Male Widowers


#1

If you are a male widower with 2 children.... say 2 girls... age 7 & 12 and you have met someone you fell in love with...& you want to move on & start a new life.

... so you date quietly for about 1 year....** and you decide she is it**...

How do **YOU **tell your 2 girls about this **NEW **woman coming into their lives and what instructions would **YOU **give your girls.

I appreciate your thoughts & discussions as well as your advice. Thank you..!


#2

You asked for my opinion. If it were me, I'd get advice from more than one family therapist with actual experience in how these things tend to work out best, preferably someone who knows your girls. I'd talk to my pastor. I'd ask a great many people, but only those who could absolutely be trusted to a) be discrete and b) allow me to make the decision in the end without Monday-morning quarterbacking about it later.

If I were one of those people in your life, my personal guess and inclination would be the following:

I AM NOT a professional. Keep that in mind, please. Have you talked to someone who is? What did they say? How did you feel about that? What do you know about the opinion of the woman you hope to marry on this issue? Does that concern you at all?

You would be wise if girls were given chance to get to know her before springing this on them; besides, you can't really decide if someone would make a good spouse unless you know how the person will share the job of parenthood with you. IMHO, that is one of the things a wife does. Just as there is no "my money/your money", there is no "my kids/your kids" in marriage. There are "our kids", and that's it.

Once you have decided that your intended will be suitable as your partner in parenting--as your daughters' mother, in fact, if not in the precise title is decided upon--the girls need to be told that you are very pleased to tell them that you have decided to marry this woman, and that she has said "yes." I would explain that she will have every authority and responsibility for them that a mother has, that this is not negotiable, but that every effort will be made to make everyone as comfortable with the situation as possible, and that if you did not think she would make them a great mom you would not have asked her to marry you.

After all, if you and your deceased wife had decided to have another baby or even to adopt a child older than your daughters, the girls would not have had veto power over your decision. It isn't theirs to make. Likewise, this is a decision that powerfully affects their lives and yet which is not theirs to make. It is yours to make, on their behalf as well as on your own behalf. Take their needs into account, this is your responsibility as their father, but when and if you re-marry is entirely your decision, just as their decisions about who they will marry will be theirs. Stick to your guns on that.


#3

[quote="EasterJoy, post:2, topic:226216"]
You asked for my opinion. If it were me, I'd get advice from more than one family therapist with actual experience in how these things tend to work out best, preferably someone who knows your girls. I'd talk to my pastor. I'd ask a great many people, but only those who could absolutely be trusted to a) be discrete and b) allow me to make the decision in the end without Monday-morning quarterbacking about it later.

If I were one of those people in your life, my personal guess and inclination would be the following:

I AM NOT a professional. Keep that in mind, please. Have you talked to someone who is? What did they say? How did you feel about that? What do you know about the opinion of the woman you hope to marry on this issue? Does that concern you at all?

You would be wise if girls were given chance to get to know her before springing this on them; besides, you can't really decide if someone would make a good spouse unless you know how the person will share the job of parenthood with you. IMHO, that is one of the things a wife does. Just as there is no "my money/your money", there is no "my kids/your kids" in marriage. There are "our kids", and that's it.

Once you have decided that your intended will be suitable as your partner in parenting--as your daughters' mother, in fact, if not in the precise title is decided upon--the girls need to be told that you are very pleased to tell them that you have decided to marry this woman, and that she has said "yes." I would explain that she will have every authority and responsibility for them that a mother has, that this is not negotiable, but that every effort will be made to make everyone as comfortable with the situation as possible, and that if you did not think she would make them a great mom you would not have asked her to marry you.

After all, if you and your deceased wife had decided to have another baby or even to adopt a child older than your daughters, the girls would not have had veto power over your decision. It isn't theirs to make. Likewise, this is a decision that powerfully affects their lives and yet which is not theirs to make. It is yours to make, on their behalf as well as on your own behalf. Take their needs into account, this is your responsibility as their father, but when and if you re-marry is entirely your decision, just as their decisions about who they will marry will be theirs. Stick to your guns on that.

