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Dating a widower...need advice.

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I will try to make this as short as possible. In June, my best friend's brother's wife died. She had been sick for awhile for the last few years and her death was expected. She was only 36.  My best friend's brother was someone that I use to date 16 years ago, when I was just 14 years old. We all use to run around together back in the day. There was always something special about this guy and he felt it too b/c when I was 18, he came back into my life but I was engaged at the time. He went on to join the marine core and I got married. Fast forward to present day. When his wife died, my best friend decided to come to Florida (we lived in Indiana) to be with him. She wanted me to come with her and I made some arrangements and came with her for company. ]

 

Well things happened that were beyond our control. Me and her brother hit if off immediately again. Our eyes met for the first time and we both had the same experience. It was like time was moving in slow motion and we were locked onto each other's eyes. Kinda like a romance movie! I swear, it was so intense. Never in a million years would I have made a move on a man that just lost his wife but he made the move on me. We tried to take things slow due to his situation and I had seperated from my dh just a few months before but that didn't happen. Feelings on both sides are so incredibily strong. I ended up moving from Indiana to Florida to be with him 2 months ago.

 

Things are going great but I can't get over this feeling like I'm an intruder. I don't know why I feel like this but I do. She had a 9.5 y/o son that my b/f adopted. He's having a hard time dealing with her death (understandable) and they (b/f and his son) talk about her a lot. How much they miss her, when we go to certain places like the beach, they are always making comments like "mom liked this, mom liked that". She loved dolphins so anytime he sees a dolphin, a comment is made and living in Florida, you can imagine how often that is, lol! So anyways, I feel like an intruder in their lives. I know she died, I know she is gone but all the talking about her, just makes me feel less worthy, kinda like I'm just here to keep their minds occupied, you know what I mean? Maybe someone else that has been in this situation can help me with these feelings?

post #2 of 12

I think that because you walked in their lives so quickly after her lose, it's part of your role to help them through their grief. Have you read any books about grief? Is the 9 year old is any kind of grief support group? I know there are groups here for kids who've lost parents, but I'm not sure how common that is.

 

Have you talked to your boyfriend about these feelings? Are you honest when the two of your are alone? Relationship counseling might help you figure out a way to let him process his grief while affirming his feelings for you. This is most likely pretty complicated for your boyfriend, too. He may feel like he is being disloyal to his wife by being with you, esp so quickly after she died. Figuring out a path through all that might help lay a firmer foundation for your relationship.

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your post. Yes I know it was too quick and I knew that but things just happened. I tried to keep things slow but he was very determined and won me over. My bf is handling her passing pretty well. He says he already had time to grieve since she had been terminal for the last 2 years and she spent the last month of her life in hospice (she had cancer). I have mentioned to him that I think his son needs counseling and he is looking into it as we speak. I am open with my bf about my feelings and he knows how I feel and tries to reassure me but the same feelings keep coming up.....

post #4 of 12


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by angie7 View Post

Thank you for your post. Yes I know it was too quick ... I am open with my bf about my feelings and he knows how I feel and tries to reassure me but the same feelings keep coming up.....


I think you sound like you feel guilty. I said "quickly," you said "too quick."  There's a really big difference. You seem to be judging the relationship as wrong. You could pivot your thinking to see yourself as a blessing in their lives. You might make a list of ways in which you are a blessing in the 9 year old's life, and a blessing in your boyfriends life. You might journal about how the timing worked out really well for them.

 

You might also consider if the feelings that you have about the relationship in any way follow a pattern in your life -- a feeling like you don't really belong, you don"t have a right to be there, you don't have any control, etc. Look at these phrases you wrote:

 

~things happened that were beyond our control.

~he made the move on me

~things just happened

~he was very determined and won me over.

 

You could also check into support groups for the 9 year old. You could chose to play a very special role in his life now that he doesn't have a mother. It sounds like a lot of what is going on for you is because of comments he makes. Losing a mother at such a young age is huge. My DH lost his mother when he was a teen, and it left a hole in his heart. Part of the reason you may be there is because that little boy really needs you.

