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Marriage, Death, and loss help
May 28, 2007
5:43 am
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sandybeach
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My husband and I have been married 14.5 years. Three years ago his mother found out she had pancreatic cancer. (She battled it for three years.) At the same time my husband decided he was growing tired of our religion. (the one we met and married in) While we are Christian our church is pretty strict. In an attempt to help him as he struggled with his mother's illness we switched churches. (same beliefs only much more relaxed) Unfortunetly he has become an agnostic and no longer wants to attend church at all. At first I fought this, but I realize now that was a mistake and I can accept his feelings. His mother died in March and he found out recently that his father has an aeortic anuerisym (sp?) and is likely to die at anytime.

As if things could not get anyworse three weeks ago the girl he gave up 20 years ago in order to "convert" to our religioncontacted him via email. She has an unhappy marriage and so they were exchanging emails supposedly to help each other. My husband talked with her for two weeks before telling me. Last Friday he drops this bomb on me. He tells me we have been fighting for 14.5 years.

I know we have had a lot of fights about church, kids, and money, but we have also had alot of good times, and two beautiful kids. I am at a loss for what to do. I wrote the girl and they stopped contact 8 days ago. I have spent this past week trying to "romance" him and he seemed to be interested. Then today when he talked to his dad and he found out how sick he is he flipped out. I suggested we blow off the day and go to a movie the kids and he wanted to see. You know "get away" for a few hours.

Then tonight he tells me he needs time to think. He wants to drive out to see his Dad alone (1300 miles east and the SAME AREA THE OLD GIRLFRIEND IS FROM) Normally I would not be bothered if he wanted to go, but the girlfriend has me floored. I mentioned my concern and he told me "she is a non-issue" He has known where she was for 14.5 years and that has never been a problem. He says he needs time to think and he needs to see his Dad and Mom's grave.

Honestly I am inclined to believe him. In my heart I feel like he needs to do this, but I also am very scared to let him go. (as if I had a choice) I offered to go...but he said no. We have two very talk-a-tive kids and he wants time to think. I offered a to find a baby-sitter but he still said no. I feel like he hates me. He says he loves me, and we have had intimate relations several times this week that were very special (to me at least).

Am I over reacting. Is this normal for someone in grief. How should I feel? I want to kick and scream, but that is one thing I know I can't do anymore. I use to fuss way too much.

My heart is broken and I am really at a loss for how to handle this.
Thanks
Sandybeach

May 28, 2007
9:01 am
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thewall
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Yes this is normal for someone in grief. Let him go alone. I have needed to do this many times, and each time I do, it is very healing. I come home feeling restored and just a little more whole.

The harder you hang on to him, the more he's going to want to go. So dont. Picture yourself holding a handful of sand. Hold it loosely and it stays. Squeeze it tight and you squeeze it right between your fingers (ie you loose it).

You're gonna have to trust that he doesnt do anything stupid with this old flame. I'll pray along with you that he doesnt . But there are no guarantees in life. If you question him incessantly, you'll drive him away as well.

Let him go in peace. This is a very scarey time for him. Grief of a parent is soo very painful. Ive lost both of mine at age 12 and then again at 35. The only good thing about it is that I never have to loose a parent again. Its amazingly painful. Beyond words. You wont even beging to understand it even if you have lost a parent bc everyones grief can be different, especially for men.

Please let your man go without a fuss and without a thousand questions when he gets home. Thats the last thing he needs right now. It made me admire and appreciate my husband even more. And no, I never even thought about looking up old friends or flames when I was back in my home town. All I thought about was wanting my mom and dad back.

May 28, 2007
11:18 am
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Loralei
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thewall is right. I really like that sand analogy. The more you try to hold onto someone, the more it pushes them away from you. You have to let them go, give them their freedom to do what they need to do and then welcome them back home. Even if you don't trust them, act like you do. You can't control anyone other than yourself. Marriage is not ownership. It's that mentality that ruins marriages. If you husband needs time alone, give it to him. You really have no choice in the matter so you might as well cooperate. This attitude alone will make him love you more. Whereas controlling him will kill whatever love he feels. He's going to be tied up in grief for awhile so he may not be himself. Give him the time and space he needs.

May 28, 2007
11:51 am
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StronginHim77
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As difficult as it may be for you, letting your husband go (cheerfully and supportively) is the best thing you can do. Anything less will simply drive a deeper wedge between you. I am not sure why he hasn't seen his mother's grave yet. Didn't you attend her funeral??

