Author Topic: LH's family judgement  (Read 1426 times)

PeaceLoveLinny

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LH's family judgement
« on: April 06, 2017, 08:39:57 AM »
It's been ten months post loss and I'm seeing someone.  I never went out looking for a relationship, nor did I even consider I would be ready for one, but it just sort of happened.  I'm happy.  I have tried to be respectful of my LH's family and not flaunt or openly discuss my new relationship, but in a small town, people are quick to find out everything. 
I knew the day would come.  I knew judgement would be there.  I didn't expect adults to be so petty as to post underhanded comments and hurtful, passive-aggressive messages on social media. 
I know people grieve differently, and I'm trying hard to consider that as I process the hurtful things that are being said.  I'm sure they feel hurt, confused, possibly even betrayed; but I lived up to every promise I ever made.  I loved my husband, and he loved me.  We had a wonderful relationship and had 3 beautiful children.  I was 100% committed and faithful 'til death do us part.  Death happened.  I can't change that. 
So I guess moving forward isn't a luxury afforded to widows in the eyes of some.  Get a divorce? Sure, go ahead and date again.  Lose a spouse?  Sit around in misery for the rest of your life. 
I don't get it.
Anyone else going through something similar or have any thoughts/ideas/advice? 
 

Portside

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Re: LH's family judgement
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2017, 10:02:10 AM »

Anyone else going through something similar or have any thoughts/ideas/advice?


Yeah - ignore it. You can't live your life according to everyone else's ideas. Also, FB and social media (even here!) is not real life. Immature folks will be shitty online but possibly better in person. So, make an effort to remain decent to the Grandparents.

Fear may be what is driving the crap. The Grands may fear losing out on visits from your kids since you have a new beau.

Good luck - Mike
The war is over for me now. But those of us who did make it have an obligation to build again, to teach to others what we know, and to try with what's left of our lives to find a goodness and a meaning to this life.

Wheelerswife

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Re: LH's family judgement
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2017, 10:20:21 AM »
Hi, Lindsay,

I was in a somewhat similar situation after the loss of my first husband.  I wasn't in a small town, but we did live in the same town as my IL's.  I met the man who became my second husband when I was 6 months out.  It was also a long distance relationship.  After we met and quickly established a very deep connection, I told my SIL and BIL first.  I kept the disclosure low-key and didn't add many details.  A few weeks later, I was visiting my MIL and she mentioned hoping that her divorced daughter, unmarried 30+ granddaughter and I would find good men to make us happy.  So...I casually told her I had unexpectedly met someone.  She was pretty shocked, but I kept it low-key.  I told her he would be coming back to my area of the country in several weeks.  She did not wish to meet him.

I made a point to keep my disclosures quite limited.  I knew his family was grieving.  His family never came back to my home after my husband died.  My MIL chose to pretend her son was on vacation for quite awhile.  If she didn't see his home without him, she could continue to pretend. 

When my relationship deepened very quickly and John and I decided that I was going to move half-way across the country, both my family and my first husband's family were stunned.  I tried very hard to respect the grief of my husband's family and the lack of understanding on the part of my own family.  I did not have any children in the picture, so that complicating factor wasn't present in my situation.

We had the unveiling of my husband's gravestone a couple of days after the one year anniversary of his death. (It was delayed because they broke the first stone.)  I stood at the cemetery with his family, completely broken down in grief.  The next day, the moving van came, loaded up what furniture I hadn't given away, and I drove off toward my new home.  It was all pretty emotional for everyone, but I knew that the past was no longer my life.

Since you live near his family and you have children, I hope you can sustain relationships with his family.  Recognize that other people grieve, too, and they aren't necessarily ready for what they see happening with you.  Be as discreet as you can be for awhile.  If there is a family member who is able to converse with you about this topic, share the combination of emotions.  Let them know you miss your husband, too.  Perhaps someone can reassure his family that you truly do grieve, however, you have come to the understanding that life is short and precious and you value loving relationships.  You aren't replacing your husband or your children's father.  But...your heart has grown and you have let someone new in.

