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Julie Donner Andersen

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Member Since: Mar, 2002


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Hello! My newsletter has been moved to Please go to my website and register as a new member. Doing so is free, and you will automatically be signed up for my monthly newsletter. While there, why not check out the Official WOW/GOW Message Board? I also have a blog at!

FYI...My book, "PAST: Perfect! PRESENT: Tense! Insights From One Woman's Journey As The Wife of a Widower" is available for purchase at, and via the publisher,


Julie Donner Andersen
Newsletter Dated: 7/23/2003 7:31:13 PM

Subject: August 2003 Newsletter - Julie Donner Andersen

Hey Gang!

WOW - am I blessed or WHAT??!!! I received soooo many kind e-mails from you wonderful people, sending your sympathy to me because of Goldie The Golden Retriever's death. Thank you, all of you, for your generous hearts.

One of you even sent me a little book for my 3 1/2 year old daughter..."An Angel For Every Dog". Tears, tears, and more tears...Bless you, gentle reader, for your gift. YOU are MY gift! :)

Also, a HUGE THANK YOU to those of you who contatced the Oprah show via her website and insisted that Oprah showcase WOW/GOW issues we have all come to face. It's not too late to help other WOWs/GOWs out there who feel alone. Contact Oprah today at and click to "show ideas". Who knows - maybe we'll all meet in Chicago some day soon! Wouldn't that be a hoot??!!! :)

Another W.O.W. WOW...16 new newsletter subscribers just in July alone!! Woo hoo!!! Welcome, new friends from The Netherlands! I hope this e-mail gets translated for you!

It looks like the Pen Pal Drive continues to be a blessing for many of you. I am sooo happy to hear that you have new WOW/GOW friends and sistahhhhs with whom you can share your lives! Anyone else who needs a Pen Pal, just drop me a line, and I'll be glad to help hook you up! :)

SOS SOS SOS!!! Whoever sent me the name and e-mail addy of her sister the website creator, please resend! I lost that particular e-mail! ARRGHH!!!

Lastly, my husband's and my wedding anniversary is tomorrow, July 24. Our love just keeps growing and growing, and I pray that you find hope in that for your own lives. Courage, my sisters!!



June Questions Of The Month


1.) Once you have been married to (or dating) your husband (or boyfriend) as long as he and his late wife, do you feel your WOW/GOW issues will
subside? If you have already outlived their union's length of time, how do you feel now compared to when you were first married/dating?

~~" (I) have about 28 years to go before I've outlived their time together. Assuming husband and I are both still alive, I imagine I'll be feeling arthritic and geriatric and somewhat senile and it won't matter to me as much as it matters now. Mostly I'll be feeling triumphant that I survived."

~~"Definitely in our relationship the issues and obstacles that were so hard in the beginning to deal with have become easier to handle over the years. You have to be sure the person is truly ready to move on and has dealt with the grief issues first before starting a new relationship. Then there's less issues to deal with and you can focus on each other. I'll be honest, alot of the issues in the beginning were related to my insecurities and now knowing how to handle my feelings and the lack of support. As time passes I'm more confident in our relationship and I have support. The biggest issue continues to be raising a child whose lost a parent."

~~"My, oh my! Husband and late wife were married for 25 years - I HOPE I don't have to be married to him for that long before the comfort level is there!!!!!!!! :-) Seriously, I do think a man with a track record as long as husband's has a lot to "overcome", but our comfort level grows day by day. We have been married for one year, and I think passing through the seasons once was hard and will now
become easier. I still have many moments when I feel somehow "inferior", as I wonder about this or that, do I clean house as well as the late wife, do I have cookouts on the deck as often as she did, stuff like that, but husband is very easygoing and never makes
me feel like he is comparing. As I said, I feel like the second year will be easier and then the third and so on. We are hoping that we will have at least 25 years together, too! It is a wonderful thing
when people see us together or first meet us, and they say things like, "You two were made for each other", or, "You two look like you have been together forever." Makes my heart just sing and sing and

2.) Have you ever been haunted by the late wife's ghost/memory IN THE BEDROOM? How did you feel?

