Dear Annie: I was married 45-plus years when my husband passed away. After being alone for a few years, I married a longtime family friend. His wife had passed away several years earlier. He pursued me and is a good man, and we seem to be happy together.
But at times, I do feel like his first wife lives with us. My question is, should he be carrying a picture of his first wife in his billfold? He does not carry one of the two of us. This really bothers me, and I am wondering what you think. — Second Wife
Dear Second Wife: If there’s any hope of the two of you carrying out a fulfilling and enduring marriage, it’s time to bury the past. Share with your husband how it makes you feel to have his late wife still seemingly, and quite literally, in the picture. He may not realize that what he perceives as part of the grieving process is actually a detriment to the security and progression of your marriage.
As for his billfold, it’s in with the new. Find a pocket photo of you and your husband to give to him. He may not have had one before. (c) Annie Lane @ Creators.com
Huh. I disagree. Let’s assume for the sake of argument that he was married for forty-five years, too. That’s almost half a century. In fact, it’s half a year longer than I’ve been alive. If someone I loved for my whole life were to die, I’d want to remember them. Photographs might help with that.
And if I had a spouse who was widowed (although I don’t really care for that word), I wouldn’t expect him to grieve his wife and then just get rid of all her photos. That seems… how to put it… rigid and controlling, not to mention insensitive.
I think the letter writer should realize that no one can replace anyone else. Unless her husband actually married her in order to replace his late wife, which would be ill-advised, then she needs to understand that she’s not his late wife, and nor does she need to compete with the aforementioned late wife.
My question is, should he be carrying a picture of his first wife in his billfold?
[Being sarcastic here] No, he should forget that his first wife ever existed. Out with the old and in with the new, am I right?
Oh my gosh, that reminds me. I had a catfisher on the line once. He told me, as they all do, that his wife had died. Somewhat suspicious, I asked to see her obituary. He wrote, she’s gone! Who cares? She’s no longer here. She is no more.
And I was like, wow, that’s romantic–NOT! You stupid idiotic scammer! Die, catfisher, die!
I hate catfishers.
But think about it. Would you really want to be with a significant other who threw out his or her late spouse (of forty-five freakin’ years!) like yesterday’s news? I can understand that as a phase of grief (denial, I guess?), but I can’t understand doing it as a lifestyle choice. I think it would be disrespectful to the person who was a huge part of your life for forty-five years.
If my dad were to die, I’d be devastated. Other people might be able to play similar roles in my life, but no one could replace him (or anyone!). People are individuals.
He does not carry [a photo] of the two of us. This really bothers me.
I think it’s simple compartmentalization. He keeps the photo there so that he can feel close to his late wife when he sees it. He doesn’t need to feel that same sort of closeness to his living wife, who’s still alive in the flesh, if that makes sense.
A relationship of forty-five years shouldn’t end at death, but that’s my spiritual take on it. If I were widowed and then got remarried, I’d still have a relationship with my late spouse in my heart. I doubt I could marry a man who had an issue with that. I mean, I commune with the dead all the time. People should do it more often. But it wouldn’t mean that I didn’t also love my second husband, in an entirely different way, I’d imagine.
It’s time to bury the past. Share with your husband how it makes you feel.
And how would that go, Annie Lane? “Bob, could you get rid of Marge’s photo in your wallet? She’s dead and I’m alive! Are you married to me, or to a corpse? Get with it. Oh! And… I knocked the urn of the mantel. Marge has been vacuumed. Uh… sorry.” (Said with a shifty expression.)
He may not realize that what he perceives as part of the grieving process is actually a detriment to the security and progression of your marriage.
Oh, Annie Lane! It’s a photo in his wallet! It’s not like he’s build an altar to her in his and the letter writer’s shared bedroom, complete with boudoir photos of his late wife, a strand of her hair, and a drop of her blood, stolen from the morgue!
I disagree with Annie Lane about grief. Maybe it’s just the way my mind works. When someone I care about dies, I can still feel them when I access their energy. They’re closer to us than a lot of people realize. But I don’t see anything wrong with his having a photo in his wallet! I have photos up here in my room of both grandmothers! How is that wrong?! If I were to “adopt” a new grandmother, would it be disrespectful for me to have photos of my late grandmothers? I hardly think so.
Where is Annie Lane getting this advice? She seems to be going with the assertiveness school of thought: tell him how it makes you feel. [Eyeroll.] I guess the letter writer could go that route, or she could just get an attitude adjustment.