Author Topic: difficult relationships  (Read 5368 times)


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difficult relationships
« on: April 20, 2015, 11:58:05 AM »
So my relationship with DH was near-ideal.  I only say near because it sounds like post-death rose-colored glasses to say ideal, but that's really what I mean, and I said it often when he was alive.  We were obsessed with each other.  My whole life previously, I'd always had this sense that life was happening elsewhere and I wanted to be there, that I was missing something (for example, if I was just in my living room with a boyfriend).  With DH, it was the first time that I felt like there was nowhere else in the world I wanted to be.  I'd been obsessed with NYC my whole life, and with him, I didn't care where we moved, didn't care - wherever we were was the center.  We were always laughing, always talking, always super open, always touching, reading together, cooking together, taking long walks together, we did everything together.  We gushed about each other to anyone who would listen and it didn't even seem like anyone was annoyed by it (delusion maybe!).  We were the couple that everyone envied and we'd often talk about how we felt bad for people who weren't us because "no one's in love like we are."  Ok, fast forward: death, yada yada yada. 

I met widower baby daddy.  Things were awesome at first.  It was long distance.  I was his support person.  I didn't need anything from him.  I just blew into town about once a month, with caring and support and fling sex and my distant fantasy world that he had no actual interest in (he hates NYC, it was my home and my love).  He told me he was in love with me.  I was infatuated - only person who made me feel feelings post-death.  I liked him, respected him, liked how he liked me, had lust.  Fast forward again: pregnancy, sudden cohabitation, major life transition for me (job change, city to country, no friends/total social isolation, pregnancy hormones, house, dogs, his young son, his grief, his depression, etc.).  It has NOT been "a sexy walk in the park" (him).  It has been ROUGH.  It's been HARD.  It's been emotionally painful, lonely.  "But I love him."  And we have a child together.  And we were in love.  We brought something out in each other, we couldn't get close enough, we smiled at/because of each other.  We were great friends, we were passionate lovers.  Sometimes I feel hopeful.  Sometimes I feel hopeless.  Sometimes I think it will improve over time.  Sometimes I wonder if it can.  Sometimes I know he loves me.  Other times I think he never will.  Sometimes I think I can live with the way things are, find comfort in the good times/aspects.  Other times I think I need/want/deserve more/better.

And here's my question: Has anyone been in a difficult relationship (either pre-death, with your lost love, or post-death) that, even though it was rocky, either improved or still was worth it?  I'm not looking for, "Leave him!"  (I might.)  I guess I'm not really looking for, "Stay!," either.  (I might.  I want to.  If I can.)  I'm looking for thoughts and insights, experiences you think might have relevance, etc. 
« Last Edit: April 20, 2015, 01:40:14 PM by Mizpah »
widowed 2011 (DH 28)


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Re: difficult relationships
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2015, 12:46:01 PM »
My relationship with DH was not ideal and was in part difficult and in part very good.  I stayed because I thought the good outweighed the negative and we worked well as a family unit.  I knew my kids were better off with us together, we didn't fight or argue a lot so it wasn't that our relationship issues were affecting them.  Now that he's gone I get angry at him and myself that we didn't work harder to fix the problems between us because I would have stayed with him forever but we both could have been happier with each other. We were together 25 years, married 20, that's a lot of time and history. 

It sounds like you have made a great deal of compromises for this relationship.  If there is a good foundation and you are both willing then it is worth working on the issues.  That's something you both need to decide on.

I'm sorry it's not easier and more clear. 
You will forever be my always.


