Question: How long should I expect my new love of four months to resolve his grief/love for his dead wife? They were married for 50 years, and she died more than a year ago. He says he loves me and we have talked of marriage, but he also says he cannot bear to take his dead wife's clothes out of the closet or place her urn of ashes at the cemetery. He asks that I just give him more time. Is there any hope that he'll get through this in our lifetime?
Yes, he will get through this, but he needs more time -- and you need more patience.
It makes sense to me that your boyfriend is still mourning his wife of 50 years. I often tell people to give themselves two to five years to heal from a serious loss. It's not easy to let go of another person and another life.
Don't box him in. He can love you, even see a future together, but still not feel ready to "throw out" his first wife. Often widows and widowers experience guilt at dating and loving another person, almost as if they're betraying the spouse. This will pass.
Keep your expectations realistic. He sounds like a loyal fellow who needs more time to adjust. I know you want to feel important to him, so try focusing on the things he does now that let you know how important you are.
Also remind yourself that letting go will take more time. You can't control him, but you can change how you see the situation. It's also OK to balance respecting his needs by talking to him about yours, but proceed slowly and gently here.
He'll know when he's ready to say goodbye. If he's worth it, be there when he does.
My wife's being too gentle. Frankly, the fact that you even ask this question concerns me. You're talking four months; he's lost a life companion.
With that in mind, consider asking yourself two questions. Do so, by the way, with a genuine spirit of exploration and a desire to grow; avoid the two extremes of denial on the one hand and self-reproach on the other.
First, how capable have you been in your previous relationships of setting aside your own needs for those of others? Ask friends to give you honest feedback on this one. I've seen many people who think they're God's gift to self-sacrifice when in fact they're far more selfish and self-centered than they realize.
Second, how good are you at delaying gratification? Studies show that this is a core ingredient of emotional intelligence and a cardinal predictor of later success. For although the sharp edges of your new love's grief will likely taper off during the next year, after half a century together, especially if it was a good relationship, his first wife will be with him (and therefore you) for many years to come.
Source: Relationships & Love