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Why am I suddenly having doubts?


KG

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I've been with my G/F for 7 1/2 months. It's been great, we only see each other on weekends, but we miss each other during the week, talk 2-3 times a day.

 

Lately, I find myself kind of pulling away. And I don't know why. I mean, she is the last great, loving, good looking, down to earth girl around. Seriously, we are like 2 peas in a pod.

 

So why would I start feeling like this, all of a sudden? She doesn't cling, nor do I. She's not demanding, she splits my time with her and my son, is very understanding.....I just don't get it. Am I trying to sabotage my happiness?

 

Oh, and BTW, I spent yesterday crying all afternoon thinking of my late wife. Could this be related?

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Oh, and BTW, I spent yesterday crying all afternoon thinking of my late wife. Could this be related?

 

In my opinion, yes. The whole time you've been in this relationship - or at least so it seems to me - the idea of your girlfriend and the idea of your ex-wife have been very much intertwined. It sort seemed like you viewed one as a continuation of the other - very rare to see you mention one without the other, and they seemed to occupy the same brain space.

 

I know you wrote a few weeks back that you were going to try to "move on" even more from your wife - put her picture away ... and maybe that's caused you to miss her more and pull away from your girlfriend?

 

As to what to do, if I were you, I would just try and weather the storm. Accept your feelings, but don't act on them, and try to treat your girlfriend as well as possible and be the best boyfriend possible even while you are feeling this way. Revisit the question in a few weeks - if the feelings have passed, it's all good, if they haven't, maybe the relationship is not right.

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Its hard to fathom... perhaps there is still some lump of guilt stored away in your subconscious? That you are somehow betraying that sacred bond with your wife by being happy in this new relationship?

 

Perhaps its also telling you that you are just not ready to move forward... you are not ready to let the past go enough to be open to your future. You have met a wonderful woman but let me ask did you marry the first wonderful woman in your life? Most of us do not... for one reason or another marrying the right person is about timing as well. I wasn't ready to marry the first wonderful man in my life yet he was... bad timing... Even still I've had a wonderful life with no regrets now though at the time it was very painful!

 

I think before you can move forward with this woman you need to figure out what is holding you back. You may need to see a therapist. It may take many months. Be honest with this woman or be honorable enough to let her go if you truly struggle with where you should be. Try to put her feelings first... competing with a deceased wife is asking someone to do the impossible.

 

Hugs!

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Maybe you were not truly ready to start a new relationship and that is why you lump both women into the same brain space as Sophie says, almost like two halves of the same person. I can not imagine what it is like to lose a life partner, so I am not sure how to advise about that. My step dad lost his first wife 20 years ago now, but he married my mom about 4 years after his wife passed away. In the beginning it was very hard because he would call my mother his deceased wife's name etc, his family would talk about all the times they had with his deceased wife and his sister would say how they were best buddies all in front of my mother. She said she would wish the woman was still alive so they could all see the differences. She still thinks that now sometimes because his dead wife has become this unmatchable goddess of womanhood and motherhood ( even though she was a bad alcoholic and they no longer talked anymore or even slept in the same room, but after death she became "perfect"). I guess what I am saying is maybe you have not made total peace with the past yet, and it may take you longer to do so. There are going to be hiccups along the way and it is natural. Try however to see your girlfriend as her OWN person....not immediately think of your wife and gf in the same thought.

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^^^Honestly, i don't think of them both. I cried for my wife yesterday because I miss her. And perhaps my new relationship is so solid, it causes me to miss what she and I had. One thing triggering another.

 

I've signed up for grief counseling, twice a week, we'll see if that helps.

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I spoke with my counselor over the phone, (she's great, btw!).

 

She floated this possibility..........

 

That my crying for my wife was just that. Grief. Which is as normal as you can get.

 

And that this doubting about my new relationship, is my way of having to pay a "debt", because I can't let myself have anything for free. So I'm sabotaging myself. But she made me understand that I have paid,... the endless hurt, raising my boy well, all the hours I spent lonely. And that I deserve to be happy, and can be free of all these doubts.

