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Author Topic: "You look like my late wife"  (Read 6098 times)

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My Own World

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"You look like my late wife"
« on: February 03, 2009, 10:25:11 PM »
I really am scratching my head trying to figure out exactly what is the etiquette problem in this story.  The man tells the writer that she reminds him of his late wife.  Up until then, the writer obviously enjoyed his company and he seemed interested in her beyond her resemblence to his late wife.  The writer, however freaks out over his telling her about her resemblence and will have nothing more to do with him.  What did he do that was wrong?

My submission has to do with a guy I met about 10 years ago in my church singles group.  We had talked a few times and had a fun time at a Star Trek convention together (yes, I'm a geek!).  I went by his place one evening so he could give me a couple of books, and he mentioned that one of the books was a particular favorite of his wife's.  He'd never mentioned a previous marriage, so I was surprised and asked him about his wife, expecting to hear that he was divorced or something, but he said, with a sappy look on his face, "She died a couple of years ago.  And you look so much like her." 

Eek.  I was creeped out, and never went out with him again. 

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hellgirl

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Re: "You look like my late wife"
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2009, 10:34:05 PM »
I think the problem is she doesn't know if that previous interest is in spite of the resemblence or because of it.

It would creep me out a bit too if the guy looked at me in a sappy way and compared me favourably to his late wife. I would be very worried that in some small (or large) way he saw her in me.

Having things in common with him that he also had in common with his late wife is one thing - that's bound to happen sometimes. But if that common ground is the stuff he likes best about you? No thanks!

Winterlight

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Re: "You look like my late wife"
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2009, 10:36:18 AM »
Quote
I think the problem is she doesn't know if that previous interest is in spite of the resemblence or because of it.

That would be what I'd wonder too. "Is he interested in me, the person, or in recreating his relationship with his wife?"
If wisdom’s ways you wisely seek,
Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
Caroline Lake Ingalls

twinkletoes

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Re: "You look like my late wife"
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2009, 10:41:53 AM »
I was thinking the same as the posters above - is he interested in her, or is he dating her because she resembles his wife?

Twik

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Re: "You look like my late wife"
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2009, 11:53:19 PM »
I think this falls under "psychological warning sign" rather than "etiquette violation".
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

mechtilde

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Re: "You look like my late wife"
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2009, 04:49:34 AM »
Or sheer doziness and lack of brain to mouth filter. He might not have meant it in a creepy way at all.
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Evil Duckie

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Re: "You look like my late wife"
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2009, 09:15:17 AM »
I think that it is because she is unsure if he is interested in her because of herself or that he sees her as his late wife all over because she looks like his late wife.

I think that she could have gotten past the looks comment if it had not been for the books he wanted to give her that he says were his wife's favorite. Which together got her warning bells going.

mechtilde

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Re: "You look like my late wife"
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2009, 10:22:30 AM »
Oh I can quite see why she was creeped out! It's just he might not have meant it in a creepy way.
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Fidgets

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Re: "You look like my late wife"
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2009, 10:33:39 AM »
I'm not seeing an etiquette violation, either.  I can see the guy posting from his point of view:
"I met this wonderful young lady.  Kind, understanding, likes a lot of the same things I do.  We were out on a date and I started thinking that, having lost the love of my life, how wonderful it was that I'd found love again.  I tried to express that to "Bertina", and she got the oddest look on her face.  Now she won't return my calls, won't answer the door--what did I do?!????"

Now, if the guy had been calling "Bertina" by his wife's name or asked her to change her appearance in some way to look more like his wife.....combined with the comment, that would be seriously creepy!

caranfin

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Re: "You look like my late wife"
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2009, 10:48:41 AM »
Saying "My wife is dead. And you look so much like her." is a bad way to do it. It wouldn't freak me out if he said "You know, I just realized you resemble my late wife. I guess I'm really attracted to short brunettes, huh?" But to say it the way he did, was just uncomfortable.
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Twik

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Re: "You look like my late wife"
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2009, 02:17:54 PM »
How many people are flashing back to "Vertigo" in this thread?  >:D
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

Winterlight

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Re: "You look like my late wife"
« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2009, 07:19:26 AM »
*raises hand*
If wisdom’s ways you wisely seek,
Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
Caroline Lake Ingalls

My Own World

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Re: "You look like my late wife"
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2009, 06:01:26 PM »
I think this falls under "psychological warning sign" rather than "etiquette violation".

That was my thinking as well.  I do not see anything wrong in the etiquette sense with what the man did.  I can understand the writer being uncomfortable with the thought that he might be interested in her only because of her resemblance to the late wife, but I think she grossly over reacted. 

Studies show that most people are attracted to the same type of person each time they seek a mate, so the fact that the writer looked like the woman he loved and may even have shared her interests or mannerisms is not so unusual.  I think the writer should have investigated whether he truly was interested in her for herself or was looking for a substitute for his late wife, but in my opinion, she may well have denied herself a very happy and healthy relationship by being so hasty in flat out refusing to have anything more to do with him just because of that one comment.
Common sense isn't as common as one might think.

snowflake

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Re: "You look like my late wife"
« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2009, 02:57:30 PM »
I once was hit on my a co-worker who told me in gushing tones that I reminded him so much of his ex-wife.  I never figured that one out.  To be blunt, I didn't want to be around him enough to figure it out.  He called me "Pat" instead of my name too.  I think he was mystified why I didn't find it flattering.