DEAR ABBY: I am a 42-year-old single mom who recently began a relationship with a wonderful man. I have two kids from my marriage to an ex who wasn't very kind. We did our best for 16 years (we were young when we met) and finally had to go our separate ways. The man I'm dating is sensitive and kind. He's great to my kids. He's the first person I've dated that I have allowed to meet them.
His first wife passed away three months after their wedding 14 years ago. She had been expecting their first child, and it was a tragedy for all involved. When he speaks about her, I just listen. He did move on after she passed. He remarried and had another child, but it didn't work out. He claims he never loved his second wife. He got her pregnant early on, and married her because it was "the right thing to do."
He still carries a torch for his first wife, whom he calls the love of his life. He keeps a picture of her hanging from his rearview mirror and plans to be buried next to her when he passes. While I understand that love doesn't die when people pass, I can't help feeling crushed when he says, "If she were still alive, we wouldn't even be talking right now." He puts her memory on a pedestal. How do I handle this? I'm not sure I can stay in a relationship like this. -- HATES HIS HISTORY IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR HATES: His first wife may indeed be "the love of his life," but she is GONE! If you want a future with someone who may never be done grieving, you will have to do it fully aware that you can't compete with an "angel." (No one can.) When this paragon of insensitivity tells you that if she were alive he wouldn't even be talking to you, you would be within your rights to respond by saying, "But she isn't, and here we are!" Your question about whether to continue the relationship is a good one. Unless you have a backbone of steel and can develop a thicker skin, don't do it.
P.S. In some states, items hanging from one's rearview mirror are illegal because they obstruct the driver's vision. I believe your state is one of them.