~~"Actually, this will probably sound deranged. But the first time we went away for a weekend was over last year's 4th of July holiday. Ironically, it was tradition that her family had a family reunion each year on the 4th, so he invited me to come along. Her entire family was there, parents, aunts/uncles, kids, siblings, cousins -- the whole gang! Anyway, they were all so warm welcoming that that night at the hotel, before I went to sleep, I actually talked to her. I thanked her for coming from such a wonderful family and I promised that I would never do anything to cause him pain. To this day, I talk to her when I feel him getting scared of his feelings for me. I ask her to go to him and let him know that it's ok. I feel a sort of kindred spirit because we both love the same man."

~~"In the bedroom - a great place for ghosts! Very personal responses here: Late wife was a very heavy woman and I'm not, and there is a very mean spot in my heart that is glad about that, particularly when he
compliments my body. Shame on me. Also, whenever we have an especially intimate moment, I am secretly jealous because she had 25 years of those moments with him and I'm just starting. And then, whenever he does something particularly wonderful, I get jealous
because I think they learned this intimate sexual dance over 25 years together and we're just starting and I just get jealous. And I wonder if I'm "as good" as she was. Not that husband makes me feel this way, because he doesn't, but I just think it myself sometimes."

~~"Haunted by ghosts in the bedroom? Not so much now that we've gotten new furniture over here in the old house. A new bed works wonders."

~~"I probably sound stupid, but it wasn't so much their love life I thought about, it was more that sleeping on their bed & comforter set that made me uncomfortable. My husband thought I was silly but I had to buy a new comforter. I didn't feel right sleeping on hers. To him, it was just a blanket, that's how he viewed alot of things, but to me it was always "hers - theirs"."

3.) What "tricks of the trade" have worked for you when dealing with the late wife's children? (see above)

~~He has 2 step-daughters from his marriage to her (she was divorced when they met). He adores them and they adore him. Even though they have a bio-dad, they appreciate that their step-dad has always been the constant in their lives. The girls and I bonded immediately. They were so happy that he was happy for the first time since their mom died. She had been diagnosed with cancer 3 months after they were married and died 8 years later. It had been a long and painful death which had not been easy for any of them, but their mother made it very clear that she wanted him to find love again, and the girls felt that our coupling was orchestrated by her. I just showed them that I thought he was the most wonderful, kind, loving man in the world, who, if it hadn't been for that horrible disease, would still be with their mother and I would always respect that love."

~~"Dealing with kids, there needs to be mutual respect. They don't have to love me, but they have to respect me, my authority, my feelings."

~~"I jumped right into a situation where I was supposed to love this child as my own, but I never really learned to like her. Be honest with your feelings and take the time to let relationships grow no matter what age the child is.

~~"I basically support my stepdaughter's dad in how he is raising her and then just live my life and leave her alone unless she asks for something, which is
never...I do think vacations, short to start with, are perhaps a great idea. It was a positive for us."




One of you alerted me to a new TV reality show called "Who Wants To Marry My Dad?".

Ugh. How low can TV go??

Imagine if the dad was a widower!! Imagine if your stepchild/ren had to choose your husband's next wife before you came along. Moohahahahaha!! Spooky, ain't it? LOL!

Can you imagine the crtieria these TV daughters might use??

A.) Must give huge allowances for doing absolutely nothing.
B.) Must never, ever interfere with MY time alone with Dad (which is about every waking hour).
C.) Must allow boyfriends to sleep over.

Anyone else have any funny ones?? Let's hear 'em! Also, your thoughts about this weird show!!!
Write me at




Dear Julie,

Since my previously widowed husband and I remarried, the friends (couples) who used to hang around with he and his late wife no longer call us, even though they used to drop by a lot when we were just dating. I know people's lives are busy, but this is depressing. I feel like they don't accept me or like me, which of course feeds my insecurities about wondering if I am good enough/better than his late wife.

Should I contact these old friends and confront them?


Dumped In Detroit

Dear Dumped,

Hey, you're newlyweds!!! People tend to leave newlyweds alone, period! They think you'll thank them for staying away while you adjust to your new life...and you SHOULD! Imagine the opposite - friends who NEVER leave you alone! Ugh!! :)

But seriously...

It's easy (and NORMAL!) to conjure up all kinds of insecurities about "their" (hubs and late wife) old friends. For whatever their reasons, the friends still want to support their buddy (your long bereaved but moved-on husband), so if they have negative feelings, they’ll keep their opinions to themselves. If they have positive feelings, they will welcome you and make you feel comfortable. Still, it's hard to gauge their real and honest feelings sometimes.

