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.
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.
New York Times writer Elizabeth Olson notes just one man's unapologetic reason to want a new wife -- he's overwhelmed by household chores, and he can't find things around the house.
He’s a recent widower (wife died of cancer in June 2010.) We started dating just after Labor Day. We live about an hour and 1/2 apart and he has a very high level job and a big house to take care of (and a dog.) There has been no sex yet but lots of “foreplay.” He says he always waits to have sex until he’s more sure of the woman.
I want to see more of him at this point (3 months,) especially on Saturday nights.
I want to be sure that I am getting my needs met and that I’m not just a “rebound” for him. Dear Karen, One thing I know about widowers, followed by two things I know about men.
Widowers are QUICK to rebound, to a point of being unseemly.
He takes you to trendy restaurants and shows you off to his friends. Pure grief is not the only reason a widower won't commit.
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.
A widower may have to choose between his new romantic interest and offspring who can't get past idealizing their mother.