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'My husband told me he wished I passed away instead of his first wife. I'm devastated.' MAJOR UPDATE

'My husband told me he wished I passed away instead of his first wife. I'm devastated.' MAJOR UPDATE


Some words are so hurtful, they can never fully be unsaid or mended.

"My husband [44/M] told me he wished I [37/F] was d-ad instead of his first wife. I'm devastated."

My husband "Nick" was married to his first wife "Vanessa" for 5 years and they had two amazing kids, "Luke" (15/M) and "Lila" (13/F). Sadly, Vanessa died in an accident 11 years ago when the kids were very young. I started dating Nick 8 years ago and we started off very slowly for obvious reasons.

Nick has always been a little more distant than anyone I'd ever been with, but he and the kids lost Vanessa so young that I understood it. After 3 years of dating, Nick asked me to marry him and I moved in. I've always had a really great relationship with Luke and Lila and they were happy for me to marry their dad.

I had wanted an actual wedding, nothing big, but Nick really didn't want one so we got married at the courthouse with just Luke and Lila present. We had a really fast engagement, but it worked for all of us. I have loved being Luke and Lila's stepmom and officially adopted them after I found out I was pregnant with our son "Casey" (2/M).

The kids have been so great with Casey and help out so much. Nick was wonderful during the pregnancy and had always been a really loving dad and husband. But Nick has been pulling away a lot the last few months. He's been even more distant than usual and working late nights and going away with friends almost every weekend.

I've tried talking to him, but he's been impatient with both me and the kids. I found out I was pregnant in June and am now 21 weeks pregnant with a girl. The kids are excited to have a little sister, but Nick just seems so indifferent to everything and everyone. He's been missing soccer games, Lila's birthday, doctors appointments, etc.

Casey is too young to notice, but Luke and Lila are so hurt by their dad's absence. These kids are so good and they lost their mom so young and I'm infuriated that Nick is ignoring the kids like this. Last week, I finally sat Nick down and told him that he needs to stop disappearing and be more present in our lives.

We're going to have another child soon and before we know it Luke and Lila will be grown up and going to college. After an hour of arguing, he screamed at me that he wished Vanessa was still alive and that I had switched places with her and died instead. He also threw in some awful comments that I need to stop pretending I'm Luke and Lila's "real" mom and that I'm only half the mom Vanessa was.

The final straw was him saying that he never even wanted any kids with me, but did it so I'd "keep busy and leave him alone." I'm so beyond hurt right now. I know I'm just his second choice, but I've always tried to honor Vanessa and tell Luke and Lila how lucky they were to have her as their mom.

I love ALL of our kids more than anything and I'm just so heartbroken. Nick barely pays attention to Casey now and doesn't even acknowledge the pregnancy. He somewhat apologized this weekend and took all three kids to lunch, but he won't even look me in the eye. He seems like he wants to talk, but he doesn't say anything and I'm too upset to even be near him.

I'm not sure where to go from here. Honestly, I can't even be around Nick right now and if there weren't any kids involved, I'd leave and never look back. I'm not sure if he's cheating or the thought of a fourth child is stressing him out, but I'm devastated and not sure how or why I should save this marriage, besides doing it for the kids. Any advice is desperately needed right now.

TL;DR: My husband has been distant and ignoring our kids. When I confronted him, he told me he wished I had died instead of his first wife and that I'm only half the mother she was. I'm currently pregnant and not sure how to fix this or us.

Commenters had a lot to say in response.

Fitzwilliger wrote:

Oh man. This is so f-king heart-wrenching, and I honestly just want to give you a hug right now. You've got so much on your plate. In your shoes, I think I would tell him that he has a choice between therapy and divorce.

Get yourself into therapy as fast as you can- you've had your heart shattered by someone you love, you've been parenting alone, you're facing the possibility of a divorce. Even if you do couple's counselling, individual therapy needs to happen.

