Why is my friend still grieving over her brother’s divorce and remarriage? 38



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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?

Guest Contributor

  1. I still have regular contact with an ex sister in-law. She is the mother of my nephews and a great person

  2. I haven’t experienced the sister in law loss,as mine is a cousin so we remain close anyway,but I know that when my children have divorced,I seriously missed and grieved the loss of my daughter in law who had become like a daughter to me and is the mother of my beautiful grandchild. We have finally come together again and it feels so good. So I do understand how those friends felt. You can never tell when emotions may overflow,and maybe it wasn’t appropriate to compare,but you are right,the feeling of grief when someone just disappears out of your life,is as intense as if they’d died.So in a strange way the wedding turned out to be a wake for the friends,and hopefully resolved some emotions that had never been dealt with.

  3. There’s a time and a place for everything …that was not the place …unless the bride was comfortable with the remark

    2 REPLY
    • Emotions might be triggered unexpectedly, but it is still extremely inappropriate to behave this way. This was a day to celebrate love and happiness, not to wallow in misery

  4. I feel the same. However in our case, my brother treated our sister-in-law badly, we all had embraced her to the degree that we never let her go.
    Once family, always family.
    We were prepared to be accepting of his later wives but they kept their distance from us, mainly because of distance and their total dislike of him after their divorces.
    I have never met my nephew as a result.

    1 REPLY
  5. How hurtful to his new wife, I think this is so wrong

    1 REPLY
    • Yes, it was extremely inappropriate to behave this way at the wedding. They might miss the ex, but this was a time to celebrate their brother’s happiness

  6. I see mine on the odd occasion or on Facebook every now and again, and that’s enough for me.

  7. I agree with you 100%. How unkind of the family. I really can’t add anything, your comments say it all. Perhaps the only thing would be perhaps the brother should know what is being said so he can make his opinion known and then just maybe they will all let it alone. I really feel for the bride.

  8. I miss my former daughter-in-law – she is the mother of two of my beloved grandchildren. She is a lovely person and I miss the friendship we had. I do have some contact with her but feel i must keep my distance out of respect for my son and of course her current husband.

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