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Dear Bunmi,

My husband just turned 60 and I am 57. We got married six years ago after his wife had been dead for two years. They’d been married for 25 years.

After we got married, I let go of my flat and went to live with him with my teenage son. My husband took the death of his wife very badly and talks about her constantly, even when we have company.

He then bursts into tears.

It looks as if I’m married to this man and his dead wife. I not only share their house, I also share their friends. Our marriage has degenerated into continual bickering.

We never go out or have sex but we don’t want separation. We both want our marriage to be happy.

Victoria, by e-mail.

Dear Victoria,

There will be discontent in your marriage until you accept that your husband’s late wife is not and never can be your rival. Your husband loves you, but he also loves the woman to whom he was married for most of his adult life.

This is hard for you to come to terms with. When your resentment of his late wife spills out, he feels wounded. You need to realise his grieving for his dead wife will continue until the day he dies.

You need to make your husband realise that you understand his sense of loss instead of feeling jealous. Rather than bristling at the mention of his wife’s name, help your man to mourn.

You two need to rediscover the sense of fellowship and the common purpose that led you to the altar. Reach into your heart and replace resentment with patient affection. Respect him for loving his dead wife.

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