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RobFTC

Marriage after widowhood

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Hi folks,

 

Last September, I got remarried.  This September, we moved to a lovely house in the neighboring town.  A week ago today, my daughter and I moved back into my still-empty house.

 

It sucks.  I feel like a failure, even as I appreciate the peace we have now.

 

Some background - in August, we got my kids moved into dorms at the same in-state college a few hours away.  One is still there, the other lasted one night and said "I can't do this, I have to withdraw."  So we moved with her.  The dreams of making love in every room in the house being dashed was the least of it.  Instead of a new start and cooperation, we fought more and more often.  A fight last Monday was about how we should approach the next counseling appointment.  And my daughter's relationship with her went from "needs improvement" to "five-alarms".

 

She has some stuff going on.  The book "How We Love" has a quiz that tags her as a "vacillator" - I'm her Prince Charming until I disappoint or poke her feelings of inadequacy, at which point I'm demonized.  I've sat through eviscerations that rocked me, and dealt with double-standards where every statement I made can be examined but hers are not open to the same, and gotten to know how long and detailed her list of resentments are.  Nobody who's met her would believe it.  And guess what, I'm no angel, either - I hate some of what I said and did.  I got out to save my sanity, since we were 10x better at creating new issues than solving any of them.  I didn't know I could pack up my stuff in two and a half days.

 

I should have has us get counseling going six months ago.  I should have broken out my favorite "Couple Skills" books around that time, too.  We should have been doing checkins to avoid letting resentments pile up.  I should have lead more as we tried to react to my daughter being with us.  I wanted my reactions to be more measured without being a doormat, but I could not do that fast enough as things got worse.  Lots to reflect on.

 

Not for the faint of heart, this.  I am, for the moment, much better off alone than in that situation, even through the holiday season.  We may do further work, it's hard to say and I don't need to make that decision yet.  For now, we need time.

 

I'll take prayers if you got 'em.

 

Take care,

Rob T

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Rob, I'm so sorry... prayers, yes, you got 'em, for clarity and peace on wherever your road ahead ultimately leads. 

Peace to you and yours-

Sojourner 

 

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Rob, 

I am sorry for your current situation. Life is hard. Relationships are hard.  

I have always appreciated your posts and sharing of thoughts.  You have a way of sharing that is helpful and non threatening without seeming to stir the pot.

 

I hope you can figure out what will work best for you and yours. 

 

As I am coming out of a 3 1/2 yr. relationship that did not end up in a marriage, it is such a learning experience. Painful but learning......"Experience is a brutal teacher, but you learn, MY God, do you learn."  C.S. Lewis

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Relationships are hard. Add in that you have a teen who’s about to make that leap into adulthood and independence but is stalled and has backpedaled? I have one of those and it completely sucks! The attitude, the 360 change of heart and opinion. I can’t abandon my kid but gosh sometimes I just want to get out of Dodge. You were brave getting remarried and I still am proud that  you took that challenge. You juggled hard and quite well but it’s a matter of time when you can’t juggle anymore than you already are. I hope this is just a setback, that you need some space and time, and that you can get back on track. One day at a time! I’m rooting for you! 

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Sorry to hear this Rob.  I've been dating a wonderful lady since January who gets along very well with my daughter.  I have some apprehension about when we get to the stage of moving in together (which is likely at least a year away).  I hate to mess with something that works so well, and still need to get to know her a lot better to know if we can live together. I'm hoping she also wants to transition to this stage slowly to test how it goes before fully diving in.  After all we've been through as widows/widowers, at this stage of life, blending our lives with someone else has lots of potential risks. I hope you find the solution that makes you happy,  My girlfriend has remarked many times how she's never had a relationship this easy before.  I told her it shouldn't be hard all the time(of course there will be bumps along the way though). Best of luck.

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Sorry to hear you are having a hard time Rob. Won;t send prayers as I'm not a believer but very best wishes. You've been here even longer than me and as Tybec said, always have something thoughtful to contribute.

Good on you for recognizing that you need to take a break. So many people talk about relationships being hard work, and I know everyone is different, and we shouldn't give up when the going gets a bit tough, but when you've had one that was so easy, you know it doesn't have to be a slog. My bloke said the same as PaulZ's girlfriend, I guess some of us widowed folks were spoiled with our 'norm'. 

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Rob, I hear you.  I hear every single word of it, and I am so glad you reached out.  I can super relate.  If you ever want to talk, i/we are here for you (albeit now many hours ahead of you).  Our marriage has been and remains an epic and very imperfect negotiation.  I wake most days wondering how we pull it off really.  Honestly, would love to be a support for you right now because I do get it (Andy's daughter isn't my biggest fan and its been and will always be the biggest issue between us, the one thing that has the potential to break us).  Lmk.  We could talk on FB messenger.  I believe we're eight or nine hours ahead of you. Sending you so much love.  

