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Question
Posted by: Rosyoutlook | 2011-02-04

Relationships after the loss of a spouse

My current girlfriend lost her husband to a car accident. They were married for 8 years and she has 2 kids. The relationship was turbulent, but they stuck to it.
We met about 1,5 years after his death. Both of us were single and unnattached. We hit it off very well and have been going out for nearly 1,5 years now. There are no problems with the kids and us. To sum up, he''''s been dead for nearly 3 years and I find her wanting to organise rememberance functions for his BDay and anniversary of his death, etc. This is starting to get me to question where I fit in and where she wants to move on or will. She says she wants to. She get defensive when I talk to her about it, saying I should support her and it hasn''''t been that long. That makes me feel guilty and I bite my tongue. Am I fooling myself that things will change out of there own cause she wants to, not because I want it?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Grief after a turbulent relationship is often more complex and difficult to handle than after an entirely loving relationship. It sounds as though she has not properly worked through her grief ( does she actually find other people who'd want to attend a memorial function for her late husband ? ) By 3 years one would ordinarily at least have moved beyond this point - to have a quite and thoughtful day for oneself, maybe visit a grave, and so on, is perfectly normal. But to think of formal functions and involving others is rather over the top.
Maybe a couple of sessions for both of you, with a counsellor familiar with grief, would help you to understand her better, and help her to move on, not to forget her husband, but to remember him with less pain

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Our users say:
Posted by: Wise Owl | 2011-02-06

I do not speak from personal experience and I expect that special days and events will always be in ones thoughts, but I would expect that person to simply remember it privately in their own way and not make an issue of it. The kids should keep photographs of their father/mother, but should not display them in the lounge as there has to be consideration for the person who comes in to replace the deceased person and this should not be in that persons'' face. Its all about consideration.

Reply to Wise Owl
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011-02-05

Grief after a turbulent relationship is often more complex and difficult to handle than after an entirely loving relationship. It sounds as though she has not properly worked through her grief ( does she actually find other people who'd want to attend a memorial function for her late husband ? ) By 3 years one would ordinarily at least have moved beyond this point - to have a quite and thoughtful day for oneself, maybe visit a grave, and so on, is perfectly normal. But to think of formal functions and involving others is rather over the top.
Maybe a couple of sessions for both of you, with a counsellor familiar with grief, would help you to understand her better, and help her to move on, not to forget her husband, but to remember him with less pain

Reply to cybershrink
Posted by: Outsider | 2011-02-04

I agree with Anne, also remember that your girlfriend has two children from her deceased husband who most probably also need to be consoled, there is no way that she can ignore the birthdays, xmas, fathers day and other dates it''s going to be a part of her and the kids lives for ever.

Perhaps you have not lost anyone close to you and only once you have would you truly understand the impact/emotions etc. etc. that one feels, my father has been dead for almost 20 years now and I still remember like it were yesterday and never forget the death date, birthdate, fathers day, xmas etc. etc.

Perhaps you should consider seeing a phsycologist for a session or two to help you better understand how and what she is going through. And at the same time it will better help you and equip you to be able to deal with what you are going through emotionally.

Maybe, after a visit or two you and your girlfriend could possibly join in on a session or two.

Hope it all works out!

Reply to Outsider
Posted by: Anne | 2011-02-04

My father remarried after my mom died and he still feels the loss. His new wife is a very mature and understanding lady, and gives him the space to do that. She realises that my parents had a very strong bond, and even though he does love her, his love for my mom will never die.

You cannot be jealous of or compete with a deceased spouse. Even if she covers it up and does not tell you about it, your girlfriend will always remember her husbands birthday, their anniversary, the day he died. Even if she does become more sensitive to your feelings about it, he will always be in her thoughts. It sounds also like she is still in deep mourning for him.

It hasnt been that long. My mom''s been gone for fourteen years, and it feels like yesterday.

But I do uderstand that it''s almost as if she is being unfaithful to you by still being loyal to her husband. I wish you all the best, and I really hope that you come to an understanding with her.

Reply to Anne

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