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His family emailed me after 5 months of no contact – what to do?


andysgirl

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Hi there, I am hoping for some advice if anyone has it. My boyfriend (37 - I'm 34) passed away suddenly 6.5 months ago and he was pretty close to his family, as was I. In the weeks after his passing they got difficult to deal with, 6 weeks after the funeral I went to their house for the 1st time which started out pleasant but ended with his sister screaming at me for wanting one thing of his (he was a big sports fan so I had asked him mom for a jersey, mom said yes, sister didn't agree). Then his mom emailed days later saying she was sorry I was sad but I'll have other boyfriends along with some other very hurtful things e.g. He only wanted his relationship to be “status quo” with me, he never spoke about moving in, getting engaged etc.

I know grief can make people say/do things that are not always the nicest, but as I’m sure you can imagine it was so hurtful to all of a sudden be made to feel like garbage and like I meant nothing when I had always had a good relationship with them. Especially when I know that nothing she said in regards to our relationship was true, but she put those things in my mind and how do you forgive that? I never responded to that email, felt it was best not to engage but that was hard, feeling like I was all of a sudden put in a place where I needed to defend my relationship, harder because he wasn’t here to help me. They even referred to me as his fiancé in the obituary and said I was the best thing to ever happen to him. Then they did that. I have struggled for 5 months with what they did; I have made myself sick trying to figure out what I did wrong or how I could have done something different. Mostly I’ve worried that he’s up there feeling like I’ve let him down by not maintaining a relationship with them.

Well yesterday I opened my email to find a message from his mom. Saying that it’s been a difficult 6 months, that she hopes I am doing better than the last time we spoke (I left the house in hysterics after the sister screamed and yelled at me) and that they think of me often but are not sure if I want to talk to them and they are not sure what to say. That if I’d like to talk that I should call or email anytime.

I don’t know what to do. She didn’t apologize in the email, which I realize I shouldn’t expect but doesn’t mean I don’t want it. This just came totally out of left field. I do see this as an olive branch but I am hesitant to take it. They took all their anger out on me when all I ever did was love him and I didn’t deserve it. But seeing them after the funeral and that follow up email made me angry with them, anger that I feel I deserve to have given their treatment of me. I know I need to let go of that but it's been difficult.

I think I should/will respond, almost mimic back what she said to me and say I am happy to talk if that’s something she wants then I’d like nothing more, put the ball in her court as I never NOT wanted to have a relationship with them. I have missed them and have struggled feeling like I am out here on my own without the other people who were closest to him. I am just so scared of being hurt by them again, afraid that if I try to mend this fence that I am going to be kicked in the heart again.

Losing him with the added stress of what they did has had me in a tailspin for months, and now I just don’t know what to do from here. It feels like a weighty decision.

I hope I don’t sound like a mean spirited person, I am not. It’s just confusing, to not know if I can forgive what they did and being so scared of what this latest communication could mean moving forward.

Anyway, I am in no rush to respond and likely won’t do so for a few days but just curious to know if anyone has any advice or has found themselves in a similar situation.

Thank you for reading, I realize this was a very long post. ^_^

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I suggest that you move cautiously toward accepting the overture and try to see how it progresses. Anger is not unusual when people are grieving, and it can come out in inappropriate ways. Their grief is not the same as yours, nobody's is the same, but after this time they could have moved past the anger and emotions and closer to acceptance. You need to decide if the risk of being hurt again is worth the possible reward of regaining their friendship and even love.

Good luck.

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thisishard this must be so hard for you. I agree with OldGeek. Maybe try a short visit first, go have coffee somewhere and see how it is.

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she hopes I am doing better than the last time we spoke (I left the house in hysterics after the sister screamed and yelled at me) and that they think of me often but are not sure if I want to talk to them and they are not sure what to say.

"I'm sorry for his sister's inexcusable behavior" or something similar (or God forbid an apology from that unthinking......person) would be a good start. But I wouldn't hold your breath. I recall you mentioning this awhile back and it still steams me just to read it.