I married my second husband when I was 18 months out and he was 14 months out from losing his wife.  My MIL and FIL met him about 15 months after we met at a neutral location and again a year later.  My MIL (FIL was slipping with Alzheimers) decided she liked my new husband.  I continued to keep contact with her and visited a few times a year (I lived 1600 miles away).  I saw my MIL the day before my second husband died.  She was one of the first people I called after I found out he died.  We are not excessively close, but I still maintain contact with her.

So...advice?  Be kind to your IL's.  Respect their grief, too.  But...you still need to live your own life.  As far as advice on the children, I will leave that to those who have that kind of experience.

Best wishes,

Maureen
Life is short.  Love with all you've got. 

Barry 11/29/55-9/22/09       John  1/16/57-1/11/14

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Trying

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Re: LH's family judgement
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2017, 12:05:32 PM »
I had some very mixed reactions when I started telling people about my post widow relationship. It also started unexpectedly when I was less than a year out and I kept it secret for several months. My kids and my MIL had the worst reactions, my sister was not supportive but mostly kept her thoughts to herself, my mom, SIL and FIL were very supportive. I never had to deal with social media bullying but dealt with a lot of guilt and hurt.

My MIL and kids have since come around and we are now engaged and living together. As respectful I thought I was being to my kids and my in laws about not forcing my relationship on them, it didn't matter. Their grief dictated their reaction and they were more comfortable with the lonely tortured widow I was in the early months, someone they could pity, than they were thinking about me being a human with needs for companionship and intimacy. I wish I had been able to let there reactions roll off my back but it was really quite difficult. Thankfully it has passed as I hope and expect it will for you too.
You will forever be my always.

PeaceLoveLinny

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Re: LH's family judgement
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2017, 12:12:50 PM »
Their grief dictated their reaction and they were more comfortable with the lonely tortured widow I was in the early months, someone they could pity, than they were thinking about me being a human with needs for companionship and intimacy.

You put in to words here what I could not.   Thanks for sharing.

Forgottenwife

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Re: LH's family judgement
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2017, 12:49:28 PM »
I have to say - live your life. We are always judged on whatever we do, as widows and mothers and women. No matter what, someone will think they have the 'correct' answers for our lives. I worried a little about my kids and made sure to keep the communication open with them. everyone else? My parents, my siblings, my in-laws, the neighbors - if they started to object to me living my own life, I just coolly gave them a half smile and walked away. I understand everyone is grieving, but you get to make your own decisions about your life just as they do. I was judged for dating, judged for staying home and lonely for too long, I got a job too soon while my kids were grieving, for staying in our home, and then years later when I finally sold it. Seems I couldn't do anything right for some people, including my dating habits!

Adults posting passive aggressive stuff on social media? Insensitive and crappy to behave that way. I had the same experience. It was awful, some people are just really mean. I'm sorry that is happening to you.

 

tybec

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Re: LH's family judgement
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2017, 03:02:35 PM »
I didn't date for a long time. I wasn't ready.  My MIL was always helping, kind of took on the role of my DH as far as helping with child care.  But, then I realized if I wanted to move forward, I had to change my relationship with her. I quit my career of 19 yrs. and was able to care for my son, and this started the changes with her.  She didn't like it.  I felt for almost 4 years my DH was just deployed.  He worked withe 160th Special Ops.  I finally let go more and more of MIL.  She had attended our church and so we would sit with her.  I just always felt like it was me, my mother, MIL and son.  My pastor even commented on my team DS.  I started dating and didn't feel the need to share with her for a while.  She was so positioned in my life, it was uncomfortable.   I know it has been hard on her, but she was smothering me and I couldn't just start dating and incorporate her into my new world.  We have not been close for almost 2 years and she is moving to where she has 60 plus relatives within 20 mile radius.  I am moving now, too. She was surprised!  Uh, we have been dating over a year long distance.

So, even if you wait a long time, you mess up the role you play, the "system" that has developed.  There is just no perfect way to not have some folks have adjustments, opinions and maybe be hurt.  I admire those that keep a close relationship with the ILs but I think that is the exception more than the rule.

Good luck with it all.

nonesuch

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Re: LH's family judgement
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2017, 07:18:14 AM »
My late husband had an okay relationship with his siblings, but not especially close. When he talked to anyone in his family, it was because HE made the effort to call them. 