[/quote]

Very much in agreement with Easter Joy's response as bolded above. It is very likely that you are unable to decide the "fit" of this woman into your family, your most personal relationships, when she hasn't even met your daughters. In fact, up until now, she exists only as a "secret." That does not bode well for good open relationships among any of the females in your life. The opposite might be true. You need some personal feedback - from your own siblings, from your parish priest, from a very good friend, from a counselor, if necessary.


#4

[quote="jakasaki, post:1, topic:226216"]
If you are a male widower with 2 children.... say 2 girls... age 7 & 12 and you have met someone you fell in love with...& you want to move on & start a new life.

... so you date quietly for about 1 year....** and you decide she is it**...

How do **YOU **tell your 2 girls about this **NEW **woman coming into their lives and what instructions would **YOU **give your girls.

I appreciate your thoughts & discussions as well as your advice. Thank you..!

[/quote]

My condolences for the loss of your wife. That must have been very hard for your family.

I am happy that you found someone to love again. It seems that they all haven't met before and you're sure that this girl is someone you want in your life. The best thing is to take some time and have her spend time with you and your children to see how things go on that front as well. I am sure that if you love her, your children will as well. But be sure you give them that choice as well! ^_^


#5

I was a child in such a situation. My mother died when I was six. There were five other children ages 2-12. After a while my dad thought he should marry again. The mistake he made was in asking his children’s opinion. We all said NO. In actuality, we needed a mother as much as he needed a wife. He never married. How different our lives would have been if he had.

What he should have done, and I would advise you to do, is to let the children become acquainted with your intended fiance. Do not say that this stranger will be their mother, upon first meeting. Let there be time for all to know, like, and be comfortable with each other. You will know when this happens. Then do not ask, but tell the children that you plan to marry her. If they know her, and like her, they will accept her. Be sure that the woman you plan to marry is comfortable with the children, and they with her, before you marry. Good luck, and God bless.


#6

Completely agree.


#7

[quote="Waiting, post:5, topic:226216"]
I was a child in such a situation. My mother died when I was six. There were five other children ages 2-12. After a while my dad thought he should marry again. The mistake he made was in asking his children's opinion. We all said NO. In actuality, we needed a mother as much as he needed a wife. He never married. How different our lives would have been if he had.

What he should have done, and I would advise you to do, is to let the children become acquainted with your intended fiance. Do not say that this stranger will be their mother, upon first meeting. Let there be time for all to know, like, and be comfortable with each other. You will know when this happens. Then do not ask, but tell the children that you plan to marry her. If they know her, and like her, they will accept her. Be sure that the woman you plan to marry is comfortable with the children, and they with her, before you marry. Good luck, and God bless.

[/quote]

Excellent, excellent point. I'm sorry you had to learn it through such hard experience.

This points to the sensible policy that one's children do not have the least authority to dictate when, where, and with whom one socializes or whether they will be polite to one's friends. You have to be responsible about this, OP, but this situation points to why you can't afford to abdicate any of that responsibility to your kids. It isn't their place, and even if they think they're entitled to it, they won't be happy if they get it.

If they aren't infants, OTOH, they will see the women you socialize with, OP, as possible wives for you. I think you have been wise to date discretely, in order to limit the number of women that your children meet as possible "mothers." They need to accept that you could choose to re-marry, but it would be really hard to endure a long parade of female candidates for the position. Better that they are only have to socialize personally with the women who pass initial muster with you as rather serious candidates for a long-term relationship. If it turns out to be only the one, so much the better. Again, this is not "hiding", and nothing to apologize for. It is simply responsible handling of tender emotions to wait to introduce them to "dates" until something serious seems a real possibility. As Waiting pointed out, though, putting off the meeting until the marriage idea is a done deal is too long.