My only other piece of advice for you is to not leave the house. If it comes down to it, leaving can affect the divorce. Actually, no, I have another piece of advice for you- consult with a divorce attorney now, even if you're not sure you're going to go through with it, to get an idea of what you need to do during this period.

browneyesandlashes wrote:

He's has 2 kids with Vanessa and he's going to have 2 kids with you. Do you think he feels resentful because his new life is 'taking over' his old life? I can imagine that it hurts him tremendously to realize his ex wife is a distant memory and I can see how your new baby will serve as a physical reminder of how the years have passed.

This could be a huge stretch.. I'm just speculating what my concern would be if I was in your husband's shoes. Its possible he feel very guilty and disloyal because he moved on and built a new life so he's lashing out on the person who helped him build this new life. You.

I do want to say what you've done is amazing in that you helped to rebuild a home without disrespecting their bio mom's memory and I have no doubt you've been an awesome mom to your children. You do not deserve such hurtful words and whatever his reason I don't think I would be able to forget them. I really hope the best for you guys.

OP responded:

I know it still must hurt that she's gone. I couldn't imagine losing Nick so suddenly. I've tried to make sure Luke and Lila always know about their mom. Luckily there are quite a few home videos from that time, so we make it a point to watch them on her birthday, during the holidays, and the anniversary of her death.

I'm not sure if having Casey and now this new baby is bringing up a lot of hurt for Nick, but reading these comments makes me think it's a possibility. But Luke and Lila miss their mom too and he's treating them like they're a nuisance, not his children who have already gone through so much. I'm just at a total loss on how to handle this without disrupting the lives of our kids.

browneyesandlashes responded:

The fact that the kids are still your first thought shows what a good person you are. Just know that whatever happens you WILL come out stronger on the other side. I mean you kinda have to right?

Personally I've never been to therapy but if there's any time you should go I imagine it would be now. Don't ask it of him, DEMAND it. There's too much that has been said...too much pain there to tackle it alone and ideally you guys need to be in a better place before the new baby comes or how will y'all survive the stress of it all?

Go there..let him know you're angry and hurt (don't sugar coat anything! ) but also really hear him out too. Hopefully he'll see he's sabotaging his own happiness because of unresolved grief.

Punky_Grifter wrote:

He is looking at the past through rose colored glasses, a 5 year relationship that tragically ended years ago. It can be easy to forget all the times you were frustrated with a person.

It takes work to stay in love, to merge a family, to help people through deep heart-rending grief. For him to say that you aren't half the woman his first wife was is cruel. Who knows how Vanessa would have dealt with a partner who is being cruel and terrible like your husband is? You are competing with a memory.

OP responded:

This is exactly what I've always feared. I've always known I wasn't his first choice, but I've always felt like we could make something of our own anyway. I totally understand him mourning her and missing her, but he was so cruel and hateful. I'm still the mother of his son and soon a daughter, but I've never felt as hated and like absolute trash like I did during that fight.

agreywood wrote:

One thing that sticks out to me is that your child is 2 and that 11 years ago your stepdaughter would have been 2. I wouldn't be shocked if a milestones like that has kicked up a lot of feelings about her death.

Since this behavior has started up, have there been any other milestones (kids birthdays, deceased wife's birthday, their anniversary of dating or marriage, when they found out they were expecting, etc) that could have exacerbated any issues he was having?

OP responded:

Lila's birthday has been the only milestone since this all started. I've tried thinking of the other dates, but I can't come up with anything. I'm just so upset because of how he's treating the kids. At least Casey is totally unaware, but Luke and Lila know that their dad is choosing not to spend time with them. Lila has been crying about it and Luke is angry.

I feel like I'm failing all of them, but I just can't stomach the thought of talking to Nick right now. It hurts so much. I'm sorry for blabbering, I'm just so sad.

Ricotehemo wrote:

OP he said he wished you were dead. That's scary as f- especially if he's emotionally unstable right now. I don't know how any amount of grief or depression could excuse that or how you could ever work past what he's said. You've also said you know you were never his first choice, your husband of eleven years shouldn't make you feel like that.