I tend to keep info about myself to a minimum because I view a lot of things as nobody's else's business.  I had a dating profile up about six months after LH's death. I went on my first date about nine months after his passing. I only wanted to make sure, in my own mind, that a new person in my life wasn't just going to be a human band-aid over the loss, someone that I'd dump when I was feeling better.  That being said:   

If you had a good relationship with your spouse, or even a great one, it's perfectly reasonable to want that connection again. It's reasonable that you would have an optimistic outlook about being in a relationship again. "Being married to Phil was so great, I want to see if I could have something like that, again" probably isn't going to cut it with these folks, but it's all I can think of.

Captains wife

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Re: LH's family judgement
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2017, 02:06:55 PM »
Sorry you are having to face this on top of everything else. While my inlaws are ok with me dating, my MIL isn't comfortable with a new man in my young son's life. I wanted to invite NG to my sons party but I kindly ran it by her first - and she really gave me a hard time. Now I don't tell her anything and I don't post pics of him and my son or the 3 of us on FB. I hear you - divorced and it's ok to move on but widowed and we need to be alone. Ugh.

pandySC

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Re: LH's family judgement
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2017, 02:43:30 PM »
Thank you for this thread! I am nearly 5 years widowed now and am only just realizing that I've been quite smothered by my MIL. It was just so easy to do. My NG asked me why that relationship was important to me to maintain and I couldn't come up with an answer besides not wanting to dissapoint her. I feel part guilty for wanting distance from her but I have been unsuccessful trying to mix my MIL and NG. I tried dropping hints that I needed distance like not accepting every invitation to dinner and not being as "on-call" but it's not happening. She's just trying harder to keep me close. I'm not quite sure what to say except that I need distance to continue healing and enjoy this next chapter. Propably would have been easier now if I had kept distance from the beginning but we had lived with her for the year before he passed so a close relationship was already established.


Sirin

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Re: LH's family judgement
« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2017, 03:03:21 PM »
Thank you for this thread, this is something I am also worried about.  I started dating 5-6 months in, and unexpectedly met someone I am very happy with right now (and by now we have been dating almost 6 months).  I don't post anything about it on Facebook, and only told a few people after a couple of months of dating.  My sister and my mom are supportive, but I don't think my MIL and other family would handle it well.  Right now my plan is basically to not bring it up or talk about dating at all (unless they ask, and then I'll answer, but I am not looking forward to the potential emotional fallout).

pandySC

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Re: LH's family judgement
« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2017, 03:13:25 PM »
My MIL and SIL would avoid the dating topic when I first brought it up. I think that's why it feels uncomfortable now that it's a serious relationship. I think you're on the right track @Sirin. Do what feels right for you.

Captains wife

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Re: LH's family judgement
« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2017, 07:54:20 AM »
First of all, I am very happy you met someone. Your points, too, are right on - get divorced or separated ? OK to move on - but widow/widower dating "too soon" = not grieving (which is not true - you can grieve and date someone else). It really bothers me when family/friends pass judgement if they think we have "moved on" too soon. I took a year and a half out after my LH's sudden death (partly because I was dealing with a 9 month old baby) and then went on a dating frenzy. Lots of ups and downs.

Interestingly, my MIL was ok with ME dating but is crazy about the thought of another man around our son - it really gives her anxiety. Interestingly, if things were the other way around, she would have been fine for my husband to move on and remarry quickly (which I am sure he would have as he needs to be around someone). I am 5 years out and still on my own - although I am now dating someone. But to keep the peace, I don't integrate my dating life with my inlaw life (when I tried to invite a male friend and his kids to my sons birthday party one year, I got a huge guilt trip) and I don't post pics of me and him and my son on FB, even though we spend a lot of time with the 3 of us.

Please do whatever makes you happy - you have been through hell with this early loss and deserve to be happy. I am sad and angry about my LH's death but it also taught me a very valuable life lesson - that life can be short and I really want to be happy in the remaining years I have left.

Wishing you all the best,


klim

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Re: LH's family judgement
« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2017, 10:16:04 PM »
I have only had support and encouragement........and yet I still worry.

Good luck with this ...emotions are tricky things to navigate.
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Metv

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Re: LH's family judgement
« Reply #14 on: June 29, 2017, 11:50:36 PM »
The only thing that matters is your happiness to yourself. Being happy is what it's all about. Good for you !