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Woman's husband changes after they get married; 'I'm NOT your dead ex wife!' AITA? UPDATED

Woman's husband changes after they get married; 'I'm NOT your dead ex wife!' AITA? UPDATED

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When this woman is humiliated by her husband's odd behavior after they get married, she asks the internet:

"My husband called me by his dead’s wife name twice. I am so upset. AITA?"

I need to rant. For a bit of a background, I’ve met my husband four years ago through the same work industry. We both instantly felt the same attraction, on our first date he told me he was widowed, that his wife had died unexpectedly at the age of 31, two years prior.

Three years later, we got married at the beginning of this year. Everything has been good until two months after we got married. I’ve noticed that his behaviour was changing - he started to get more quiet.

I’ve asked him if he was feeling alright, he admitted that while cleaning he came across some of his previous wife’s belongings and that he accidentally tossed something from their wedding night. I felt sad for him and I couldn’t imagine how he felt. I tried my best to cheer him up but his happiness was short.

One night, we got into a small disagreement about some movie we were watching. During the argument, he called me by her name which is something that he had never done. He looked frightened and shocked that he said this.

He kept apologizing after it and I told him it was alright, he cried and I held him. The next morning, I’ve noticed he didn’t sleep at all. I asked him if he wanted to talk about what happened the previous night.

He got mad and told me he was gonna go visit his brother. I felt worried and told him I love him. He came home around midnight and he apologized for what happened and how reacted. I told him everything was fine.

A few weeks ago we were being intimate and out of nowhere he called me by her name again. This time I was mortified, jumped off the bed and moved away from him. He tried to comfort me by giving me a hug and he kept apologizing.

I told him I was going to stay in our guest room. I didn’t sleep at all that night. The next morning, he kept apologizing and told him it’s fine. We talked for a bit, I asked him if he was alright and if he needed to speak to someone professionally.

He agreed to go speak to someone but he didn’t show up to the appointment that we had set up for him.

Our conversation since then have been insanely short. Everything has been weird since he called me her name during se%. I wanted to scream I'm not your dead ex wife but everything is so awkward and sad.

He rarely speaks to me, only when he needs something. Which makes me sad because I do love him but I’m scared that he doesn’t love me.

Now I recently found out that I’m pregnant. I’m happy because I’ve always wanted to be a mother but I am sad I don’t know if the father of my child even loves me anymore.

FYI He did do grief counselling for awhile but he stopped. When we first started dating, I knew he was in therapy and maybe a year into our dating, he stopped going. I'm so depressed. AITA?

Before we give you OP's update, let's take a look at some of the top responses:

reason7 writes:

She’s been on his mind since he found the items that belonged to her. Add to this the fact that he accidentally threw away a keepsake from their wedding, and it’s no wonder that he’s slipped up.

Cut him a break. It was obviously a shock to him when he found the items. If he continues to do it, then I would suggest therapy for him.

papa22k4 writes:

I was previously widowed and have been remarried for 3 years. I’ve called my current husband by my late husband’s name twice.

There have also been a few times he’s called me by his ex-wife’s name. There have been a few times when I’ve been talking about my late husband and accidentally said my current husband’s name.

I call my children by each other’s names several times a month. Sometimes a slip of the tongue is simply that. It doesn’t always have a deeper meaning. It’s just that our brains cross wires from time to time.

In my opinion, the real problem is the way both of you have reacted in those situations: tears, distance, dishonest/stifled communication, etc. I think it would do wonders for both of you to treat this with way less importance.

Have a real talk about it. Tell him how you reacted and ask him if you were making it out to be a bigger deal than it is. Give him the opportunity to tell you how much or how little this actually means to him. He’s probably really embarrassed. But I think he loves you.

Also, congratulations on your little one. Based on the information in this post, I don’t see any reason why you can’t get your relationship back on track and build a beautiful family together.

successfjl6 writes:

he wasn't ready to remarry. seems like her death affected him more than he probably realized himself and you are unfortunately in the middle of it and met him before he was completely recovered.

i don't doubt he loves you but is clearly not ready to be with you or have a child with you. i don't think he is bad for it but he is unfairly hurting you because of his trauma. more than therapy i think what he needs is time.

seems like you two meeting happened pretty soon after her death and he just did not have enough time to process it. don't think there is an easy solution but really think about and consider how his trauma will likely keep hurting you and the relationship.

force5 writes:

This is a very common thing, especially for people that have had their spouse pass away. It does get better over time, but he isn’t the first to do this and he won’t be the last. He is 100% more aware of it now and that’s great.

He loves you. He probably feels embarrassed and ashamed, and he likely feels like it’s you that doesn’t love him because he called you by her name. If you guys sit down and communicate you will probably come away from that conversation feeling much much better.

And tell him you’re pregnant. After you talk and you tell him that you love him and he tells you that he loves you - tell him you’re pregnant and he will be over the moon.

beautdisas writes:

So I lost my husband suddenly in a horrible car accident together about 10 years ago. Grieving has never really gone away.

More like, I grieve differently as each year passes. He’s in my thoughts daily still (we had a 2 year old at the time of the accident). I am with my now fiancé and I have accidentally called him by my deceased husbands name a time or two.

I think, it was more out of reaction. I had spent so many years with this person prior to this new relationship. It was so incredibly sudden and tragic. There was no goodbyes.

There was no conclusion together that our relationship needed to end or anything of the sorts, where breaks up happen. But, my fiancé is quite understanding, thankfully. But I can’t imagine that it’s easy for him to hear either.