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Re: difficult relationships
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2015, 01:23:35 PM »
I am experiencing similar feelings in chapter two.  I doubt myself all the time. Am I making the right decision. Could it be better, Should it be better, Would I be better simply on my own and without all the 'hassles' that come with a relationship;.  On the other hand, I don't want to lose the benefits of a relationship and I keep thinking 'this is pretty good and will get better, it will evolve'. It is not as great as it was at first, but I put that off to the excitement of the initial dating stage and the inevitable calming that will happen with every relationship.
So, here is my thinking - you may be struggling with whether this is good enough because you had such a great first relationship.  My first relationship was very good, but in retrospect I have realized areas that were not so good. In large part, that has been because I now have a comparison that shows me a different and better relationship (in some ways, worse in others).  For me, my doubting lights up every time I see behaviours or attitudes that were a drain in chapter one. (kind of a "oh no, I don't want that again" sort of feeling).  Then other times, I am totally on board and we are spending the rest of our life together.
wow - I am all over the place and probably not very helpful.  But I bet you can relate :).  Good luck. it is a VERY hard decision.


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Re: difficult relationships
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2015, 01:25:29 PM »
Sometimes I feel hopeful.  Sometimes I feel hopeless.  Sometimes I think it will improve over time.  Sometimes I wonder if it can.  Sometimes I know he loves me.  Other times I think he never will.  Sometimes I think I can live with the way things are, find comfort in the good times/aspects.  Other times I think I need/want/deserve more/better.

I feel this way too. My children are grown, so I don't have the complications of a new baby with my new guy. And we are older, in our mid and late fifties, so maybe our expectations are different. But it not easy. I will say that time has been a friend to us. We got involved too early (in my opinion) and it was really hard to manage my grief and new feelings. Still is, but not as hard as even a few months ago. Will I continue to think it is worth it? I don't know. I can't see ending it because I don't know. He says he is okay with that. I think in the beginning he would have preferred me to lie to him, or at least not tell him of my doubts. I can't roll that way.
If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.      ~ A. Einstein


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Re: difficult relationships
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2015, 01:52:07 PM »
Fast forward again: pregnancy, sudden cohabitation, major life transition for me (job change, city to country, no friends/total social isolation, pregnancy hormones, home, dogs, his young son, his grief, his depression, etc.).  It has NOT been "a sexy walk in the park" (him).  It has been ROUGH.  It's been HARD.  It's been emotionally painful, lonely.  "But I love him."   

That is a lot of change to take on, and it does sound rough and hard. I've read several posts from you, both here and at the old site (have become much more of a lurker than a poster approaching 5 years), and I really feel for you.

DH and I did not have an ideal relationship. I don't talk about this much, or even think about it, really. He struggled with depression. He had a crazy job that made him miserable. But I had friends, a solid job, and my own activities. About two months before he was diagnosed we had an argument about loading the dishwasher and that was it for me. I was done--over the very, very silly dishwasher. I was done with his depression and how it affected me. I was done with how unhappy his job made him and how it affected me. I walked out and stayed away for about three hours. I'm pretty sure that was a Sunday and even though I came home that night we didn't speak until the next evening. He told me that if I was so unhappy with him and our life that I needed to go, that he wanted me to be happy and if I wasn't I needed to figure out where and how I could be. He also said that he may not love me the way that I needed to be loved, but he did love me.

I don't know if it was a band aid fix or if we really were changing direction. In retrospect, I think, eventually, I would have needed to be loved the way that I needed, not the way that he could. 2 months later he was diagnosed with cancer, and 11 weeks after that he was dead. Sometimes I think that the flare up with his depression was really the cancer taking hold, and I do feel guilty, but then I remember the troubles with depression went back a long time, long before the cancer.

It is very difficult to live with someone in the throes of depression. It is even more difficult to do so when your whole world is unfamiliar to you, and the usual comforts are gone.

Whatever you decide to do it is your life and you deserve to be happy, to not struggle daily, and to find joy in the everyday.

