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It's becoming all to much

(31 Posts)
thisisallnewtome8 Wed 17-Aug-16 17:23:17

Please can someone dating or marrying a widower help me. I need to calm my mind. At the moment my thoughts are all about never been as good as my DP's late wife.
Not as beautiful.
He loved her more.
Not a good mother figure.
I know this all sounds so petty but is all consuming at the moment.
I know I've left out lots of information but I needed to get this down in writing as I'm choking back tears.
Has anyone felt like me?

thisisallnewtome8 Wed 17-Aug-16 17:23:42

I meant all too much.

HappyJanuary Wed 17-Aug-16 17:36:17

I'm sorry, I haven't been in that position but didn't want to read without responding.

Can you tell us a little more? When was he widowed and how long have you been together?

thisisallnewtome8 Wed 17-Aug-16 17:41:59

Thanks for replying. We've been together two years. His wife died over 8 years ago and they have three children. I moved in nearly a year ago. I'm having very bad anxiety constantly comparing myself and how I will never compare.
It was clear they were very much in love.
It's obvious she was a lovely person and much loved by everyone.
I'm feeling lost. I can never say anything as on a previous occasion when I brought it up I was accused of having an issue with her.
I'm feeling lost.

Lovemusic33 Wed 17-Aug-16 17:44:06

Has he actually said these things too you?? What makes you think your not good enough?

I can understand how you feel and I think it's probably a feeling that a lot of partners have who date a widower.
If he talks about her a lot maybe mention it and how it upsets you? I told my dp that I was upset about him talking about his ex, her parenting, things they did together ( sadly she's not deceased grin ).
It also sounds like your lacking in conference.

thisisallnewtome8 Wed 17-Aug-16 17:52:03

No he has never said any of these things to me. It's just when he shares memories of them as a family. I feel massively inadequate. I am now a parent figure to three children full time. I don't have children of my own ( I can't have them). I feel as if I'm letting every one down in not being the person she was.
I feel like everything is a mess in my head.
We have just been on a two week holiday together and I know that he would have wanted her there instead as would they. Basically I'm always going to be a substitute because she passed away.
I know I'm not making sense and I am honestly not trying to be disrespectful to her memory but I can only think about my feelings at the moment.

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected Wed 17-Aug-16 18:05:53

You sound so sad.
I'm sure you are a lovely lady, and to have taken on 3 children is a truly wonderful unselfish thing to do.
Please start loving yourself first and foremost and have faith in yourself.
I don't think your partner/husband's comment about 'having an issue with her' was reassuring, comforting or at all fair.'
You are suffering in silence and he should be reassuring you.

thisisallnewtome8 Wed 17-Aug-16 18:53:14

Thanks for replying. He was very upfront and emotional when we first met and had long in depth conversations. I was his his first serious relationship and he introduced me to the children very early on. We have had a couple of bumps in the road but nothing too major.
It just seems as if he can never address the same issue twice. When I said I was insecure previously he explained to me he loved me and thought his and his children's lives were so much better with me in it. He has openly told others in my presence that I saved his life. If I brought it up again he would be dismissive and just shit the conversation down.
Still the anxiety and insecurity eats away. I don't know how to deal with it. Can counselling help or do I need to just suck it up?

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected Wed 17-Aug-16 19:47:35

No you don't suck it up. You face it head on and go to counselling.
Your anxiety and insecurity is there for a reason and you need to get to the root of the cause because this is no way to live. Big hugs.

Cabrinha Wed 17-Aug-16 20:23:52

A lot going on there - you poor thing flowers

I'm engaged to a widower (together a year, wife died 5 years ago), several older teenage children (so the mother figure element not there for me).

I do think counselling would be a good idea, because you need to work out where these feelings are coming from. It may be from "you" and your issue (with his help) to overcome. Or it may be that he is the root of the problem - shutting down conversations you need to have. So I'll share my thoughts about dating a widower, but it's only my perspective for my relationship.

Well, firstly - my fiancé still loves his wife. Because she was awesome, by the sounds of it! In fact, we just had a text convo where I said "you pick awesome wives" smile

But loving her doesn't mean he can't love me. Or that the love has to be less. Think about when you have two parents, or two siblings. Or a sibling and a parent. I only have one child but I think this works if you have more... Basically - your love multiplies! You don't have to love your sibling less cos you used it all up on your mum.

My fiancé loves his wife, he also loves me.

I don't compare us at all - and neither does he. He talks about her all the time - sorry, I don't mean ALL the time, I mean - she naturally comes up in convo frequently. 20 years of history, bound to be a lot of "wife and I did this..." type stuff.

I don't doubt that there are things about her he "prefers" and some things about me that are "better". But it's not a competition, and it's all swings and roundabouts really. There's no better or worse - just two awesome wives!

If a fairy appeared with a magic wand, would he say "give me back my wife and let Cabrinha never have happened"? Yeah, course he would! But that's just not a real situation. I am not a substitute for her. I am simply the next woman that he loved.

