Loss of a child - long story - 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 67 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 10:26 AM Thread Starter
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Loss of a child - long story

Ok this could go in nearly any forum section in here as there are elements of Sex In Marriage and Infidelity, but I think Dealing with Grief and Loss is maybe the most appropriate.

We are both in our mid 40s. I've been married now for 20 years, and we had some children together. Our marriage was reasonably happy, but for me was on a slow decline, especially sexually, although my wife doesn't think so. Maybe twice a month we had sex. Otherwise we got on OK, but she was very controlling of everything, and as long as I went along with everything, things went fine. She also had some health issues, not serious, but they made her tired all the time - or so she said - more on this later. I really loved her.

6 years ago we lost a child to cancer, the child was not yet a teenager but was well beyond the age of reason, and had been in school several years. Needless to say it was a devastating loss. After our child died, my wife and youngest child cried all the time, while our eldest child and I bottled it all up. I would come home from work and my wife would cry every night. It was tearing me to pieces. I was close to a mental breakdown. To try to deal with it, after a few weeks I said I was "over" our child's death (of course that was a load of horse manure - but I thought it would help). After that my wife cried less in front of me. In every other way I did my best to be the best husband and father I could be. My wife didn't connect with our eldest child at all so I became the dad to my eldest and she became the mum to our youngest. This dynamic still exists to this day.
My wife is the kind of person who would prefer to believe in the fantasy rather than face reality - when our child first was diagnosed with a totally incurable cancer until the morning our child died, she believed he would survive - I knew from day one he wouldn't - a 0.0001% 5 year survival rate doesn't lie.

In the last year of school there was a male teacher who took care of our child even though our child was quite sick at times, and was really brilliant with him. He is also married with small children and about 10 years younger than us. He was then teaching our youngest child, about a year later, so my wife had the occasion to talk to him when at the school. She talked about him a lot, and how his wife was a horrible witch - even though she seemed like a nice enough person to me. I suspected something was going on with her at least, but any mention of him or his wife my me would result in hysterical accusations of me being paranoid, jealous, etc. We had a joint birthday party and she invited him, but he didn't come. His wife was rude with my wife, but perfectly fine with me.

During this time, she started listening to new music, started running, lost a lot of weight and got really fit, ran a marathon. She was managing our finances, and they fell to pieces, I discovered she had ran up nearly $20K in credit card debt. She lost all interest in me and our eldest, to the extent that one day I started getting chest pains in a car park (it was stress related) and she didn't seem to care in the least - I had to get a taxi to the hospital for tests. Any interaction with me was mean and spiteful - even when I was trying to do housework to help her the criticism and nitpicking was endless. Our sex life was about once every 3 months and she had to get drunk first. I tried to talk to her about all of this several times to no avail.

About 1 1/2 years ago now things began to slowly improve between us. We talked, had sex about once a month again, and she seemed in a slightly better mood. She still said she had no interest in sex, but would do it for me. About a year ago she went away for a weekend to visit her parents. I'm not proud of this but I got suspicious and had a snoop through her wardrobe. What I found shocked me. A book about all sorts of sex stories - not 50 shades, more like written hardcore porn. 3 different vibrators. I don't care and am not a prude, but this was completely the opposite of the image she presented to me. Her diary, detailing how she fantasised about this teacher, and how she hated having sex with me, and how any time she did it, or dreamed about sex, she thought about him. This is ironic since she said if I thought about someone else while having sex with her, she would consider it cheating. She detailed how she could attract him, how to break up his marriage with his wife. How she could have an affair with him without me finding out (according to her that part was easy) and without his wife finding out about it (harder). She sent him a few texts, even inviting him over one Christmas, and acting like a lovesick teenager around him. He moved schools, and she got her friend to drive her out to see his new school. She sent him a letter thanking him for taking care of our son, and at the end was lots of stuff about going out for a drink together, how he was a bit of a flirt but so was she, and how handsome he was, and signed it off with Love, my wife. She also sent him several texts, relatively innocuous, but one was asking him to go for a drink with her.

I went ballistic and seriously considered kicking her out. Basically she had been lying to me for years. She says she doesn't remember any of it. We went to a psychiatrist on my request, and she (the psychiatrist) said it was quite possible she couldn't remember anything. Sorry I don't buy that. I know people will say that people cope with grief in different ways, but I had a female friend that I really get on well with and find extremely attractive come on to me in this period, and I declined, because I still had some respect for my wife. I'm not trying to paint myself as perfect, far from it, but I was always there for her, except for the crying every evening period, and I told her that I couldn't deal with that.

Now our relationship is "good" on the surface, but I am still bitter and resentful that she abandoned us when things got tough. I also don't trust her in the least anymore. I'm not sure what I'm looking for or what to say, but I'd like to hear people's thoughts on the matter. I'm really only with her for the convenience factor at the moment. Any love I had is gone. Mostly I'm just desperately sad at what happened to us, and how she couldn't be honest with me.