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So sorry Rob.

I've lost track of the number of times I've thought "This is it!" only to realize later that it was not.

I do pray, after a fashion.  Right now I'm praying that all the wids here find a little more peace and a lot more love this season.  Including you Rob.

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I am so sad to read this! I’m sorry, Rob. I am helping a widow friend of mine move out of her current husband’s house (he was my late husband’s friend) as they will be divorcing soon -after only 4 years. It’s been hard for her because she has always been opposed to divorce so I have been helping her be okay with her decision. She tried, they went to counseling, but the problems could not be solved. And even though all their children are older, it still caused some of the friction. I have observed that sometimes marriage can make people change dramatically, and not always for the better. 

 

Sending you healing thoughts ❤️

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Thanks for all the support, and especially to those with whom I had contact outside the site.

 

Thanksgiving week has been good.  My youngest (by two minutes) has been home, and she's just so good to have around.  The resident kid is nowhere near as easy or connected.  Tomorrow is Sunday, and Twin B heads back to school and I have to go do a lonely radio show that nobody listens to, so I find the emotions of the situation seeping in.

 

When I moved out, I gave her the only house and mailbox keys I had ever had, and told her that.  And it appears from debit card transactions that she changed the locks anyway.  The profound lack of trust inherent in that is hard.  A woman trusted me to shepherd her to death's very door and now I'm not trustworthy enough to vouch for a damned key.  It happens, I guess, in these situations.  When I moved out, she didn't trust that I hadn't, in fact taken her damned hammer or that I would make sure she got a few mispacked travel books or surge suppressors back.  She did wish me a Happy Thanksgiving on the day.  I asked if she was with family, and got just a one-word answer, no idea until the Facebook post where she actually was.

 

But with some emotions back, I don't notice that I miss her or love her.  The fighting seems to have blown up the attachment.  When I lost attachment a previous time, it felt like the roots of my soul were coming out; here, it feels like I am going straight to being sad rather than wishing I could get the connection back.  Maybe that's telling me something?  I don't know.

 

I'm OK, it's just hard right now.  Tomorrow will be better.  I miss chat.  Thanks for listening.

 

Take care,

Rob T

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I'm so sorry Rob

Don't know if you read my story, but I went through something similar. I remarried and it lasted just over 5 years. Started out good, but overnight it changed. 

He started saying awful, nasty, things to me, and when I confronted him he would deny he had done any of it, and start screaming at me, and hitting the walls in MY house. I knew at one point there had to be someone he was seeing because of the way he was behaving and I knew I deserved better, and I would rather be alone. 

I finally told him to get out of my house and he said no, said some really awful things to me about poisoning me, using me, etc....

I ended selling my home that my dh and I bought 26 years ago, and now I'm in limbo feeling broken , hurt, wondering why I've done good things for others and I got the shaft. I'm over 1200 miles from my home staying with an ex from 30 years ago, nothing romantic, but keep asking myself , what am I doing here????

Yet I'm looking for the positive today as I sit here in the mountains as it's the first big snowfall of the year, my first one in 30 years, so very pretty to me...

Rob , we will make it, we have been through worse! We both have lost the loves of our lives and are still standing somehow.

My thoughts are with you as you travel this road right now, hug your kids a little tighter, smile a little bigger at the beautiful sunrises and sunsets, and start another day :)
PM anytime or not, just know you are not alone in this journey...

((((hugs))))

 

 

Edited by sudnlysngl
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Rob    It's so good to have kids home, have the comfort and safety of your children with you.  Wishing for you some peaceful days ahead.  Widowhood puts a perspective on relationships.  I realize that I have just so much room for heartache and pretty much shut down with strong sadness.  Maybe it's a protection defense?   

 

What's your radio station, I'll listen!! 

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Hi folks,

 

Thanks for the kind words.  Things are better.  I took a risk and asked if the amount of contact was right, and she said she wanted more, and that it felt weird to not know stuff - words I could have written.  So we have been texting more.  We have been on the phone a couple of times (which I like better than texting), and have seen each other briefly a couple of times for logistical purposes, and that's gone OK.  We have a "first date" to go hear some music on Wednesday.  Perhaps most importantly, we agreed to start working with the "Couple Skills" books, and we went through our first chapter on the phone tonight, and it felt good.  We will eventually do counseling when we can get appointments set.

 

T2B, I was a bum, I forgot about your response and went and did a radio show yesterday evening.  But I can put the link to the recording up - I come in at about a minute and a half: https://archive.org/details/CelticJourneysKRFC/19-12-15-KRFC-Celtic-Journeys.mp3

 

Rob T

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Rob   Hope your Wednesday get together went well.   Enjoyed the show, refreshing change from the usual Christmas music.  My 23 y/o son - recent music minor grad - asked what I was listening to, he enjoyed it also.  We know the Boston station, NG is from that area.  Thank you for sharing! 

