Today's question comes from a post by Kacey, who has a blog called Cookie's Oven. You can find her full post here and the following is my shortened version:
Early on in my marriage, I had lofty ideals that if, (God forbid) I should suddenly be run over by a speeding train or any other such catastrophe -- my dear husband would have to remarry, because he was so happy with me. Actually, I think I wanted someone to mother my children until they could fend for themselves. Deep in my heart, I knew that I couldn't stand the thought of him whispering sweet nothings into another woman's ears. The ugly little voice said in my ear, "What if he tells her about all your shortcomings?"
In my late thirties, a good friend died from a really nasty cancer and her husband told a few of "the guys" some of her intimate details. I cried at this betrayal. Another friend lost his wife a couple of years ago and is blissfully married to another woman and people are saying things like, "John is so much more fun with his new wife than he was before." My brother's widow of three and a half years is getting married next month. While I am extremely happy that she has found someone to be a companion, I harbor this nagging little thought: "You can't do this. You are my sister-in-law and your children are my nephews."
My husband has been with me as long as I can remember and I would hate to die and have him find out that some other woman would have been a better wife, lover, companion. There should be a pre-nuptial that says you cannot tell your new spouse the longings of your previous mate's heart.
Am I selfish or just losing it?
I think you are neither selfish nor losing it. Many people struggle with this same issue. (Some readers may remember an earlier post where I mentioned Jeff Foxworthy's take on the matter.)
After all, who among us cares for the thought of our spouse being with someone else? Sure, we can try to rationalize that we would be no longer be around if that were to occur, but at a gut level, right now, this is still a difficult image to bear.
Your fears go even deeper. You wonder if you might somehow come up lacking in comparison with the new model, and whether this would tarnish your husband's memories of you. It's bad enough to think about being gone, but you would at least want to be remembered well.
These are natural feelings and you shouldn't condemn yourself for having them.
To me, these worries are wrapped up in self-confidence and trust. You are insecure about how well your husband's feelings for you might survive after you are gone. You wonder if you can trust him to use common sense and decency when deciding what is appropriate to share with others about you.
Let me ask you this: Are you confident in your husband's feelings for you right now? Do you trust him not to run out with the guys this weekend and start discussing intimate details that should remain between the two of you? If so, then I suggest you have no need to worry about what he might do if you should happen to pass away first. His personality will not change, nor will his IQ suddenly drop. If he shows good sense now, then you can expect that to continue. Your good friend's husband showed poor judgment after she passed, but I wouldn't be surprised if he displayed a similar lack of common sense while they were still married.
Don't forget that when a widow or widower hooks up again, their new partner often faces a significant challenge. They must compete with a ghost, an idealized, blemish-free memory of the former spouse. You might be surprised to learn of the insecurities this could cause if your husband ever had another partner. Given his lifelong strong feelings for you, there is a good chance she would be quite threatened by his memories of you.
And yes, it's okay if that little voice just popped up in the back of your brain and said, "Good!"
This is always a difficult issue to contemplate. We may be torn between hating the thought of our spouse being lonely, versus hating the thought of them with someone else. In your case I hope you can have faith that the good man you are married to now would continue to be a good and decent person if the unthinkable happened to you.
All the best,
If you haven't already done so, don't forget to check out this week's Ask the Faithful Readers question. I will post my favorite response on Saturday with a link to the winner's blog.