Last edited by Good Guy; 08-16-2016 at 10:30 AM.
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post #2 of 67 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 10:40 AM
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Re: Loss of a child - long story

It's quite possible that the stress of having a dying child, even though she "believed" the child would live, led her to engage in an alternative, escape life. I'm not justifying it. But I doubt this happened AFTER your child died. It probably grew as the situation with your child deteriorated.

I would suggest continuing with professional help. My personal counselor was invaluable for me with the loss of my son and our marriage counselor kept my wife and I together. This is a huge loss in our lives and sometimes we never get over it. Sometimes we falter in our morality because we feel morality has let us down. Don't give up yet.
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post #3 of 67 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 10:43 AM
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Re: Loss of a child - long story

I cannot even begin to grasp the complexity of the circumstance you face. I guess this is very lame. Counseling to deal with the loss of your child and to ensure you can be the best parent for your remaining kids? Yah, lame.

I am so sorry for your loss. I cannot even speak to your marital issues since it is so out of my scope. I am just sorry for your loss.
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post #4 of 67 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 10:45 AM
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Re: Loss of a child - long story

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Mostly I'm just desperately sad at what happened to us, and how she couldn't be honest with me.
It seems like there was dishonesty on both sides here. You lied to her about your feeling's on your child's death so you didn't have to deal with her sadness anymore. You emotionally shut yourself off from her and the situation because as had seen your child's death as inevitable and I think saw her grief as unnecessary. You should have gone to family counseling or something at that point if you had gone then rather than later, some of this might have been headed off at the pass.

As she then in turn I think went emotionally dead towards you and then started some kind of emotional affair, potentially mostly fantasy and one sided with the teacher who she might have envisioned actually had cared about your child.

Quote:
Now our relationship is "good" on the surface, but I am still bitter and resentful that she abandoned us when things got tough.
And you honestly don't see how you did the same thing?

Quote:
I declined, because I still had some respect for my wife. I'm not trying to paint myself as perfect, far from it, but I was always there for her, except for the crying every evening period, and I told her that I couldn't deal with that.
So you were always there for her, except for that time when she really needed you and you just couldn't "deal with that."

Assuming this is all honest, while I don't think her mapped out plan to cheat with and seduce the teacher was in any way right, I think you both dealt with the death of your child very poorly and turned away from each other. I think that your anger and resentment is kind of misplaced as you have similar ills.

You want to fix this, get yourself in counseling.
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post #5 of 67 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 10:47 AM
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Re: Loss of a child - long story

I am so sorry, Good Guy. So, so sorry. ((((((((((Good Guy))))))))))

Our ds17 has had cancer (AML) twice. Last time he got it, when he was 13, they told us he had a 25% chance of making it to 18. He is still with us, but anything can happen, as you well know.

I can only imagine your pain. I can only imagine her pain.

Losing a child can kill a parent emotionally. I don't know how any parent ever gets over it. I know we never would.

Could you give your wife some grace over what she did? Could you extend understanding and compassion? It doesn't sound like the other man reciprocated. I think he understood how fragile and vulnerable she was at that time.

Otoh, if the marriage was rocky before your son's death, it could just be that ending it now would be a gift to both of you.

Again, just so very, very sorry for all your pain, and hers.

One of the deepest feminine pleasures is when a man stands full, present, and unreactive in the midst of his woman's emotional storms. When he stays present with her, and loves her through the layers of wildness and closure, then she feels his trustability, and she can relax. -- David Deida, The Way of the Superior Man
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post #6 of 67 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 10:52 AM
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Re: Loss of a child - long story

Yeah, if your wife doesn't own up to it (and the psyche enables this), I am not sure what you can do.

I think we all have the capacity to understand (but never fully) the devastating grief you endured and maybe you were emotionally cold about it at times (you said you shut it off) but this doesn't excuse her behavior.

But. . .my superficial examination is this - at least she IS sexual, right? There IS perhaps hope on that front. She's just been lying about it and hiding it from you all those years.

Yeah, it's a lame recommendation - counseling. . .but I would really try to find one who doesn't mind getting their hands dirty - wading knee deep into the "crap" so to speak. I find so many of them sort of lean back in their chair and say, "So. . .how does that make you feel?" or "Tell me why you can't work it out."

Holy crap, if I did that in my job, I'd be fired.

You need someone to wade deep into this.

And maybe I seem a bit confused. . .but maybe, I got you pegged! Ha! Don't know what to do about those tossed salad and scrambled eggs. . .they're posting again. Scannerguard has left the building.
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post #7 of 67 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 10:53 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Loss of a child - long story

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Originally Posted by Starstarfish View Post
It seems like there was dishonesty on both sides here. You lied to her about your feeling's on your child's death so you didn't have to deal with her sadness anymore. You emotionally shut yourself off from her and the situation because as had seen your child's death as inevitable and I think saw her grief as unnecessary. You should have gone to family counseling or something at that point if you had gone then rather than later, some of this might have been headed off at the pass.
At the time, I genuinely felt as if it was "over" - I wasn't consciously lying to her. I had spent months waiting for the inevitable, trying to stay happy and strong for my son so we could all have fun together - as did she. I really did understand her need to grieve - I just couldn't deal with my style of grief and hers at the same time.

