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Boyfriends ex-girlfriend died


nopnopnop

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They were together for a couple years and she broke up with him. They have been broken up for around 7 years now. She recently passed away unexpectedly and I know it has impacted him greatly. I just feel like it was an opportunity for us to grow closer together but I feel like he is hiding his emotions to me. I have always felt that he has unresolved feelings for his past girlfriends. We have talked about it but I feel like he doesn’t want to grieve in front of me. He holds back his tears when he is with me and it is awkward when it feels like there’s obviously something on his mind and now it’s in mine too, but we don’t talk about it. I feel like he holds them in his heart and it makes me feel like I am a 2nd option because I know he would have wanted to be with her forever if she didn’t break it off. When we are together and I know he is thinking about her it makes me feel like he is busy loving her and not me. But I know it’s not fair because she is gone now.

 

How am I supposed to deal with this? Has anyone gone through something similar and can offer some perspective?

 

Thanks

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Try compartmentalizing this. In other words, his feelings regarding his ex have nothing to do with you and how he feels about you. One does not detract from the other. Taking his grief personally is probably why you sense he's trying to hide it from you.

 

I have different varied feelings for people in my past. They have no bearing on my current relationship and I'd be sad too if one of them passed.

 

How about if you opened up the dialog about this girlfriend, let him know it's safe to tell you how he's feeling and you understand.

 

In turn you won't feel so shut out and it could bring you two closer.

 

He's sad. It's his experience and he's entitled to it. You can't change that. It also doesn't have anything to do with you, personally.

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Prior to this awful event, was this an issue for you in the relationship, this sense that you were the "second option"? I ask because I wonder if part of why he keeps his grief a bit separate is because he doesn't want to rock that already rocky boat.

 

That said, when it comes to grief I think it's always a mistake to make another's personal. People handle it in so many different ways, none of them wrong or right, and to make someone's pain, and how they handle it, about you is, in ways, to minimize their pain. All you can do, really, is be there.

 

Big picture here, this is not a moment inside your relationship, but in his life. I'd try to make room to see it like that, and perhaps in making that room you'll make room for him to grieve alongside you—on his terms, not yours.

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How recently did she pass away?

 

I've never had an ex boyfriend pass away (that I am aware of), but I'm sure I would be deeply impacted and saddened if it was somebody who I loved.

 

I am certain that my current boyfriend would understand that my sadness for the loss of my ex boyfriend was no reflection on the quality of my love for my current boyfriend.

 

My current boyfriend would be supportive and give me the space to mourn as I needed.

 

I would do the same for him.

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I’m also curious if you guys think it would be appropriate to accompany him to the funeral?

 

If he asks you to, of course. And I'd see nothing "inappropriate" with softly letting him know, in the general context of being here for him during this tough time, that you'd attend with him.

 

Most important, I think, is to not use this moment as a thermometer to take the temperature of his feelings for you, which I fear you're already doing.

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Honestly, I don't think there is anything even remotely normal about him carrying a torch for someone for this length of time let alone turning up at her funeral.

 

This guy has serious attachment issues and perhaps this is a time for you to take a big step back and evaluate whether this person is deserving of your time and attention. I can't blame you for feeling second best....because you are.

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Prior to this awful event, was this an issue for you in the relationship, this sense that you were the "second option"?

 

I wonder this too. I see two separate (or perhaps related) things - the way he chooses to grieve, and whether he's been still thinking of her while in a relationship with you. If it's only the former, there is no need to take it personal. You do not know his ex, so it's more like a friend from his past but not a mutual friend. He might feel it's inappropriate to drown you with these emotions. The latter however would be a deal breaker.

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I think in instances of grief, its always best to verbalize your support for what a person is dealing with it and then hang back. gauge a situation. check on the person but don't smother them. And this is true of a bf or just a colleague.

 

Its not about you, his feelings for you or your relationship. When I've experienced grief, I've noticed, there are certain people i want around me, specifically and then theres all the rest- separately. I appreciate all the support, but for one reason or another I feel certain people relate to me better in that moment. It was not because I don't love them all or need them in my life.

 

So if you offer your condolences, to go with him for support and whatever else he might need, that's enough. He may take you up on the offer.

 

Don't take it personally. if he decides to go with friends or even alone, that's ok, too.

 

He may open up to you once he knows you're there with an open heart, as a caring person in his life. because that's what we all need. All we can do is try to be that person. If they don't pick us to be that person, in this moment, its ok. grief is unpredictable at times and can stir up a lot.

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I think in instances of grief, its always best to verbalize your support for what a person is dealing with it and then hang back. gauge a situation. check on the person but don't smother them. And this is true if a bf or just a colleague.

 

Its not about you, his feelings for you or your relationship. When I've experienced grief, I've noticed there are certain people i want around me, specifically and then all the rest. I appreciate all the support, but for one reason or another I feel certain people relate to me better in that moment. It was not because I don't love them or need them in my life.

