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She is now 81 (I am 85), and her second husband died about six years ago. We met on Match two years ago. We both say that we love each other, and have been dating exclusively for two years. There has not been ONE day that she has not referenced her dead husband or previous relationships to anyone with whom she is speaking.
With regard to finances, we split season tickets to hockey games, ballet, symphony, theater, etc., and I pay for other things most of the time. I sleep over every weekend. Yet, when telling anyone about what we’re doing, she refers to the tickets as hers – “I have season tickets to this and that.” We could be in a room of strangers, and she’ll say “When I went to Rome with so and so, he bought me this,” or, “I have season tickets to the ballet, and have brought him (me) along.”
I love her dearly and want to be with her forever. I have spoken to her about this before; she remained silent, nodded, but has not changed. All of this is beginning to really bother me. What do I do? Thank you.
Did she explain why she frames her stories this way – why she claims tickets are hers when you bought them together?
I wonder if she can be honest about the reason, even to herself. There might be guilt for moving on from people she loved for a long time. It could be about grief. Perhaps she likes feeling single and independent, even if she enjoys being in the relationship.
If you didn’t ask her why she adjusts the truth when she speaks to others, please do. It’s important to know where all of this is coming from. You require more than a silent nod.
You can also tell your own story in these moments, without being passive-aggressive about it. You can say, to any audience, “We have season tickets to the ballet and the symphony,” and leave it at that.
As for the daily references to past loves, I think they’d bother you less if you felt more connection in the present. You say the two of you are in love, but does she show you how she feels? Do you feel appreciated, seen, connected, etc.? You can explain that it’s easier to appreciate her history when you’re part of her story.
My guess is that this relationship is still new for her, and less serious than what she experienced with past partners. Two years might feel like a blip compared to what she had with husbands. That’s understandable, but she shouldn’t pretend you’re her casual date for the night – or lie.
Talk to her again. Ask her more questions, and tell her how you frame what’s happening to your own community. Maybe she needs a new script.
Readers? What does this behavior suggest? Is it OK to mention late spouses/former partners daily? What if this doesn’t change?
Have advice for today’s letter writer? Be helpful. Be clever. Get your comment featured here.Meredith
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