Living With the Dead

I received an interesting email over the weekend. Another young widower came across my Dating A Widower article and had some questions about it. Though he seemed to agree most of its contents, he found the tone of it a little "callous." The emailer also found the phrase "my first wife is no longer part of my life" a little shocking and wondered how I could feel this way. I've written about this in my old blog. But since I have many new readers since coming to this site who haven't read through my old one, I thought I'd post my reply here.

Thanks for your email. I appreciate your comments on my Dating A Widower article. I'm glad you found it helpful.

You aren't the first person to mention that some of my writings have an unfeeling quality toward my first wife. However, please don't take it to mean I don't love her or think about her on occasion. I love her tremendously and I always will. My first wife's influence will always be part of me. You can't spend years with someone and not have a part of them stay with you.

As for my first wife not being part of my life, I suggest you read the context in which that phrase was written. I was talking about celebrating or acknowledging events such as my first wife birthday, our anniversary, or date of her death. I stated that I don't do anything to celebrate those days.


Because I've remarried.

Read the rest of the paragraph. I stated that things might be different if I was still single. In fact if I wasn't married might do something for those days.

When I decided to remarry, I made the decision to make Marathon Girl and her happiness the main priority in my life. What possible benefit to my current marriage would commemorating my previous anniversary, first wife's birthday, or any other significant event?

Marathon Girl knows how I feel about my first wife. We talk openly about my first wife and my relationship with her. My first wife is a part of our marriage and always will be. But that doesn't mean her birthday, our anniversary, or other special day needs to be part of my life with Marathon Girl.

Put in that context, my first wife is no longer part of my life. Right now I have more important and pressing things to do then celebrate events that have little significance to my current situation. Marathon Girl's birthday, our anniversary, and other special dates the two of us share take precedence.

Marathon Girl has been the best thing that's ever happened to me. In a lot of ways I don't deserve someone as caring, loving, and beautiful as her. I feel very fortunate to have found love again and I'll be damned if I'm going to make Marathon Girl feel like she's competing with a ghost. I attribute a lot of the success and happiness in our marriage to the fact that I don't let my previous one wiggle between the two of us.

Since you're a recent widower and just entering the dating game again, I can understand how my attitude may appear uncaring. But when you find someone you can love as much as your deceased spouse, things will go a lot better if the new woman feels that she also has a special place in your heart. I receive a lot of emails from women dating widowers and by far the most common complaint they have is that they're dating a man who can't let go enough to love them too.

Life is meant to be lived, not wasted thinking about the dead all the time or what might have been. I've was lucky to find love once and even more fortunate to find it again. I will not let the dead come between me and enjoying life and living it to its fullest potential.

-- Abel