My boyfriend’s wife of 20-plus years passed away two-and-a-half months before we met. I was vulnerable too then, divorcing from my kids’ dad.
Both of us felt something really special. He said he loved me more than his wife, whom he’d once loved deeply.
We discussed his grief process which he thought he’d prepared for as she battled cancer.
He even told his adult kids about loving me. My little kids got very close to him and love him so much.
Sadly, six months into our relationship he started his true grieving which I wasn’t expecting.
It would’ve been easier for me to understand closer to his loss.
I’ve been selfishly focused on how I feel whenever he’s sad about her.
When he’s having a bad day, he doesn’t call/text me with the usual frequency. He wants to be alone (understandable).
But I’ve been growing apart because I feel rejected. I now understand that he doesn’t love me more than he loved her, and it’s caused me pain and anger with myself for believing him before.
He still says he loves me deeply and doesn’t see his life without me and the kids. His plans for both of us haven’t changed. I still love him.
But my selfishness doesn’t allow me to support him. We’ve talked about it.
Should we continue our relationship or just end it and let him live his grief process?
Desperate but Selfish
His grief is internal, undirected at you though it affects you.
You need to get help dealing with this, because selfishness and distancing when a loved one’s in an emotional crisis is a huge mistake.
You may end up with neither the love of this man, nor the important teaching to your own children about how family members can pull together, not shatter and run from a serious problem.
He needs grief counselling, and so do you.
You’re mourning immature beliefs that he can’t have had a love so deep for longer than the one you now share.
You’re using “selfishness” to mask a bid for more attention, and silently punishing him.
Get counselling instead of running away.
I have a son, age eight and a four-month-old daughter. Her daddy and I have lived together for over a year.
I discovered that he was cheating. It took months before I could forgive him.
When left to visit my parents, I discovered that he did it again.
Confronted, he told me to also cheat. I asked him to leave. He refused and blames me for his actions.
I can't live with a dishonest man. I love him but I’d rather lose the relationship than lose myself in it.
Need to Leave
Gather all your supports, from your parents, other close people, and from your community.
His blaming you may lead to angry behaviours. If he threatens or harms you, call police for a restraining order against him.
You may need a safe plan to leave him. Use a private computer (at a public library, or a friend’s home) to search for a women’s/family shelter. Social workers there will help you re-locate, find a job, child care, etc.
If abuse is not a concern, state firmly that you cannot live with him. Either he leaves or he helps you do so.
His suggestion to both cheat shows no respect for your relationship. Or for your health, regarding sexually-transmitted infections.
With two children relying on you, choose them. Leave him.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the woman who had a single sexual encounter with a man she met on a plane and didn’t tell her husband (August 18):
“Last spring I wrote to you a scenario that was very similar to above, only I was on the other end of it, and had found out on my own.
“The biggest mistake my wife ever made was NOT telling me what happened. Instead she lied, denied and refused to talk about it even after counselling.
“Ten years later, she divulged what had happened but still wouldn’t talk about it. Another 25 years and something triggered an emotion that raised the subject again.
“We’ve been struggling with counselling and the truth for the past nine months.
“ I’d never suggest that anyone who values their spouse and their relationship further betray and create mistrust by withholding the truth. Even after 35 years it's devastating.”
Tip of the day:
When a loved one’s in an emotional crisis, giving support is crucial for you to get through it together.