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spottedleaf's avatar

I'm engaged to a widower, and I can't get over being jealous of his late wife.

Asked by spottedleaf (16points) July 9th, 2009

The fact that he’s only with me because she’s gone bothers me also. I knew them both casually but had not talked with either of them in several years.Then a few months after she got killed he came to see me, and now he lives with me. He’s 47, widowed for 16 months, I’m 48, divorced 5 yrs. We’ve been together for 10 months. Am I crazy?

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14 Answers

Grisaille's avatar


Slow down, there.

First, ask yourself why you feel the need to be jealous. If the reason is that you feel as if you’ll never match up to her – then you are correct. You can’t, and you shouldn’t try.

You are yourself. Be yourself. Not only is the guy probably in the worst emotional state of his life right now, he’s probably feeling quite guilty for being with you.

Comfort him, be with him. He’s probably breaking inside. Then build on your own relationship.

I copied my response from before you got pushed to editing. Knew you’d be back.

Zaku's avatar

You’re not crazy, you’re human. Mostly, humans tend to relate to incomplete ideas in their own past, but think they are relating to the current situation. As Grisalle wrote, be yourself, try to relate to him himself, and build a new relationship. Both of your old relationships’ themes will show up, but you could use these as opportunities to see what each of you has to get complete about the past. Remember the reactions are probably mostly about your past stories, even when they seem like they’re really about the present reality.

cookieman's avatar

I hope you’re planning on a long engagement (why not just date?).

Sixteen months is not long at all. It will take him years to get over her (if ever). If you plan to stay with this man, you must be comfortable with the idea that part of his “heart” will always be reserved for her.

Might you be the rebound-girl?Probably. But that shouldn’t preclude you from exploring a relationship with him.

Ultimately, you need to be clear on what you expect from this relationship. Make a list if you have to. If you’re not getting at least eighty-percent of those things from him, then it isn’t going to work.

As for the jealousy; well you’re creating a hurdle you can never overcome by competing with a dead woman. There’s a reason the dead are canonized.

You cannot replace her or become what she was to him. However, if he is truly ready to date, he should have his own list of needs. Perhaps you should compare notes before you call each other “fiancĂ©”.

marinelife's avatar

You are not crazy, but what you are experiencing is about you, not the dead wife. Therapy could really help you explore the underlying issues of your own poor self-esteem.

You cannot “compete” with someone who is dead and that way lies only heartache.

It is a positive that your current lover loved his dead spouse so much. It means he is a caring individual.

You need to make sure that things are right between you and not something that occurred through loneliness.

Saturated_Brain's avatar

To be honest, I’m kinda surprised that you’re engaged after only being together for 10 months. Isn’t that a bit short?

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I think you have some self-esteem issues here than could be the ruin of this relationship. Yes, you are only with this guy because his wife is dead. Count yourself lucky.

Would you prefer that you were with a guy who bad-mouthed his ex-wife? Do you talk badly about your ex-husband? Perhaps the need to do that is what’s getting in the way here. Stop focusing on the need to put another person down in order to build yourself up. You are both different individuals. People are capable of loving different people for different reason. Count yourself lucky.

fireinthepriory's avatar

He’s been married before, so he has experience with this – I don’t think he’d propose to you unless he had feelings for you. You’re not his former wife, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you. He surely loves you differently, as you’re different people, but it’s not like he was forced to be with you. It sounds like he initiated it in fact. I’d definitely go see a marriage counselor if I were you, because you shouldn’t get married if you feel this way without working through those feelings first.

Lothloriengaladriel's avatar

I wouldn’t say you crazy but do you really have to be jealous? Think about it, it’s not like he can go cheat on you with her and I’m sure you know the only way they will end up back together, you’ve got it pretty good.

CMaz's avatar

“The fact that he’s only with me because she’s gone bothers me also”
That is your problem.

Understanding that, you are doing nothing more then kidding yourself. It does not matter what you feel. Because you are kidding yourself.
Totally unhealthy, and not how to develop a relationship.

I say this with all due respect. Are you desperate? Do you feel that this is an opportunity to have a man in you life otherwise you will not have another. Take what you can get?
Still not a reason. You need to move him out, or get out. See if you both can have a non co-dependent relationship. At least at first. Give it another year and re evaluate.

My money, if you follow my “advice”, is on you both not being together that much longer.

Dog's avatar

I think your feelings are justified and the root of them is the speed at which the relationship is going.

Instead of treating the relationship as a savory gourmet meal and exploring one another and enjoying each bite it is being rushed like a McDonald’s happy meal while late to work.

What is the rush?

Slow things down.

Take each day at a time.

You have made it very convenient for him and so it is natural for you to wonder if he really loves you or if you are meeting other needs for him. So if it were me I would ask him to find another place to live till the wedding and push the wedding back. Have him properly court you and respect you and then you will not only feel better about yourself but could find him even more fired up and passionate about you.

SirBailey's avatar

I agree with @Dog. It didn’t take him very long to forget his ex and have sex with you. Widowed for 16 months minus 10 months you’re together equals six months!!??? Slow it down.

And the argument that he’s only with you because she’s gone doesn’t make ANY sense. That argument can be made in any relationship, i.e., “He’s only with me because”... his last girl dumped him, his last girl cheated, his last girl wanted to get married, yada, yada, yada.

Darwin's avatar

I married a widower. His wife had been dead 12 months when we met, and we married 10 months after that. One of the reasons he remarried relatively quickly is that he liked being married. He loved his wife and wanted someone else to love once she was gone.

As his second wife my job was to love him and help him get over her death, not her life. He hadn’t forgotten her at all when he married me. However, he needed to share his pain with someone, and that was me. It took him about five years overall to really move past her death, but that didn’t mean he didn’t love me. We have now been together twenty years.

Nyna is part of his past and is integrated into who he is now, just as his experiences in school, his life in the Navy, and everything else that makes him him. There is no need to be jealous – she is dead. However, the fact that he loved her for many years reassures me that he will love me for many years, too.

Darwin's avatar

To give everyone an update: we almost made it to 21 years (missed by 9 days) but he passed away. I am now a widow. If I should ever marry again, my husband will have to accept that I was married before and that I have not forgotten him. He is a part of me and always will be.

augustlan's avatar

@Darwin We’re sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your love story with us.

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