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My partner is a widower

(34 Posts)
HisPartner Wed 03-Sep-08 17:19:08

I am finding it difficult sometimes to cope with my partners wife who died 6 years ago. He has 2 teenage children who I think I get on with fairly well. We have always said that I am their father's girlfriend, not their replacement mother. He has done a wonderful job of looking after them and they are both happy normal teenagers. It is just sometimes I am fed up with hearing about the woman. I recently had to endure the daughter giving her father a hug and wishing him a happy anniversary. Could she not have done that in private? And his parents tell me that she, I will call her Janet, wouldn't have done this and wouldn't have done that in relation to the kids or the home. This isn't a dig at me as I don't live there yet and John makes most of the decisions anyway. I realise this moaning may make me seem insensitive but I have feelings too.

onlyjoking9329 Wed 03-Sep-08 17:26:12

i'm afraid it comes with the package, his wife may have died but when someone dies they are not earased/replaced. in some ways it is harder than him being divorced there is always a reason for divorce.
as for the kids well they need to still remember their mum and they will be mindful of what they are missing, i would be more worried if no-one spoke about her to be honest.

ifyoudidntlaughyoudcry Wed 03-Sep-08 17:28:27

Wow that must very difficult. sad

How old are his children?

I don't have any relevant experience really but I can only imagine that the children's grief is still very raw and as much as they (I assume) are happy for you and their father, they're finding it difficult to be able to see it from your point of view. Which is understandable I guess, I really don't know what to say tbh.

Do you speak to your partner about this?

ifyoudidntlaughyoudcry Wed 03-Sep-08 17:29:30

Also how long have you been together?

WigWamBam Wed 03-Sep-08 17:29:39

They still love her - your partner included - and they always will. You can't expect them to hide that when you are around; if you are to be part of the family, she will have to become part of your life too.

If you can't cope with her continued presence then that is your problem, not theirs. You either need to address it or, if you feel it's going to cause problems, walk away.

ifyoudidntlaughyoudcry Wed 03-Sep-08 17:32:53

I don't know how you are to the children but perhaps as your relationship with them grows they will feel that they are able to talk to you about her as well, which would be a compliment to you. Although that may sound strange, it make you feel more involved with the family perhaps?

ifyoudidntlaughyoudcry Wed 03-Sep-08 17:33:24

'how close you are to the children' that was supposed to say

HarlotOTara Wed 03-Sep-08 17:36:18

I had a similar experience in that my husband's live-in partner died before I met him and I found it quite difficult to deal with. Although I didn't have 'in-laws' around to make me feel worse. I used to feel very guilty resenting someone who had died of cancer at a young age and it does feel a taboo subject in some ways. Thankfully it has got better over the years. My husband always visits her grave on her birthday and takes flowers. He did ask me to go with him once and I felt very awkward and felt it was something I didn't want to be part of. It really doesn't bother me anymore and don't feel threatened by him going. I suppose unlike divorce, you are left feeling a lot of love for the person who died and I did feel as if I was second best. That was more to do with me than him tho'. I hope it helps to know you aren't the only one.

SuperBunny Wed 03-Sep-08 18:17:13

My boyfriend is a widower. His fiance died 6 years ago. Since then, he has moved around a lot and had all her stuff packed up in boxes in storage. He recently moved into a new flat and has been unpacking everything - much of the stuff was his girlfriend's so there has been a lot of emotions and talk of her.

They had no children so I don't have to deal with that and there are no in-laws either but there are the constant reminders that she is there. And always will be. I accepted from the start that she would always be part of his life and he is has been fairly sensitive, asking if he talks about her too much etc.

For a while, I was feeling like his GF was the perfect woman - he made lots of comparisons, "Oh, X used to do that." "you sing! Wow, so did X" etc. I had to tell him that I didn't think I could live up to his expectations and in her shadow. Things have been much better since. I ask him about her and he talks about her and its ok.

It isn't easy though, especially when you have children around who talk of her so much. I am sure this is hard for them too.

MrsDougRoss Wed 03-Sep-08 18:29:42

Hi, my Dad was a widower, my DM passed away when I was 15 and he was remarried a year and half. Later took a long time for me to accept this, but he is one of these people who could never live alone. Me and SM have a turbulent relationship. Sorry not much help. But if you get on with the children that is half the battle. There will be things they share with their Dad that you will not understand, but they have been getting along for 6 years so it will take a while to adjust. I am sorry but you will need to accept it, maybe on days like his DW birthday or anniversary just let them know that you know what the day is and ask if they want to do anything.
They (the children) have a hole that will never be filled and they will always have hard days. His wife was probably not perfect but in death people will prefer to remember the good.

We can actually talk about my DM in front of SM and my dad has pictures and goes to the grave. Also they had my DM parents to stay for 2 weeks (now that has been a rocky road)

Sorry if this does not help. I may be a little too close and talking from the other side.

But remember you are the adult.

Swedes Wed 03-Sep-08 18:35:45

Is he an architect and does he live in Surrey.

Yorkiegirl Wed 03-Sep-08 18:47:22

Message withdrawn

SuperBunny Wed 03-Sep-08 19:01:41

Yorkie, thank you. It helps to hear the other side.