Please don't feel second best, because you are not. She is not your competition, you are not her substitute. You are two completely individual wonderful women - who in a different world would probably have got along really well!

Don't be afraid of the fact that he loved her. Embrace it! It means you have found a man capable of love. When I have moments when I am blown away by how great my fiancé's marriage seems to have been (no ride tinted specs, I know the bad bits too!) it just makes me think "bloody hell, this man wouldn't settle for second best after that - he must think I'm awesome!"
I actually feel more secure about my partner's feelings in this relationship than I ever have done, because I know he has had a good relationship and not settled.

So... All about my! But I wanted to share my perspective, than a dead wife is not competition.

But... I do think counselling is a good idea. I'm not trying to force my opinion on you. I don't like that your partner won't give you the space you need to talk about this. And just because he's a widower doesn't mean he gets sainted and he's not an arsehole! You said there was lots you've left out, and I expect that's very important stuff.

So my advice is:

- do not feel in competition with his wife
- accept that he can love you both
- don't put up with any shit just because he's a widower!

Good luck flowers

donajimena Wed 17-Aug-16 20:27:10

Great post cabrinha x

thisisallnewtome8 Wed 17-Aug-16 20:32:21

Cabrinha thanks so much. I don't know why but this has made me cry. I just think I feel like a bit of an outsider after our holidays together. They are a family unit albeit an incomplete one and I seem to be the bungling outsider trying to bring something to their family.
I have no doubt that my partner has issues around guilt he feels about his wife and maybe he wasn't as good as husband as he thinks he should have been and therefore always views his marriage as perfect to make himself feel better. The end result is the impression that our relationship can't live up to that idea of perfection because that actually wasn't the reality.
This is a conversation I could never have with him.
I'm rambling now.

Cabrinha Wed 17-Aug-16 20:34:16

Oh and you've done a massive thing taking know role with 3 children.
Fucking hell!
I've only got one, and I got to have mine from the start so had a chance to grow into the role, and make mistakes when she was too young to remember wink

Don't underestimate the stress of learning to look after and then looking after three kids.

You feel you're not a good mother figure? Lovey, go start a thread in Chat "Can all mums of 3 come in and tell me if they ever think they're not acing it?"
Promise you 1000 replies before bedtime grin and not just grim mums of 3! Seriously - that's a hard gig. If there mum was still alive, she'd have days when she posted on MN that she thought she was crap.

And that's without the added complication of them not being your kids, coming to them when they were part baked already, and with their sad bereavement too.

Go easy on yourself. You're not as bad as you think you are, and MN is here with specific parenting issues if you want some advice or support.

HappyJanuary Wed 17-Aug-16 20:57:17

I'm sure she was a lovely woman but she wasn't perfect. She had good qualities and bad qualities, just like you, but we only say nice things about the deceased don't we?

He waited a long time to meet you, it must have felt right. He tells you that he loves you, and openly says that you saved his life. I think he and his children probably thank their lucky stars that you came into their lives, although may appear to take you for granted because that's what people do in families.

You mention that you don't have your own DC, so I do wonder whether you expect too much from them. Teens in particular have a way of making you feel undervalued. Ask anyone - they know everything and you know nothing, everything met with an eye roll. Perhaps you see this and think they would be different with their biological mum? They wouldn't.

Don't make the mistake of thinking you know how any of them feel about you, it's your insecurities talking. Talk to your DH and get some counselling.

Cabrinha Wed 17-Aug-16 21:02:03

It would be good to make your peace with sometimes being the outsider. It's bound to be the case, sometimes. Just as sometimes, the kids will feel outsiders to yours and his relationship. Or they'll have a sibling moment (especially when older) that he won't be a part of.
I get that it's hard to be outside though.

Please don't write off conversations as things you can never have with him.

He has no protected status because he was bereaved!

If you need to talk about it, with him or together in counselling, you have every right to ask for that. And if he doesn't want to help your anxiety by doing that, then you have absolutely every right to say "then we're done". I don't want to be too premature with a LTB here! But just because he was widowed, doesn't mean he gets to box that off and refuse to talk about if he wants to have a relationship with you. He's allowed to find it difficult, sure. But if he wants to keep you, he has to talk to you.

thisisallnewtome8 Wed 17-Aug-16 23:03:15

Thanks everyone for taking the time to reply. I agree that maybe I have unrealistic expectations of being a parent to three children, two of which are teenagers. I have had occasions where I really have struggled with believing that I can do any of this.
You're right that I need to build self esteem. With regards to having a conversation with him, I just feel that for as long as he wishes to believe that every thing was perfect then I'm not going to get the answers I need.
To be fair to him he has never ever let me down on any of his promises and maybe he just needs to do things in his own time.

thisisallnewtome8 Wed 17-Aug-16 23:05:30

Also apologies if I'm using the wrong terms. I've been reading the step parenting board and understand that some people are not happy about step parents referring to themselves as mothers or parents.
I'm still working out what I am smile

Lily405 Wed 17-Aug-16 23:13:24

From the opposite perspective, my father died when I was 14. I would have been devastated if my mother didn't continue to mention him or talk about him. Please don't take it as a sign that he doesn't love you as much or that his children don't want you. They probably just want to remember their mother too, and he's likely trying to help keep that memory alive for them.

thisisallnewtome8 Wed 17-Aug-16 23:20:21

Lily405 I'm sorry to hear about your Dad.
I have absolutely no problem whatsoever hearing him talk about her as they were so young when she died. It's important to me that they are able to talk about her when they want.
It's just for some reason recently I start comparing myself and frankly that's a no win situation. Plus it makes me dislike myself even more because the poor woman died for Christ's sake.
What sort of person does that make me?

