Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2014 01:41 pm
I have been dating a widower for 6 months, and it is going extremely well. His wife committed suicide almost 6 years ago. He has told me that it really messed him up at the time, but that their marriage was almost over due to her drug use and inaibility to parent their two small children. He and the children went through counseling, and he has had another relationship since his wife passed. (Yes, I am grateful I am not the first.)

I love him with all my heart, and he feels the same about me - he was the first to tell me he loved me, and tells me he has never felt this deeply for anyone in his life, this much in love. We are still crazy about each other, and love each other's kids. We are discussing moving in together, into my house, because I do have a much nicer/larger house and he and the kids love it there. At this point in our lives, we both feel like we know exactly what we want, and when we find it...well, life is too short to not live it and be together. (For the record, he wants to get married again and I have been divorced twice, so I am the holdout, though it has nothing to do with him and everything to do with paying off the bills the addict left me with.)

I have met her parents, and last week I met her sisters and their families at a family gathering. All were very accepting of me, so kind and sweet. I really liked them all and I think they liked me. His kids adore me, and one has already has referred to me as being "like a mother".

I am okay with hearing her name mentioned, but it does bug me to some extent to hear him refer to her more often as "my wife", or her parents as "my in-laws". I realize that her parents are more like parents to him than his own mom and dad, so I cut him some slack there, and that she was his wife for 9 years. But it just feels weird, because we have talked about marriage. And when he mentions "my wife" in front of other people, it's a bit awkward. I guess it's more of something I have to deal with, because technically she is still his wife.

The same night as the family gathering, I finally went IN his house. I had offered to come over several times in the past (he always comes to my house) yet he always had a reason to deny me, and I felt like he didn't want me there for some reason. Recently, after I had brought it up, he issued a standing invitation, but did tell me how he had not had another woman in his house since his wife died because it bothered him. He went out of his way to tell me I was different, that he knew me and was comfortable with me, and he'd be okay with me being in his house.

It didn't bother me at all. That is, until I went in the living room. There were pictures of the two of them on the walls, a wedding picture on a table, another picture in the next room as well as on the hallway leading up the stairs. At least two of the pictures were poster sized, and I am not exaggerating. Granted, I believe that she had hung them as they were engagement photos, but still...there was only one picture each of the kids, so that sent a big message to me. I even think if they were pictures of just her, I might have been okay, but seeing them together as a couple in every single one really threw me. The only room I felt safe in was the kitchen. He showed me around, pointing out things "the wife" had done, and then proceeded to take me to the dining room where he turned on the light and pointed out the huge picture there that they had had everyone sign at their wedding. Uncomfortable was an understatement for how I felt, like an intruder on their marriage.

He told me later that he'd had an emotional day, especially because I had been in his house. And yet he had no concept as to how I felt, nor does he still a week later. I find it ironic that he would be so emotional about me being in his house, when on the other hand he has repeatedly told me that he has no ties to that house and is ready to walk away from it. I guess that's normal, for them to go back and forth on this?

I also believe it's never crossed his mind to take the pictures off the wall. My son has a framed wedding picture of his dad and me in his room, even though he sees his dad once a week - I thought he would like to have it, or else it would be in a box in the basement, or in the trash, depending on how I felt that day. Otherwise, there is no trace of my ex-husband on display in my house, and probably one of the reasons my BF feels so comfortable there. I made a distinct effort to remove all traces - I realize it's not the same as a death, but I also think we might still be together had he not killed the marriage with his addictions. I just felt better not having the reminders everywhere, and making it more MY and my kids' house.

I don't expect my BF to put ALL the pictures away, especially with two kids at home, but I could't even sit on the couch to watch tv because they're both right there in front of me, as a couple. I did not go to his bedroom that night, but he has mentioned me spending the night this weekend. I would be okay with that on 2 conditions - 1) I will talk to him about me being uncomfortable with so many pictures around before then (we haven't yet had alone time to discuss this), and 2) if I do go in his room and there are pictures (especially after we have talked), I will tell him that I cannot stay and why I have to leave. I won't tell him to take the pictures down, but I will tell him how I feel. How he deals with it is up to him. I really do think he just hasn't thought about it, but...we'll see. I think I will lead up to the discussion by asking if he misses her, and if he has truly moved on. He has told me so many bad things about their relationship, and I understand how the bad things seem to disappear after a death and the good things become the memories. I just need to know where he stands so that we can build a life together.

I do try to keep the lines of communication open, and there was one rough patch we've already gone through - about him thinking I would react inappropriately to a situation as his wife would have. I did not, would not, and I proved it to him, so we are in a better place now just by working through that.

Does anyone have any advice? (I did order Abel Keogh's book...can't wait to read it!)
 
PUNKEY
 
  3  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2014 02:01 pm
There's another very long thread on this site about dating a widow. I hope you can find it. As you know, the suicide death is a double whammy and really takes counseling to get through. I hope he and the children continue with it.