 

post #5 of 12

i would really give them both a break. i realize it is very different for your bf, but for his son, his mother can never be "replaced".  it is a life altering loss he has suffered.  he will be suffering for a long time and you will see him upset and talk about his mother for a long long time.  i agree, i would help him get into therapy, a group counsleing situation can help a lot.  and actually, if YOU talk about his mother or ask him questions, or remind him that she would be with him if she could and that she always will love him - allowing those conversations with him would go a long way to bonding with him and helping him heal.  i think everything Linda wrote is good advice.

and i have to wonder, really what does it matter if everytime he sees a dolphin he thinks its his mother?  i mean, really, you are the one who is alive with them.  why does it matter if he is still grieving? 

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

I do talk to him about his mother, a lot actually. We talk about how she was, what kinds of things she did with him, etc. I don't try to shut her out of their lives. There are still pics of her around, decorations that were hers, etc.

 

Thank you Linda, you gave me some great advice and a lot to think about. I'm trying to be here for both of them in everyway possible. My bf thanks me all the time for coming into his life when I did and says that I have helped him heal tremondously. He has helped me a lot actually too. My marriage ended due to domestic violence so maybe we both needed each other and came into each other's lives when we did for reason. Who knows.

post #7 of 12



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by angie7 View Post

He says he already had time to grieve since she had been terminal for the last 2 years and she spent the last month of her life in hospice (she had cancer). I have mentioned to him that I think his son needs counseling and he is looking into it as we speak. I am open with my bf about my feelings and he knows how I feel and tries to reassure me but the same feelings keep coming up.....

 

 

Though your bf may think he has already "grieved" her death, likely he has not fully grieved it. Grief is a process and it takes time (and work) to recover, even then after a major loss the one who suffers the loss is rarely ever the same.  I dated a widower (W) for a year a half.  The relationship was/is very complicated between us.  Like you we met shortly after his late wife's (LW) passing. 

 

You mentioned that your bf mentions missing his LW often.  This is normal but as his new love interest it can be uncomfortable for you to hear this, especially if it is often.  You might want to discuss your feelings with him about this.  Also since it has only been 6 months since his loss, he may greatly benefit from bereavement counseling/support group work.  I take you live together.  If so, it may be a process also on the removal of her things, clothes and personal items that will seem too personal to still be around. Like wedding photos in the bedroom, living room etc.  That is another discussion.  My thoughts are that you may want to take the parts of your relationship that are good and build on them by discussing them, then take the issues that need to be addressed and talk about them one by one.  Also ask him to tell you what you can do better as well.  Better communication between you may helps strengthen the bonds and facillitate greater mutual understanding of one another. 

 

Also I agree with all the points that Linda and Raelize have made above.  As Raelize points out, there will be some compromise that is necessary on your part as well as his.  On your part you will need patience and a certain selflessness and strong self esteem to deal with following in another woman's shoes.  One who is probably being cannonized to some degree by your bf, their son and her friends and family.  It will likely take maturity and you owning your choices as Linda has pointed out.  Things don't just happen to us, we make choices everyday and then we have to live with those choices. 
 

post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

Let me explain a little better. My bf only mentions missing his LW to his son, not to me and thats mostly when his son is missing her. It's mentioned like "I miss your mom too but ....." My bf and I have talked about her but mostly her illness and the drama that her family brought to his life during the course of their 5 year relationship. The pics that are around are in his son's room. He has already given her clothes away and most of her belongings.

 

Our relationship is wonderful actually. Very healthy, understanding, caring, warm, loving, etc. He's an amazing man and I'm very lucky to have him in my life. He doesn't make me feel as tho I'm walking in her footsteps, he doesn't compare me to her, etc. I asked him yesterday if he felt guilty for being with me after his wife passed and he said not at all. He said he grieved her when she was sick and I helped him through the rest of the grief process. The first few weeks after she passed, were hard for him. I listened to him and helped him anyway I could. I don't feel like I'm following a ghost, just sometimes, I get the feeling like I'm intruding.

post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by angie7 View Post

I will try to make this as short as possible. In June, my best friend's brother's wife died. She had been sick for awhile for the last few years and her death was expected. She was only 36.  My best friend's brother was someone that I use to date 16 years ago, when I was just 14 years old. We all use to run around together back in the day. There was always something special about this guy and he felt it too b/c when I was 18, he came back into my life but I was engaged at the time. He went on to join the marine core and I got married. Fast forward to present day. When his wife died, my best friend decided to come to Florida (we lived in Indiana) to be with him. She wanted me to come with her and I made some arrangements and came with her for company. ]

 

Well things happened that were beyond our control. Me and her brother hit if off immediately again. Our eyes met for the first time and we both had the same experience. It was like time was moving in slow motion and we were locked onto each other's eyes. Kinda like a romance movie! I swear, it was so intense. Never in a million years would I have made a move on a man that just lost his wife but he made the move on me. We tried to take things slow due to his situation and I had seperated from my dh just a few months before but that didn't happen. Feelings on both sides are so incredibily strong. I ended up moving from Indiana to Florida to be with him 2 months ago.