When BF & I first started seeing each other, he asked if he talked about his GF too much. I said that he did talk about her and I understood he always would and that he should. She was a very important part of his life and always will be. Therefore, if BF and I stay together, she will be part of my life. I accept that. I know she is there. Sometimes it feels weird but we all come with baggage and it's never easy.

HisPartner, have you talked to him about this? How long have you been together?

choufleur Wed 03-Sep-08 19:15:36

my cousin died 11 years ago leaving two young children (who are now 17 and 15). Their father has re-married but his wife and children have never really got on.

Bereavement is very different to a couple separating. When someone dies its not because the people have chosen to go it alone so celebrating / remembering birthdays, anniversaries etc is an important part of remembering that person, who after all was one of the most important people in a child's life.

I know that it's also very easy to remember someone who died as though one is looking through rose tinted glasses. My cousin had her faults, like all of us do, but they are never dragged up in arguements, unlike the faults of step-parents etc.

At the end of the day though your partner's wife will always be a part of their children's lives so i think you just have to accept that she is going to be talked about and you probably will be compared to her.

ImnotMamaGbutsheLovesMe Wed 03-Sep-08 19:17:24

I don't see why the children have to do anything in privtae to be honest. They have lost their mum for goodness sake and you are meant to be an adult.

AbbeyA Wed 03-Sep-08 19:18:35

I think that you will have to be generous and accept that she will always be part of their lives.
I was a widow with a child. He has no memory of his father but I think that it is very important to talk to him of his father. I am married again and have 2 more children. We don't talk of my DH1 much but we mention him from time to time. We see a lot of his parents and his wider family. DH2 gets on well with them. I am very happy and wouldn't go back but neither would I erase the past. In your case you have DCs who have lots of memories. I expect that they will accept you in your own right but it will be in addition to their mother. She will remain a big part of their lives. My father died many years ago when I was an adult, I still think about him a lot. My mother didn't remarry,I would have been happy if she had met someone but they would have had to accept that my father is still a big part of our lives even if he isn't physically here.
I don't want to seem pessimistic.My second marriage has worked well and DH1 doesn't get in the way.

Blandmum Wed 03-Sep-08 19:21:22

My dh has also recently died.

I will always love him, and so will the children. He will always be an important part of our lives. I don't want to get involved in another relationship, but if I ever did dh will still be part of me, and my life.

AbbeyA Wed 03-Sep-08 19:28:22

A new partner just has to realise that love doesn't stop with death. There is enough love to go around-loving one person doesn't take it away from another. My DH1 will always live on in my mind.Luckily DH2 has never felt threatened by this.

Blandmum Wed 03-Sep-08 19:35:01

and also your relationship with dh1 helped to make you the person that dh2 fell in love with....if that doesn't sound too icky! smile

Swedes Wed 03-Sep-08 19:45:55

MB That's also true where a divorce/breakdown is concerned.

It's difficult isn't it? People need time to properly grieve. I'd like to think that after a decent period of grieving (it might be very long for some people and not at all long for others, that decent and loving people would welcome new people into their lives. And all parties, old and young, should treat one another with sensitivity and respect.

ImnotMamaGbutsheLovesMe Wed 03-Sep-08 20:07:11

I once read that people who have had a very happy marriage are more likely to remarry sooner than others. I don't know how true that is and it was meaning men more than women. Maybe they just don't manage on their own as well as woman do?

HisPartner Wed 03-Sep-08 22:56:23

Thanks for all your responses. It helps to see what other people think. I should add that we have been together for 3 years. The mother is often spoken about by all of us and there are several photographs of her in the house. I am not against anybody talking about her and accept that she will always be part of the relationship. I gave an example of the daughter wishing my partner a happy wedding anniversary and suggesting she should have done it in private. I still believe that. I also think her saying that was a litte odd. How can he have a happy anniversary when his wife has died. Surely it would have been better for the daughter to have given her dad a private hug and say she was thinking of him and her mum. But I supposed I am just nit picking. Anyway thanks for all your thoughts.

IfYouDidntLaughYoudCry Wed 03-Sep-08 23:09:43

HisPartner - how old are the children?

purpleflower Wed 03-Sep-08 23:11:50

My Mum died when I was 13, it's been 8 1/2 years now and Dad has been with his girlfriend i think nearly 7 years. She does live in my family home which is very hard especially as my dad moved the family portrait from the living room into his office. They also redecorated. I will never not speak about my mum and will always mention her no matter who is around. Dads girlfriend has to accept that she still lives on in all of us and we love her just the same as if she was here. Along with the family portrait dad also has a picture of my mum on their wedding day in his office. They are the only pictures up, the rest in the house are her, her children and her grandchildren, none of me, my brothers or dads grandchildren.

We all accept that dad is with her and we are happy that he is happy again but it did take a long time. It is made harder that her birthday is on the anniversary of mums death.

There is nothing you can do about it but accept it. I would congratulate dad on his wedding anniversary as it shows all the good years they had together and it still represents one of the happiest days of his life.

HisPartner Wed 03-Sep-08 23:12:14

15 and 17

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