Dear Whys Guy: “My New Husband Doesn’t Understand Why I’m Grieving the Death of My Ex”

By Aaron Traister, REDBOOK


DEAR WHYS GUY:

My ex-boyfriend passed away yesterday at the age of 24. We were together for three years, and he was my first love. We had a very ugly break up four years ago. My now-husband (of six months) does not understand why I am upset and grieving the loss. It is creating a lot of turbulence in our new marriage. What should I do?

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DEAR REDBOOK READER:

Sorry to hear about your ex. 24 is too young to go.

As for your husband, I can understand why he is upset. It must be hard to feel like you're in competition with a ghost.

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Have you talked to your husband about why you're so upset? More importantly, have you asked yourself why you're so upset? Is it because he was so young? Are you sad for his family? Is it because you feel like a a door on your youth closed with his passing?

Or are you lamenting what might have been or things left unsaid?

It's fine to have all those emotions and then some, and it's only been 24 hours, so your husband should probably chill out and give you a couple of days to emotionally unpack whatever needs unpacking.

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But my advice to you is this: Don't dwell or wallow in what ifs or get caught up in some sort of romantic notions about dying young and first loves. Dead is dead, and it ain't particularly romantic; it just sorta sucks. And it isn't remotely romantic for his immediate family, like his mother, father and siblings (if he had any).

You ended this relationship four years ago, and then you moved on with your life. Your ex's death doesn't change any of that. To imagine otherwise and weep and wail isn't fair to your husband, and it's sort of disrespectful to the people who were still a real and close part of the dead man's life.

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So grieve, but grieve with the knowledge that you made the decision to move forward without him long before he died.

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Need help decoding odd male behavior? Redbook columnist Aaron Traister, who lives in Philadelphia with his wife and two kids, is our resident male who is happy to answer any questions you might have about the mind of a man. Either leave your questions in the comments or email him at redbook@hearst.com with Whys Guy in the subject. Letters, emails, and comments may be edited for clarity and length.


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