Just accept that someone sent this lovely, beautiful, honest woman into my life. And I won't find another like her again.

 

This works for me.

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I'm so sorry you are feeling this way KG. I just read an interesting article recently, "How to Move on After the Death of a Loved One", and I found it very enlightening. Basically, it seems to take a minimum of 5 years to truly grieve after the loss of a loved one. I think your counselor hit it right on the head, you are still going through this process, and are bound to have "good days" and "bad days". You will be rising this roller-coaster of emotions for a while, I'm afraid. But being aware of it and knowing it's coming is half the battle won.

 

Here's the article if you are interested:

From: link removed

 

When we lose a loved one, in the beginning it isn't so much a matter of moving on, as it is of getting through the day. That period referred to as "the beginning", however, is a long one, and it doesn't end all at once. Its ending is more aptly described as "slowly fading". Even, too, as we cannot imagine moving on, we do; because each day comes and goes, and here we still are, going through the motions and getting through each of those days.

 

After losing my parents, several aunts and uncles, some close friends, a baby nephew, and my own unborn baby I had come to the realization that it takes five years before it feels as if we are really ourselves. My conclusion was confirmed, too, when, on the fifth anniversary of September 11, 2001, Diane Sawyer interviewed the families of some of the victims. She said that it was noticeable that the fifth anniversary had seemed to bring change in the progress of the family members, when it came to their grief. She noted that upon interviewing them for that fifth anniversary program they were finally showing signs of looking forward to new futures, and that it seemed clear they had entered a new phase.

 

Saying that it takes a full five years to feel back to oneself isn't saying that we feel equally horrible at four and a half years as we do when only one year has passed. With each day that passes we move farther and farther away from that initial shock and grief, so we don't feel the same several months or two years later as we do in the beginning. It is a gradual fading, but what I found was that the grief remained painfully close to the surface far longer than I once imagined it would.

 

As one year passes we expect to feel a lot better than we may actually feel. What I discovered was that there is that numbness that occurs when loss is so terrible our minds can't bear it, and as the numbness wears off the thoughts that need processing emerge. I found that those painful thoughts were thoughts I could bear only in small doses before becoming overcome with grief again. What I discovered, though, was that as the grief flared up again the numbness would return. This was a process of dealing with the more difficult thoughts a little at a time in small doses, over the months that followed a death. As the first anniversary came, however, I was dismayed to discover that after a year of being numb so much of the time, the numbness would wear off; and then I would begin to feel all the grief, almost as if for the first time.

 

What always helped me was that "get-through-each-day" thinking that seemed to come naturally. I gave myself permission to not think about the grief or the person if at all possible. I told myself that the person I loved would understand if I had to wait for a while before thinking about him/her. I reminded myself that I had the rest of my life to think about this person, and that my main objective at the time was to get through each day.

 

We all have our usual daily activities we must do, and that helps. One thing I realized, too, is that grief seems to creep into our minds and push all the positive, nurturing, thoughts and memories we have to the back of our minds (or even into a "closet" along "the outer edges").

 

It's as if our minds are one, big, room full of sadness and grayness. The longer that "grayness" takes up most of the space in "the main part" of our mind, the more chance it has to "take hold" and seem to harden.

 

As the days and months pass, though, if we have even small moments of joy or at least positive thoughts, those small positive thoughts and "bits" of joy start to move into that "gray emptiness". Sometimes those positive moments may be as simple as laughing at a televison show or enjoying a walk on beautiful day. They can come if we do something new or buy something that gives us pleasure or get out and have some good conversations and coffee with friends. They're small and seemingly minor, but they start to accumulate; and if they don't push all that grief into the background completely, they at least brighten the "gray". As time passes, if we make it a point to keep finding just those small joys in life the "grayness" no longer takes up our whole mind. If we're lucky, time also brings some big joys in life; and when they occur they have a way of rushing in and pushing the "gray" into the background a little farther.

