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Am I chasing a lost cause? (dating a widow)

 
 
jenshoe
 
Reply Thu 24 Jan, 2008 02:17 pm
I have been with my BF for 1 and half years. When we first started dating all of the pics including wedding, were all over the house. He has 2 little girls that were just babies when his wife died. We have since moved into a mutual house together. I also have 2 kids and am divorced. I thought that when we moved in together that the pics would be packed ( except in the girls' rooms) since we were doing so anyway. However, we have "wedding" pics in the girls rooms and another pic down in the family office. I dont think that the pics of her would bother so much in the girls rooms if it wasnt their wedding pics. He is absolutely not open to talking about it, there is no compromise. His wife has been gone for almost 4 years. He is not open to discuss marriage and the one time we have he told me that he has a wait and see attitude about it. There are things about me that he would like to see change, one of which is the fact that if I am upset about something I want to talk about it. He is the opposite. I want to get remarried, I love him and the girls so very much but I feel like I am giving all that I have and get just enough back to keep me around. He can be so very sweet but when it comes to the kids, it is the poor girls and he doesnt treat the 4 kids the same when they are all here. This really bothers me and when he says things like Im all the girls have. I feed them, dress them, fix their hair, take them shopping, everything that I do with my own kids. I love them like they are my kids. IS he sending me all the messages and Im just being stubborn or am I reading it all wrong! Please help dont know what to do. The othere dynamic is that HIS family dislikes me and my children very much and have only spoken to me and them once. The wifes family seems okay with me. I just dont know.

I also should add that I am not allowed to display pics of my ex in my kids rooms because they get to see their father often. He doesnt want to have to look at pics of my ex. I am trying to figure out how this is fair.
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shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Jan, 2008 02:24 pm
4 years is not that long when dealing with that tragic of a loss.

I can absolutely see why he has a picture of her in the family room.
That is his daugthers mother. She is part of his family. Part of the girls' family .

He may not want to discuss it because he is still unsure of where he is in his own grief as well. And, if someone can not display important things in their own home, where should they display them?

I can understand how it feels for you. I can not say it would not bother the hell out of me! In fact, my MIL has a photo of my current husband and his previous wife in her room! ( but, she is off her rocker anyway.. ) Still. When I see that picture? I fume. It is the past. She is no longer here. Why am I not in a photo there? Do I not mean as much?
I have been around longer AND I am the mother of her granddaughter. Hello woman!

But.. I am only saying that because i can understand why it feels bad.

I just dont think 4 years is enough time to get over someone, AND to deal with the silent guilt of moving on.
How long were they married?
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jenshoe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Jan, 2008 02:46 pm
they dated for about 1 year and were married for just under 2 years. If one is not ready to commit to a new person then why would they move in her and her children? I dont know that he would end the relationship at this point because of all the kids having lived together for so long now. But I feel that he should be fair to me in letting me know if he has no intentions of marrying me. I have been very open and honest about the subject and the desire to get remarried. But I also dont want to force him to marry me if it is not in his heart to do so.
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CoastalRat
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Jan, 2008 07:03 am
The two of you moved in together and he seems happy with that arrangement. Did he force you to move in together? Of course not. That was your choice just as much as it was his. You are the one who now wants to change the status quo by getting married. He obviously doesn't want to. So drop that issue for the time being. Next time, don't move in until after you get married. Oh wait, that's so old fashioned, isn't it? Sorry.

As for the pictures, I can understand why they bother you. But remember, she was a part of his life. He loved her enough to get married to her (which may be one reason they bother you so much). Give him time. Just keep reminding yourself that she was part of his past and you are the here and now. If he shows you that he loves you, then the picture is nothing more than a momento for himself and his girls.
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Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Jan, 2008 08:14 am
Quote:
He is not open to discuss marriage and the one time we have he told me that he has a wait and see attitude about it. There are things about me that he would like to see change, one of which is the fact that if I am upset about something I want to talk about it.


jenshoe- Welcome to A2K! Very Happy

Sometimes I do think that Coastal Rat IS a bit old fashioned. Then again, I often agree with him, and this time is no exception. You are living as a family, but your boyfriend will not consider marriage until you "change".
So what you have, in some sense, is a bit of controlling bearing on extortion on your boyfriend's part.

