Julie Donner Andersen Message Board

karen posts on 1/15/2010 8:27:03 AM Hi I met a lovely man 2 months ago who lost his wife to an agressive form of breast cancer 3 years ago Dec 1st. He has 2 children 19yrs and 15yrs (girl/boy respectively)We clicked immediately, like we had known each other for years, I was only his second relationship since his wife died. The problem is, just as we began to get intimate and close he backed off. He has a rich social life and understand that aquaintances require less emotional input than "a relationship" He says he still wants to see me but he says he cannot understands why he can't move on with me!! Am i deluding myself that this man needs time and space or is he saying I don't want a relationship with you? I am so confused. What is your experience of these situations and how best should I manage this.
melissa posts on 7/7/2009 10:09:21 AM It doesnt look like anyone has posted in a while but I hope someone can give me some advice. I'm a lesbian woman. My partner and I have been together for almost 2 years now. When I met Angie, I was touched by her story of loss. Angie and her partner met when she was 20 and they were together 10 years before she passed away from an illness. For Angie this was her first love and they were very happy together, even though they had to keep their relationship secret (I'm sure this only made them closer). After her partners death, Angie took a year to grieve but then ended up in a 3 year relationship with someone but apparently there was very little connection and they ended up splitting. I met Angie on-line during this split when she was packing her things to move back to her home state. I worried it was too soon for her to start dating but apparently there wasn't much love between the two of them. So now, almost 2 years into our relationship and 5 years since the passing of her partner, Angie has begun going through the boxes and things of her and her deceased partners life together. My question is this.....I understand keeping pictures, letters, jewelry, but Angie has kept her drivers license, lipstick, and she even has a ziploc bag with the last cigarette she smoked, the empty pack and an ashtray......I'm not sure how I feel about that. I worry that she didn't take enough time for herself before she started dating. Her deceased partners family turned on Angie and were very cruel. Angie never went to counseling and she doesnt talk about things with family or friends. I feel like I am being so petty and immature. I haven't been as supportive as I wish I had been because of my own feelings. I'm not sure how to feel quite honestly. Thanks.
Julie posts on 1/18/2009 12:11:28 AM Ladies, I am Julie Donner Andersen, author of "PAST: Perfect! PRESENT: Tense! Insights From One Woman's Journey as the Wife of a Widower". I'm not sure how this "message board" here got started (it wasn't by me!), but if you would like a more interactive message board, my new website at offers just what you're looking for in that regard. We have over 90 members as of today's date, with daily postings by members as well as daily responses from me. Also, you will find information about how to buy my book for wives and girlfriends of widowers. Hope to see you there!

