Wife who is grieving over ex who killed himself - Talk About Marriage
Dealing with Grief and Loss The grieving process is difficult. When we lose someone close to us, we go through many different emotions.

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post #1 of 62 (permalink) Old 06-11-2015, 04:54 AM Thread Starter
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Wife who is grieving over ex who killed himself

My wife and I have been married a little over two years. I've been in her life for a little over three years. My wife has a daughter from a previous relationship. The daughter thinks of me as her father. My wife had a short term relationship with the father and got pregnant. After she got pregnant he didn't want to have anything to do with her or the baby. If you heard my wife tell the story "he kicked them to the curb." When the baby was born he came to the hospital but never offered any financial support for the baby. The only contact would be in the middle of the night when he was drunk and he wanted companionship from my wife. At one point before I met her she was struggling financially and tried to collect child support. The father received a letter in the mail that wanted him to submit to a paternity test. He contacted my wife and said instead of going through the process of making it official, why on the just give her some mo eu each month. She told him to keep it, if he didn't want to officially claim his child... They didn't need him. I came into their lives shortly after and took on the role as Dad. I have embraced her as my own and love her like my own. Actually giving her more attention then I give my own two. When talking about the father with my wife it's always been touchy. She has proclaimed she hated him for rejecting her and the baby. I can understand why. Earlier this week, the father took his own life. My wife called me crying. I tried to be supportive and strong for her. Then she reached out to his friends for details. Then we became friends with his friends on our mutual Facebook page. I started seeing these tributes to this guy from his friends. I struggled with them bc they make him out to be this great family guy. Then my wife started liking the post. And I noticed her feelings changing towards him. The only sadness I feel is for my daughter. Bc she will never have the opportunity to meet her birth father. My wife is saddened for him and is mourning Bc she now tells me she has feelings for him. She is saddened for him Bc he felt alone when he died. I feel like he made choices in his life which led to that including abandoning her and her child. I feel betrayed by this Bc she talks to me like I'm the bad guy in all of this. This guy was not a good person. He turned his back on his child and my wife and treated her badly. I'm hurt Bc I'm the one who stepped up to be a Dad and love them.

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post #2 of 62 (permalink) Old 06-11-2015, 06:00 AM
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Re: Wife who is grieving over ex who killed himself

This is a tough one, because she is in a perpetual fog, elevating someone who kicked her to the curb to sainthood. The problem is that being dead his true self is locked away in memories that are now distorted. Now you could take the tact of reminding her of the dead beat he is but that will only reflecting badly for you and make him that saint or you could suck it up and grieve with her until it passes....and maybe she reclaims sanity about his true self...or if you had enough you could kick her to the curb until you become saint in her eyes when she does a comparison down the road. Definitely tough when your competing a distorted truth.
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post #3 of 62 (permalink) Old 06-11-2015, 06:07 AM
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Re: Wife who is grieving over ex who killed himself

Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.


- John Donne

Death has a way of hiding the bad stuff, at least for a minute. He was part of her history and no matter what a creep he was, part of her timeline is now gone, and in a very sad way. Let her grieve. She'll move on soon.

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post #4 of 62 (permalink) Old 06-11-2015, 06:21 AM
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Re: Wife who is grieving over ex who killed himself

The opposite of love is not hate. It's indifference. She always had feelings for him. She never truly moved on. His death and the manner in which he died caused her to feel guilty and brought those feelings and distortions into the light of day. He had some problems that weren't his fault and likely led to his decision to refuse to fight for his rights as a father. He may have known and just could not commit to the responsibilities that go along with being a father. He likely couldn't handle the pressure, and offered what he could. She needs to talk to a professional to work through all of her mixed feelings. She needs support.