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As she then in turn I think went emotionally dead towards you and then started some kind of emotional affair, potentially mostly fantasy and one sided with the teacher who she might have envisioned actually had cared about your child.
Yes I see that.



And you honestly don't see how you did the same thing?



Quote:
Originally Posted by Starstarfish View Post
So you were always there for her, except for that time when she really needed you and you just couldn't "deal with that."

Assuming this is all honest, while I don't think her mapped out plan to cheat with and seduce the teacher was in any way right, I think you both dealt with the death of your child very poorly and turned away from each other. I think that your anger and resentment is kind of misplaced as you have similar ills.

You want to fix this, get yourself in counseling.
Well unless you've had a child die, you don't know how you will feel or react. It's not some sort of exam you have to pass. I agree with you though, I wish I could have been stronger, but it was a choice between sitting at home all day crying or going to work and keeping us from becoming homeless - I chose going to work. It literally took all the willpower I had to do it.
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post #8 of 67 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 10:55 AM
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Re: Loss of a child - long story

The both of you would benefit from going to counseling together. There seems to be a lot unspoken between you and a lot of healing that needs to be done.

Most marriages do not survive the death of a child.

I lost two at birth. It's not an easy thing to go through. And I think that most people who have not gone through it don't quite understand how overwhelming it is and how it distorts a person's thinking.

And yep, we ended up divorced.
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post #9 of 67 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 10:55 AM
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Re: Loss of a child - long story

tough story. I can't imagine the level of anguish you and your wife must have experienced.

I guess the question is whether you think the current improvement is genuine and whether you can be satisfied just focusing on that.
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post #10 of 67 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 10:56 AM
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Re: Loss of a child - long story

I really don't think she was trying to hurt you. I think she was just trying to survive, herself.


One of the deepest feminine pleasures is when a man stands full, present, and unreactive in the midst of his woman's emotional storms. When he stays present with her, and loves her through the layers of wildness and closure, then she feels his trustability, and she can relax. -- David Deida, The Way of the Superior Man
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post #11 of 67 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 10:57 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Loss of a child - long story

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Originally Posted by Scannerguard View Post
Yeah, if your wife doesn't own up to it (and the psyche enables this), I am not sure what you can do.

I think we all have the capacity to understand (but never fully) the devastating grief you endured and maybe you were emotionally cold about it at times (you said you shut it off) but this doesn't excuse her behavior.

But. . .my superficial examination is this - at least she IS sexual, right? There IS perhaps hope on that front. She's just been lying about it and hiding it from you all those years.

Yeah, it's a lame recommendation - counseling. . .but I would really try to find one who doesn't mind getting their hands dirty - wading knee deep into the "crap" so to speak. I find so many of them sort of lean back in their chair and say, "So. . .how does that make you feel?" or "Tell me why you can't work it out."

Holy crap, if I did that in my job, I'd be fired.

You need someone to wade deep into this.
Absolutely agree. We had some counselling of the style above, but my wife is a very good talker and can talk herself out of opening up easily. We need someone like Robin Williams character in Good Will Hunting, who will dig into the uncomfortable areas. The fact she says she doesn't remember is what kills me.
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post #12 of 67 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 10:58 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Loss of a child - long story

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The both of you would benefit from going to counseling together. There seems to be a lot unspoken between you and a lot of healing that needs to be done.

Most marriages do not survive the death of a child.

I lost two at birth. It's not an easy thing to go through. And I think that most people who have not gone through it don't quite understand how overwhelming it is and how it distorts a person's thinking.

And yep, we ended up divorced.
So sorry to hear that
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post #13 of 67 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 10:59 AM
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Re: Loss of a child - long story

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Well unless you've had a child die, you don't know how you will feel or react. It's not some sort of exam you have to pass. I agree with you though, I wish I could have been stronger, but it was a choice between sitting at home all day crying or going to work and keeping us from becoming homeless - I chose going to work. It literally took all the willpower I had to do it.
The bottom line is that you both dealt with your grief in your own way. And you both did not work together to over come the grief so you grew apart.

You say that you do not trust her now.

Does she trust you now? Have you asked her?
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post #14 of 67 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 11:00 AM
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Re: Loss of a child - long story

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Absolutely agree. We had some counselling of the style above, but my wife is a very good talker and can talk herself out of opening up easily. We need someone like Robin Williams character in Good Will Hunting, who will dig into the uncomfortable areas. The fact she says she doesn't remember is what kills me.
You want her to acknowledge your pain. That would be very healing for you.

One of the deepest feminine pleasures is when a man stands full, present, and unreactive in the midst of his woman's emotional storms. When he stays present with her, and loves her through the layers of wildness and closure, then she feels his trustability, and she can relax. -- David Deida, The Way of the Superior Man
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post #15 of 67 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 11:03 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Loss of a child - long story

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You want her to acknowledge your pain. That would be very healing for you.
She does acknowledge my pain. I've told her I don't believe she doesn't remember, but she swears she doesn't remember writing all those diary entries.
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