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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Advice for Her
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.