Monday, October 01, 2007

Reader's Question and Lintermans' Answer

"I have married a man that lost his wife 3 years ago this coming spring. I knew both he and his former wife. My deceased husband was very good friends with him and we lived very close to them. Our spouses are buried within a few graves of each other. I am feeling a little uncomfortable because he still has her wedding picture by his nightstand in our bedroom and it seems he does not want to let go and put some of the pictures away or in picture albums. Am I incorrect in my feelings?"

It sounds like you are concerned about having his previous wedding picture on the nightstand when he is now married to you because of what this might mean to his relationship with you. Are you feeling threatened or jealous about having the picture in the bedroom? Have you tried talking to him about why he has kept it there?

Some couples do continue to have pictures of the deceased to acknowledge and pay tribute to them while also displaying current pictures of their new spouse around the house. But, there needs to be a mutual level of comfort with this.

Explore what it is exactly that's bothering you. Feelings aren't right or wrong, they are just feelings. However, I recognize you are sensitive about this and feel it should be put away. I don't know how much of his early bereavement he processed. Did he go to a support group or seek one-on-one counseling, where he would have had a chance to talk about some of these issues? He may have unresolved feelings of guilt at re-marrying. Thankfully, it is never to late to recognize and resolve negative feelings.

Feelings of guilt are common to both widows and widowers entering a new relationship. You might find it comforting to read how twelve other widow/widower couples (from both the woman and man's perspective) dealt with these and many other feelings common to widows and widowers finding love again in THE HEALING POWER OF LOVE: Transcending the Loss of a Spouse to New Love by Dr. Stolzman and myself available at Amazon.com at The Healing Power of Love. You might also be surprised to find that of the twelve couples profiled, many had known their current partner for years in other relationships, including one brother and sister-in-law who are now husband and wife!


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