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I have an issue and don’t know how to handle it. My wife and I have been married over 2 years and we get along great. In July she found out her ex boyfriend right before me died of an overdose. Since then it has felt she isn’t “all in” in our marriage. Sex became blah and not as frequent. Romantic things like touching, holding hands and kissing is mostly gone. I have a powerful gift of discernment and I can sense when things are not right so I’ve been sad and down for the last few weeks. She asked yesterday why I was down. She left for work and I found a message to her ex boyfriend after he died about how she was sorry she left him and if they would have stayed together they would be married. That message was in July after she found out about his death. Then the next message was 2 days ago saying she misses him. I’m not sure what is going on and haven’t been able to ask her yet. I’m not sure if I should feel as hurt about this as I do. I am looking for tHe best way to handle it and approach it. Thanks
Let's condense the nonsense.

What do you want to do, and what are you capable of?

There is a great deal of speculation about the mind-set of your wife. You're the one posting, so my suggestion for the moment is that you focus on how you feel and what you can do.

You can be her rock: "I know that you are hurting, I hope you can find a way to let me help you, but you have to talk to me ... about all of it."

You can be the rock: Keep your distance, let her work through it, support her if she seeks you out, or call her out if her behavior becomes more morbid or delusional.

Hide under a rock: Ruminate on your own feelings of hurt, and be jealous of the romanticized, fictional version, of her dead ex-boyfriend.

My .02 cents is definitely don't pick #3.
 

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So what you are saying in your eloquent prose is “The only good ex is a dead ex”.
Or am I wrong?
Wish Death on no one, lest it boomerang back upon you.
Oh, yes. Believe this adage.

Can one wish someones death be at others hands or at their own doing, not yours'?

Forget not, your' wish still is, remains your' doing.

Plant the wish in some other mind.....
Then forget it.

And hope it brings forth its foul, soon decaying fruit.
And hope the Devils fruit flies do not eat of this.

And come back and kiss your lips.

Agh!



[The Unknown One]
 

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The only place your analysis doesn't fit is in her actions toward the OP over the last few months.
I think it is a huge mistake to minimize or discount the context in which she wrote these words. The context being, that she wrote them while in deep grief. Given that, we can not assume or presume that her husband is her Plan B, that she still loves the ex boyfriend or that she does not love her husband. To do so could be an epic mistake. Grief can really mess with a person's emotions and ability to think clearly.
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I suspect your wife is feeling guilty for leaving him and marrying you - if only she hadn't left, he would still be alive. That is a fantasy she has cooked up in her mind. She isn't rational at the moment.

The fact she is grieving his death and her perceived part in it has nothing to do with her love for you. It has to do with her thinking she is a bad person for leaving him and writing those notes is an attempt to seek his forgiveness.

Do talk with her about her distance and let her know you are aware she is grieving.

The good part in all this is that you know your wife can love deeply and has a conscience.
 

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I suspect your wife is feeling guilty for leaving him and marrying you - if only she hadn't left, he would still be alive. That is a fantasy she has cooked up in her mind. She isn't rational at the moment.

The fact she is grieving his death and her perceived part in it has nothing to do with her love for you. It has to do with her thinking she is a bad person for leaving him and writing those notes is an attempt to seek his forgiveness.

Do talk with her about her distance and let her know you are aware she is grieving.

The good part in all this is that you know your wife can love deeply and has a conscience.
Now, you show up, put in a few centavos, offer another scintilla of truth. Your words ring true, they seem to ring out something I wrote.

Dunno!

I just hope our OP is not a one-bomb thrower, a bashful dude, he, an aspirant writer, not.

I fear we lost him, nay, he lost himself when he found those messages.

If it upset so many [of us] on TAM, think what it did to him.

Those messages, the ones written by a wounded lady, not his lady.

Or, so it seems.


We may never find out.

She wrote those messages, she wrote her dear EXBF, she wrote @Thegoodman off when she wrote spot-on and how she presently felt.

If strangers can feel his pain, again, think how he must feel.

The injustice of this, of life for him. She wrote that EXBF was the one. How can others not see this, feel this, deny this.

I know, make the good man feel good.

Ach! Tis a lie, a feel-good, truth diverting lie.
It lying somewhere south of the truth.

She penned this truth, not only out of guilt, also from a truth, the truth held and believed by her.

