He loves the attention you lavish on him and he tries to reciprocate. He takes you to trendy restaurants and shows you off to his friends.
A letter to ... a widower I fell in love with
You're hoping his friendship will turn to passion. A grieving man is fragile. He needs kindness and a listening ear.
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But empathy has its limits. After months of listening to him endlessly extol someone who is not you, it's tough to sustain the nurturing spirit that's said to be part of a woman's DNA.
It can overwhelm a man who takes on a new relationship when he mistakenly believes he is emotionally ready. Men who haven't quite reached the ready-to-date stage nevertheless manage to draw companions into their trajectory while they figure things out. Some women spend years orbiting a world of grief that is not their own. Pure grief is not the only reason a widower won't commit.
Sometimes it's guilt -- a feeling of being unfaithful to a lost partner. Sometimes families oppose new ties -- adult children fearing that a new woman will undermine the sanctity of their parents' long marriage.
A widower may have to choose between his new romantic interest and offspring who can't get past idealizing their mother. It's not uncommon for widowers to measure a potential partner against a romanticized version of the woman they've lost. Psychoanalyst Darian Leader calls this the Rebecca Syndrome, a reference to the Daphne du Maurier novel in which the heroine is terribly haunted by the ghost of her husband's late wife. Leader , the power of what has gone before will infuse even the most contented new partnerships.
Social scientists have found that men look to reconnect because they want what they had before, what they're used to.
Sex And The Grieving Widower | HuffPost
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