You want to get married. He doesn't ..................................unless. These issues are things that needed to be worked out BEFORE you moved in with him, preferably in a married state. If there were no kids involved, it woudl be less of a problem, but with children, you need to provide a stable, hopefully lasting environment for them.

So there are two choices. You give in to his demands, and MAYBE he will marry you, or you keep things just as they are. If it were me, I would have a heart to heart talk with the bf. If you are not suitable enough for him to marry, what the hell are you doing living together? Think about it!
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Jan, 2008 03:15 pm
Quote:
The othere dynamic is that HIS family dislikes me and my children very much and have only spoken to me and them once. The wifes family seems okay with me. I just dont know


Why do they dislike you?
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CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Jan, 2008 03:31 pm
Hello jenshoe and welcome to a2k Very Happy

Hm, it looks to me that your boyfriend was overwhelmed with raising his two
little kids alone, and when you came along, the arrangement of living together and you taking care of the girls, seemed to suit his needs.

Perhaps he is looking only for someone to help him raise his children, as he doesn't seem to be interested in your children, nor is he allowing them to have a picture of their father in the house - which is ridiculous to deny your children what his children are allowed to display.

Obviously, you and your boyfriend want different things in life, and after
you have had a heart to heart talk with him (as Phoenix suggested),
you probably will know more what the future holds in store for you. It is up to you to decide then if you can live with him as his "house keeper" with fringe benefits, or if you and your children deserve better.
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eoe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Jan, 2008 03:44 pm
You dived into a screwed up, one-sided situation with your eyes wide open. Moved in to it. With children no less. I don't get it. But, what's done is done. Now what?

What is it that you want to change? Do you want him to remove the pictures of his wife from his office and childrens' rooms or would you like to display pictures of your ex in your kids' rooms?

Do you want him to suddenly wake up and be a totally different person, fair and just and loving to your sons and wanting to marry you after having his cake and eating it too for this long?

And if he does, is it okay that he's only marrying a woman to comb his daughters' hair and not a wife of his own?

You say that his family dislikes you and your kids? Why would you want to be around anyone who dislikes you and your kids? You're supposed to protect them, not feed them to the wolves.

You've hit the nail on the head. He's sending you a TON of messages and you're being too stubborn and foolish to read them. Blinding yourself to what's real simply because you don't want to see it. You're not the first and you won't be the last.

You can whine and cry and beg and plead, wasting year after year waiting for him to be "fair" or you can accept that it's not going to get any better than it is right now and try to live with that. Or not.

Don't you deserve more?
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akpasqualina
 
  2  
Reply Sun 27 Jan, 2008 03:58 pm
I cannot see myself living through this life without having another relationship. I cannot see myself living through losing someone I love and invest in so much again. The obvious solution is to have a relationship but limit the love and emotional investment so I will be able to live on if/when I lose them.

When a widower makes the move past this self-limiting belief, a lot of the relational issues present are relieved because the widower begins investing more. They start placing the value on their partner and their relationship that is more appropriate and healthy. Until you get to the point that you are not willing to settle for less than this, he'll happily stay where he is. It is safe for him and there is no reason to risk.

One challenge to dating a widower is that society tends to treat them as though they are elevated and worthy of having bad behavior excused because they suffered a loss in death. "Give him time." That only washes for so long. Expect the same treatment in a relationship with a widower as you would with any other man. Understand where he's coming from but don't settle for less than you deserve. If he can't manage that, is he really ready for a relationship with anyone?

Dating a widower is filled with challenges beyond the individual personality of the man behind the title. At some point you have to stop giving him time and confront how his widowhood is impacting you and your relationship. Then you can go back to giving him more time as long as there continues to be forward progress. :wink: It's a process, one that isn't for the timid or the weak.
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amyjanelle07
 
  0  
Reply Mon 4 Feb, 2008 12:08 pm
Keep in mind that this woman is not only his former wife, but the mother of his children. No matter what, there will always be that bond between the two of them. ALthough you also have children, your relationship ended on your own terms. His wife was torn away from him. His displaying her pictures has nothing to do with his feelings for you in this case. I'd say, let it go.
vikorr
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Feb, 2008 04:35 pm
I'd marry you if you'd change?
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jenshoe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Feb, 2008 04:11 pm
Re: Lost cause? Depends on the man behind the title (widower
akpasqualina wrote:
I cannot see myself living through this life without having another relationship. I cannot see myself living through losing someone I love and invest in so much again. The obvious solution is to have a relationship but limit the love and emotional investment so I will be able to live on if/when I lose them.

