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We're friends, not doctors, financial or legal professionals, and we're not "grief experts." But we are here, and we've been "there."

Do you sometimes feel like most people here had perfect relationships, and you didn't? Do you think sometimes grieving people put their late loved ones on pedestals or "forget" the hard times? Maybe difficulties strengthened your bond over time. Maybe you compromised too much. Maybe you had mixed feelings when they died. (Maybe you did a jig. :-) )

Has your perspective on your relationship changed since your loss?

Every relationship has its issues, but I'll bet whatever yours were, you're not alone!

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         I do believe that when someone you love dies most people do tend to look at them through rose colored glasses. Not so much that they were perfect it's just you tend to only remember the good times.

        As for myself my husband wasn't perfect and neither was our relationship, I don't think anyone could say that. But what I can say is my husband was a kind, caring, loving, selfless person. With the exceptions of some disagreements about the kids we really didn't have anything else to disagree about. We didn't fight, we didn't drink, we never yelled or raised a hand at each other. and when he would go out of town for work I missed him then and would sleep in his shirts until he came home. I loved him with every part of me and in his last month of life I found out he was talking to friends behind my back making sure they would help me and take care of me when he was gone. So I think that's about as close to perfect as i will ever get.( Yes he was a man and could be a little shit sometimes, but he was my little shit! ) lol

Lovely reply.

Relationships can be complex. As far as disagreements go, I for one do not think they are a bad thing. It helps us to gain insight and balance--one huge thing I miss about my husband is the male viewpoint. I could enjoy "debating" things with him and unless one or the other felt strongly, we could work it out. As long as we don't hold grudges or insist everything has to be our way, we can grow.

I think what this subject is really about is unresolved issues and not that much about perfection. Those things present a problem. I would have to believe that there was always hope things would get better or resolved but time didn't allow for that. There was still love and hope. That doesn't exactly make a happy marriage but no one here can change any of that now.
I think that in reality, we all have regrets of some sort. We can regret our actions or words or even those of our spouse and maybe in a way, we can learn something by it. Feeling guilty or sad about not having a perfect marriage is something we need not hold inside feeling others may be judgemental is not a good or productive and may interfere the ability to heal. It is OK to have these feelings but try not to be so hard on yourself--we are human and that means we are not perfect, any of us.

I think that sometimes you try to 'create' what you want or need.....I use to say I wanted the "Walton's family".  Lesson learned--there is NO Walton's!!  Both of us coming out of dysfunctional families didn't help--------I think we loved each other at 16 yo because we were so loved starved in our childhoods & wanted to get out of there........we had something to prove to the world--our families?? who knows--------we have 3 daughters----2 businesses (1 now) and a beautiful house that we literally sacrificed our 'married time' on and then some......many regrets--------what I didn't see was that although my husband was not into drugs or alcohol---he was the adult child of an alcoholic and very perfectionist---he was a work a-holic -----there was a lot of yelling-----esp. during times of stress---which was brought on my the house projects----and the kids------different levels of education etc------we did love each other---and I believe looking back that I was married to the 'vow' and this crazy idea of creating the "Walton's" and it just shouldn't be that much WORK! I played referee all the time to keep the peace and walked around on egg shells w/him and the girls-------when you are in it--you don't 'see it'.  I am NOT perfect--------but somehow this house turned into my husband's mistress and he felt he was in some type of competition w/me work wise and in earnings---the guy was a genius and gifted builder---just never owned it-------it felt more and more like a-business agreement----not a marriage--it was always--'next year we will do XYZ" ---and then our time was spent working and building on this house.........I say house NOT home-----he also liked 'things / toys' -------meanwhile I worried about college and retirement funds........I'm tired out from the marriage dynamic------it affected me on all levels---I miss him and love him....but you can't live on 'bread crumbs'...just enough time together or promises of 'next year' to stay in it......we both made mistakes......hind site is at least 20/30 ---------  I have lots of work in this grief process---esp. because his was a suicide------not easy and feel ripped off--angry and sad!   I have strengthened my faith and I know he is with me always----he is part of who I am now------all I can do is carry on and live.  Peace to all.

