I, Too, Married A Widower....

I met him when his wife was dying of cancer. He was friends with my best friend. When his wife passed, she wanted me to date him. I said no. He ended up in another relationship for about a year before becoming single again. Again, my friend tried to set us up. This time I agreed to a date. And that, as they say, is all they wrote...except it's not because with a widower, it's never done.

We married a little over a year ago. He has a teenage son - and for the most part we get along. His mother was not a disciplinarian, my husband is also not a disciplinarian, nor were they keen on much structure or expectation. I try to understand that this was because she never knew what day would be her last and she never wanted her last words to be filled with anger. But the result of that approach was a young boy (from the age of 6 to 13) being raised without parents for the most part, nobody willing to do the hard parts anyway. If I'm being honest, my husband and I argue most about this issue. I can't seem to simply detach myself from trying to 'help' give him the structure he so desperately needs. I don't know what to do. He deserves someone loving him enough to say no to him, for his own good. He's a good person fundamentally, but his grades are a war.

But none of that is really what brought me to this site today. Today is my husband's first wife's birthday. So, today I find myself in a house with two very sad men. I know that I should be kind and caring and understanding today, but I feel angry and jealous and betrayed. What do you do when this happens?????

nunajane nunajane
31-35, F
3 Responses Jan 23, 2013

Oh how I feel your pain....At 36 I started dating my husband after loosing his wife to cancer 6 months prior. I was her friend but didn't know him well then. I married him 4 years later we now have been married for 3 years in June. My husband rents out the house he built for her and we live in a house in another town where I work. The late wives ashes are in my garage not my choice and the classic car he bought for her while she was sick stays with her ashes.
After seeing many quote pictures on his iPad about missing someone in heaven I asked what I already knew " if late wife came back who would you choose? "I don't know, its not like I divorced her I had no control was his answer. Ouch that hurt I told him he should have lied life is for the living. I must say that made me deal with the issues I was trying to ignore. Were getting some counselling and he has to get rid of the shrines the house her car the ashes. I honestly thought he would say no but he didn't. It sure is hard competing with a ghost.

Awww......take care of YOU.
On that day....I ALWAYS make sure to be busy. Work, spa day, girls day....I am respectful that THEY are thinking of her....I usually send a little note to my step daughter (16 and also without any boundaries as a result of her mothers illness/death) and also a note to my hubby.
Then, I fill my day so that before I know it....the day has ended just like any other day.

Been there. I'm the widower...

The grief they are experiencing is not yours, though you are living in the shadow of it today. The grief and memories of what has been lost are theirs. The best you can do is to be yourself, to allow them room to remember and be somber (and likely silent about it) for a time. It is right and normal for any of us to do this after a loss, even on anniversaries and birthdays for years afterward.

The deceased is not in competition with you for their love and respect. They are simply grieving and trying to figure how to go on without the wife/mother they used to have. Know that the choice to continue on with life has already been made. Given enough time to experience their memories, these two men (father and son) will return to the present where you are waiting for both of them.

Be patient with them and with yourself. The instinct to want to 'fix things' is natural. This is one time when nothing can be fixed, it can only be experienced. This expression of grief is something you can only watch as an outsider, patiently and with all the support and understanding you can muster.

By allowing them to grieve uninterrupted, they will eventually (it may be years) appreciate the emotional space you are giving them now - and love you for it.