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I have been dating the most amazing woman for the past year and a half. I have been in puppy love before, the kind where they're all you can think about and you smile when you think of them - and we have that too- but she has also brought to me the joy of being together but not together
(that magnificent way you can just be and be alone in the same room- her reading a book, me doing a project) and really knowing someone (knowing how her mouth crinkles when she thinks, the way the rain makes her feel,all the stories of her childhood, all the little stuff that makes her a person ). At least I thought I did.
I was shopping for a ring and had been dropping hints that made her smile and we would plan this little suburban life- a deck with a grill, a goofy puppy, a piano. We talked about baby names and vetoed ones, we have the joke names Trevor and Trevina. We'd pick out paint colors and flooring at Lowe's and giggle like idiots.
I was 100% confident, I just hadn't chosen a ring, you know,she didn't want a diamond but didn't know what she does want. Then I got a fb message today from some guy. He said that he was her brother-in-law and that she had blocked him on fb but could I please pass along a wedding invite and it would mean a lot if she was there.
I pressed for more details and it all came out. She was married before to a guy named Brendan and they had a little boy, Sam- she told me before she didn't like that name. The son died in a car accident and afterwards They had an ugly divorce and she cut ties. 5 years of her life, I never knew about and I don't know if I ever would've. I think she was never going to tell me.
I've felt sick about this all day. Made up an imaginary sickness to sit and think by myself and I feel paralyzed by it. This morning I knew her and now I don't. I don't even know how to bring this up or what. I definitely can't go buy the ring and pretend. At the same time, I want to be with.
I am hurt but know that was horrible, that she went through something unimaginable but I don't know what that means for us. Am I just a distraction? Is this something she does? I just don't know. Help?
tl;dr I(30m) just found out my girlfriend(28) of a year+ had a whole life I knew nothing about, right as I've been ring shopping. This life includes a first marriage and a child who passed away. i am stunned.. Advice?
Show her the message, and gently ask her about it. Losing a child is awful and everyone mourns in their own way. Perhaps she would have told you after you guys were officially engaged. Or when you were going to seriously try for a baby. It's not about you, OP, and I really doubt you are just a distraction. You still know her. Seriously, stop thinking about it, and just talk to her.
Okay, this is the sort of deception you can work through with help, given that we all understand that a loss of a child will, well, F you up for lack of a better turn of phrase. I can understand wanting to lock that away from yourself, which it seems like she did.
Take the space you need to approach this rationally, since it seems like you haven't talked to her. From there, you can evaluate if this is workable or not.
Losing a child is the most traumatic of things a parent can go through. She doesn't want to re-live that and it helps her to cope by pretending she's not that person overwhelmed by grief. I would talk to her but please be sensitive and gentle; this was not a game she was playing with you or an intentional lie - I believe she didn't want you to look at her with pity.
She seems to have responded like someone with PTSD: they don't want to relive it, they don't want their trauma to be a part of them. They just want to move on.
And quite frankly, she probably loves you dearly, but was very content never having to relive those memories for you as you probed her about it. Be patient, kind, and understanding. This isn't like she has 50k in debt, and is a drug dealer in her spare time. She lost her baby, her relationship wasn't able to survive it, and she experienced trauma.
Man. I'm sorry this has hit you like a brick. TBH I could sit here and give you advice, but until you talk to her, look her in the eyes, listen to her, feel her response.. You won't know the answer to any of your questions. This is something that could break you up, but it's also something that could bring you closer. You need to tell her you know, and ask her about it.
I spoke to her the day after. She told me she had wanted to tell me for a while, but didn't know where to start-- that she thought about Sam everyday but at the same time didn't know how to begin.
She pulled out a shoe box from her closet and she showed me the pictures. Pictures of her wedding, this propped up little thing at the courthouse, her in a short white dress with a slight stomach. Her husband, this cocky smiled kid with this shaggy blond hair.
Then the baby, Sam. Pictures from a red-faced baby to this little four year old person. Birthdays, and Christmases, and pictures of the three of them- a family. She talked about Brendan. How they came from these radically different backgrounds and she barely knew him as a person before he was a father and husband. They'd only been dating three months when she got pregnant. They were twenty.
Then she talked about Sam- her baby. She kept saying he was the best thing that ever happened to me. Hearing that broke my heart. She talked about how his hair cow licked in three different spots and how he was always singing or humming, that he loved to climb. She told me his favorite movie and book. She made him a person to me.
Then she told me how they lost him. Some kid ran a red light and then he was gone. She barely remembers the funeral because she was so heavily medicated. But the worst part was after, going home and him not being there- how she'd walk past his room and expect to hear him playing, waking up and forgetting for a minute he was gone.
Their marriage had never been good and they turned on each other. He blamed her because she had fastened the booster seat on that side of the car. She blamed him because he had been driving. They were divorced within a year after the accident. Brendan had a new child within two.
She had spent the time doing overload on classes and working, keeping busy because it made things easier.She didn't see her old friends because they drifted away- they never knew what to say. And they mostly had kids of their own. She was surviving. But seeing Sam's brother who looked so much like Sam hurt so much that she decided she had to get away and stop wallowing.
She took the pictures down, donated clothes and toys, deleted her fb and stopped seeing the old friends who weren't really friends anymore. She said she chose to keep breathing because that was what it had come down to. Then she met me.. and she said I made her want a fresh start- a better marriage and more children- because she loved me.
We talked for hours, she cried and I cried for her. I still love her maybe more now because I feel like she opened up to me so much. it's hard to imagine her married, with a son, toys on the floor, and pictures on the fridge. it's hard because in a lot of ways it's the life I've been imagining with her. I still plan on marrying this woman. She's the love of my life.
Love (and good communication) wins!