Why is my friend still grieving over her brother’s divorce and remarriage?

It was meant to be a happy day for their family – my best friend’s brother had found a wonderful new partner

It was meant to be a happy day for their family – my best friend’s brother had found a wonderful new partner and they were getting married after a two-year courtship. We all attended the ceremony and it was very romantic.

Now Neil didn’t know this, but his sister and other family members were still grieving over the loss of his ex-wife from the family. But thing is – she hasn’t passed away. She’s actually healthy and in a new relationship. But talking to my friend especially, anyone would think Neil’s ex-wife had died suddenly. What had happened was that Neil and Miranda went their separate ways after 40 years together. My best friend says what hurts her the most is she and her parents and other family members never got a chance to say goodbye to her.

I was quite shocked at how inappropriate it was for the family to be talking about an ex-wife at a man’s wedding with his new wife. It was selfish and unkind, though I’m glad he was too happy dancing and socialising to notice the tears and comments. My friend was comparing the new wife with Miranda, saying Miranda and Neil had a better life together and they still loved one another. It was clear this simply wasn’t true, but it didn’t matter: I realised … they were all grieving for someone who was such a large part of their lives, five years on. The wedding just brought it all to the surface.

I wonder if the same thing will happen at Miranda’s wedding to her new partner, but I can’t be sure – though probably a few family members do look at her husband-to-be and wish it were Neil or some are probably relieved.

Personally I think life’s too short and you should just be happy about the choices your family members make, but maybe it’s more common than I realised? My own brother’s wife died many years ago and although he’s remarried, it didn’t cross my mind to compare the two. Perhaps it’s due to a lack of closure?

I’d be interested to hear what you think and anyone else’s experiences with divorce in a family. Has it changed everything and everyone?