Widower Wednesday: Valentine’s Day and Marriage

Book update: I have all the stories that I need for Living with a Widower. Contributor Agreements have been mailed out. So far I’ve received a little more than half of them. The book is also going through a second edit with an editor. Once that’s back it will head to two proofreaders for final review. I contacted the designer that did the covers for the last two books and she has time next week to complete the project. The only thing holding me back is coming up with a suitable subtitle for the book. That should (hopefully) be finalized today. Assuming all goes according to plan, the book should be available by the end of the month or beginning of March. If there are unforeseen delays, I’ll keep you all posted.

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I’m answering two questions from readers in this week’s Widower Wednesday column. The first has to do with Valentine’s Day and the second has to do with marriage.

Here’s the first letter:

Hi Abel,

My widower boyfriend has a romantic Valentine’s Day weekend planned. I was very excited about it until I learned that we’ll be going to the same city and hotel that the late wife and he used to visit for romantic weekends. Now I’m not looking forward to it at all and feel like he’s just reliving the past instead of making new memories with me. Do you have any suggestions on the best way to talk about this with him?

And here’s my answer: First figure out what’s really bothering you. Is it the fact that you’re staying the same hotel, visiting the same city, doing the same things they did, or a combination of all of them. If, for example, it’s just the same hotel that’s bothering you, then look up some other places to stay. In short, don’t go there to complain about the trip but be excited about the trip with some possible modifications.

Next, find a quiet time to talk and express your concerns about wanting to make new memories together. Tell him that you’re still interested in a romantic getaway where the two of you can spend some time growing closer and give him some alterative plans to consider. The thing to remember you can’t make the conversation about the past or his late wife. It has to be focused on building a foundation for a strong relationship and a future together. Hopefully your boyfriend loves you enough to understand your concerns and the two of you can come to a compromise that will make the weekend memorable for both of you.

And here’s the second letter:

Dear Abel,

Thank God for your website. It’s been a big help. I have a quick question I’m hoping you can help me with. My boyfriend had been widowed for 3 years after a 20-year marriage to his late wife. We’ve been dating for nearly two years. Our relationship has reached a point where I want to discuss getting married. However, every time I bring up the subject he tells me that he doesn’t want to tie the knot again and is fine with the relationship as is. (We’re living together.) In all other respects he’s a good guy and treats me well. The fact that he was willing to pledge his love to the late wife but not to me is making me feel second best. Am I making too big a deal out of this or should I just move forward and be content with the relationship as it is?

My answer: There’s a big difference between being married and not being married. I know that not everyone wants to get married and if both couples are fine not tying the knot, that’s one thing. But that’s not the case here. If you think and feel you’ll never be number one in the widower’s heart until he marries you or, at the very least, puts a ring on your finger, you’re probably correct.

What you first need to do is decide how important it is to be married. If it is something you really need, you both need to have a serious conversation about where you both see the relationship going. If he’s adamant that he doesn't want to get married again, then you’re probably better off moving on to greener pastures. There’s really no point being with someone if the two of you don’t have the same vision for where this relationship should be headed.