She loved him dearly, wanted to marry him.

He fell short, she bailed, he died, so did she.



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I think it is a huge mistake to minimize or discount the context in which she wrote these words. The context being, that she wrote them while in deep grief. Given that, we can not assume or presume that her husband is her Plan B, that she still loves the ex boyfriend or that she does not love her husband. To do so could be an epic mistake. Grief can really mess with a person's emotions and ability to think clearly.
Granted that she wrote them in grief, but I agree with BluesPower and SunC and some others that you also cannot minimize her reaction to her husband -- he senses that she has become distant, no longer interested in him, and worse, that she sees her husband in light of the road she did not take and wish she had taken.

Blondilocks: She may be blaming herself, but it's hard for a person to shoulder that, and so she may also be shifting the blame to her husband. That's the disturbing part of this -- is she just asking for his forgiveness (the deceased boyfriend) or is she telling him/herself that he is/was the real love of her life which she has now lost forever?

Being the loving, caring husband who understands her grief won't make a bit of difference if it's the latter. In that case, husband might be much better off telling her that he understands her grief and is willing to share, but not if she is filled with regret for marrying him, her husband, rather than her true love.

"I am not responsible for your unhappiness." That is what one husband told me that he said to his wife one day. It woke her up.
 

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Her message doesn't indicate that ex-bf was "the one". Most of us concede that there can be more than one "the one" - just look at the remarriage rate. He still needs to talk to her and get this out in the open. She may be appalled at how her behavior has affected her husband and what his thoughts are on the matter. Clearly she had some unfinished business with the ex.
 

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I think it is a huge mistake to minimize or discount the context in which she wrote these words. The context being, that she wrote them while in deep grief. Given that, we can not assume or presume that her husband is her Plan B, that she still loves the ex boyfriend or that she does not love her husband. To do so could be an epic mistake. Grief can really mess with a person's emotions and ability to think clearly.
I agree that grief can really mess with a person's emotions and ability to think clearly--BTDT and earned the t-shirt. Losing an XBF is nothing compared to losing a faithful, loving spouse, and I know for a fact my mind as not clear for a time.

That being said, having lost a spouse and moved on to dating a wonderful man, even considering the context, I do NOT have my current sweetheart compete with my dead spouse nor do I give my loyalty to my dead spouse. My dead spouse is gone and is not the future--my current sweetie is alive, present and at minimum a representation of life in the future.

Thus, I think I would understand if she had written to the XBF something like "To close our chapter and move on fully, I want you to know I loved you back then and your loss will be noticed." This would be like closing a door--she's legitimately grieving and saying her goodbyes. But she didn't say that. She took something that was not hers to take (her loyalty to her husband--the man who has been by her side all these years and didn't leave her), and she gave that away to another.

I think to minimize THAT--the giving away of loyalty--would be a major issue. Yes, I do believe in compassion and understanding, and I have an excellent teacher who teaches by example...yet IMHO the way she wrote demonstrates lack of loyalty that will need to be addressed and not rugswept, whether she was grieving or not.

Let me summarize: grieving is hard, but it doesn't give you license to behave badly or dishonorably.
 

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I think this is a serious situation, but the outcome is unknown for a while.

Clearly she had some unresolved feelings about him and the relationship. This speaks to OP being Plan B. Maybe only to the fictional romanticized version in her head of her ex-bf, but still a form of Plan B. Actually sitting down and writing a letter to her ex would not be a normal thing to do given it had been years since they broke up. It is normal she would feel some sadness about his death and the fact he fell so far into drugs as to overdose. But to write out the things she did seems to me to be unusual. And then just recently to write again about missing him.

Maybe this is some of the stuff from my marriage being stirred up, but I would not tolerate such behavior any further. She needs to be brought into present reality or it is time to leave. Either she realizes she is not being loyal to her marriage nor to OP personally, or it is time to let her go.

I would confront her about it as others have described. Perhaps even attend some MC. Maybe she is just overly sentimental about everything. Maybe there is something else in her life which has made her feel irrationally responsible for his death.

This will need to be resolved conclusively if it is to be truly put away. If not, it will bubble up again and again in the future, which will be death by a thousand cuts to the marriage.
 

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Don't have kids until this is resolved. If she continues to be "in mourning", you will know what it feels like to realize "I'm the guy she settled for, not the guy she wanted."

