Annie Lane: Husband keeps first wife too close

Published 6:30 am Saturday, September 25, 2021

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Dear Annie: I was married 45-plus years when my husband passed away. After being alone for a few years, I married a longtime family friend. His wife had passed away several years earlier. He pursued me and is a good man, and we seem to be happy together.

But at times, I do feel like his first wife lives with us. My question is, should he be carrying a picture of his first wife in his billfold? He does not carry one of the two of us. This really bothers me, and I am wondering what you think.

— Second Wife

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Dear Second Wife: If there’s any hope of the two of you carrying out a fulfilling and enduring marriage, it’s time to bury the past. Share with your husband how it makes you feel to have his late wife still seemingly, and quite literally, in the picture. He may not realize that what he perceives as part of the grieving process is actually a detriment to the security and progression of your marriage.

As for his billfold, it’s in with the new. Find a pocket photo of you and your husband to give to him. He may not have had one before.

• • •

Dear Annie: I moved to a new neighborhood a few weeks ago. I really love the bustle and the energy; however, there is one drawback — the noise. More specifically, the noise of this one ice cream truck that passes by my apartment every single day. Talk about “First World problems,” I know. I am lucky enough to work remotely during this pandemic, so I’m at home all day. And even with the windows shut, I still hear the song. I find myself singing it in the shower, when doing chores and as I’m falling asleep. Plus, it makes me think about ice cream more often than is probably healthy.

Annie, do you or your readers have advice on how to tune out the tunes? I can only imagine what parents go through listening to the same movies or music day in and day out, particularly during this last year. I would appreciate any tips!

— Debugging

This Earworm

Dear Debugging: Use this daily occurrence as a reason to get up and out. Take advantage of the time the truck sits on your block to walk around your new neighborhood. Get acquainted with your new home. With the bustle and energy you mention, there should be more than enough to explore, and now that your home is also your office, it will do you good to get a change of scenery now and again.

On the other side of the coin, you can always lean into the skid. One of the best ways to rid yourself of an earworm is to embrace it. Grab yourself a cone and listen to the song up close. Life is sweet; enjoy it before it melts.

“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to