Dear otm,

I’ve been dating this guy for a year who lost his wife to lymphoma two years ago. My boyfriend talks about his wife a lot and also has many pictures around his home of his wife. He tends to compare me to her which makes me feel inadequate. Things like cooking, strength as a person ect, even down to the way she put herself together. He loves me but it’s in those moments of comparison where I don’t feel good enough. I had a burst out about it and I told him that maybe he should find a woman who more closely resembles his wife, we stopped talking but made up quickly. he’s back to comparing. I don’t mind the reminiscing, but I am not her and I don’t like that she does things better in his eyes. What to do?

Dear Faye,

I hate to say this but I think your boyfriend is still very actively grieving the loss of his wife.
It is so hard to get past the loss of someone you loved. Some people never really get over it, they just get past it but your boyfriend really hasn’t done either yet. I feel truly sorry for his loss and hope he finds peace soon.
Faye as you are now aware it is equally difficult to live in the shadow of another person and that is what you are doing. Comparing you to his deceased wife is very unfair to you on every level. I really don’t think he is doing it intentionally however that doesn’t excuse or erase how it must make you feel.
Faye, even if you occasionally point it out the references and say something to him about how it makes you feel, is not going to change what he is thinking. So it is my advice to slow down your relationship. Possibly even take a break. Maybe he needs to still go through his grieving process and come to terms with the fact the his wife is gone. It sounds to me as though he is trying to find a replace wife just like his first, which will most likely never happen. Unfortunately Faye, your boyfriend is still out in left field trying to deal with his loss and date you at the same time which is a recipe for a relationship disaster.
Again Faye I suggest you take a break, allow him his space and hopefully when he feels ready to move forward and open a new chapter in his life you are still in it. They say time heals all wounds, so hopefully this may just be a matter of time.

Good Luck & Huge Muther Hugs,

One tough Muther

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