When a widower makes the move past this self-limiting belief, a lot of the relational issues present are relieved because the widower begins investing more. They start placing the value on their partner and their relationship that is more appropriate and healthy. Until you get to the point that you are not willing to settle for less than this, he'll happily stay where he is. It is safe for him and there is no reason to risk.

One challenge to dating a widower is that society tends to treat them as though they are elevated and worthy of having bad behavior excused because they suffered a loss in death. "Give him time." That only washes for so long. Expect the same treatment in a relationship with a widower as you would with any other man. Understand where he's coming from but don't settle for less than you deserve. If he can't manage that, is he really ready for a relationship with anyone?

Dating a widower is filled with challenges beyond the individual personality of the man behind the title. At some point you have to stop giving him time and confront how his widowhood is impacting you and your relationship. Then you can go back to giving him more time as long as there continues to be forward progress. :wink: It's a process, one that isn't for the timid or the weak.




Thank you for your opinions, i appreciate you all taking time to give an opinion. I am not saying that I am right or wrong about any of this. If I knew or felt I knew either way I would not be asking the opinion of other people that have mutual opinions. As to the questoins about why his family doesn't like me, I don't know they had only met me once when they made that opinion. My guess is that his mom and aunt took on the "mommy" role when his wife died and I threatened that for them. Until just 2 wks ago they were the only grandchildren. Will continue to check for more updates on here and more opinions please continue to post. I must admit that of all of the comments posted I think I tend to agree with akpasqualina the most. Why should I be treated differently because of his past? I was sexually assaulted for 9 years by my stepfather and I don't take that out on him or not let him touch me because of what happened in my past. And you cant tell me that losing someone suddenly and a child (8 yrs old) being molested by someone that they were supposed to be able to trust for 9 years are not equally traumatizing.
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hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Feb, 2008 04:24 pm
I like the definition of intimacy that goes: An ability and a willingness to participate and allow participation in each others inner worlds.

The problem with "this is the way it has to be and were not talking about it" is 1) it is not the practice of intimacy and 2) it is very close to a declaration that his inner world is more important in the relationship than yours. His inner world is allowed to be more important to him than yours is, but it should not be allowed to be more important in the union.
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jodie34
 
  2  
Reply Mon 10 Mar, 2008 08:48 pm
jenshoe

I really do think people grieve for a long time when loosing a love one and especially a spouse. I don't think we ever get over it we just learn to live with it. Maybe you do love him but I also think you really did him a big favor by being a mother to his children. I can see problems in the relationship because you said he does not treat your children as he does his own. What makes you think this is going to change? You also said he wants you to change I am not sure you can go into a relationship wanting someone to change. I think either you except them for who they are or find someone else. How old are you? You said his family doesn't like you, how do you know they don't like you? I just cannot see family problems getting a whole lot better.
I think you made a mistake by moving in with him. How would his life be different if he married you? Really you are living as a married couple now. A marriage lisence is a piece of paper. What would give him the incentive to marry you? I don't mean to be blunt but I think you need to give these things some thought.
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Charlie Chester
 
  2  
Reply Thu 19 Jun, 2008 05:51 pm
Hi Jenshoe,

I see you got lots of opinions, guesswork and a psychology textbook response to your question. You must remember no two people are the same. So all, a bit or nothing could be the case for your relationship.

I am sitting on the other side of the fence. I am a widower with two young children of my own. I can identify with some of the comments (i.e being scared of further loss thus finding it difficult to fully commit to someone). However, this is a temporary feeling and one everyone feels to a certain extent when new relationships develop where children are involved.

I was on an emotional roller coaster but learned to love again. I never looked for a replacement wife or mother for my children. I looked for someone to have fun and laughs with, share ideas with, someone to spoil. Showing intimacy infront of the children came last. We dont live together (yet) but life is good.

I dont want to dis'respect your partner but you queried whether "dating a widower was a lost cause". Well, yes it could be. But equally dating anyone could be a lost cause too. Did you know what kind of person he was before his loss? What i'm pondering is; has he always been like this? Even before his loss.