#8

You are a male widower now, Jakasaki? Hmm...I guess I was gone from CAF for too long! ;)

Anyway, I never had this happen but had a similar situation happen in my early childhood. My parents divorced when I was three and my older brother was eight. I don't have any memories of us being a family. So you can guess how it felt, growing up in a single parent household with only my mother and then suddenly, around the age of twelve, having a "new" guy come in (actually an old friend she had reconnected with; we all know how these things happen) and be all...in my space, or however you'd put it. Haha. Looking back on it, of course I feel awful. No, actually more than awful since my mother is no longer with us, so adult me can't apologize for what a snot-nosed little bastard twelve year-old me was about the whole situation. Thanks be to God the stepfather is still around, and I do still occasionally see him. We generally go out to lunch about once a year, in fact, just to catch up. He's a wonderful man, as I've known for years now. Take that, child-me.

How I think this could shed some light on your hypothetical situation:

1- I pray to God that the children in your example are more mature/well-adjusted than I was. In case they aren't, you probably should not expect acceptance of the situation; at least not immediately/within X time-frame (I only grew to see my stepfather differently due to his actions and behaviors as my mother/his wife was dying of cancer; that grows everyone up REAL quick, but I wouldn't recommend it at all.)

2- Acceptance, even if it is not reticent, is likely not unconditional (i.e., don't take the first reaction as the end of the discussion, no matter how it goes). I've never been a 12-year-old girl but I have been around plenty (both when I was that age, and now that I'm tutoring at the local elementary school), and I know that there can be a lot going on under the surface emotions (or lack thereof), especially after a traumatic experience like losing their mother. Given that fact, not only is a great deal of delicacy needed when approaching this topic, but also a great deal of openness. I would explain just exactly what this new situation means to me as the widower, and then encourage the kids to do the same. What are their feelings about it? Are they concerned about anything? That sort of thing. When my father got remarried for the first time when I was eight, his new wife related her own experiences in growing up with a step-mother to the kind of step-mother she wanted to be to me and my brother. It didn't work out for many, many reasons, but I always appreciated that she shared her perspective with us kids, rather than just deciding with my father how the house would be and leaving us out of it (that came later...ha).

3- Don't, for the love of all that is good and holy, ask your kids or other loved ones for their opinions if you don't actually want to hear them. This is something that my entire family, adults though we are, still struggles with due to the passive-aggressive and manipulative behavior that we seem to relish (I include myself in this because I'm sure I do it, too; apple...tree...etc). Nothing irritates me more than being asked my opinion only to unintentionally start an argument when it turns out the only acceptable opinion would've been "sure, great, I agree with whatever you've already decided to do!" :rolleyes: Again, hopefully your situation is full of mature, wise young people...in fact, I think that's even more necessary in the situation you describe, because kids are generally not inhibited by the social constraints that tell adults that sometimes being too candid is a bad idea. Just be prepared to answer anything, in an honest and loving manner.

Best of luck, sir.


#9

[quote="dzheremi, post:8, topic:226216"]
Nothing irritates me more than being asked my opinion only to unintentionally start an argument when it turns out the only acceptable opinion would've been "sure, great, I agree with whatever you've already decided to do!" :rolleyes:

[/quote]

Yes. It has a twin to be aware of, the situation when you can't ask an opinion without offense being taken if you decide not to follow the advice. At our house, this latter irritation is considered a variation of taking over someone else's creative process, a sin we call "grabbing the crayon"! :D

When it comes to whether you marry and who you marry, your life is your canvas and deserves your crayon, even if you have children. Only God gets to take your hand and guide the crayon!


#10

Haha. “Grabbing the crayon”. I love it! :thumbsup:


#11

My mother died when I was 10 and my sister was 13. My father did not remarry until we were both grown and out of the house. He was pretty introverted and didn't even date anyone for all those years. I do wonder what might have happened if he'd tried to bring in another woman. I'm sure it would have freaked me out at first, and made the loss of my mother more painful in many ways. Back then, people didn't go to counselors so I'm sure we girls wouldn't have had anywhere to express our feelings if we were jealous, sad, angry, etc. My sister was jealous even when Daddy did marry! Suddenly there was someone between her and Daddy's wallet! :rolleyes: She kind of went crazy after Mom died, it was the worst possible timing for her but who knows - she may have rebelled and caused trouble anyway.