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post #5 of 62 (permalink) Old 06-11-2015, 09:37 AM
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Re: Wife who is grieving over ex who killed himself

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Originally Posted by Letterman2810 View Post
My wife and I have been married a little over two years. I've been in her life for a little over three years. My wife has a daughter from a previous relationship. The daughter thinks of me as her father. My wife had a short term relationship with the father and got pregnant. After she got pregnant he didn't want to have anything to do with her or the baby. If you heard my wife tell the story "he kicked them to the curb." When the baby was born he came to the hospital but never offered any financial support for the baby. The only contact would be in the middle of the night when he was drunk and he wanted companionship from my wife. At one point before I met her she was struggling financially and tried to collect child support. The father received a letter in the mail that wanted him to submit to a paternity test. He contacted my wife and said instead of going through the process of making it official, why on the just give her some mo eu each month. She told him to keep it, if he didn't want to officially claim his child... They didn't need him. I came into their lives shortly after and took on the role as Dad. I have embraced her as my own and love her like my own. Actually giving her more attention then I give my own two. When talking about the father with my wife it's always been touchy. She has proclaimed she hated him for rejecting her and the baby. I can understand why. Earlier this week, the father took his own life. My wife called me crying. I tried to be supportive and strong for her. Then she reached out to his friends for details. Then we became friends with his friends on our mutual Facebook page. I started seeing these tributes to this guy from his friends. I struggled with them bc they make him out to be this great family guy. Then my wife started liking the post. And I noticed her feelings changing towards him. The only sadness I feel is for my daughter. Bc she will never have the opportunity to meet her birth father. My wife is saddened for him and is mourning Bc she now tells me she has feelings for him. She is saddened for him Bc he felt alone when he died. I feel like he made choices in his life which led to that including abandoning her and her child. I feel betrayed by this Bc she talks to me like I'm the bad guy in all of this. This guy was not a good person. He turned his back on his child and my wife and treated her badly. I'm hurt Bc I'm the one who stepped up to be a Dad and love them.
The deceased is being martyred. Soon Sainthood will be bestowed.

You are staying in this relationship because...?

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post #6 of 62 (permalink) Old 06-11-2015, 10:16 AM
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Re: Wife who is grieving over ex who killed himself

Letterman, sorry you are going through this. What is really hard is that you did all the right things and he did all the wrong things by civilized society's rules and yet now you find your wife sitting there pining for her dead lover. Got to be a hard blow to absorb and definitely not right. If it helps to label it (and maybe I doesn't) the phenomenon you are dealing with is the plight of the "Alpha Widow". Literally in this case. I could try to describe it here but there are plenty of resources for you on the Net to look at that do it far better than I ever could. Take a look and see if that doesn't really describe what you are dealing with. In the meantime stop trying to reason her out of it. Logic doesn't apply in these situations. Know however though that you are a good and decent man for doing what you did. But do learn from this experience.
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post #7 of 62 (permalink) Old 06-11-2015, 04:07 PM
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Re: Wife who is grieving over ex who killed himself

"Actually giving her more attention then I give my own two."

Please rectify this situation.

As difficult as it may be, biting your tongue is the best course for now. She's probably in shock & doesn't want to be seen as talking ill of the dead.

I certainly wouldn't tolerate being treated like the bad guy, though. Boundaries and all.
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post #8 of 62 (permalink) Old 06-12-2015, 10:44 AM
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Re: Wife who is grieving over ex who killed himself

I recommend you remain stoic.

Women are emotional creatures. They get caught up in this sh!t like a tidal wave. Sometimes you just have to stay on high ground and let the wave bore through.

Step back out of it and let her mourn him. Be there if she needs a hug, but do not let her abuse you or take her wrath out on you. Set that boundary hard and firm.

Ask her if it would help her to get her some grief counseling. Keep being the best dad to her daughter you can be.
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post #9 of 62 (permalink) Old 06-12-2015, 11:01 AM
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Re: Wife who is grieving over ex who killed himself

This reminds me of something that happened to me.

I married a guy when I was 22. The relationship was bad. He was abusive. I divorced him. (that's the short story).

Some years later I got the news through the grape vine that he had committed suicide.

Now this is a guy how I would not be in the same room with because of his behavior. I had zero good feelings for him.

But when I heard that he died, it upset me for a while. The first night I just sat up all night and could not turn my mind off thinking about this guy who I never wanted to think about. Some how his suicide shook me.