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Rob, 


I just saw your post. Wishing you peace, wishing all the best for you.


Mac 

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Thanks T2B, Mac.  Last night went very well.  Fun, laughter, positive stuff at last.

 

I also met with the pastor who married us (a long-time friend of my wife), and understand better where some of the fault lines are.  Mostly, it's conflict about managing the kids (especially the one at home), what model of blending we want, and whether we can drain off some of the stress/hurt/mistrust over all of that.  Better skills will help.  It might be awhile before we know whether we can pull this off, but we at least know we would both prefer to do that, and have some positive incentive to do that.

 

Take care,

Rob T

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I was sad to read that things were so difficult and became toxic for you and your wife, but am thrilled to hear that there is now renewed hope.  Blending families can cause major issues that can break apart a normally strong relationship.  I sounds like you and your wife are cautiously optimistic and that you will both put in the work that will make your marriage stronger in time, if it's meant to be.  I'm very hopeful that everything works out for you.  

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Rob, First of all I'm very sorry to hear about your marriage issues - but you are certainly not a failure ! (Im also glad to hear you had a lovely night out the other night). What I have learned in this post-widow journey is blending later on in life, when everyone has a fair amount of baggage, with kids involved is very very hard (and harder than I thought) - even if those involved want to work on it.

 

I have a different view vs a lot of people so I hope what I write is helpful. I think its possible to have togetherness but still live apart when trying to blend families with kids. Living under the same roof but not sharing parental duties, especially when you might have different priorities and parenting styles (and when exes are involved) is super difficult, especially if you met the person later on in life when admittedly a lot of people are set in their ways, know who they are. I personally am very glad I am moving at a turtle's pace with the guy I'm dating - he's a wonderful person but we have different parenting styles, priorities in some ways and if I had listened to him and gotten married and moved in with him, Id be miserable right now. In dating for 3+ years and seeing how we handle parenting and stressful life situations differently it has made me realize that I like the idea of separate-togetherness with this individual for now - e.g. seeing each other on a regular basis and being exclusive but not co-habitating or getting married. He needs more time in learning how to co-parent and we as a couple need more time to figure out how to mutually handle issues with our children and other life events.

 

This is not to say that living together or getting re-married is a bad idea but I think it requires 2 people taking the time to really get to know each other and be willing to work on how they handle issues (separately as well as a couple), there needs to be compromise and a lot of communication (including talking very openly about difficult issues, especially about parenting issues). I think involving a professional 3rd party to help mediate, discuss difficult issues (e.g. a therapist), develop a plan/coping tools is a must so if/when you decide to co-habitate you both have the tools to work things out and deal with stressful situations, especially involving the kids. Through therapy, you will also be able to get tough subject out in the open and have someone help you both work through it.  You noted that most of the issues in your marriage involved managing the kids (and I hear you as that is where I have the most conflict in my relationship - that and how he deals with his ex).

 

Hopefully this time apart Rob will help you and your wife come back together in the end. I'm rooting for you! Taking step back, working on a plan, how to handle parenting issues etc and getting that all out there with the help of therapy will certainly help you in the future. I wish you all the best,

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Happy New Year, all!

 

So things have continued to go in a good direction.  We have met and done fun things and also spent time talking, and it's been good.  We have been reading and then talking about chapters from "Couple Skills", and that has been good.  We started up with the new counselor, and while the first session before Christmas was tense, it seemed to have helped, and the second session in the New Year was felt dramatically better.   Christmas week was hard, but the void caused me to get my own copy of the book she's been working through, and that's given me a lot of understanding on what's underneath some of her tendencies and what's going on with our cyclic fights.  I feel like I have better tools now.  As a bonus, doing that reading has been met with a lot of appreciation.  We spent New Year's Eve at a contra dance and kissed at midnight - something I had hoped for but really believed was out of reach not too long before it happened.  We're still edging carefully towards the parenting discussion - I have felt that we need to get along better and want the relationship to work before we crack that nut, and that we need to do that in a counseling session.  But soon.  And we will need to bring my daughter into a counseling session some time as well.

 

CW, thanks for your thoughts.  We do have two different homes at the moment, and can maintain both as long as we watch spending.  It is unclear whether we would be happy being married but living in separate homes for any significant amount of time, but it's also unclear when it will feel safe to be under one roof again.  So I guess we will see how many hurdles we can clear and how that feels.  We can't necessarily practice all of our fancy skills until we ARE under one roof again, so we may have to see how another leap of faith feels at some point.

 

Take care and thanks for the support,

Rob T

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Excellent news ! Wishing you all the best as you continue to move forward. I'm so happy to see you are both doing the work and communicating.

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