Please help me understand my feelings

satine_gwFebruary 23, 2009

Hi all. This might be a bit confusing because Im not clear myself what Im feeling. I joined a bereavement group 8 years ago after the death of my husband. In the years following a core group of about 5 of us have become almost like a family. There were 4 ladies and one man who became very close. About 3 years ago one of the ladies married an old friend who joined our group (no longer a bereavement group just a group of friends). We have cruised together, cried together, laughed, celebrated holidays etc etc. Saturday night after having dinner out and coming back to my house for dessert the man original to our group announced that he and one of the ladies is now a couple. After talking to her the next day I learned they are having papers drawn up to separate assets, told their families and are planning on moving in together. We had absolutely no idea this was happening and I feel so many emotions. I hate to admit to feeling jealous, deceived and a bit scared. As I said these people are my support group, my friends who I have shared my most horrible thoughts and fears with. I am asking myself if maybe I had feelings for this man that I was unaware of-I can't stop crying. I know part of it is the dynamics of this group has changed forever from a group to two couples and two widowed females.

I am enormously happy for anyone who finds someone to love and finds love in return so Im so confused about my feelings. I talk to this lady and this man at least once a week and he and I have gone to dinner almost weekly for several years either with the others or if they aren't available we go alone. Not once did either of them give any indication of their feelings and I and the others in the group (including the other couple) are feeling a little duped. Help me understand. Satine

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Nothing wrong in your feelings Satine. You may have been attracted - as a close friend or hoping for romatic possibilities. Either way, the fact that this was just dumped in everyone's lap is pretty raw. Not sure why they did that, but you might ask - in a nice way. Maybe they will include everyone in their planning and celebration and in doing that, explain the details of the secrecy. The other thought - you have lost someone that you can no longer have small-talk with, or one-on-one dinners, even though they may have been platonic. You know what I'm going through with my friend. It ended in much the same manner. I feel pretty bummed about it. Reason - I resisted him for so long, and now he's proven I was right; he has made me feel like an old shoe or yesterday's trash; I'm embarrasing myself with trying to find out why; realy feeling stupid. Some of these could be reasons for you, especially the dumping part, or the feeling stupid part. But they each could have promised each other to keep the keep the secrect. If I were you, I would ask her what happened, but as I said, in a nice way. I would not ask him. He, she, or both might sense jealousy. If she tells you something in confidence, keep it between the two of you.

I hope you can get through this pretty quickly. This is somewhat like rejection and that is hard for anyone - and more so for a group that has been a support system started from a loss. But just be happy for them, and try to move on. If the group stays together that might be a good thing. Maybe others would like to join. But, whatever you do, don't outcast them.

Hugs to ya!!


    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 8:16PM
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Your feelings seem relatively normal to me.

It's understandable that you feel deceived, but it was probably the right choice for them to keep it circumspect, for at least two reasons I can think of off the top of my head. One is that it's normal to talk about a new relationship with your friends, to express both the good and the bad, how wonderful x is but how y gives you doubts, etc etc. When your close friends are also his close friends, though, that makes that kind of discussion somewhat inappropriate, as well as puts the friends in the middle of a new relationship and potentially in a spot of competing loyalties. The second reason is what if you'd all known all along and then the relationship didn't work out. That would definitely damage your group dynamics and put everyone else's competing loyalties into play. By keeping it silent, if it hadn't worked out they could have handled their own post-relationship fallout without dragging the rest of you into it.

As for the jealousy, you can certainly feel jealous without having romantic feelings for the man. I have a very close friend, we have degrees in the same field, originally met at work and became friends and roommates. At one point, we were living together with our dogs (we each had one), working together, socializing together, heck we were practically living the same life. She met and began dating her now-husband during this time. When she got married, I absolutely had a little fit of jealousy and self-pity, which has never really happened for any of my other friends. It's not that I wanted her specific husband (although he is a very nice man), but I would have liked the kind of relationship they have for myself. And because our lives were just so similar, the unfair randomness of it all (why her and not me? NOT FAIR!) just happened to hit a lot harder and was so much more obvious than it ever has when other friends living much more different lives than me have their own little life joys and successes. In your case, since you are all part of the same group, met together, grieved together, became friends together, socialize together, it seems likely that this same kind of dynamic has hit you; even if you don't want this specific man, you all are sort of equal participants in this group friendship and isn't it just so random and unfair that out of it, she (or they) finds love and you don't?

