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Woman feels like third wheel to boyfriend's late wife; 'I'm not a bedroom therapist.' AITA? + Update

Woman feels like third wheel to boyfriend's late wife; 'I'm not a bedroom therapist.' AITA? + Update


"AITA If I break up with my boyfriend when this year marks the 10th anniversary of the death of his wife?"

In short: I(34f) have been dating Leon(42m) for two years. My uncle became friends with Leon when they started working together and he started coming to family gatherings and birthdays.

Leon is a great guy and we get along instantly, my family always talked to me about Leon saying he's a great guy. One day Leon asked me out on a date and I said yes, we started dating. Leon has two children (14m and 12m), his wife died in an accident nine years ago.

Here comes the problem: Leon always talks about his wife. I know it sounds ugly to complain about it but I don't say it with jealously, I mean it uncomfortably. He mentions her in intimate moments of our time, such as when we finish having intimacy or when we're having a date.

Sometimes he just starts telling me random anecdotes about his wife and I just stay there feeling like if I'm sleeping with a married man and I'm the side piece. I don't ask for much, just to have a date where it's just me and him.

A date where I don't feel like someone's lover with a man who talks about the things WE like. He goes to the psychologist so according to him he's working better on his grief but I doubt it very much. I'm not the first girlfriend he had after his wife passed away.

He still has contact with his wife's family (which is obvious, they are the grandparents of his children) and I have met them in person only one time because all they did was tell me how much Leon and his wife loved each other and treat me really bad.

I remember that they put a video with photos of Leon and his wife when they married while I was like this🧍because they didn't even gave me a chair to sit. I think in their minds is cute to me to see my boyfriend with his wife? Idk, it's not cute, it's weird.

He always says in front of me that she was the love of his life, I find it cute but when I think about the future I'm just like "I really want to get old with a man who is making it clear that he will never love me? Is that the kind of love I want? I want to be the only one for my future husband".

One time I took him to my favorite place and he just said "it's beautiful, I wish wife's name was here so we could show her this. You two would have been good friends." it's like being a third wheel in my own relationship.

I can tell a lot of situations like these, A LOT. We talked about this, most of the times he just says that he does that without thinking but then he seems to forget about it and goes back to his usual behavior and I'm tired.

The only one time I talked about this with my family I was only told that a real woman wouldn't be jealous of a dead woman (I'm not jealous, I'm uncomfortable) and would be happy to be with a man who has loved another woman like that and expect him to love me almost the same.

That I shouldn't expect him to love me in the same way since all love is different and that I should just be empathetic and supportive of him. I listened to them but nothing got better. I've been feeling so much pressure to go through with this that I can't take it anymore.

Anyways, I stopped listening to my family and finally talked with my friend who's a psychologist and told me that his behavior is not healthy for anyone and that I should think for myself.

She texted "Good for him for loving his wife so much, but you don't deserve to be used as an emotional support doll" And she's right. I have decided to cut off the relationship but this year marks ten years since the death of his wife.

Not only his family, even MY family is helping them to host a family reunion in honor of her with the things she likes. I think it's a nice thing to do, but I'm totally ready to end the relationship but I'm afraid I'm the bad guy in the story.

The 10th anniversary is in July, I want to end the relationship NOW but I fear that I will be a POS if I do that in this year when he is so vulnerable and even my family is pushing me to act like if I was his wife's best friend.

He even says that his wife and I would be good friends if we had meet, why would you want your wife to be best friends with the woman you're sleeping with right now? It's too weird, I think I'm insane because everyone around me sees it as something cute.

In short, I don't know if I should break up with him right now or wait until I don't know, next year?

Would I be a POS if I break up with him now?

Here were the top rated comments from readers in response to the OP's initial post:



Every year will be an anniversary of his wife's death.



I’m not suggesting that he should forget about her or undermining his grief, but why get a new partner if all you’re going to focus on is your late spouse.

The OP responded here:

I think the same, his last ex-girlfriend probably went through the same thing now that I think about it.


NTA. Ultimately, waiting just prolongs the misery for you and continues to delay his grief recovery. Your family and her family continuing to support keeping her front and center in his life are not helping matters.

And while they will all likely say you're wrong to do this, none of them have to live with being third place in their own relationships. In my head, the conversation starts something like this:

"I'm sorry Leon, but this just isn't working for me anymore. I'm always feeling like a stranger or an outsider in my own relationship and that's not healthy. We can't even share an intimate moment without you bringing your late wife into the conversation and it's been absolutely hurtful.

I'm sorry, but I simply can't continue. I will also probably be skipping family gatherings because I suspect everyone will hate me for doing this too. Unfortunately, I really don't see any way to get through this. I wish you the best of luck and hope that you find peace some day."

Three days later, the OP returned with an update.

"(UPDATE) AITA If I break up with my boyfriend when this year marks the 10th anniversary of the death of his wife?"

A few people who lived the same situation messaged me and that really helped me to feel understood, I finally talked with all my friends about everything he did, I always avoided doing that because I knew they were going to tell me that I should leave him but I just ended up being trapped by everyone else words.

