published a whole post explaining why I typically defend widowers who are dating against the advice of columnists who specialize in the particular foibles and hazards of dating widowers.
That doesn't mean I think widowed people (men or women) deserve any kind of special consideration when dating, either.
Too often I hear young widows (we usually say "under 55" just to have SOME answer) speaking wistfully of dating someone who "gets it," meaning, in our code, someone who's also widowed. It seems like it would be easier than "cleaning up" one's grief for the dating market or dealing with divorced men (about whom we can be quite judgmental). We get misty eyed thinking that this widower would understand the troubles we've seen and that there would be so much less guilt involved in the new relationship.
Well. This is as Hollywood as it gets.
Widowed men are only human. They can behave badly when dating. Maybe not worse than other men, but if a woman enters the relationship with misty rose-tinted gaze, when she's most vulnerable (and especially if she's decided to short cut knowing whether she's ready and committed to dating... because after all he's "just like" her)... it can get ugly. Widows are vulnerable enough... don't make yourself MORE vulnerable by dating someone who you feel is owed any special treatment. His loss is no more romantic than yours, after all.
Yes, you can live happily after after (once per person). But don't overlook the practical aspects of your situation: there are far, far fewer widowed men available at young ages, and no matter your age, there will always be fewer widowed men available. Dating is -- for many of us, at many times -- a numbers game. You need to have the largest pool available... and the clearest idea of who you are (not JUST widowed) and the most critical perspective on who you're considering to share your life.
Don't get all fairy-tale on this... a widower is just another man to be considered for his own merits and flaws. I'm suggesting that widowed women are more susceptible to this, but Abel's column (and the other Dating a Widower sources) tell me that widowers are getting the same kind of affirmative action from single and divorced women in the marketplace. Preference that I doubt is ever given to widowed women when they date.
Everyone deserves love, but everyone also deserves the right partner and to be taken seriously enough that they can be seen for who they are.