 

So if you offer your condolences, to go with him for support and whatever else he might need, that's enough. He may take you up on the offer.

 

Don't take it personally. if he decides to go with friends or even alone, that's ok, too.

 

He may open up to you once he knows you're there with an open heart, as a caring person in his life. because that's what we all need. All we can do is try to be that person. If they don't pick us to be that person, in this moment, its ok. grief is unpredictable at times and can stir up a lot.

 

Thank u! This helps a lot

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I wonder this too. I see two separate (or perhaps related) things - the way he chooses to grieve, and whether he's been still thinking of her while in a relationship with you. If it's only the former, there is no need to take it personal. You do not know his ex, so it's more like a friend from his past but not a mutual friend. He might feel it's inappropriate to drown you with these emotions. The latter however would be a deal breaker.
good call out about it potentially being two issues.
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Let him grieve in his own way with his own people. He doesn't have to open up to you, you never knew her. Her sudden death is not an opportunity for you to grow closer nor is it a competition for his attention.

 

If you feel like "a second option" there are a lot more issues in your relationship than the death of a former gf. Focus on what is missing within this relationship, not on her.

She recently passed away unexpectedly and I know it has impacted him greatly.

I just feel like it was an opportunity for us to grow closer together but I feel like he is hiding his emotions to me.

it makes me feel like I am a 2nd option

it makes me feel like he is busy loving her and not me.

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Give him time and space. However, he needs to be reasonable, too. This is an ex-girlfriend from 7 years ago and to grieve in a bereft prolonged state is unhealthy and abnormal considering this is not a recent ex-girlfriend. After giving him your sincere condolences, time and space, reassess your relationship with him then.

 

As for your accompanying him to the funeral or not, wait until he asks you. Accompany him if he needs you to be there for his support. If prefers to attend the funeral without you, respect his wishes either way.

 

If his mourning drags on too much, he has baggage and you need to question whether or not you wish to continue a relationship with a depressed man for the long term.

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Honestly, I don't think there is anything even remotely normal about him carrying a torch for someone for this length of time let alone turning up at her funeral.

 

This guy has serious attachment issues and perhaps this is a time for you to take a big step back and evaluate whether this person is deserving of your time and attention. I can't blame you for feeling second best....because you are.

 

See, I don't think it means that you're carrying a torch for someone.

 

nopnopnop, I have no desire to be with any of my ex boyfriends. But I still have some degree of love and respect for some of them and wish them well.

 

If I had facebook or other form of social media, I would probably be friends with them.

 

At the very least, I am sure I would check in on them from time to time. Not to start a dialog, but to see how they are doing.

 

I have healthy boundaries. I trust myself to act appropriately. My boyfriend trusts me, too.

 

I would feel very sad if I found out that a former boyfriend had passed away. Obviously not every former boyfriend, but there are certain that I still care about. I might even go to the funeral.

 

Would my boyfriend go? I'm not sure, but knowing him, I don't think he'd feel comfortable.

 

I guess the question is, besides this particular situation, has your boyfriend given you any indication that he doesn't have good boundaries?

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No. Very disrespectful to her family and friends. Do not go out of morbid curiosity or to keep an eye on him. You do not know her and are not part of her family.

 

It would be a very unwelcome sight to see you there with him. Funerals are not parties that you two attend together. If he goes, let him, but focus on your relationship and how shaky it really is.

would be appropriate to accompany him to the funeral?
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See, I don't think it means that you're carrying a torch for someone.

 

nopnopnop, I have no desire to be with any of my ex boyfriends. But I still have some degree of love and respect for some of them and wish them well.

 

If I had facebook or other form of social media, I would probably be friends with them.

 

At the very least, I am sure I would check in on them from time to time. Not to start a dialog, but to see how they are doing.

 

I have healthy boundaries. I trust myself to act appropriately. My boyfriend trusts me, too.

 

I would feel very sad if I found out that a former boyfriend had passed away. Obviously not every former boyfriend, but there are certain that I still care about. I might even go to the funeral.

 

Would my boyfriend go? I'm not sure, but knowing him, I don't think he'd feel comfortable.

 

I guess the question is, besides this particular situation, has your boyfriend given you any indication that he doesn't have good boundaries?

 

I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree here.

 

I just do not think that having a 2 year relationship and then continuing to monitor what your ex is doing for 7 years after that is in any way healthy or normal behavior. Neither is the amount of grief he seems to be experiencing. Not to mention that he is in another relationship with the OP. This woman dumped him and hasn't been a part of his life for 7 years by her choice. He has been keeping tabs on her anyway. That's bordering on creepy.

 

Let's take the emotional, her death, aspect out of this. If this poster came on here and said that her bf is continuing to keep tabs on his ex 7 years after they've broken up and seems to have a deep emotional connection to her to this day, what would you advise? Run. That would be the advice and that's what this is about. The death is a red herring here. His ongoing attachment is a serious issue and an unhealthy one.