Lori Pacy posts on 1/14/2009 12:36:31 PM Hi Julie, I was a member of your web support for GOW's about 4 years ago and I really had to share my experience dating then living with a widower who was the love of my life and will be for a very long time. I am still dealing with the emotional damage from this relationship and it has been a bit over a year since I had to leave him. First of all, I supported this man emotionally from day 1 because he wound up the single dad of two boys (16 and 20)who were devastated by their Mom's passing. I did my ultimate best because I loved their Dad so much but they shut me out from day one as if I never existed. Four years later it was slightly better but they never showed an ounce of interest in getting to know me even after I moved into the family home after 3 years. When I moved there so much of his wife's belongings were intact and he held me responsible for getting rid of them. I did not feel comfortable with this and told him but he said he didn't have time to do it. It was a nightmare. Ultimately from the day I moved in - he became hateful, aggressive, distant and downright emotionally abusive beyond what I could bear. He promised to get counseling from day one and several times thereafter and never followed through. I did everything I can think of to try to help him and the more I tried the meaner he became. Our love has turned to vile hatred. I lost all my belongings and my heart in a moment's time. I ended up learning the reason his kids hated me was because they believed he had been seeing me when their Mom was sick which was absolutely not true. However the reason they were able to think this was because he had cheated on their Mom more than once in the marriage and that's what ended up happening to me. His hatred and abuse was his way of tormenting me to leave because he had found someone else and wanted to take up with her but had to get me out of the picture. He is still seeing her and began seeing her about 15 minutes after I left him. He uses his wife's death as the excuse for wanting to end his relationship with me. Said he wasn't in his right mind when he met me. All I have to do is hear the word Widower and I cringe. I know there are nice ones out there but my experience has changed me drastically for the worse and made me wish fate had not put me in his path. Sorry I didn't have good results with this but I wish I had been warned. Best of Luck to all of you - Lori Pacy
Jpetre posts on 9/10/2008 7:57:51 PM I have been dating a widower for almost a year. He calls me every day, and we get together every weekend once, sometimes twice. His wife died 3 years ago of a long illness. He still visits the grave several times a week, and celebrates her birthday, and their anniversary by taking the day off work to stay home and review photographs of their life together. He spends holidays with her family. (They do not approve of his dating, and never ask him about me.)He is so close to her family that they still vacation all together twice a year. The nightstand in his bedroom is exactly the way she left it when she died. There is a headband that she wore still hanging in the bathroom! There are pictures of her in every room of the house. I have expressed my feelings about all of this, but he tells me that I am impatient and that he is not ready to make the kinds of changes that would make me more comfortable. While I realize that everyone's grief period is very personal, I need him to be sensitive to how all of this makes me feel like "second best" or "chopped liver." Some of it I find downright creepy after so much time has passed. Many days I feel hopeless about this relationship ever being fully satisfying for me. Any thoughts out there?
heirloom tomato posts on 1/16/2006 9:37:51 AM Nothing new under the sun, is there? Dated a twice-widowed man for seven mostly wonderful months. I thought he was a natural-born husband. Brought me to his son's house for Thanksgiving (600 miles from home) and imploded with suppressed grief. I was expecting a marriage proposal that weekend and experienced this instead! I offered to step away from the relationship to give him time to grieve. He excepted it gladly. I found out within weeks (just by checking it out on a hunch) that he is grieving all over the Personals website where we first met! He never gave me a heads up about it, and I would have appreciated it. Hell! I feel he owed me that much. Cut him slack for the terrible losses he's endured or cut him loose for bad behavior? Julie Donner Andersen helped me simplify the situation for myself: given what I've put into it--am I getting what I need out of it? If dating a widower makes you feel as if being second wife would be "second best" (or third time around makes you "third rate") then it might be time to take a deep breath, gather your dignity, collect the pieces of your heart and take your leave to follow your bliss--elsewhere.
Sara posts on 1/7/2006 4:08:18 PM I've been involved with a widower for several months now. His wife has been dead for 7 1/2 years. He says that I am the first woman he has ever loved since she died. He has been with several other women. He even lived with one woman for two years. At first everything was terrific. Lately, though, things seem to be falling apart. He says he doesn't want to break up with me but he doesn't know if he wants to keep going either. He says he's afraid of his feelings for me and he's afraid of getting hurt again. Do you think there's any hope for us? Is this unusual?
Terry posts on 12/7/2005 1:13:27 PM I just read sara's posting about how she can't stop obsessing over her husband's deceased wife. It's as if she has taken pages from my diary and read them to the world. I have all the same feelings and fears that sara is describing. Specifically, I feel guilty that my current and future life with my fiancee (the most wonderful man in the world) is the result of a tragedy - a car crash that killed his wife. Our life together is a by-product, a consequence, a consolation prize to what he really wanted in life. And I feel as if everyone can see and thinks the same way about our union. It would be greatly appreciated if anyone can shed some light on how to deal with the ever-present memory of the deceased wife and how it can diminish your own feeling of self-worth. Unfortunately, I do not see any responses to her posting. She wrote it over a year ago so I doubt she's even checking this message board any longer. I would love to know how she has dealt with her situation, or if she's still living with the fear and anger.
Jane posts on 9/24/2005 1:20:31 AM I just need someone to tell me what they think about my situation, since you all have been through it yourselves. This is something that will haunt me for the rest of my life, but I was involved with a widower long before his wife was sick. It is horrendous that I was involved with someone else's husband; we weren't involved physically - just emotionally, for 2 years. Then all of a sudden, his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer and died in less than a year. She was pregnant when she was diagnosed, so in essence she sacrificed herself to let her baby live. She has been dead for a little over a year, and he will not admit that something was wrong with their marriage, and that he & I did anything wrong. I know this is not the truth; he is just in major denial. For God's sakes, his pregnant wife was dying of cancer and he was more interested in me! I know this is all horrible...but it is my reality. He is divorced from his first wife, and now his second wife died, and I think he is very scared to lose someone yet again, so he is holding onto his grief out of guilt and fear. He has 3 children under the age of 7 with his late wife, (and 2 older children with his first wife) and I know deep down, he wants them to have a mother again someday. Will he pass through this phase, or will he be stuck in guilt forever? If he loved her so much, then why don't I make him sick? I just need him to admit that there were issues in his marriage that he (and she) were unwilling to address. Because if he does not admit this, and that there was something between us, then I"ll think he'll just go and do that again with someone else behind my back. Will a tiger change his stripes? I fell in love with him at first sight, and ashamedly I admit that my feelings for him were so strong, that the fact that he was married didn't matter. I am not a bad person, and I will live with my own demons & guilt for the rest of my life. I will tell anyone reading this to be careful what you wish for in life!
Janiel posts on 9/20/2005 9:20:31 AM I am also the wife of a former widower. I want to reach out to you in love and compassion and tell you I know exactly what you're going through and how you are feeling. I have found comfort in my faith in God and His wisdom and plan in putting my husband and I together as the loves of each other's lives. I have a message for you: Your husband loves you and you are beautiful, special and uniquely created by God. The thoughts that haunt you are just torments from the past and have no basis in fact. That man loves you and has put his past behind him. He is glad you are in his life. The ghosts from the past are empty, cold and lifeless. In you is Life, Light, warmth and Love. Choose to put those thoughts in the waste basket and embrace the life that God has given you. Old things are passed away; behold, all things become new. Love, J

Note: the views expressed here are only those of the posters.
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