Just this week, former US Vice-President Joe Biden found his family life, not his politics, the centre of international news.
His son, Hunter, had spoken to Page Six of a new love and new relationship after separating with his wife, Kathleen, in October 2015. His new partner was named as Hallie Biden, widow of Hunter’s brother, Beau, and former sister-in-law of Hunter himself.
“Hallie and I are incredibly lucky to have found the love and support we have for each other in such a difficult time, and that’s been obvious to the people who love us most,” Hunter told the website.”We’ve been so lucky to have family and friends who have supported us every step of the way.”
Beau Biden died in May 2015 of brain cancer, leaving behind Hallie and their two children: a daughter, Natalie and a son, also named Hunter.
Generally, the news was met with well wishes and positive sentiments were aplenty. After all, grief and life are fickle things. Love and companionship; beautiful things. And when the two intersect? It’s complicated, like grief and love almost always are.
It’s almost impossible for us to comprehend the emotions involved in grieving the loss of a husband while falling for his brother. It’s simply a complexity too great, so most have bid them good luck, and hoped happiness finds all involved.
But for some, the question still lingers. How?
It’s not unfair, or uncommon, for many to wonder how that kind of relationship is born. It’s human nature to inject yourself into that same scenario and hypothesise if you could, or would, make the same choice.
And although questions have been raised and eyebrows furrowed, the most interesting notion of all is that some would. Some would make the same choice, because it's much less about choice and much more about circumstance.
Refinery 29 understood the natural confusion, and spoke to those who understand human emotion best to delve into the idea that falling for your family member's widow isn't totally unheard of. In fact, Kristen Zeising, a couples and sex therapist, told the website falling for your late sibling's partner isn't uncommon at all.