VDS 11/8/59-8/22/10


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Re: difficult relationships
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2015, 02:10:25 PM »
Mizpah, this really resonates with me. I, too, left the city, but  for a small beach town. I moved 350 miles away from all friends. My bf has a 16 year old that just breaks my heart. We had him for a week while his mother and her husband went away. He called me an asshole the first night he was here, did not apologize, acted like n ass until he went home. his crazy mother told him he doesn't need to listen to us, then she started posting shit on facebook about us- Mike's daughter in Canada from his first marriage called us in alarm today. Oi! This is so different from my marriage with Peter.  Yes, this is so different in every way but he is an incredible man who can make me giggle. I am really not a giggler. So, I struggle daily with his "baggage"- I told him needed a box car like on the trains I take to LA- for his  baggage.

I remember your posts, too, from when you first joined ywbb. You and Simon did have a once in a lifetime romance. I always enjoyed your posts and I wish you so much happiness in your life. You deserve it.


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Re: difficult relationships
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2015, 02:39:19 PM »

I?m not good at replying to these types of post and usually just read and keep my mouth shut. But I wanted to tell my wife?s story because I thought it was relevant.

My wife grew up in a large southern city. She was part of a large family with lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins that lived in the same area of town. She finished school, became a nurse, got married, had a couple of children, and had a job that she loved. She would have been content to live there the rest of her life. One day her husband was offered a very good job in a smaller city some 100+ miles away. She agreed to make the move because she knew it was a good opportunity for her husband. However, she insisted on renting their house instead of selling it so it would be there in case she wanted to move back. They moved and she said she cried almost every day for two years. One day she was talking to a friend from her old city on the phone and expressing how unhappy that she was and how much she missed her old life. The old friend had been one of her Sunday school teachers and made the comment ?God wants you to be holy more than he wants you to be happy?. I don?t say that to bring religion into the topic, but just to show that it took a long time for something to click for her and get things moving in a positive direction. They finally sold the house in the old city five years after they had moved. When her DH died some 20 years later she didn?t move back to her home city. By that time her kids were grown and starting families of their own in this area so she was content to stay.

If I understand your post correctly you do/did love this guy. You?ve been through so many life changes in such relatively short period of time and all of these changes have you on the ropes. You?re the only one that can know if you love this man enough to try to come to terms with all these changes. You?re the only one who knows if you think you can ever be truly happy again even if you give it time. I wish you the best.


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Re: difficult relationships
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2015, 05:22:31 PM »
I was going to verse something similar.
Do you love this man enough to make things work.
And not sort of saying "well if he changes ?"
I never met a person who really changed, unless it was all life threatening.
Which brought me to a widow(ing) forum.
Damb I hate being widowed.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2015, 06:11:06 PM by look2thesky »


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Re: difficult relationships
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2015, 06:34:36 PM »
I will be honest experience....No...It got worse.

That said...I know I am in a different stage of my life than I was when I met DH. I am not a single jet setting corporate mid twenty something. Now a middle age anti corporate Mom of 3 life is quite different. DH was far from perfect....the last 6 months of his life were downright horrific at times. But as a whole...we were totally compatible. Same careers, same background, same interests, same risk taking behaviors (not always good)...

But he got me and I got him. And even after 10 years together....we were both still intensely attracted to each other. Even the last 6 months of his life...when he was nothing short of a demon walking on earth...I still thought he was the best looking dude I had ever seen.

But life is different now...I am trying to over look things and realize that things will never be as they were. Live in the here and now. But I will be blunt....every guy I have dated/been the back of my mind subconsciously I am thinking "I am settling"

But remember.....I am in a rural area and pickings are slim here..the older I get the worse it becomes.
B.W.H. 9/24/2007


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Re: difficult relationships
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2015, 06:41:23 PM »
Mizpah, I am sorry you're struggling.

After Michelle and I married, we moved in together without either of us having had a roommate for many years.  We found that we could fight over every little thing - which cabinet the plates should go in, which stuff we should keep and which not - and we frequently chose to.  I tended not to vent, but I know that Michelle could complain about me to friends.  I know I wondered repeatedly if it had to be this hard.  We had also had a breakup crisis before we got engaged, and that cast a long shadow over us for a long time.