Your wife might be having a similar reaction. But with the addition of social media, she unfortunately has people who talk to about this who are distorting reality.

How many people does she know who have died? If the number is 0 to few, it might even be her own mortality that she is actually grieving... he's just the surrogate.

She cannot help that his death has some effect on her. But she can stop the social media nonsense so that she gets over this. Some grief counseling, with you involved might help.

Sit her down and tell her very clearly how this is hurting you. That since he mistreated both her and her daughter (how is now your daughter) because he threw them out is hurting you and you expect her to start respecting the your and face reality.
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post #10 of 62 (permalink) Old 06-12-2015, 11:17 AM
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Re: Wife who is grieving over ex who killed himself

You got that idea from the police thread, didn't you? It's a shame that you can't see it's different points of view rather than lies and distortions. Many are influenced by others, not just social media. Social media is less reliable because it usually only involves opinions with little facts to back them. Never believe opinions alone are the only reality. There are many and the best are backed by facts and reality.

I think he does need to consider this when he thinks of her feelings. Though, like another member posted, don't let her cross boundaries. There is a limit to what can be accepted without doing harm to a relationship, and, it's really her problem and she needs counseling with some support from you.


"I'm significant!! Screamed the dust speck." - Bill Watterson

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post #11 of 62 (permalink) Old 06-12-2015, 11:20 AM
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You need to be confident in your role as a father and a husband. You also need to realize that you married a woman with baggage. A lot of men feel like they rescue a woman who has been left by a deadbeat. There should be nothing distinguishing the children in your marriage. To do this lends itself to acknowledge the "I came in and picked up the slack mentality." He walked out on them. The relationship didn't exactly end on her terms so she probably hasn't had an effective closure. Keep in mind they created a child together, that is a bond you can not break. Be the rock you pride yourself on being, put your self aside like the man is supposed to do once in a while and see your wife through this. She'll love you more for it.
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post #12 of 62 (permalink) Old 06-12-2015, 12:32 PM
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Re: Wife who is grieving over ex who killed himself

It's a tough line to walk- being there for while she experiences the sadness, but not accepting that you are the bad guy. I think it is OK to separate the two with/for her: "I am here for you while you grieve, even though I don't understand it; I am here, I am your husband, I am not the cause of this."

It's a bit different but my ex-fiance died a few years ago. My poor husband was there when I got the call, we were on vacation with my family. He watched as both me, my sister, and my mom broke out into tears. He just gave us all hugs. He didn't blink as we all talked about my ex, the good and the bad. The ex and I didn't end up getting married because he fell into an addiction and never recovered (and in fact, it was the cause of his death.) Husband didn't blink when I drove myself 2 hours each way to sit shiva with the ex's family. And, even though he thinks it's weird, husband is OK with me and our son meeting up with his family on occasion. He is invited if he ever wanted to go, but understandably, it's a little weird for him and he has declined to do so. I can't tell you how much I appreciate him for this.

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post #13 of 62 (permalink) Old 07-04-2015, 03:27 PM
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Re: Wife who is grieving over ex who killed himself

I would suggest that you don't do anything but observe for sometime. death is a strange thing and people often react irrationally.

But to be honest, the way she reacted seems that she wanted someone to replace him when he was gone and help her raise the kid. She might not love you like a wife but you serve a purpose of giving her a family and help her raise a kid with a father.

How does she treat you usually ? Who's idea was the marriage ? Does she need you financially ? Does she plan to have kids with you ?
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post #14 of 62 (permalink) Old 07-28-2015, 09:50 AM
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Re: Wife who is grieving over ex who killed himself

You will gain nothing by acting like this is all about you. Yes, insist on being treated kindly, decently, and lovingly--but do not make her talk/grief about *him* into something it isn't. She obviously cared for him and he was the father of her child--you will gain nothing by trying to prove you are "better" than him and so, rationally, she should only love you and never think fondly of this scumbag.