 

Things are going great but I can't get over this feeling like I'm an intruder. I don't know why I feel like this but I do. She had a 9.5 y/o son that my b/f adopted. He's having a hard time dealing with her death (understandable) and they (b/f and his son) talk about her a lot. How much they miss her, when we go to certain places like the beach, they are always making comments like "mom liked this, mom liked that". She loved dolphins so anytime he sees a dolphin, a comment is made and living in Florida, you can imagine how often that is, lol! So anyways, I feel like an intruder in their lives. I know she died, I know she is gone but all the talking about her, just makes me feel less worthy, kinda like I'm just here to keep their minds occupied, you know what I mean? Maybe someone else that has been in this situation can help me with these feelings?



Not sure what I misunderstood about your feeling "like an 'intruder' in their lives" per your own words above.  Or that "all the talking about her, just makes me feel less worthy" either.  Except that I do know that for me only through communication that is open and honest have I been able to learn what I need to know to dispel the feelings of less worthy while dating or in a relationship with someone that is still going through closure with his relationship with his deceased spouse. Maybe your situation is more detailed then I've comprehended here and of course I realize that you can only convey so much in a quick post, whatever is bothering you I hope you find the peace you're seeking in the new year. 

post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by angie7 View Post
Our relationship is wonderful actually. Very healthy, understanding, caring, warm, loving, etc. He's an amazing man and I'm very lucky to have him in my life. He doesn't make me feel as tho I'm walking in her footsteps, he doesn't compare me to her, etc...... just sometimes, I get the feeling like I'm intruding.


After your second post, I asked if this feeling has been present for you before. If the feeling of not really belonging, of being an intruder, is a pattern for you.

 

Because it doesn't sound like it has anything to do with the relationship with your boyfriend, but is something that is coming from inside you.

post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by angie7 View Post

Thank you for your post. Yes I know it was too quick ... I am open with my bf about my feelings and he knows how I feel and tries to reassure me but the same feelings keep coming up.....


I think you sound like you feel guilty. I said "quickly," you said "too quick."  There's a really big difference. You seem to be judging the relationship as wrong. You could pivot your thinking to see yourself as a blessing in their lives. You might make a list of ways in which you are a blessing in the 9 year old's life, and a blessing in your boyfriends life. You might journal about how the timing worked out really well for them.

 

You might also consider if the feelings that you have about the relationship in any way follow a pattern in your life -- a feeling like you don't really belong, you don"t have a right to be there, you don't have any control, etc. Look at these phrases you wrote:

 

~things happened that were beyond our control.

~he made the move on me

~things just happened

~he was very determined and won me over.

 

You could also check into support groups for the 9 year old. You could chose to play a very special role in his life now that he doesn't have a mother. It sounds like a lot of what is going on for you is because of comments he makes. Losing a mother at such a young age is huge. My DH lost his mother when he was a teen, and it left a hole in his heart. Part of the reason you may be there is because that little boy really needs you.

 



This post says it all, so well :)

post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by angie7 View Post
Our relationship is wonderful actually. Very healthy, understanding, caring, warm, loving, etc. He's an amazing man and I'm very lucky to have him in my life. He doesn't make me feel as tho I'm walking in her footsteps, he doesn't compare me to her, etc...... just sometimes, I get the feeling like I'm intruding.


After your second post, I asked if this feeling has been present for you before. If the feeling of not really belonging, of being an intruder, is a pattern for you.

 

Because it doesn't sound like it has anything to do with the relationship with your boyfriend, but is something that is coming from inside you.



Yes you are right. This doesn't have to do with my bf, this is my issue. I fully know it is and I'm trying to work through it. I think a relationship with anyone that has lost a spouse to death is difficult, that's why I was hoping someone would come along that has dated a young widower (or widow) that had some advice on dealing with the feelings that this brings up.  

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