My advice would be to just let him know you love him dearly. That you’re trying to understand that he had a sudden loss. Your feelings, my dear are also valid. You are allowed to be hurt by this. But don’t let it turn into a resentment.

Work on arising issues together and tackle it as a team. It’s not you against him and his feelings or him against you and your feelings. It’s you and him versus the issue at hand.

hippygramam writes:

My husband of 30 years passed in 2017. 3 years later, I took a chance on sharing my heart again.

One of the best gifts he's given me is the understanding that my late husband will always have a part of my heart. My love is big enough to encompass them both so he doesn't feel jealous.

That said, when I accidentally call him by late hubby's name, it's awkward and embarrassing. To his credit, he gets that I see him, my partner, and saying LH's name isn't an expression of wishing he were the one I'm speaking to.

He can love you and continue to hold love for his late wife as he grieves. She's always going to be with him and you need to be at peace with that.

Couple's counseling is the better first step. If either of you need something individual, your therapist can help you decide. For now, it might help most to have someone who can help you facilitate communication between you and your husband.

These are tough ways to navigate. All the best to you and congrats on your wonderful news.

finallyflowing0 writes:

He's got trauma and needs to work through it. He may love you, but his horrific, trauma-based, stressful past, especially around marital/romantic relationships, probably has him scarred.

The fact he's regretful and so fixated on it when he accidentally says it shows he knows it's a problem, and it's good you told him to go to therapy, but the fact he didn't go shows that he's scared of talking about the worst things he needs to talk about.

It's not likely that he doesn't love you, I think there would be clearer signs of that if he didn't love you, I just think his past has traumatized him so much it's affecting his ability to maintain a romantic/marital relationship due to those triggers. He needs to go to therapy and work through this without you, and he has to WANT to do that in order for it to work.

If he still doesn't go, I think it's a deal breaker, because even if he's a good person, he is so stuck on this trauma it's affecting him and he won't even work on it, which isn't good.

He needs to take care of himself and work through it to be the best him, cuz clearly, something is snagging everytime for him. There's triggers in any form of a romantic relationship... he must have really loved her, and even if he loves you, the traumatic response is an innate, subconscious thing. He can't control it. He needs therapy though.

fafa99 writes:

It would be beneficial to your marriage and life to stop saying "It's fine," when it's not. Yes, he absolutely should see a professional.

2b. It would be helpful for you BOTH to also see a marriage counselor. It's truly good for every couple, but especially considering you're both a young and fairly new couple; he has trauma related to unexpectedly losing his first wife so he may fear (subconsciously, even)

that he will lose you just as unexpectedly; you both could use guidance on how to talk things out, argue, truly resolve issues, and move on honestly. Saying it's fine but running to one's brother's house or sleeping in the next room...not adding up. Not uncommon, not bad, just not productive or journey.

Also, he may be more willing to show up to his solo appointments if you also attend your own appointments (whether solo rounds or partner rounds with him). Many people still have a LOT of hang-ups, fears,and even just unknowns around therapy and counseling.

You following through with your own sessions will help normalize and equalize it (as opposed to it feeling for him as though you're "making him" do it or "punishing him" with it.

3. He absolutely loves you. He also still loves his first wife, which is totally okay and expected. He just has to learn how to love her while also letting go of her. Professional help will assist in this journey.

4. New life can trigger memories of lost lives. Thoughts of mortality can come up with new Babies. It would be great for him to get counseling leading into this new chapter (for you, too).

5. Doing the math, he married very young (so have you, relatively), and he married a relatively older woman, who may have seemingly seemed to have had her life put together (I'm just guessing).

It sounds like her death came as a surprise, which is doubly surprising to him, who had not just had her in his present life, bit married her because he saw a FUTURE with him.

Now he's living a completely different future than he had foreseen for himself 7 years ago, EVEN IF HE LOVES THIS FUTURE. Once again, professional help will help him do the work to find resolution, closure, and separation with love from his former wife.

Congratulations on your pregnancy. It is a truly amazing, joyful journey, but is also peppered with unknowns, fears, and every feeling possible for BOTH parents. It brings up A LOT.

Another reason for counseling for you both. Start your shared journey to learn how to effectively communicate NOW. You both have work to do (part of a marriage pact is agreeing to keep working on your union for the rest of your lives. This is beautiful, though at times exhausting.)

sangelo writes:

Stop telling him things are fine and actually talk to him. I know this is hurting you but by telling him that you’re fine and by not being honest will make this relationship will likely fizzle out.

Even if things don’t work out, you NEED to talk to him and you need to tell him how you truly feel. Whether or not he actually works on himself and the relationship is on him, but you need to do your part to most importantly protect yourself but to try to save this relationship as well.

And now, OP's updates:

First of all, I'd like to say sorry to everyone that I had annoyed with the overusage of the word "fine" lol. I was afraid of to admit that everything had been rough in my marriage recently or I didn’t give off the impression that I had any sort of ill feelings towards her. Thank you to everyone that congratulated me on my pregnancy too!

After a day of things being strange and weird between us. He told me he was sorry for his behaviour and things have been rough for him lately, that grief is tricky. I encouraged him that he should seek therapy for himself especially grief counselling.

I said I was sorry if I made him feel embarrassed, or bad for the name incident. He did attend a session for himself and agreed to go. I have always been going to therapy and counselling.

I did tell my husband that I was pregnant. He is very happy about it. We both are and excited for the arrival of our firstborn. After hearing the news, he has been trying his hardest at taking care of me and himself.

Seeing him this happy, took every negative thought and feeling about the future away. Anyways thanks again for the words and encouragement…bye everyone!!!

What do YOU make of OP's story? Any advice for her?

Sources: Reddit
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