There's an article on Upvoted about the hardships that come with dating and marrying a widower--something that many readers of this site can relate to. Excerpts below. I'm also quoted several times in the article.
While decorating the Christmas tree, Lara found a place for the special ornament she made for her family this year—a red plush picture frame decorated with little hearts and snowflakes. Displayed inside it was a photograph of a woman, a woman who is not her.
The woman has big eyes, a strong chin and, as Lara describes, a “million-dollar smile.” Lara knows her face well—there are images of her throughout the house she shares with her husband, Dave, and their four kids. Photographs placed in the rooms of the three oldest children. Snapshots tucked in binders on a bookcase in her bedroom. A giant portrait showcased in the den.
Though she never met her, Lara lives with the presence of this woman, Charlotte, who died by suicide in 2011. And she’s been trying to, as she explains, “make room” for her ever since she fell in love with Dave, the husband that Charlotte left behind.
As both the new wife and the new mother to the children the couple had together, Lara, 30, takes the family to Charlotte’s grave every month, makes sure there’s a cake on her birthday and includes her in holiday traditions, such as tree decorating. She does it for the kids, mostly, but also for herself.
“As much as it can hurt me, being allowed to participate in the grieving process to an extent by facilitating these opportunities allows me to not be ignored,” she says. “Otherwise, when grieving happens, I don’t exist.”
These are women who know what it’s like to experience profound love with a man who may also—maybe even always—love another woman. Women who are swimming in a massive gray area with very few resources to guide them. Women immersed in a world of grief that is not their own. Women who are constantly told to grin and bear it.
“It’s so conflicting, it makes my head spin,” says Rachel, a 42-year-old professional who has been dating a widower for three years.
As a human, you want to show compassion and sensitivity, she explains. But as a romantic partner, you don’t want to be making out on the couch while gazing at an urn filled with another woman’s ashes—an object that has been the source of many arguments in their relationship, and even a brief breakup.
“You get to a point where you say, ‘I don’t want to hear anymore,’” she shares. “I can’t listen anymore. I don’t want to know what her favorite color was. I don’t want to know what her favorite perfume was.’ I don’t want to live in the shadow of someone else.”
Read the entire article on Upvoted here.