Talks About Dead Spouse

Q: We're in our 70s, both of our spouses died, and we have been together for some time. She continues to talk about her spouse. Is this something that is normal? It bothers me. Should it? -- Mel

Dr. Susan: There aren't many "shoulds" when it comes to feelings, and it seems to me you're feeling a bit jealous of her dead husband. It's normal for her to miss him, and it's normal for you to not want to hear about him all the time. But of COURSE she's going to want to feel free to talk about him now and then. I presume they shared their lives for a long time, and you don't entirely block out all those years when you're with a new person. Please try to accept her past along with her present, but let her know if she's saying things that that make you feel insecure. For instance, does she compare you to him? Is she trying to get you to be more like him? That would be a bit insensitive of her, so let her know, gently. Otherwise, be patient and accepting, and give your relationship with her time to develop its own history.

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