(((hugs))) Donna

I listen to a lot of these stories and wonder if their spouses has a brother and is he available?  I do not believe that anyones marriage can be perfect.  We as people are not perfect.  I married a man opposite of my father.  My father was steadfast and true to the core.  My husband was a fly by the seat of your pants kind of guy.  He never thought or prepared for the future which shouldn't have surprised me as he was the all time best procrastinator in the world.  He also avoided anything that he deemed unpleasant.  Which meant no arguments, but also no communication between us.  Til the day he died, he didnt think his stage 4 lung cancer, that had spread to his bones, his liver and his brain would kill him.  Because of his inabiliity to look beyond the next day, I became the control freak.  The responsible one, the grownup, the taskmaster, in all ways I actually became my father.  Yeah, the person I was trying to get away from.  I loved my husband and he loved me, but since he died I have taken a little bit of myself back and became a little (a lot) more carefree.  Would I have changed anything about my marriage?  You betcha.  Would I have changed the love that we shared.  Not a chance!

love the honesty!

Our marriage was far from perfect, but that's what made us perfect for each other. My husband struggled with substance abuse for years and years. I literally pulled him out of some godforsaken places when we were younger at the beginning of our marriage, watched him hit is "rock bottom" more than once, went to AlAnon and NarAnon myself to try to understead his disease. We made it through all that, and he up and dies in his sleep years later. Go figure. After he died, what I realized, dammit, is that I truly did still love him through those crappy times. I don't think you can go through hell, come out the other side still together, and not have a stronger bond to each other. Not saying that we loved each other more then others loved their spouses, I don't think anyone can say that. I just know that we survived some hellacious times together and after that I didn't think anything could break us up, figured we'd grow old together and sit on the porch in our rocking chairs holding hands and saying "Whoa, baby, it was a helluva ride but we got through it together." What has changed after he died, is I realized how deeply he was embedded in my soul. How much he knew me and how much I knew him. Hard to wrap my head around the fact that I could ever feel that about someone else and so definitely don't want to go there right now! "Soul Mate" does not necessarily mean "Perfect Mate." Nope, my husband may have not been a "perfect mate" but he WAS my "soul mate."

I think 'soul mates' described how we felt about each other too. There were things in our pasts that affected how we could be together, and they worked against our "true" happiness, but we were steadfast and supported and defended each other till the end. Keith was surprised when the doctors finally said there was no more they could do, and that it was time to go home. All his life he had worked against adversity with a steady pull on the harness, and it served him well. I do regret not being able to get him to discuss our problems (his parents fought about his dad's terrible drunkenness, so he eqauted discussions with fruitless arguing) but I did what I could. That's all we can do, be the best we can be against the adversities. Keith was a kind and thoughtful friend and family man, and he was loyal and supportive, a good human being. I hope that can be said about me when my life is over.

I totally relate to this. I was not with Carl for decades of marriage, but I met him when he was coming out of very dark times and we were young and made a lot of mistakes, however working through the mistakes and coming out clean and honest to each other about everything made us think nothing would break us. The last night I saw him we had a talk about how we had let each other down sometimes and I said "I want to be better for you" and he said "I do too, I really do."

Awesome words and so true Kim.  Jim and I were soul mates but we were not perfect mates.  We were so totally opposite of each other.  He was the out going friendly one where as I was and still am the quite reseved person.  He made freinds where ever he went and I didn't.

I hear what you are saying and so understand.  Sending lots of hugs your way sweet lady for both you and TJ.

Love ya both.

You could be talking about me and mine.  When it was good it was very very good, and when it was bad it was horrid.  Like you, I pulled my husband out from some terrible times and of course I don't miss those moments, but I miss the man I fell in love with.  The man who would give you the shirt off his back, who loved me and our daughter more than anyone, who was a hopeless romantic, a terrible spendthrift, and a sports mad fan who also loved classical music and art museums.  I am happy that I am not mad at him for dying any more, but sad that he isn't here to laugh at my silly dance to the Vince Guaraldi music in A Charlie Brown Christmas - I miss our in jokes and just having someone in my life who gets me and shares my politics, my desires, and understands my British humour. 

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