Whenever I’m With My Boyfriend, My Husband Tags Along

My boyfriend allows space for my husband and I am awed by it.

Melissa Gould
Hello, Love
Published in
5 min readMay 7, 2022

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Melissa & Luis — photo by author

My boyfriend and I went to the Van Gogh immersive exhibit the other day. There was an almost dizzying feeling the minute we walked in, like those virtual rides at Disneyland that make you feel off-balanced. We were happy to take a seat on one of the benches to steady ourselves, and watched sun flowers and irises flow like lava from the walls to the floor to the ceiling. The music swelled. I grabbed Luis’s hand, nuzzled into his dark, button-down shirt, our sneakers intertwined on the floor beneath us. We were waiting for something, a piece of information about Van Gogh, some factoid about his life, maybe when he started painting, or if he really cut off his own ear and if so, why?… but none ever came. A few minutes later, under a starry night, I came to a realization and whispered to my guy, “Do you think this is it?” He looked around. “I think so, baby.”

Now, I am not necessarily opposed to, nor do I advocate drug use (see my story on weed here) however if there ever was a time to take drugs, this would probably be it. But here we were, 2 middle aged love birds with nothing but our caffeine high to sustain us. Luis smiled at me, we suddenly giggled like kids caught talking in the library. He reached for my hand. “Come on,” he said, “let’s have some fun.” So we pushed aside our disappointment, posed for selfies, and gave in to the experience.

The exhibit, by the way, took place in an old, somewhat iconic record store that I used to frequent with my husband, so he was not far from my mind. He never is. In my memoir, Widowish, I write about how Luis was our daughter’s guitar teacher and how our romance began shortly after the unexpected death of my husband. At the time, Luis was one of the few people who would comfortably mention Joel by name. That is big in the grief world. Saying your person’s name. Sharing their memory. Acknowledging that they were in fact, here. It was refreshing. I wanted to talk about Joel, to evoke his memory, to process my loss. Luis was there then, and continues to be here now.

Joel has been gone for almost nine years, Luis has been my partner for nearly eight. I thought he would be a fling. “It’s nothing serious,” I would tell my…

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Melissa Gould
Hello, Love

Author of Widowish, A Memoir, an @Amazon bestseller 🎉 Named a Best Grief Book of All Time🎉 A @goodreads Top Book of 2021 🎉 More at MelissaGouldAuthor.com