thank you for being here. If I say more than that, I'll get weepy. Just know that I am grateful.

We'll celebrate with an event soon, when the weather is a little better. In the meantime, the traditional gift is aluminum. Get something nice for yourself.

We will chat at 1 p.m. today to celebrate. We're trying some new software, and this is the link. Let's see if we like it.

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I recently met a guy where I used to work. I was only there for a brief period of time because a better job opportunity presented itself. From day one, I knew he was attracted to me, however there was something that seemed a little off. Fast forward a couple of weeks, and after a three-and-a-half hour long conversation, I found out he had lost his wife over two years ago. One of my previous coworkers always spoke very highly about him, and I decided to give him an opportunity.

Here's my problem: I feel both scared and anxious. I've never been in a situation where I've dated a man who's lost a significant other, let alone a wife. I'm being extremely cautious with my own feelings, knowing his current situation. I waited a couple of weeks to finally have a conversion with him about what's going on. I admitted that I keep asking myself whether he's really ready to move on.

He expressed his feelings toward me and let me know that he truly feels like he IS indeed ready. In my opinion, he wouldn't have asked me to date him if he were not ready. He seems like such an amazing guy, and truth be told, I might be falling for him. I never want him to erase that part of his life in which she was involved. But my biggest concern is that I don't want to be anyone's shoulder to cry on or have him compare her to me. I'm an extremely open-minded person, willing to talk about her whenever he needs support. Ultimately, should I give this guy an opportunity?

– Ready

You should take this opportunity because you want to. This man has been open about his feelings, and you seem to reciprocate. There's no reason not to try.

But please understand that grief is not linear. He might have some days that are worse than others, and you can't expect his feelings to disappear. He's going to miss his wife sometimes – because he's human.

I think you know all of that, but I want to make sure you really accept it. You say you want him to be able to talk to you when he needs support, but you also wrote that you don't want to be his shoulder to cry on. You need to understand that if he does come to you for comfort, it's about him, not you. It's not a comparison. It's just feelings.

Another thing to consider: Sometimes when it feels like there's a lot on the line in a relationship, everybody moves quickly and overcommits. Please remember that you can be open to dating and falling for this person without being 100 percent in from the start. It sounds like you're saying, "I'm open to taking this risk – and now we will make this work!" But you have to remember that you don't know what it's like to be with him yet. You might face challenges that have nothing to do with his loss. You could discover that you're not compatible for other reasons. Take your time and just get to know him. He's never dated you either, so you're both new to this. Don't expect to have any answers just yet.

– Meredith

Readers? Thoughts for the LW as this relationship begins?