I hope it works out for you,

Much Love
x
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tourismgirl
 
  2  
Reply Wed 20 Aug, 2008 12:18 am
@jenshoe,
"He doesnt want to have to look at pics of my ex. I am trying to figure out how this is fair. "

Good lord, girlfriend. How in the world could you possibly think that there is anything fair or respectful about this situation? I'm divorced too and engaged to a widower. I used to let him play the widower card.. you know, let him exhibit bad behavior just because his wife died. At first I felt like I had no right to expect the same treatment as I would from someone else. Then I felt guilty. Then I felt angry about feeling guilty.

It has taken a lot of work, but I have finally stopped treating him with kid gloves and special treatment. I didn't "choose" to separate from my husband either, but it happened and when I decided to begin dating again, that was my commitment to leave the past behind, to embrace the future.

Unfortunately, once a widower has adapted the mindset that they should have privileges beyond that afforded their mate, it's very hard to get them to change. My advice.. be honest with him and yourself. Then, figure out where the deal breakers are and forget the rest.
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drillersmum
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 12:07 pm
@jenshoe,
It's been about 18 months since the last posting on this subject, and I'm wondering how things have turned out for you. I guess a lot of water has flowed under the bridge since your first post. I hope things have worked out for you.
Everyone who responded had something positive to say. When I first started reading your posting, I couldn't help but suspect your widowed bf was only after a cheap nanny and housekeeper. I also know from experience a lot of men don't warm to other men's children. It's the rare gems that do, but like in the wild, males sometimes don't even like their own offspring. Life sucks. Give me the single life anytime.
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riverclark
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Dec, 2011 01:40 pm
@amyjanelle07,
Really? Read the post above you about the elevated status of widowers. Not all divorce ended by choice. Some ppl were abandoned by a spouse. Is that really a choice? Not really. Yes, he should remember his LW and the mother of his children, but he should ALSO respect the woman he has is living. She is not a maid or a whore to be used. She should be receiving the same respect as that he gave to his dearly departed. Also this man is cruel if he insists his own children should have the right to have photos of their dearly departed mother, but the GF's children are denied photos of their own living breathing father. Guy is not a widower the guy is a grade A jerk. Having his wife die excuses none of this behavior. Widowers far too often get a free pass b/c society doesn't like to deal with dealth. A lot of ppl in the world have faced tradgey of some kind or another - widowers don't hold the patent on it. Other ppl don't get to treat their new relationship partners like crap and use their tradgey as an excuse. This woman should pack up her chlidren and find a "real" man who if he has some grief issues learns to work through them rather than using a woman as a maid and child care and sex partner whlie still maintaining a love relationship with his previously deceased wife. I am in no way saying this man should not remember or love his Late wife nor not keep her memory alive for kids, but he also made a CHOICE. A choice to be in a realationship with this woman AND her children and move them into his home. This widower needs to take responsibility to for his own actions. I question the wisdom of the GF for moving herself and the kids into this situation. Not too smart. She should have held out for a proposal if that was what she wanted. Not move into the guys house when he still have photos of LW around aevery corner. Big red flag, but give a pass - many younger women have no experience dating A Widowed man. They often mistakenly view it the same as a divorced man and until they are in it over their head's realize it is very different. Still this man is not the innocent victim. He may be lonely. He mayhave wanted help with childcare, but using someone who you are not willing to give the same love and respect to as you did your former wife yet moving her and her kids in to suit your own needs is pretty selfish.
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trulylost
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Dec, 2011 08:40 pm
@jenshoe,
First of all you can't force him into marriage, nor change him into something you prefer. I can understand his grief, you need to understand that this woman was his life, she's the mother of his kids, the woman he chose to sacrifice his status as a "single man" for. He may dismiss her during your presence but will never forget her, you trying to eliminate her from his life will just make him more attached to her, you trying to force him into marriage will most probably make him move away. His actions shows he hadn't been over his ex-wife and I don't think he would soon, his family disliking you means there'll always be trouble (if he cares), he treating kids unequally (even though you're not totally his yet) means your kids condition will be worse once you get married.

btw, most guys don't want to talk about problems and it seldom means we don't care, it's just that god had created us this way, our mind can't process details they way yours do, watch Mark Gungor's (walk you way into a happier marriage) which explains this in much more details, I recall him saying (if your friend called and told your husband "XX got a baby" the husband will reply "oh, thank you, I'll let my wife know". A husband will seldom or even never ask about the kid's gender, name, weight or the way he/she was born because it doesn't really matter to us.
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