Do you know how serious a relationship it was? How long? Were they engaged?
 

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The only place your analysis doesn't fit is in her actions toward the OP over the last few months.

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If her actions toward her husband were BEFORE the death of her ex boyfriend, I could see your point.

But her actions toward her husband were AFTER the death of her ex boyfriend.

Admittedly, I am assuming many things and giving her the benefit of the doubt because I have no other info to go on.
 

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I agree that grief can really mess with a person's emotions and ability to think clearly--BTDT and earned the t-shirt. Losing an XBF is nothing compared to losing a faithful, loving spouse, and I know for a fact my mind as not clear for a time.

That being said, having lost a spouse and moved on to dating a wonderful man, even considering the context, I do NOT have my current sweetheart compete with my dead spouse nor do I give my loyalty to my dead spouse. My dead spouse is gone and is not the future--my current sweetie is alive, present and at minimum a representation of life in the future.

I wonder if it may be a little different for you @Affaircare since your husband had already passed away and you had time to deal with the grief before meeting your current sweetie, whereas she is married when her ex boyfriend passed away and she cannot process the grief alone because her husband is there with her. He is there to witness her grief, which is undoubtedly tough on him.

I also wonder if it may be a little different because this death of the ex boyfriend is still very recent and fresh - in July - about a month or 6-8 weeks ago at most. I don't know, but I imagine her grief is still pretty raw.

While I think it would not make me question love or loyalty, I can understand how it could with others, because we all perceive and process things differently based upon our individual life experiences and histories.

It's okay for him to question her love and loyalty if he feels she is not showing him love and loyalty. If those are his feelings, they are valid. But he needs to be open to all possible answers to those questions and not just the answers that trigger his bruised ego. That's all I am saying. That he should not just assume the worst without examining further and considering all angles and perspectives.

Of course your current sweetie should not have to compete with your deceased spouse, and also OP should not have to compete with his wife's deceased boyfriend.

I guess I just do not see it as competing or having to compete just because she is grieving and writing what seems like flaky stuff to someone not grieving - stuff like she misses him and she was sorry she left him and they'd be married if they had stayed together.

I think it is possible for her to be madly in love with her husband and at the same time write that she misses her deceased boyfriend (maybe she just misses that he was alive and she does not necessarily miss him as a person or a lover...she left him for a reason and probably many reasons if he was a drug addict)

I think it is possible for her to be madly in love with her husband and feel sorry she left her ex boyfriend because she may feel guilty (false guilt) or responsible for his overdose. Lots of times surviving family and friends feel responsible..."If only I had done this or done that, he'd still be alive...it's my fault...I feel guilty that I am alive and happily married and he is so miserable after I left him that he took his own life..."

I think it is possible for her to be madly in love with her husband and acknowledge if she had stayed together with her ex boyfriend, they would be married. That may very well likely be married if they had stayed together. But they did not stay together. They broke up and she married her husband.

I do not see all the things she wrote and the decrease in their sex and romance as meaning she does not love her husband or that her husband is Plan B or that she is not being loyal to her husband.

Granted, those are some bizarre things to write but I can see where her grief, false guilt over not being able to save him, survivor's guilt over still being alive, healthy and happily married, transference of feelings, etc could explain why she wrote it


Thus, I think I would understand if she had written to the XBF something like "To close our chapter and move on fully, I want you to know I loved you back then and your loss will be noticed." This would be like closing a door--she's legitimately grieving and saying her goodbyes. But she didn't say that.

I agree. Ideally, this would be much more understandable and much less hurtful. But we all grieve differently.

I think to minimize THAT--the giving away of loyalty--would be a major issue.

If we knew for sure she were giving away loyalty, I wholeheartedly agree. But I don't know that she is giving away loyalty to the deceased ex boyfriend. I am not sold on that. Too many other possibilities that need to be explored before just assuming that. If it turns out to be that she is indeed giving away loyalty to her ex boyfriend that should be going to the husband, then yes, of course. It is wrong to minimize or discount that.

She may just be grieving and highly confused.

Yes, I do believe in compassion and understanding, and I have an excellent teacher who teaches by example...yet IMHO the way she wrote demonstrates lack of loyalty that will need to be addressed and not rugswept, whether she was grieving or not.