We talked about moving, because the SF Bay Area seemed like a great place to visit, but a tough place to actually live.  So we worked that through, and Colorado was on our short list when she got the job offer that would move us there.  When we got here, we really only had each other, and we were doing everything together, including expecting (she passed the pregnancy test the day she started her job).  We really drew closer in all the ways that mattered.  We ended so well I can't believe it.  I think taking the leap together was great for us.

I don't know if any of this applies.  You're facing something new together with the baby, but I wonder if you can find ways to do more things that draw you closer, while not suffocating either of you.  I also know that we moved with a lot of no-kids freedom that made it all *much* easier than it would be now.  I think that if you want your relationship to be better, it can be, and far more easily than it would be to split and try to find another person with a young child.  But you need not only to be committed, but trust that your partner is there, too.  We did counseling, and while I think it's tricky to find a really good counselor, we found that having a facilitator to lead you through safe conversations of the issues was valuable even if they were just average.

Another thing that was very helpful was this book:

I still have our his-and-hers copies (of a much older edition, of course).  It is a very practical, useful way to diagnose and fix issues at various depths.  We got a whole lot about just learning how to handle disagreements well; taking some low-level junk like unfair fighting out to the trash made a huge difference in us being able to trust each other and enjoy each other more.  Some places I go, it's all I can do to not press this book on every second couple that I hear talking :-)

Prayers and warm thoughts,
Rob T
There was something fishy about the butler.  I think he was a Pisces, probably working for scale.


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Re: difficult relationships
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2015, 07:33:19 PM »
Yes sorry..
Although I would never try to shun someone away from reading books or counceling, both were never for me
(although I do admit looking at pictures ; )
I have always just felt that if a relationship was right it would always come to pass that things would work themselves out.
The question I always asked was is there enough of a loving spark to make things work for a dedicated relationship.
Almost every time if there was a question or insecurity it would either bring two people closer, or ultimately divide them.
Admittingly, I am no relationship expert, and probably an area suited for more versed professionals.

Anyway, hoping for You..


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Re: difficult relationships
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2015, 08:59:38 PM »
And I do think it works for some folks...please don't think I believe that for everyone. Marriage/commitment is work...and people should compromise to make it work.

Just my post widowhood experience it didn't.

Listen to your gut.
B.W.H. 9/24/2007


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Re: difficult relationships
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2015, 09:31:24 AM »
Thank you to each one of you.  I really appreciate your sharing and your thoughtfulness and honesty.  I obviously have a lot to think about, daily.  I do love him, too much!  We are both very flawed and came with lots of grief (and, him, other/childhood) baggage, and instead of taking our time, jumped in to things that people only do very slowly, gradually, over years.  I know we're both trying.  Whether it's all enough to make a happy, healthy life together - I wish I had a crystal ball.  I came into it thinking I was always right and self-aware, but through the hardship, I'm learning a lot about myself too, and trying to be a better me.  Life!  When's the easy part?!  Thank you and love to each of you.  You've given me a lot to think about, and I have a feeling I'll be rereading more than once!
widowed 2011 (DH 28)


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Re: difficult relationships
« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2015, 01:42:24 PM »

I have come back and read and reread your post. The marriage you described to your first husband sounds so much like my first marriage. We were that couple that everyone wanted to be. People would say that marriage was work and that statement made no sense to me. Yada, yada, yada...he died. For many reasons I moved away from our small town. One of the biggest reasons was that wherever I went people would start to cry. I just knew I couldn't create a new life for myself there.

Fast forward seven years and I remarried. I love my new husband. In many ways, he is much more compatible than my first husband. But we are not that couple that everyone envies. We argue. Maybe my first husband just let me have my way? I haven't figured it out but I know that it occasionally feels like a bit of work. Work we are both very willing to do.   I too am learning much about myself.

 I wanted you to know that I am here listening to you. 


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Re: difficult relationships
« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2015, 08:16:50 PM »
I often wanted to punch Laurie in the face or rip her cloths off. We had a huge argument over politics on our first date.