Look at it from their perspective: It's hard for them to imagine your husband with anyone but his late wife. When she died, they lost someone near and dear, too. Losing her put them outside their comfort zone, then BAM - there YOU are! So, naturally, they size you up, comparing your every move to the late wife, judging whether or not they feel you are good enough for their buddy, your husband. All friends do it…Heck, we’ve ALL done it at one time or another.

As with grief, these people just need TIME to sort out their feelings. It probably has nothing to do with you, personally. It’s just all very new to them. Perhaps they are just being very careful not to upset you. Perhaps they fear saying the late wife’s name or discussing her in your company – something they were used to doing.

Should you confront them? No. Confrontations are bad. Communication is GOOD. Call them and invite them over for dinner or out to a restaurant, saying something like, “We’ve really missed you guys, and wanted to see you again”. I’ll bet they’ll be glad you did!...J.

~~Need advice? Got a question for Dear Julie? Want to share you experience or opinion on this topic? Write to


August Questions Of The Month


OK, Gals, send ‘em in!

1.) Do your husband’s/boyfriend’s friends accept you into their circle? If not, have they expressed why not? How have you dealt with this problem?

2.) What’s the biggest WOW/GOW issue you face/deal with now? What positive things have you done to try and remedy this?

3.) If you had a chance to ask the late wife ONE question, what would it be?


From the gossip chain…


It has come to my attention that a certain website owner (who shall remain nameless) has attempted to discredit my book (and thereby, me!) by posting “warnings” about it on her site for wives of widowers (apparently, she is a WOW and an aspiring author who wishes to write a book about her experiences). This person claims I plagiarized some of the passages in my book from other sources.

Ladies, I can’t tell you what to do, nor beg you not to pay attention to such falsities, but I WOULD advise you to listen to your hearts. Anyone who wants to write a book about being a WOW, and then discovers someone else beat them to it, is bound to be a tad competitive. In the world of authordom, that’s what one faces when one writes a book on a subject that has never been written about before. But sometimes, competitive feelings lead to inappropriate actions, i.e., libeling the competition just to get a “leg up” on them.

Rest assured, ladies, that my book is truthful, documented, and verifiably my own, and I refuse to take part nor defend myself in such a ridiculous campaign.

Imitation sites for WOWs are bound to crop up, and if they truly help without hurting, then I say BRING ‘EM ON! However, to run a smear campaign without proof to back up inane allegations simply to propel one’s own writing career is, in my opinion, VERY hurtful indeed. It shows a lack of trust in your own membership/readership. It shows a complete lack of faith in your own abilities. And it shows that some people will stoop to anything for publicity.

Wasn’t it Joan Crawford who said, “Any publicity is good publicity”? Well, she beat her kid with a coat hanger to get it. How sad that some people actually CAN look at themselves in the mirror each day without guilt, answering to no one - not even their own conscience or sense of ethics.


On A More Positive Note…


I have been reading about self-affirmation lately, and find it to be truly enlightening. Its premise is simple: Daily repetition of positive thoughts about yourself TO yourself will make you start believing them!

The first time I tried this exercise, I laughed out loud at my funny face in the mirror. I looked like Stuart Smalley from the Saturday Night Live skit “Daily Affirmations”. LOL!

Well, Stuart was ONTO something! Once I got serious about it, these affirmations stayed in my mind like hypnosis. When I felt down during the day, I just remembered my affirmations, and suddenly felt better!

I encourage you all to try this daily exercise for the next month, and see if it doesn’t lift your spirits and encourage you to be a better YOU!

Repeat in the mirror:

I am a good person.
I am worthy of love.
My feelings are normal.
I like myself.
My faults are forgivable.
I WILL make mistakes, but I CAN learn from them.
My (fill in the blank) ___________(husband, children, parents, friends, etc.) love me, warts and all.
My best quality is _________(fill in the blank).
My worst quality can be improved if I only ___________(fill in the blank).
I am a good friend.
If I can’t do everything, I can at least try to do what I can.
Nothing is going to get me down today.

Whew! I feel better already!

Blessings, my sisters!……Julie


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