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My (27F) husband (A) (29M) is kind, funny and handsome so he's always been quite popular - we usually hang out with the same 10-15 people he’s close with. But 6 years ago, he met a guy his age (B) at a work conference with various companies. Said guy was extremely smart, cute, a bit more reserved but still just as loveable.
They immediately hit it off and after a year, even started calling themselves soulmates. Soon enough it was a given in our group that my husband and his newfound best friend wouldn’t usually do an activity without each other. B would often stop by our place as well, and our kids (6M, 4F) and I enjoyed his visits because he was such a sweetheart.
Unfortunately, just 3 years ago B died in a serious accident because of a drunk driver. Our family was obviously crushed by the news. I gave my husband the space he needed and offered him all the help and support I could give; but I started to worry after the 1st year. Then, I got frustrated after the 2nd year. Now, it’s the 3rd year and I’m going crazy because it just doesn’t seem normal to me.
He’s always been a doting father but he hasn’t played with our kids more than once during those three years. I often see him spacing out and looking/holding things that belonged to B. He wakes up in the middle of the night and leaves the bedroom to cry. I feel like he doesn’t see me or more importantly, our kids, anymore - like everything stopped mattering.
And while he keeps working the same hours, I’ve been told by one of his closest friends (who works at the company) that the quality of his work constantly deteriorates.
I assumed that maybe the issue runs deeper than I’d thought and asked him if he’d be ready to go to therapy, but nada. Soon after we had dinner while the kids were at his sister’s (she lives next door) and he gave me attention, which I appreciated - but while we were kissing he broke down and shut himself in our bedroom, while constantly apologising.
The day after I sat him down and asked him seriously if it’s possible that he’s had romantic feelings for B. He went off on me- said I was out of line, that I’m ridiculous for being jealous of his best friend who's forever gone, that I should know he’s straight and that he’s disappointed in me.
I feel like I deserved to express my concerns after such a long time but a lot of our friends, who know how sensible the situation is and how devastated my husband is, think I should’ve never said something that intrusive and speculative. They've called me an a-hole for doing this to him. So AITA for saying such a thing to my husband considering all that’s happened?
NAH. Your friends don't know what you know. Whether your husband was in love with his friend or not, it's a problem that everything "stopped mattering" when he died, and that he can no longer show affection to his children or his wife. Therapy is really a must at this point, and I think if he won't go you should go yourself and get some advice about how to approach this serious crisis.
NAH. It was a reasonable conclusion to come to given the story you've outlined. It might even be true but your husband cannot face it. It might be more complicated than just straight up "romantic" feelings. There's every possibility he did feel like he found his platonic ideal soul brother in this man, that had nothing to do with wanting man on man physical action.
Or maybe it did? This whole situation is very sad and I'm so sorry. Cliché but true: Therapy should be investigated. Solo for both of you, and couples as well. Whatever feelings for B your husband had or didn't have, felt or didn't feel, the fact is — B is gone. He's never coming back, and it sucks. It sounds like your husband has not dealt with his grief, and he needs to, or he will grieve for the rest of his life.
Good luck OP. Your love for your husband and family shines through your words and I'm rooting for all of you.
NTA!!!!! 3 years?! YEARS?? His children are muchhhh more important than a best friend mind you. I love my best friend, I don’t know what I would do without her, but I sure as hell would NOT ignore my family for 3 years if she passed.
I understand everyone is different, but that is way too long and seems deeper. Tbh you need to tell him to either go to therapy or do something, because his children need him and so do you.
So, as you all suggested I sat husband down and asked if he was okay, if he had the time and mental space to talk to me, etc. I apologised for what I implied- said it was inappropriate, irrelevant, and it wasn’t my place to say anything on his relationship with Brad.
But then he broke down, to my confusion, and started apologising to me. Said he DID have feelings for Brad, that I’m not delusional and stupid, that he’s just been gaslighting me (I disagree). Not going to give all the details, but hubby found out after Brad’s death that Brad had feelings for him - and it turned out to be mutual, to his shock.
He said the sudden loss and what he realised basically made him go into a very dark place where he felt unworthy of everyone, including his children, Brad, and I. He needed to talk about it but was terrified of losing us.
Knowing my husband, I kind of saw it coming and regret that he’s only confessed to it now because I never would’ve resented him for loving someone. And Brad’s gone. It’s just a lot of heartbreak for everyone.
So… I insisted on therapy again and husband agreed. And he’s okay, thankfully. He did have way too much on his plate but he’s already faring much better now that he’s finally opened up. I wouldn’t blame anyone for being trapped in a cycle of self-hate after all of this.
He also mentioned his parents’ deaths too, very briefly. This all felt liberating because we finally came back to our before, where we’d share and discuss everything freely.
One surprise though, is that I ended up being diagnosed. I am depressed. TBH, I’m still puzzled because I come from a traditional Asian family where depression is a myth. But I guess I’d never questioned myself because I was just always too busy to. Parents abandoned me when I was 5, became a barista at 21, worked 80 hours/week, taking care of my kids, charity work…
You know what's the funniest part? I’m extremely lazy. Every second I fight the urge to lie down somewhere and sleep forever. I have these random moments where I question the relevance of it all but they all seem insignificant in light of everything I could lose. I’m okay. I never felt like reaching a breaking point.
We also had a talk with the kids. My oldest has been radiant since then. Youngest also likes to follow my husband around like a baby chick now. I’ve become an in-house counsel, so twice as less work hours, which is really cool too haha.
Yeah, idk. A lot of changes but none of them feel overwhelming! Life might be a bitch (esp now) but I feel grateful. Yes, I sound like a cheesy moron. Thank you so much for your help, everyone!
My husband still doesn't specifically identify as bisexual. Brad was the one and only man he's ever had feelings for. He's said that apart from Brad he really would not picture himself with a man, this despite being able to picture himself with Brad. Some people may be skeptical about my husband's conclusions on his sexuality, but his identity is his own to define and this is the one thing I will respect for sure.
Also, trust me, bi-erasure is the last thing I'd want to encourage. We already read up a lot on the different labels recently (on top of what we already know), we know bisexuality doesn't imply an even sexual attraction to both men and women, etc. He just doesn't identify as bi as of now and that's okay.
About him falling in love while being married to me - it hurts, yes. I cried about it, yes. I know many are concerned with how I seem to neglect my own feelings, but I can assure you I won't deny those despite being a bit awkward about emotions. Obviously, in a perfect world (by my own terms), my husband would only have eyes for me.
But I know my husband still loves me very deeply, and while he did me wrong these last few years, he's also a very honest man who would've openly tried to make it right by everyone had Brad not died. Let's say that in some other dimension, he would've wanted to end up with Brad - he would've told me, despite how hurtful it could've been. Maybe there would've been drama, tears, and all, yeah.
But Brad died. And Brad and I are the only ones my husband is truly in love with. We both know that. There's no way to bring Brad back and come up with what would've been best for all three of us. So we're staying married, simply because we do love each other as husband and wife, and because our little family is the most amazing cocoon we ever built. I have no hard feelings when life gets in the way like that.
I know it sounds like a very simple way to see things, but that's how I think. And I'm plenty happy. I don't want to get a divorce, he doesn't want to - why should we then?
This commenter summed things up well:
This is a great update, thanks for sharing. As inspiring and nice as it is to see the steps you're taking here and how well you're supporting him and taking care of yourself, I'm still so sad for everyone involved. Life is the ultimate a$$hole.