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DancingFool I agree strongly with you!

 

This woman existed in his life a long time ago. Why all this time even before she died keep tabs on her? Why still be so consumed. If I was op I would feel like a filler for the void he had with his ex.

 

Op I understand your hurt. It’s sad that she died but he really needs to let her go. It’s not fair to you to have to play second fiddle to his heart.

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What makes you think he has perpetual "unresolved feelings" for all his past gfs? What is missing from your relationship? If he doesn't talk about them (except when one suddenly dies) what makes you believe this? How was he informed of her death? This does not mean he has been stalking her for 7 yrs. a friend may have told him 'hey did you hear about so-and-so?' You seem very insecure if you're threatened by a corpse along with every other past gf.

I have always felt that he has unresolved feelings for his past girlfriends
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They were together for a couple years and she broke up with him. They have been broken up for around 7 years now. She recently passed away unexpectedly and I know it has impacted him greatly. I just feel like it was an opportunity for us to grow closer together but I feel like he is hiding his emotions to me. I have always felt that he has unresolved feelings for his past girlfriends. We have talked about it but I feel like he doesn’t want to grieve in front of me. He holds back his tears when he is with me and it is awkward when it feels like there’s obviously something on his mind and now it’s in mine too, but we don’t talk about it. I feel like he holds them in his heart and it makes me feel like I am a 2nd option because I know he would have wanted to be with her forever if she didn’t break it off. When we are together and I know he is thinking about her it makes me feel like he is busy loving her and not me. But I know it’s not fair because she is gone now.

 

How am I supposed to deal with this? Has anyone gone through something similar and can offer some perspective?

 

Thanks

 

He may be hiding his emotions thinking you won't understand them. But there are a lot of guys that don't grieve by sitting around and crying. My guy might for a minute (he is more likely to tear up at the funeral, privately by himself. etc), but he shows his grief completely differently than that--- sometimes its NOT wanting to talk about the person at all and avoiding discussing the person even to loved ones he is totally open with - he keeps himself distracted. Or he is more tired than usual, or quieter. and "what are you thinking?" is the worst thing to say. But he doesn't sit around talking a lot about it. You need to respect that everyone grieves differently.

 

Also, you are trying to insert yourself here when you shouldn't -- you are offended almost that he doesn't ramble around about it.

 

There are some people we couldn't imagine not being with forever AT THE TIME

 

If a young person died uexpectedly, especially if it was tragic - suicide, car accident, etc, or any other reason a young life has been cut short. i have been at funerals where classmates that have not seen them in 15 years, a boyfriend's mom from the high school years and what have you all come -- all grief stricken. It doesn't mean they were pining away at that person.

 

you need to keep your insecurities in check.

 

If my ex husband died and i found out about it, my guy would totally get how i never want to be with the ex, but because that person was a close part of my life, i would feel grief - it would be a weird, conflicted grief beause i honestly don't love him anymore, but i am sure i would feel some grief of some sort.

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I put myself in your place.

 

 

My previous relationship, I would have hid my grief, I wouldnt even bring it up, so much so I probably wouldnt have shared the knowledge of an ex passing.

 

He would have felt threatened, insecure and made it all about him.

 

My current relationship, I could safely talk to him in length about how I felt. He's secure, makes me feel safe. He'd be empathetic and supportive.

 

Where do you fall in either scenario? And do you want to be let in or kept out?

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If this poster came on here and said that her bf is continuing to keep tabs on his ex 7 years after they've broken up and seems to have a deep emotional connection to her to this day, what would you advise?

 

I guess I missed the part where she said he had an ongoing deep emotional connection with his ex--other than assuming his grief was evidence of that supposed connection.

 

I don't personally think that being stricken with grief means anything other than what it is. Grief can be intense and nonsensical.

 

I call to mind the image of my mom bursting into tears the week after my dad died.

 

She hated the man! They hadn't spoken in decades. He'd basically abandoned us as children.

 

But she was still deeply impacted by his death--and believe me, it wasn't because she felt sorry for us (her daughters).

 

It conjured up feelings for her about mortality, life trajectory, finality, etc.... and yes, her marriage.

 

But grief cleared up pretty quickly for my mom, because she ultimately didn't miss the guy.

 

In the case of nopnopnop and her boyfriend, it's just been a couple of days. There hasn't even been a funeral.

 

If he's incoherent weeks from now, definitely revisit the matter. I just think she's jumping the gun with her worries.

 

In fact, her anxiousness may actually be causing him to hide his feelings.

 

I mean, no funeral yet and she's hovering there, seeing it as "an opportunity for [them] to grow closer."

 

I would hide my feelings under these circumstances, too.

 

It's the easiest way to handle another person's insecurity, especially at times like this, when I would need personal space without a debate.

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