We didn't loved each other and that's obvious even if he says doesn't think so. Yes, I actually posted to get approval, I don't know how bad is that but I needed to know that I was doing things right and that I'm not crazy before I said the truth to my friends.

The next day I finally talked to Leon, I REALLY needed to break up at that point. He came to see me at my house and I told him we needed to talk. I went straight to the point saying I want to end the relationship and he instantly asked me what he did wrong. We literally had this talk before and he does know what things makes me feel uncomfortable, I was tired so I just proceeded to list everything he did.

How he never defended me from his ex's-in-law, how he never made an effort to stop naming his wife all the time even though I told him a thousand times that it made me uncomfortable, how does he make me feel like I'm the third in my own relationship, how in all our dates he ends up talking about his wife, how we can't have a 'us' moment, etc.

He apologized saying the same as always, that he doesn't realize it when he does that, we've had this discussion before MANY times but this time I told him I want to break up. I also told him that I don't think his therapist is helping but Leon just said the HE is helping him and feels mentally well.

Leon told me that we could start going together with his therapist because he knows that "It can be hard for a woman to be with a widower, jealousy is a normal thing in this kind of cases" and that really triggered me.

I've let both his and my family make me believe that I'm a crazy jealous, I've let even blogs about widower couples fill my head with things like "You just have to be empathetic, don't expect him to love you that fast like he loved her.

He's always going to love his first wife more so just get used to it and be a good woman, he will love both of you at the same time, etc". I've let myself be trampled on just because everyone told me that getting over a loss is difficult and I have to be empathetic and think about the other.

I'm so tired of it. I'm tired of being empathetic, I've been dragging this thought for months and in that moment I just burst out. We yelled at each other, we said a lot of things to each other but at the end of it all he went on with his mentality that I'm wrong and I'm just jealous, he said that I clearly don't feel ready to date a widower and I ended up being like his ex, I told him that he's a hypocrite.

That he filled his mouth talking bad about his ex-girlfriend (once Leon told me that he called his ex by his wife's name by mistake) but now I'm sure that he treated her like he treated me.

He probably took a submissive woman to fulfill the void and took us as dolls. None of that echoed in his mind because he left my house saying I'm just jealous of a ghost and I disappointed him. I'm fed up, I'm so angry while I write this.

As soon as he left the house I sent my mother a message saying that I'm not going to live the same life of my SIL, living in the shadow of a woman who's no longer in this world, I don't want to live thinking that I just need to be a good person for someone else and not for myself, they should have empathy for me and not for a man who's not even their family.

I told her that I'm tired of being pressured and I don't care if I die single. I'm sure they don't care about how I feel, in the end they will keep saying that I have a cold heart like always but I want to not care about that anymore. My friends are staying at my house to keep me company and I can finally get all the accumulated pain out of my brain with them.

I don't feel good being second and I know I'll always be second in this kind of cases. I don't want to replace the place of the first wife and I know that even if I wanted to, I never will.

I know a lot of people feels good with that kind of relationship, I know many people likes to live with the mentality of 'I can change him/her' but not me, life if too short to continue living this way and waiting for the day he will move on, maybe I'm really cold hearthed but I'm surely not that empathetic for this, I want to be greedy once in my life and be the only one in the life of a man.

If his wife were alive, he would clearly never choose me, he wouldn't even look at me... I don't like that kind of love and I really had a hard time accepting that I don't want that kind of love for myself. Maybe another woman will help him change but I don't, I don't have the patience for that and I finally decided to chose myself.

I feel that I am still young and I can wait for a man to have me as the first choice in his heart. I hope Leon can overcome his traumas and be happy, but not with me. Someone messaged me that I don't deserve his love but what love are we talking about?

I'm just a doll at this point. For now he's not going to change and doesn't wants to change but that's not my business, I'm not a bedroom therapist anymore. I rather be single forever than falling again in that.

I want to start more therapy and palates, I'm still obviously affected by all of this and nothing really changed, nothing would change that fast but I'm just happy that I'm free now. For now I just wanted to vent so sorry if everything sounds too aggressive.

Here were the top rated comments in response to the OP's update:


"he said that I clearly don't feel ready to date a widower and I ended up being like his ex"

If anything, he's the one who's not ready to date period. I'm glad you're out of that relationship, please stay safe.


NTA it’s been 10 years, you shouldn’t still be living in his deceased wife’s shadow.


It’s baffling that the families can’t tell the difference between jealousy and the full on deification of a dead person they have going on. None of this man’s behaviour is healthy and he is surrounded by enablers. Makes me wonder what the OP’s poor SIL is being subjected to.


Liz, what is this story? If he's talking about his wife that much, he's not ready to be in a new relationship. Being a widow is hard, but you have to start the healing process on your own before dragging someone else into it.


Yeah there is an amount of empathy needed to date a widower, but if the widower is frequently bringing up their deceased spouse after intimacy and in other intimate moments it is definitely time to walk away.

So, what do you think about this one? Do you think the OP is being too sensitive? If you could give them any advice, what would you say?

Sources: Reddit,Reddit
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