In any event, he certainly needs to spend time with his father right now. It will do them both good and give your husband precious (and comforting) memories. He will need them to sustain himself during this Season of Grieving.

Regarding the other woman, remember that YOU are the one he chose to marry. YOU are the mother of his children. No one and nothing can take that from you. If you become clingy, insecure and constantly question his fidelity, you will drive him away from you. Hard as it might be, you must act perfectly "normal" and give him the space he so desperately needs right now. If you remain confident and loving, instead of acting like his interrogator or controller), he will come through this just fine.

We also cannot mandate our spouse's religious practices or choices. If he has withdrawn from organized religion, that doesn't mean he has lost his faith in his HP. Don't preach to him or nag him. That simply makes him pull further away. Respect his choice and remain the loving, supportive wife you have always been.

Again, he is grieving and facing tremendous loss and pain. Sometimes, standing by someone and loving them means loosening our grip on them. Give him the freedom he needs to work through this difficult time, the best he can.

- Ma Strong

May 28, 2007
12:00 pm
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sandybeach
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Thank you all for the encouragement I will be reading and rereading this thread over the next few weeks and months. I feel so rejected and hurt by his actions. I just feel lost and alone. I want to help but it feels like he is pushing me away. I did not handle much right over the years...he admits he made mistakes too. Now I feel like I get it and I am trying to make the right changes and instead of things working out I am getting blind sided by more problems. Thanks for the encouragement and prayers.

Any more encouragement would be greatly appreciated. Especially in the days to come as he leaves for his father's house.

Sandybeach (which is where I wish I were right now)

May 28, 2007
12:16 pm
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thewall
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Dont take this personally. He needs to be away bc of his grief, not bc of you. This isnt about you. Its about death and the tremendous pain that death causes for those of us left behind. That pain makes us crazy sometimes.
Do yourself and him a favor and stop making this about you doing something right. Just let him go, lovinly, w/o a fuss and w/o a million questions of "what did I do wrong" "do you love me" etc. Hes 'got enough on his plate right now.

May 28, 2007
7:40 pm
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StronginHim77
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thewall gave great advice. I agree with it, wholeheartedly. This is actually not about YOU. This is about HIM. He is grieving. Alot of us withdraw or step back when faced with such losses. When he is ready, he will reach out for you. Just be strong and patient. He isn't LEAVING YOU. He is FACING HIS LOSS. And sometimes, we have to walk that road, alone.

- Ma

May 28, 2007
9:45 pm
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sandybeach
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thewall...
You mentioned admiring your husband more after you returned because of his actions. How exactly did he act?

Typically I would call him 2 or 3 times a day on a trip like this. Please understand during a regular day (at home) he calls me at the very least once and I call him once...sometimes twice. Anyway, you all said to act normal, should I then call him 2 or 3 times as I normally would or should I back off? I know our kids (9 and 6) will want to call him at least once a day.

Also...and I know this is probably insane but there is a real part of me that needs to ask if he goes to see her. (I can wait until he comes home and yes I think I can trust him to tell me the truth if I ask) I am afraid if he gets up there and everything is emotional he may turn to her for comfort. I have to say I don't think I could accept this. Do I just assume he won't do that? I know that is trust, but he kept writing her a secret for two weeks (until I asked point blank if there was someone else) and my trust is a bit shacky right now.

Thanks for the help all.
Sandybeach

May 29, 2007
8:31 pm
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thewall
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Ask him what he needs....... Ask him if its ok if the kids call him 1x day while hes gone. or ask him if he wants to be left alone. He may want to be the one to decide each day whether he feels like calling or not.

I always turn my phone off when I am at the cemetary and I dont turn it back on until I am ready to talk to someone. That could be hrs. My time at the cemetary is my time with my parents and anyone calling me would be an invasion. I love it that my husband doesnt call me wondering what i am doing or if I am ok. Its my time, I do the calling when I want to.

I wouldnt ask him if he saw that girl as soon as he walks back in the door from his trip. If you have to know, give him some time. But my question to you would be this: How are you going to handle the answer? If he says yes, then what are you going to do? If you plan to do nothing, even if he saw her, then why would you want to know? If you plan to leave him bc he saw another woman then thats another issue.

Never ask a question unless you are prepared to handle the answer.

May 29, 2007
9:11 pm
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balancesekr
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Hi sandybeach,

Do your best right now to stay strong and let him do his thing. It sounds like there are so many things are happening at once here and stirring up the whole pot right now would not be good. One thing at a time. He's going to visit his father, and I would just call like normal a couple of times a day just say hi, thinking of you kind of thing, and keep yourself as busy as you can.

b

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