Lily405 Wed 17-Aug-16 23:24:58

You shouldn't feel bad at all. You have a right to your feelings, and these situations are always complex. I hope you do know at your core though that it's not that they don't love or appreciate you. I was in the opposite position and I can assure you it isn't that at all. If you continue to feel this way, it might be good to talk to a counselor. It sounds like you've done a wonderful job of taking care of them and you deserve to take care of yourself as well.

thisisallnewtome8 Wed 17-Aug-16 23:38:47

I think complex is the right word. I know no one else in this situation and to say I feel out of my depth is an under statement. I think I will look into speaking to a counsellor and maybe formulate a way of expressing myself in a way that doesn't sound like a criticism of him or her.
Thanks everyone

Somerville Thu 18-Aug-16 01:50:11

I'm struggling to think of any advice that Cabrinha hasn't already covered. I'd print her words off and reread them occasionally if I were you, OP.

It might be helpful to think about if something was said or done by your partner that triggered this feeling of comparison? Honing in on that might help you understand whether this is unfounded anxiety on your part, or not.

I'm in a new relationship after being widowed nearly 2 years ago. My boyfriend also doesn't have his own children, and I have 3. I always forget until I read threads like this that he could potentially compare himself with my late DH. Because from my perspective there is no reason for him to - I love them both. The relationships are different, but that's more because I'm different, due to having a very ill DH and losing him and then being a lone parent. This relationship is right for who I am now.

We're also recently back from holiday. My kids and I weren't wishing it was DH with us. We were glad it wasn't yet another holiday we'd been coaxed to come on by my parents. And the kids were excited that he was teaching them a sport they haven't had opportunity to learn before. And I was chuffed to have a new victim man to teach to play strip-Uno (DH got wise, years ago, to the fact that I make up the rules as I go along) 😂

Rose tinted glasses - it's a tough one. I work hard to not just remember the good things about my DH. And to remind my kids that he wasn't perfect. Probably not hard enough, I must admit. I searched an old username of mine on here recently, and found a thread I started 8 years ago, spitting with fury about how my DH was prioritising his own career prospects ahead of mine.
I'd completely forgotten about that low point. blush But reading my words, and the anger I felt, I just laughed and laughed. And then had a little cry.
I guess I'm trying to say that it's natural to remember the good things about someone you love. And sooner or later there are reminders of the less positive aspects of their personality, but because you love and miss the person, those memories are still kind of happy ones too. (Not sure if I'm making sense here.)

Finally, I want to suggest that as well as counselling, you find a friend or relative to confide in. My boyfriend's feelings about both my love and my grief over my DH are something I worried about a lot in the early stages of our relationship, and the fact that he had his own support network to talk to when things arose was really key for our relationship.

thisisallnewtome8 Thu 18-Aug-16 02:14:38

Thanks Somerville. I'm sorry to hear about your husband but equally delighted that you have found love again.
The main difference that strikes me between you and my partner is that you will openly admit that he wasn't perfect. I am faced with only a perfect back story from his point of view yet his friends and even his in laws tell a sometimes different story.
This makes me question whether he really is ready to move on. Albeit I know he's absolutely not the type of man to just go with the flow and wouldn't have just gone along with me moving in and everything if it wasn't what he wanted.
Arghhh!! I'm just so very confused.
I love him, of that I have no doubt but sometimes I just feel like asking how his wife would have coped if she and I had roles reversed.

Somerville Thu 18-Aug-16 02:29:12

What are the discrepancies between the 'back story' from relatives and your partner?

Major things? Or really minor?

And does he really, truly insist that either she or their relationship was perfect? Or have you been interpreting things that way because he smiles as he says them?

thisisallnewtome8 Thu 18-Aug-16 02:52:23

That's a really good point, when I think about it, he's never said the word perfect but just recalls things with such warmth it makes me feel as if he could never feel the same about me.
Can I admit something? Today I felt so bad that I actually went through a box of photographs. I'm not even sure what I was looking for. They were together for twenty years. Childhood sweethearts, had all first experiences together.
I'm jealous, there I said it.
I'm jealous of a woman who had her life cut tragically short leaving behind her three children.
I'm not a nice person. Why can't I feel like Cabrinha and just be happy that he had a wonderful marriage and keep us separate.

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