Let me summarize: grieving is hard, but it doesn't give you license to behave badly or dishonorably.
I agree with this completely - that "grieving is hard but it does not give one the license to behave badly or dishonorably." I just do not consider her actions in the short term thus far as behaving badly or dishonorably.
 

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Granted that she wrote them in grief, but I agree with BluesPower and SunC and some others that you also cannot minimize her reaction to her husband -- he senses that she has become distant, no longer interested in him, and worse, that she sees her husband in light of the road she did not take and wish she had taken.

Blondilocks: She may be blaming herself, but it's hard for a person to shoulder that, and so she may also be shifting the blame to her husband. That's the disturbing part of this -- is she just asking for his forgiveness (the deceased boyfriend) or is she telling him/herself that he is/was the real love of her life which she has now lost forever?

Being the loving, caring husband who understands her grief won't make a bit of difference if it's the latter. In that case, husband might be much better off telling her that he understands her grief and is willing to share, but not if she is filled with regret for marrying him, her husband, rather than her true love.

"I am not responsible for your unhappiness." That is what one husband told me that he said to his wife one day. It woke her up.
I can see and understand your points here and everyone else who has said similar or the same.

While I do not think I would feel the same way, I get it -Especially this: Being the loving, caring husband who understands her grief won't make a bit of difference if it's the latter. In that case, husband might be much better off telling her that he understands her grief and is willing to share, but not if she is filled with regret for marrying him, her husband, rather than her true love.

If this is how she truly feels and not just the grief talking, then yeah - this is a problem. A HUGE problem! And one he needs to address promptly.

But he should not just jump the gun and assume this is the case. It could just be the grief talking.
 

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Her message doesn't indicate that ex-bf was "the one". Most of us concede that there can be more than one "the one" - just look at the remarriage rate. He still needs to talk to her and get this out in the open. She may be appalled at how her behavior has affected her husband and what his thoughts are on the matter. Clearly she had some unfinished business with the ex.
I agree.
 

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She may be appalled at how her behavior has affected her husband and what his thoughts are on the matter. Clearly she had some unfinished business with the ex.
That unfinished business needs to be put down for good. For me, how she reacts when OP discusses it with her will decide the outcome. My xw never got over her "the one". That unfinished business continued for decades, and she was not in the least appalled at how it affected me. In fact she turned it around on me angrily. The old "just get over it already", "it doesn't mean anything" etc responses.

Unfinished business is a form of EA.

I believe in being more towards the caveman side of the spectrum than the modern no-boundary Nice Guy side when it comes to this kind of situation. Being too nice, too understanding of her grief will set up a very bad dynamic for the future.

If OP's W shows she is upset at how she has hurt her husband it is a good sign. I like the approach of concerned but firm with her about her grief. She of course has the right to be upset that someone who she knew has died. But for it to linger like it has now for months is too long.
 

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That unfinished business needs to be put down for good. For me, how she reacts when OP discusses it with her will decide the outcome. My xw never got over her "the one". That unfinished business continued for decades, and she was not in the least appalled at how it affected me. In fact she turned it around on me angrily. The old "just get over it already", "it doesn't mean anything" etc responses.

Unfinished business is a form of EA.

I believe in being more towards the caveman side of the spectrum than the modern no-boundary Nice Guy side when it comes to this kind of situation. Being too nice, too understanding of her grief will set up a very bad dynamic for the future.

If OP's W shows she is upset at how she has hurt her husband it is a good sign. I like the approach of concerned but firm with her about her grief. She of course has the right to be upset that someone who she knew has died. But for it to linger like it has now for months is too long.
I agree with all except for the time frame of 2 months. But, since the OP hasn't returned we have no more info to aid in helping him.
 

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That unfinished business needs to be put down for good. For me, how she reacts when OP discusses it with her will decide the outcome. My xw never got over her "the one". That unfinished business continued for decades, and she was not in the least appalled at how it affected me. In fact she turned it around on me angrily. The old "just get over it already", "it doesn't mean anything" etc responses.

Unfinished business is a form of EA.

I believe in being more towards the caveman side of the spectrum than the modern no-boundary Nice Guy side when it comes to this kind of situation. Being too nice, too understanding of her grief will set up a very bad dynamic for the future.