Don't forget need hiring the kids too. If you're worried about losing the kids, I also just wanted to add (because a lot of people have wrong ideas about adoption) you will get custody of you fight for it, because they're legally yours. Good luck, you're a great mother and person.

Two months later, OP shared an update.

There's been a lot that has happened and there's no way to mention it all without writing a novel, so if I miss something or someone wants to know more, I'll try to answer in comments. I gave Nick a letter the day after I made my post (thanks to the commenter who suggested this). I tried to explain how hurt I was by what he said and I wasn't sure how we'd gotten to this place.

I also tried to explain that I knew he was still in so much pain from Vanessa's death and I would never try to replace her. Even though I tried to be understanding of his grief and (likely) depression, I didn't sugarcoat how badly hurt I was by what he said to me. I know grief is extremely complex, but it doesn't excuse telling your pregnant wife you wished she was dead.

It was a hard letter to write, but I tried to put forward some kind of resolution: if he meant what he said, then we'd divorce as amicably as possible for the kids. If he didn't mean it and was just lashing out, then we had to get couples counseling and he needed to get back to individual therapy if he wanted to stay together.

Nick took the letter and locked himself in the guest room to read it. He didn't come out until the next morning, but he told me he needed to go away for awhile and think. So he packed a bag, told the kids he had a business trip, and left that afternoon.

Honestly, I figured our marriage was done as soon as he left. Luke and Lila knew something was up, but I just kept telling them their dad had a big project for work and would be back soon. They were both upset (neither of them really believed the story about Nick's trip), so I set up some emergency sessions with their therapist so both of them would have someone to talk with.

Nick was gone for over a week. There were a few short phone calls to ask how I was and talk to the kids, but it was a lot of radio silence during that time. He came home one afternoon when Luke and Lila were still at school and said he needed to talk. I figured he was going to ask for the divorce.

He told me he felt very guilty for being happy with his life now and like he was dishonoring Vanessa by living this "new life" with me. The guilt and sadness made him want to pull away and he hoped I'd let him, which I did (I was scared and didn't say anything until it was too bad not to and then the fight happened - I blame myself for not communicating this).

He said he didn't mean the things he said and felt ashamed after he said them, but he just wanted me to leave him so that neither of us would be hurt anymore. I guess I was expecting to hear that, but it didn't make me feel better. After reading my letter I guess it really drove home how much he had hurt the kids and I, so he left to see if he could fix himself and get back on track.

He admitted he'd been really depressed and needed/wanted help. I told him I meant what I said in the letter and that if he wanted to work through it, I would work with him. He was more emotional than I've ever seen him, so I believed he really was sorry for what he said. So we've been in marriage counseling and he's back in individual therapy as well.

He still has a lot of guilt about Vanessa and I'm still hurting from everything he said and did, but I feel like we're slowly making progress with rebuilding the relationship. A lot of people brought up the fact that my life with Nick so closely mirrors what he had with Vanessa and that's something we've been dealing with a lot in therapy.

Obviously it wasn't intentional, but it subconsciously put both of us on edge: him waiting for something bad to happen and me thinking I'd never measure up. We've also been to family sessions with Luke and Lila's therapist and it's been very helpful. Both of them told me talking to their therapist helps a lot, so I've made sure they have a weekly appointment.

As terrible as the situation was for Nick and I, I feel like the Luke and Lila have been amazingly mature and wonderful throughout the whole thing. I am so, so proud of them. Nick is really trying to make up for the things he missed while he was checked out and he's been great with the kids.

I've been having a lot of complications with my pregnancy, but Nick has stepped up to help with everything. He's been to every doctor's appointment and has been very supportive of the pregnancy since he came back. I know he has an extreme amount of guilt from saying he never wanted Casey or the new baby and he's really been trying to make up for that.

We're all going to stay in therapy as long as we need to (which is probably going to be a long, long time), but I feel more confident about our future as a couple and a family. I won't lie and say I'm positive everything has been fixed or that his words don't still hurt, but I feel like we're on the right path.