I would say to start introducing this lady slowly. I pray that she is a warm and loving person who loves children. I assume she is or you wouldn't have gotten this far in your relationship. Did your girls go to a counselor when your wife passed away, or a grief support group for children? That same counselor or grief support group may have value for them now, as they transition into a new family configuration. You need to keep reassuring them that your new wife is not meant to replace their mother who died. DO NOT allow your new wife to remove all the photos. In fact if she is threatened by having pictures of your former wife around, I'd call it off immediately. Talk to the girls often about their mom and how wonderful she was, and even if you see tears in their eyes, tell them when they remind you of her. And then hug them.

They do need a woman in their lives as they go into their teens. Make sure she is 100% on board with all your values - because she will be helping you teach them to stay pure until marriage and how devastating artificial birth control is. I won't say it will be easy. It might be, but let them talk about their feelings (girls need that). But of course it's a fine line between listening to them and allowing them to dictate your entire life. They should not be in charge of your future.

Tell her to take it slowly and not have expectations that they will like her right away. DO NOT allow her to discipline them! That is YOUR job and if she tries to take over, they will likely see her as The Evil Stepmother. That resentment is NOT conducive to a happy home! She can back you up but she cannot initiate any discipline of her own. You have to do the yeoman's work until they accept her, and even then, it's a mine field. In their hearts she will never replace their mother but there can be room in their hearts for a new "bonus mom."

I loved my stepmom right away and I did wish Daddy and she had found each other sooner. Since my father is now gone, she's the only grandparent on my side that my kids have left. :( She never had kids of her own but she loves kids and has been a good grandma.

Congratulations on finding a new lady to love! :)


#12

[quote="dzheremi, post:8, topic:226216"]
You are a male widower now, Jakasaki? Hmm...I guess I was gone from CAF for too long! ;)

Best of luck, sir.

[/quote]

:o :o :o

DZ... my dear friend:

I just spotted you post and after reading the replies up to you post... I discovered that I wasn't clear at all in my initial opening thread.

CAF members:

I am the "SHE".. I am **not **the male widower.

I asked these questions because I was - I am in this situation which I will clarify as I read your replies.

I'm trully embarassed & sorry if I didn't explain myself well enough in my opening statement.. That's what I get for posting late & quickly.. :blush:

Best regards
Pam


#13

Thanks all for your thoughts..

In 2001, I was out on a corporate Christmas party having a great time with co-workers.

As the party was dying down... one of the Sr. Technical Programmer Analyst came over & sat next to me & said that all his work mates left and he wanted to sit with us.

I've known this man for 6 years as we both worked in the same Information Technology department. I was a social butterfly, he was the quite, shy computer geek that no one paid any attention to.

After the Christmas party, a few co-workers wanted to go out and he asked if he can come. Sure I said and he came along. We went to a place for snacks & cocktails and he stuck to me like glue.

As it was getting late so we all decided to pack up & head home.

The next day, he asked if he can get to know me.... sure I said.

Now, I was a divorcee with no kids and he is a widower with 2 little girls. His wife had died from cancer a year before that.

We dated quitely for about 1+ year. It was after this time, he asked me to come to his house to meet his girls. When I started dating him, quitely, his little one was 7 & the other one was 12

After a 1+ year of quitely dating, the girls are now 8 & 13.

I went to his house and it was cold & dark and I don't mean temperature & no light. He had told the girls that a "lady friend" would be coming over, so they know. It was no surprise to them.

It was the cold & dark stare I got from the girls. Anyway, he fed them, clean up and we went & sat outside on the porch for a while.

Ever since that day, they still have been cold & dark with me. I continued to date him but didn't push any issues.

After all of these years of being together, we never became a family.

He found out that the older girl did not want him to ever marry again and she told him that he should never ever be with another woman.

He continued to see me & he would bring his girls to my house. The air was so thick and it was filled with anger & hatred. I knew this would not be the family to get into.

Although this man loves me to death, it's been a horrible experience and after all of these years, it is over.

When I started this thread, I wanted to know from other men how they would have dealt with this issue with his girls. My guy didn't handle it at all, ignored the animosity and dismissed everything and felt we should go on regardless of how his girls felt.

I could not live a life like that.

Thanks again for you replies and for hearing my story.


#14

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