If OP's W shows she is upset at how she has hurt her husband it is a good sign. I like the approach of concerned but firm with her about her grief. She of course has the right to be upset that someone who she knew has died. But for it to linger like it has now for months is too long.
Yes, absolutely!! If this is unfinished business (as opposed to just the grief talking), it does need to be put down for good!

I could not agree more that how she reacts when OP discusses it with her will speak volumes (I'd give her a little time to grieve and then discuss. It's been less than 2 months, right?).

I agree with you too that if she dismisses him, discounts or minimizes his feelings, that is a bad omen.

Our perceptions, thoughts and feelings are based largely on our life experiences and histories. Given that you, @Thor experienced your XW having unfinished business that became an EA, it is understandable why you feel so strongly about this.

I think I likely would think about it and feel about it the exact same way as you do, if I, too, had lived it previously as you did.

That must have been hellish for you - for the woman you loved to still be in love with her ex or have serious unfinished business with him WHILE SHE IS MARRIED TO YOU! That is indeed dishonorable to you, as well as unfaithful and not loyal to you and your marriage.

Good for you for having firm boundaries concerning this. We live and learn. That was a hard learned lesson for you, and one you will never repeat.

I appreciate you @Thor and @Affaircare and everyone else for sharing their experiences with this, because it helps not only the OP, but me and others like me, who may not have experienced it firsthand in our lives, but we can learn from your mistakes and experiences.

Thank you everyone for sharing so freely and transparently.
 

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[how she was sorry she left him and if they would have stayed together they would be married. ]



....That is all that should be noted...I would have a serious 1000ft. view of my relationship with the "new" wife. Period.

Plan B anyone? Boy, the next 25-30 years sound fun!
 

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Yes, absolutely!! If this is unfinished business (as opposed to just the grief talking), it does need to be put down for good!

I could not agree more that how she reacts when OP discusses it with her will speak volumes (I'd give her a little time to grieve and then discuss. It's been less than 2 months, right?).
OP has been married "over 2 years", so his W dated this guy longer ago than that. 3+ years is a safe bet. She's known of the guy's death for 2 months. To me it seems her reaction is overly strong for someone she hasn't been in contact with for 3+ years, which is why I believe she has unfinished business (unless she has a history of over reacting). OP is a 1 post drive-by so far. More input from him would be helpful in giving him opinions.

That must have been hellish for you - for the woman you loved to still be in love with her ex or have serious unfinished business with him WHILE SHE IS MARRIED TO YOU! That is indeed dishonorable to you, as well as unfaithful and not loyal to you and your marriage.

Good for you for having firm boundaries concerning this. We live and learn. That was a hard learned lesson for you, and one you will never repeat.
Yeah, lesson learned big time!

If I were OP, I would have a zero tolerance going forward about this ex. Hopefully she reacts the right way when he brings up how this looks and how he feels about it. If she dismisses his concerns it would be enough for me to end the relationship. I've seen how it can percolate for many years to then become a problem later on. Either she is 100% in the marriage or I would bail. Being Nice or soft with her is a recipe for disaster. Setting a strong boundary today will set the right tone. Ironically perhaps for the Nice Guy (that was me), being a bit of a jerk gets the desired result much better than being all understanding and soft in these situations.
 

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OP has been married "over 2 years", so his W dated this guy longer ago than that. 3+ years is a safe bet. She's known of the guy's death for 2 months. To me it seems her reaction is overly strong for someone she hasn't been in contact with for 3+ years, which is why I believe she has unfinished business (unless she has a history of over reacting). OP is a 1 post drive-by so far. More input from him would be helpful in giving him opinions.



Yeah, lesson learned big time!

If I were OP, I would have a zero tolerance going forward about this ex. Hopefully she reacts the right way when he brings up how this looks and how he feels about it. If she dismisses his concerns it would be enough for me to end the relationship. I've seen how it can percolate for many years to then become a problem later on. Either she is 100% in the marriage or I would bail. Being Nice or soft with her is a recipe for disaster. Setting a strong boundary today will set the right tone. Ironically perhaps for the Nice Guy (that was me), being a bit of a jerk gets the desired result much better than being all understanding and soft in these situations.
I see. I understand. Makes sense to me!

I do wish the OP would come back and clarify some things so we can better understand and give more helpful advice to him and other readers so it isn't "If this, then do this...If that, then do that."

Clarity is a wonderful thing.
 
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