TL;DR: Wrote a letter to husband explaining how hurt I was about what he said to me, but also understood that he was still hurting from his first wife's death. Husband took some time away, came back, and apologized for what he said. We're currently in marriage counseling, he's seeing his own therapist, and we're slowly working on rebuilding our relationship and family.

The internet was deeply invested in the update.

Dinahmyte77 wrote:

Ooof, I remember how sad your original letter was. Thank you for the update - it sounds like you took brave action, and you're both putting in the work to sort things out. I'm so happy to hear it!

OP responded:

It really has been a lot of work, but it's been worth it. Thanks for the kind words.

[deleted] wrote:

I really admire your diplomacy here. I don't think I'd have it in me to take another shot with someone who said something so inexcusably hateful to me. I'm glad your husband has wised up to how lucky he is to be getting a second chance at all, and I hope he stays the course with counseling.

OP responded:

Thank you. I won't pretend there aren't days where I'm just really angry about what he said and how he acted, but I feel like counseling is helping us address the root issues that caused everything to happen in the first place. The road to forgiveness is a long one and all that, but I'm hopeful it'll work out for us in the end.

epichuntarz wrote:

This has to be one of the most mature posts I've ever read.

I remember this OP and remember thinking how there weren't going to be any easy solutions regardless of the outcome, but it looks like the best possible outcome is happening. Glad to see this!

OP responded:

Thank you. I really credit this sub for helping me look at all angles of the problem. I told myself so many things that weren't at all helpful right after we fought: that I was wrong to confront him, maybe he was cheating, I'm really just a terrible wife and mother, etc. None of it obviously helped.

It was a really eye-opening, positive experience posting here. People really helped me grow a backbone and address the problem head-on so I'm very, very grateful for the advice I got here.

illinoiscentralst wrote:

Well, mature is one way to look at it. I applaud OP's incredible patience and kindness, and yet I can't take it in stride when she writes that her husband was pulling away from her and "hoping she'd let him" and she turns right around and squarely places the blame on her own shoulders.

For "letting him"...not communicating, as if talking to him would have prevented him from being so needlessly cruel to her. I hope to God this is only situational and their dynamic isn't normally so focused on OP taking care of her husband's every need and emotion so that he has the safety and space to hurt her whenever he feels the need to.

OP responded:

I think you have a very valid point and one I hope I can address. I do blame myself for not putting my foot down earlier and addressing the obvious issues that were happening, but that doesn't mean I don't place equal blame on him for not communicating with me as well.

I do tend to be the primary caretaker and the more empathetic one in our relationship, but we're slowly working toward making that more "balanced" in therapy as well. I absolutely prioritized his emotional needs over my own for a long time, and in some cases it was justified, but it should've never been the "default" in our relationship.

ShelfLifeInc wrote:

Honestly, I'm kind of shocked by his behavior and just taking off for a week, leaving his pregnant wife to be the sole carer of two children with absolutely no notice. I don't know if I'd personally be able to get past that.But it sounds like he's trying to make up for all his wrongs, and that is good.

Just make sure your needs are recognised as equal to his at every point, especially internally. Yes, he suffered the devastating blow of his first wife and is still processing those emotions.

That doesn't mean you're obliged to put your needs on hold, or deal with them on your own, until he is ready to deal with them. He made the choice to make you his wife, he needs to honor that commitment. Don't always put yourself last after the needs of your husband, your kids, your family. I wish you and your family all the best for the future.

OP wrote:

When he left, it honestly didn't change much at that time. He had already been pretty checked out and it was actually a relief for me because I was still devastated by everything he had said. It at least gave me some space and time to deal with everything. The time apart wasn't ideal for the kids, but it really solidified my decision that either he went to therapy or the relationship was over.

He's really trying to be a better father and partner and I deeply appreciate it. Therapy has been challenging, but very helpful at the same time. I've been trying to make sure I have an identity outside of "mom and wife" and I really appreciate your comment because it reminds me not to lose myself like that again.

Sources: Reddit
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