That said, I agree it does seem an olive branch - and near as I can tell, it was mostly the sister who took out her anger on you vs the whole family-? Hard to tell. Given your desire/need to be on good as possible terms with them, I agree with approaching them but cautiously. (I had to deal with some seriously horrible family members of my beloved as well, so I can at least somewhat appreciate your struggle with this. Yours situation sounds more hopeful though, believe it or not.) Best to you, hope it works out somehow...

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mgilbertson

If you trust that their not going to give you more of the same and if they do that you won't fall backwards in your in grieving process then go for it. My mother in law pulled a lot of things over my 30 years of marriage for attention good or bad, but what she did and said to our kids and me after his sudden death was the final straw!!! No, you don't sound mean spirited, you sound like a saint!

Good luck with whatever you decide ~Marti

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Thank you all for taking the time to respond. His sisters angy outburst was uncalled for but the fact that his mother took the time to sit down and write an email that basically said our relationship was nothing hit harder. There was no need. Even if it's the way she felt, you don't write it down and then actually send it to someone. I have still not responded to her. Am feeling very conflicted about if I should. Is she just trying to clear her conscience? Do they want a relationship with me? Do I want one with them given what I know they are capable of? It is so hard not to read between the lines when something like this comes out of the blue given the previous correspondance. I'm so confused. And I feel guilty thinking that he's up there dissapointed in me if I don't follow through. I just don't know.

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Silvergirl61

In your shoes, i would probably reply to her e-mail, with a kind letter, saying that i was doing as well as could be expected under the circumstances, and that if she would like to talk to me, please give me a call..and probably let it go at that, for now- but that is only what i'd do...and I can't say I am very expert at dealing with all the complicated and crazy things that happen in my own life. If you want to keep in touch with her, I would take the time to answer her though.

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When it comes to unresponsive family members it is puzzling to say the least. I have had similar experiences with some of my husband's family. Who knows from what planet some people have come. I feel I am more vulnerable since my loss and perhaps you also feel the same way. So do whatever you makes you comfortable. Sending you hugs, Wendy

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thank you all for your kind advice. I emailed her back a friendly response with no mention of what happened before. Just that I never not wanted to talk and if that's something she's like I'd be happy to and to give my best to everyone. That was almost 2 weeks ago and she hasn't responded.

So now I am left to wonder if she even got it, if she didn't actually expect me to respond, if she's changed her mind or if she really was just trying to appease her guilt and by my not bringing it up thinks all is "good" with what they did. It's not good, not in the least but I didn't think it was approperiate to say that in the 1st communication in 5+ months. I don't know what kind of relationship I want, if any, with them after how they treated me. But I always just wanted the option. I wanted to be able to have a heart-to-heart with her and just say that she really hurt my feelings with hopes that we could move on from there and be a part of each others lives in some way. To be able to check in and it be civil. They are my only true connection to him and I miss that. I want to be able to help each other through this. That feels valid to me but I don't think I will ever get that.

It just bothers me that they keep putting me in these situations, where I am left to decide if I should be the bigger person and then when I am, I am still the one left with nothing but hurt feelings.

I really just wish that if she didn't actually want to talk to me that she had just left me alone.

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I'm sorry that she/they continue to be such flaming (insert nasty word here). I must disagree that you're left with nothing but hurt feelings, though. I think you're left with your dignity and your integrity and knowledge that you're well above their pettiness, childishness, and general idiocy. I know, that may not seem like much when you're hurting and wanting that connection back to him, but I think it is extremely important not just to have but to remember and give yourself credit for. And I never knew him but I'd bet that your boyfriend would be quite proud of you. Hold on, you can weather this. And while I agree it seems a remote possibility at this point, who knows, maybe at least one of them will come around.

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I agree with Widower2. You can be proud of yourself. You behaved like an adult here, and well done you for that. And for the future, who knows....nothing in this world is certain, as we all know.

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