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Dear Stavroula

My Wife Can’t Get over Her Late Ex-Husband

Dear Stavroula,

I have been married for two years and my wife is a wonderful person – loving and giving. We also recently had our baby. The only problem I have is that she is still talking and thinking about her ex-husband, who is dead. Unfortunately his presence is very strong in our lives. She has not removed his photo, is still in contact with his family, and mentions him at every possible opportunity.
All this makes me feel very uncomfortable, I admit that sometimes I wonder if she loves and admires me as much – maybe I’m even jealous.
I don’t know how to deal with it. Do I talk to her about it? What should I do? I feel like this is wearing down our relationship on my end at least, and I’m asking for your help.

Constantine

Dear Constantine,

Death is an inevitable part of life, but even though we all know that, it remains one of the most difficult situations that one has to face. Losing a loved one has a profound impact on life, and brings up strong emotions, such as grief, sadness, anger, or even guilt.
The journey through grief is deeply personal. The path of accepting loss and healing the wound left by death is unique for each person and depends on the personality as well as on the support systems available.
The loss of a beloved spouse is even more profound as it makes a deep and lasting impact on a person’s life. In fact, when this relationship was a relationship of love and respect, when there was love that had not been worn out by time, it is even more difficult to manage its loss.
Maybe something similar is happening to your wife. The fact that she still vividly remembers and talks about her ex-husband may indicate that she is still processing her grief. Memories of a loved one can remain strong for many years and influence one’s thoughts and feelings even after one has moved on to a new relationship.
The reasons can be many.
Perhaps this is an indication that she has not yet gotten over her grief. And one reason that can exacerbate this situation is that your wife may feel guilty for moving on with her life, for being able to love you and commit to you.
It would help a lot if you could have an open and honest conversation with her about how her frequent references to the deceased ex-husband are affecting you. Express your feelings non-judgmentally, without blaming her or forcing her to stop.
The help of an expert could help you both. Professional counseling can provide the necessary tools for her to deal with unresolved grief and for you to better understand her own situation and be able to manage your own emotions so that your relationship does not deteriorate.
Also, try to create new memories together. Participate in daily activities that bring you together and that create positive connections for both of you.
Loving her deceased ex-husband in no way diminishes your wife’s love for you. You are present in her daily life, with you she decided to move forward with her life, and with you she shares the intense emotions that the existence of a child creates. Give her time and love to focus on the joy she now feels with you.
After all, the woman you have loved is who she is, because that is how she has been shaped through her experiences and her past, and what she needs most of all is your love, understanding, patience, and support, so that she can manage her emotions and move on. So everything that connects her to the past and the deceased ex-partner will fade and even if he never leaves her life, the intensity will fade over time.

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