A lively discussion has broken out in the comments section of my “5 Signs a Widower is Serious About Your Relationship” post about photos of the late wife being in the house. Since this is a question I have to answer rather often via email, here’s my take on the issue.
The woman you’re dating should feel comfortable in your home. Period. It’s hard to fathom trying to spend time with someone only to have reminders everywhere that he there was another special person in your life that you loved enough to marry. Women already feel like they’re competing with a ghost without constant reminders of the late wife everywhere. Photos just reinforce that and make the woman worry about whether you can love her even more.
Once you become serious enough with a person that she’s coming over to your home on a somewhat regular, take down the photos and put them in a box. Just because there’s no photos of the late wife in your home doesn’t mean that you’ve stopped loving her. You can take them out of the box and look at them when she’s not around if you want. If you’re serious about starting a new chapter in your life, please show this new woman the same respect you showed your late wife. Keeping photos up makes her feel like some piece of meat that’s there to fill the hole in your heart or to take the place of the late wife. Try and treat this new woman the same way you’d like to be treated.
Also, don’t put the burden of taking the photo down on the woman you’re dating. Don’t tell her that you’ll take it down if she’s uncomfortable. The woman you’re dating doesn’t need to be dragged into this issue. Be a man and take it down yourself.
The only exception I make to the photo rule is if you have minor children living at home. Odds are your kids are having a hard enough time with you dating. The last thing they need is for you to strip every memory of their mom from their home. But maybe instead of 10 pictures of her in the living room, try 2 or 3 and let the kids hang the rest up in their room.
For Women Dating Widowers
Don’t run screaming out of his house the first time you go there and see a photo of the late wife on his wall. If he a new widower and/or you’re one of the first women he’s seriously dated, he may not think twice about the photograph bothering you. For him it may simply be the way his house has been for years.
What you want to look for is progress. After visiting his house several times are their sings that the photos slowly coming down? Does he go out of his way to make you feel comfortable in his home? Is he treating you with the love and respect you deserve or is he taking you for granted and insensitive to your feelings?
Please keep in mind that the house is not yours. If you go in and make demands about how things should change, the widower’s going to view you as a controlling hag and get out of the relationship as soon as he can. IMHO you can’t make requests about changing the house for her look to yours until you have a ring on your finger.
Also, will you please stop sleeping with widowers who still has photos of the dead wife in the bedroom? Do you enjoy feeling like a mistress? Because that’s how the widower’s treating you. Please have a modicum of respect for yourself and tell the widower you’re not getting in bed as long as there are photos of the dead wife looking down at you.
Finally, if you don’t see signs that the widower is moving on or willing to make you comfortable in his home, grow a backbone and end the relationship. There are other men out there who will be glad to treat you like a queen. Don’t settle for someone that wants you to be number two. And when you end it, don’t forget to tell the widower know why you’re ending it. If he loves you he’ll make the necessary changes in regards to the late wife’s photos.
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