Single-parent households, whether due to divorce, breakups or death, are more commonplace today than they were 20 years ago, according to 2013 information from the American Psychological Association. While dating a widower with children can present it own set of challenges, particularly if the passing of his spouse was recent or unexpected, it is still possible to develop a warm and fulfilling relationship. Just keep in mind that dating a widower can require a bit of extra patience, understanding and a willingness to allow him space to express his feelings.
Take it slow. Even if your new love interest has had ample time to grieve the loss of his spouse, his children may still be dealing with the loss of their parent -- and he may be trying to help them deal with their pain. Trying to involve yourself in their lives too quickly or too aggressively may have the adverse reaction of pushing your date away as he tries to cope with his feelings and help his children cope with theirs. If you sense that your partner needs time alone, give him that time.
Put the ball in his court. Give your new partner the freedom to dictate how the relationship will progress, including when and how you will interact with his children. Even adult children may need time to adjust to the idea of their widowed father dating again after the loss of their mother.
Allow your partner and his children to grieve. Psychologist Phyllis Silverman suggests that the idea of mourning is not an illness from which someone can recover -- and may be a process that impacts individuals for the rest of their lives. Let your partner know that he can talk about his deceased spouse and his feelings concerning her passing. Be a good listener.
Strive to fill a new role in the lives of your partner and his children instead of attempting to replace the wife and mother that they lost. You may never bake an apple pie like his wife, or read stories like their mom, but you can focus on the positive things you can bring to the lives of your widower and his children. Don't take it personally if you feel that your partner or his children are comparing you to their deceased love one. Just be true to yourself and be who you are.
Transitioning from being married to widowed to dating again may take a toll on your partner and his children. Ask your partner what you can do to offer your support and help them adjust to life without their loved one.