I am a widow - 4 1/2 years. I have been to several grief groups and have had hundreds of conversations with people who have lost spouses. I can tell that your man has a long way to go before he even thinks of marriage. BUT don't give up with having a relationship with him. . I truly believe that he loves you - in your world and with you - which is a respite place for him right now. He has not yet grieved at his own house.

The children must come first. Perhaps that is why he has been hesitant to make any changes in the home.

It was a big step bringing you into the home. Most widowers really don't know what to do with the house and the decorating, so it's not surprising that there are pictures, etc. still up. And I'd bet that the bedroom is exactly the way it was when she was there.

Now you have seen it. Changes will have to come very slowly and HE has to do it. Let him know that if he wants you to come over, he needs to start moving those big pictures to another place, perhaps in the rec room or in the spare room. His bedroom really needs to be made for him now. New paint, new bed linens, etc. Maybe you can help him with that to make it HIS (not yours together). Be gentle but firm in changing things up in the bedroom.

You say you are the second one in his life after he lost his wife. I bet she had the same feelings you do and was not able to make him live in the future. If he makes no little changes in the home, then he's not ready yet to have anyone in his life on a deep level.

Please don't make comparisons to your divorce. Apple and oranges, there.
nightswimming
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2014 02:14 pm
@PUNKEY,
I did find John Carter's thread, and read all the replies. It was helpful as well.

Thanks for the advice, Punkey. I think he "wants" to make changes, but needs help in doing so. The kids really don't remember their mother at all, except for the pictures, and I think he's left them there partly for them and partly because it never crossed his mind to move them. I agree that he needs to make those changes on his own - I promise I will not ask him to.

Do you think it's possible he doesn't want to grieve at his house, that he just wants to get away from it and start fresh? I am thinking that's how he feels, and I guess I want to know if it's healthy to feel that way. I get the impression he has grieved his wife and now she's in the past, though being in the house is more like she's very present, so it's hard for me to judge, except to ask him this week. He told me he almost lost his house two years ago and made his peace with it then, so it holds no ties for him, other than for the kids. But then they tell me they love it at my house - their rooms are small and worn and they want nice and newer. Almost like they are craving a new start as well.

I am very open about my past/relationships and have told him he can ask me anything, as I have nothing to hide. I have also asked him a bit about the other woman he was seeing (mostly during the communication issue we had to get through), and the only thing I could get was that they dated about 2 years and he ended it because she didn't want kids. Uh, did she not know he had two kids??? I have asked a few other questions, but then sensed he was not comfortable answering. I even asked and he said yes, he was uncomfortable discussing her with me. Hmmmm. I won't dig/pry but something has me curious there. He did tell me that in the two years he was never even close to feeling about her the way he felt about me in two months, so I have let it go for now.
nightswimming
 
  2  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2014 02:18 pm
@nightswimming,
Oh, and the reference to what I did in my home after my divorce was just explaining why he would feel more comfortable there than I probably felt in his. I wasn't trying to compare divorce with the death of a spouse....I couldn't begin to imagine what that must be like for someone to go through. My apologies.
0 Replies
 
PUNKEY
 
  2  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2014 02:32 pm
It sounds like YOU lift this entire situation up - better home, better life, better rooms for the kids, new start, better financial (?)

What does he bring to the table? Just make sure you aren't picking up a wounded bird.
nightswimming
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2014 03:09 pm
@PUNKEY,
Yes, I have the better/newer/nicer house, and it's twice the size so there's more room for everyone that at his house, but that's about it. It will be a new start for them, but financially we'll be on about the same level and we'll share the bills.

I have been on my own for 4 years, and I am very happy as my own person. I have been very cognizant of NOT wanting to meet someone who needed "fixed"...I have ended relationships because I will not do co-dependency again. He "adds" to my happiness more than I ever thought possible.

I don't think he needs fixed, but honestly, I have to be sure; hence "the talk" this week. I need to know that he is truly ready to move on before we talk any further about them moving in.
panzade
 
  2  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2014 03:16 pm
@PUNKEY,
That's a good post Punkey.
I can't think of anything to add.
0 Replies
 
panzade
 
  2  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2014 03:19 pm
@nightswimming,
Quote:
I have been on my own for 4 years, and I am very happy as my own person. I have been very cognizant of NOT wanting to meet someone who needed "fixed"...I have ended relationships because I will not do co-dependency again. He "adds" to my happiness more than I ever thought possible.

You seem to have a good equilibrium.
A few more checks off the list and you're good to go.
nightswimming
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2014 03:25 pm
@panzade,
Thanks, Panzade! I had a great therapist during/after my divorce, and I was in a very good place when I met the BF. Got some things to get through still... :-)
0 Replies
 
 

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