Instead, you need to be the good guy that you are--cheerful, supportive, and not jealous of a ghost. Trust that you will be able to demonstrate, time and again, that you deserve her love and attention.

Be in this for the long haul--this will likely take months, not weeks. Be very clear that you will not tolerate mistreatment, but you will not consider her grief "mistreatment" of you. If she needs to talk about him, for example, you do not need to listen--but you can take the kids somewhere so she can call a family member.

And be prepared to leave if she refuses to stop treating you as the bad guy. You cannot win by setting a boundary and then constantly letting her cross it.

In a way, you need to do the 180 and leave her to find her way to you, as though you had discovered she was having an affair and she was in that fog. No unkindness toward her, few demands--but absolutely expecting respectful treatment and kindness from her.

If it goes on longer than you can stand, get marriage counseling. Some people get stuck in the drama (not the real grief) of being the sufferer. To hell with that! But only you can decide what is "too long" for you, and you will need to be prepared to end the marriage if she cannot come around after marriage counseling, or the marriage would be awful. Good luck!
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post #15 of 62 (permalink) Old 07-29-2015, 11:37 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you everyone for comments. I'm a bit overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from you. An update. Two months has passed since the funeral. She went, she took our 5 year old daughter against my wishes, and told me I shouldn't go. Our daughter had no idea who he was. Her rationale of taking her to the funeral was to try to convince the siblings to sign an afadavit so that a DNA test could be ran to prove paternity. She wanted benefits for our daughter to apply towards college. It was a very difficult day for us as a family. I took a step back and allowed her to do what she needed. That night I took her out to dinner to just listen to her. For the past week I felt like she had pushed me aside. She told me she broke down at the funeral. I just listened witjout judgement and just offered support. The next couple weeks were no easier. She got upset at her coworkers bc they didn't get her a sympathy card.She would make these photo collages of side by side comparisons of her ex and our daughter. Like she was trying to obsess over the similarities. She continued to reach out to his siblings to obtain the consent. She asked me what to say to them. I'm a communications director in my career so I helped develop talking points for her to state her case to them. The brother agreed to the consent. All seemed well. My wife suggested maybe having a barbecue and inviting the brother and his family over. I concurred. Then we are laying in bed at 10 pm and the brother texted my wife asking her for money. When his brother died he got his brothers car which had a loan on it. He wanted money to help pay for it be it supposedly meant a lot to him. He even took a photo of his son in front of the car to send to my wife. My wife showed me the text and I told her I'm really sorry he sent her that. She was at first angry at him. She responded the next morning that we were not in a position to help him with that. He apologized and said he was drunk and sent it to several people. She forgave him and asked me to not say anything to our family. Meanwhile we started seeing a counselor. I shared this w her and she agreed this is a red flag. I said I'm not opposed to allowing these people to have a relationship with our daughter but I want to get to know them first. My a wife agreed but has backtracked. She insisted that we tell our daughter the truth. That's what the father's family wants and they want to see my daughter. Her own family didn't agree w that. However I got raked across the coals pretty hard by them during the week of the funeral. I told them I was neutral on the issue and I was going to support my wife. No matter what I was just going to reinforce to my daughter i am her Dad and I'm gonna be there. So we told her the truth. I tried to relate it to my own two kids bc they have me and a stepdad. My daughters knows the stepdad by name. I said what if I told u, u have two dads. She said no Daddy u are my only Dad. I love u. Man.... I melted. Everything trial, every sacrifice... Over the past three years was worth it. I then talked about my two dads. She knows my stepdad and that my dad passed away. I said honey before I became ur daddy... U had a special daddy named..... she didn't say much.. Didn't ask questions. Just clung to me. I told my wife. We agreed not to make this a big deal. Now we have told her and we leave it alone until she has questions. I don't want to force this on her. The Facebook bantering is continuing between my wife and his family. Today my wife responded to his sisters post by saying my daughter looks just like him w a . My own family saw that. It hurt my feelings. I told my wife it hurt my feelings. Her response was I'm a baby and she doesn't care and doesn't feel guilty.
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