Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Your Wedding Date is Not Your Birth Date

Are you "not allowed" to talk about your past? REMARRIED TEXAN wrote in to Dear Abby:

My wife, "Jan," is having problems related to my late wife, "Ellen."
How can a dead woman continue to bother your wife?

Ellen and I were married 31 years. We built a business together and raised three
sons. Obviously, I have a lifetime of memories associated with her. I admit that
I still grieve, but I have tried to move on.
You're always going to think about her. It is common for widows and widowers to wake up in the middle of the night and not remember that their (former) spouse is deceased.

I am forbidden to mention Ellen's name around Jan.
This kind of thing really ticks me off, and I agree with what Dr. Laura says when she takes calls like the wife in this case might make. This man remarried. He picked a new wife. The other woman is dead. Why the insecurity? Now, if he keeps saying things like, "I liked Ellen's way better" or something like that, then he needs to learn to edit himself. But over three decades, a business, and three sons together – sorry, his late wife is a part of his past that can't be erased. He wouldn’t have been the same man that Jan married if there hadn't been Ellen. Jan needs to think about that.

Jan now says she has no "place" in this house, although we moved most of her furniture in and sold mine.
Yeah, some women just can’t stand that man actually inhabited that space with another woman, especially if he did so happily. Furniture is one of the main targets.

When guys do something like this, it tends to be more along the lines of asking her more than she has volunteered about her past relationships, because of a feeling that knowing more about that past somehow gives him so more power over it. He also wants to make sure she's not holding back some perk that a past boyfriend got, or nor retreading territory. Guys like that should relax and enjoy that she is with him.

Abby, Jan won't let me have a photo of Ellen, even in a drawer. I had to buy hera second piano because she refused to play the one that Ellen had played on, nor will she consider a certain make of car to replace hers because Ellen drove one.
Wow, either this guy ignored the red flags, or Jan bit her lip, thinking he'd "forget" about Ellen once remarried. That is something people need to make clear. "It's okay that things are this way now, because we're not married. But my expectation is that this will change should we marry. What do you think?"

She says she feels like "the other woman" in our marriage.
Tell her she's free to go. I understand that in Texas, the penalty isn't so bad.

Dear Abby agrees that Jan is insecure and suggests marriage counseling.

It is all too common for a girlfriend to make it clear a guy should never mention anything that has any connection to a former girlfriend, lest she get upset or pouty. For example, he can't talk about a vacation he took to a place he'd never been before because he went there with his past girlfriend. This kind of walking on eggshells is awful. I know, because I've experienced it. But those were girlfriends, where the relationship would last 2-3 years. This guy is being asked to shut up about 31+ years of his life by someone who is supposed to be with him the rest of his life. No thanks.

Do you have a story about changes demanded by a new honey because of connections to an ex?

On the positive side, I have a picture of me and a past girlfriend (A) eating at a very nice restaurant... with a previous girlfriend (B), her husband, and his parents! And my wife and I have stayed overnight in the home of girlfriend B and her husband. On the downside, my wife has always been wary of any contact I have with girlfriend A. Contact has been reduced to virtually nothing over the last few years. That's to be expected, though, as she has gotten married and I'm married and busy with kids and all.


  1. curiepoint3:52 AM

    I don't know if this counts precisely, but:

    In the case of one woman with whom I had been involved, I was constantly nagged to leave all vestiges of my former marriage behind, including my two sons who were still quite young at the time. Apparently, she wanted me to marry her and give her babies, and make them my priority. She would always get upset at me for speaking of them in loving tones, or if I bragged about them. Talk about possessive. She also could not understand, or perhaps she didn't want to, that I was still on amicable terms with my ex-wife. Needless to say, she got the heave-ho in short order.

    The second one was someone I thought was more sane. She had kids of her own that she was proud to care for, but couldn't get past the fact that while she criticized my parenting skills, my kids turned out okay while her son drank, smoked, took and sold drugs, all from the age of 10 onwards. She had nothing but seething hatred for her ex-husband because of his lack of involvement with his children, yet could not stand the fact that I was actually a good dad to my own. By this time, my sons were 17 and 19, and by her estimation it was time for me to sever all ties to them.

    She got the heave-ho too, but for other reasons besides this one.

    I just don't understand how women can think that once they land a quality guy, they can bully-rag him into conformance. Do they really think that any man will stick around for that?

  2. Thanks for your comment. Yeah, it fits. But even if something I right reminds you of something unrelated, go ahead and comment. It isn't like I get so many comments that you will be hijacking a lively discussion!

    Glad you made the right choices. What these women don't seem to grasp is that if you are willing and "able" to cut your own children out of your life (I'm talking non-toxic children), then a new girlfriend or wife like them doesn't stand a chance. And why would they want to be with a guy like that, anyway? The only thing I can think of is that they really think they are different. As I've said before, they think their vagina is magical in a way that other vaginas aren't.

  3. Something I "right"? Okay, I need more sleep.


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