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Advice from Dear Webby
Jealous of His Deceased Wife

Dear Webby,

I am 68 yrs old, my husband is 62. We were both widowed, and now have been married for 1 yrs. I find I am becoming more jealous of his deceased wife each day. He had a very happy marriage, as did I. His marriage lasted 22 years and I was married 34 years.

I love my husband very much and want to make him happy. I can't understand my jealousy. Please help me to understand what I can do about it.

Signed: Jealous


Dear Jealous,

Jealousy is a hard and unproductive emotion. How smart of you to recognize it in yourself. Some people are the jealous type about everything, but you sound like this is not your nature, and that's good.

Let's face it - you cannot compete with her. She can do no wrong. After someone dies we seldom talk about or want to remember their shortcomings.

We have always been told to speak kindly of the dead. I'm sure there were some imperfect moments in your 34 years of marriage as well as in his. But let's assume she was the most beautiful woman, the best cook, homemaker, and entertainer etc. so what! She is gone and you are here.

Of all the widows (and there are many more than widowers) he has chosen you. Because you remind him of her, maybe, maybe not. Perhaps you are so different and that is what caught his eye.

Regardless you are an expert at marriage. You have been married a total of 35 years. Congratulations! Not many people can say that. You must have many extraordinary qualities.

You did not say if he gives you reason for this jealousy. Does he constantly talk about her and compare you? If this is the case he could be doing it because he enjoys your concern. People sometimes look at the past with rose-colored glasses, or perhaps guilt.

Tell him you're sorry he misses her as do you your husband. Point out that this is a different stage in your lives and you will not burden him with your wonderful husband of 34 years you had if he will keep his memories of 22 years to himself. You're not asking him to forget her, just don't share every thought.

This is a new beginning; you have nothing to fear from her or her memories. Enjoy each day having learned from the past, enjoy the present and I wish you a long and happy future.

Good luck,

Webby



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