 

When we are grieving it is unbearable a good part of the time, and barely bearable the rest of the time. When we're in acute grief we're in shock, and it isn't a time to even think about moving on. Moving on isn't something we can always just decide to do. Instead, moving on seems to kind of slip in, take us by the hand, and lead us away from the grief. That is, I guess, because "moving on" and "time" are pretty much the same thing.

 

My advice to anyone going through grief would be to take care of your own emotions. Give your mind a chance to rest from the grief and just think of neutral or pleasant things as often as possible. Being with someone can help, although we can all find ways to bring small joys into our days by ourselves. Sometimes something as seemingly silly as buying a pretty set of potholders can brighten a day. Cheerful music, enjoying a morning or evening walk, going out to have a coffee alone at an outdoor table, spending time with a child, having a pet - anything that helps keep our mind on more pleasant things is good. We may not be able to control what big joys come or when, but we can control whether or not we find some small ones.

 

I don't believe people should worry about things like whether or not they give away or pack away the deceased person's belongings in a hurry. For some, clearing out belongings is a way of trying to move on; but my opinion is that clearing away belongings can be more painful too early; and the presence of someone's belongings (as long as they aren't, say, out and in our way each day) doesn't stop us from moving on. I'm not sure feeling pressured to get rid of them helps us move on either. My approach has always been to make a reasonable effort to put away or pack away things that would be too ridiculous to leave around, but not be in a hurry to make permanent decisions or to get rid of every last item that had belonged to the deceased. I found that time, as always, was the thing that told me when I was ready to do that type of thing.

 

Developing an "I'm the star of this show" attitude can help guide us through grief. Once someone is gone, in the beginning they are "the star of the show". After the funeral or memorial service, though, we become "the star of our own show". The focus - at least for the immediate future - needs to be on us and on getting through the most difficult period. Sleeping when we can helps our minds rest. Eating well if possible helps us give our body what it needs to help our mind deal with things. Getting our daily work done, even if we're just going through the motions, help keep our mind occupied; but if there's a day when you just don't feel up to getting some things done, giving yourself permission to just rest or find one of those small joys is important.

 

Reminding yourself that your loved one would want you to do what it takes to get through the grief can help. So can realizing that if you don't think about them for a while it doesn't mean you'll forget them, aren't grieving, or didn't love them.

 

When we lose a loved one we never get over it completely, but we get to a point where we are back to feeling like ourselves (even if we still have that little part of our mind that remains a little gray). When we first lose someone it is an unbearable shock that's hard to believe. Once the shock wears off the grief swoops in and over us and can sometimes make it feel as if we can't even breathe. Grief is a monster that we can't kill or tame all at once. It is a monster that, when met over time with moments of a neutral, pleasant, or joyous nature, will start to shrink and retreat, leaving behind only a small footprint. We need to accept that that footprint will always be there, but as the weeks and months go by the grief does die down a little at a time.

 

What we may be surprised to discover, though, is that far sooner than we would have thought we do laugh again. We have those moments when we feel pretty much like "the real us". There is no doubt that we continue to battle our thoughts and fight off either tears or the overwhelming horror that come with tears we can't fight off. Still, it is surprising how soon so much of our days is spent feeling reasonably normal. I suppose what happens is that even while we are consumed by, and in the grips of, that overpowering, huge, monster that is grief; time's force continues to pull it away from us; and the resilience of a heart that has loved so much eventually prevails.

 

Sometimes others will worry that we're not "moving on", and they can even make us feel as if we should stop talking about the loved one if we talk about him a little too much, or get rid of his belongings faster than we have, or simply start a new life sooner than we appear to be. My advice to the grieving would be to stay strong and stay true to yourself. Deal with your grief that way you need to, and don't feel pressured by others who would deal with it differently.

 

Difficult as it is to believe when we have just lost someone, we all just keep moving on, whether or not we want to, and whether or not we appear to be. If you ask how to get through your days, rather than ask how to move on, time will move you on, and your heart will will tell you when to take another step.

 

Keep your chin up KG, you are a great guy and deserve everything you have with your GF, and you deserve to be happy.

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