Plus, the group dynamic will change and that is a loss, so on top of feeling possibly deceived and possibly envious, you also get to feel loss/sadness/grief for that part of it too.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 9:46AM
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Quirk and Gneegirl, how did you get so smart? I think you both understood what I couldn't. This is a loss for me and even though there were no romantic feelings between me and the man involved I guess I do wonder why her and not me. I have thought of little else since they "came out" and am wondering if this might be a blessing in disguise. I know this will take some getting use to but maybe it will force me out of what has become a comfortable spot for me. I have told myself for the last year or two that seeing only these friends and working is just not enough and that I should seek out additional friends and interests. I may now be forced to do that since the dynamics of this group is going to be very different and just not comfortable for me. I want to thank you both for your insight. It will still be very difficult for me but you have helped me understand why I am feeling so badly about this. I sure wish I could afford a life coach! Satine

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 11:29AM
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Hi quirk - your post was amazing. I read a lot of what I wanted to say, but it was so eloquent and to the point. Kudos for that.

Satine - now that is the attitude and reaction I was hoping to hear. This is probably not closing your book, but just the addition of a new chapter - and you can write it, too! Best wishes on this.


    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 5:18PM
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Good morning. I just read gneegirls last response and reread quirk's. Hearing those words of encouragement is so helpful. This has come at such a bad time. The anniversary of my husband's death is Feb 27. His loss was sudden, unexpected and of course devestating. I also lost my dear brother 2 years ago in February. My daughter's birthday is February 28 and she turned 12 the day after her dad died. They were together on a school trip when he had a massive heart attack and they were unable to revive him. Just like this new loss it was without warning or time to prepare. It just floods back and overwhelms me. Thank you for your words of encouragement because I certainly can use them. Satine

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 8:31AM
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gneegirl; thank you, that's so nice of you.

Satine; try not to jump to conclusions at this point about how your friendships will change. They surely will, but how much and in what way may not be as drastic as you are inclined to think right now. After all, they have already been a couple for (some unknown amount of time now?) while maintaining existing friendships. You can talk to one or both about any fears you might have of losing your friends and see what they have to say. I would give it a couple days before bringing it up so you have a chance to wrap your mind around the whole situation and so that your feelings are not quite so new and raw, but they probably expect at the least some questions and maybe hurt feelings as to why all the secrecy.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 11:03AM
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ur welcome quirk!

Tough month for you Satine...mine is Memorial Day weekend. My Step-Dad, in 86 (I think), on the Saturday of the long weekend; my Mom on the date he was burried 6yrs later; and my DD on the 31st, but 2 yrs later. She was buried on the date my mom died. My very, very close friend had a stroke the Tuesday before the holiday - 4 years ago. While at the cemetary, for my DD's burial, I was showing the pastor the other gravesites, and he looked at me and said, "we need to talk about this-there is something here". I was in Myrtle Beach on Memorial Day VAC when my Mom was hospitalized, and also the night of my DD's car accident. Needless to say, I haven't been back to MB!!

I have to say, take a deep breath and let this rest a bit. I know it's difficult, but ya know, although it feels like rejection or betrayal, things like this happen every day, in some form or fashion. As you have learned through your DH's passing, the days continue and you gather strength as each one passes. Grief happens from things such as this, and also from death. It's a process that you unfortunately have to experience, no matter the situation:divorce/separation; death; job loss; home loss; death - you name it. Maybe you could have a dinner or light party at your home that includes everyone. You will have control of the situation - your turf, which might might help to releive some of the anxiety. I'm sure they would appreciate that small gesture, not knowing what it really means. I'm sure it could be fun. Just a thought...

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 7:45PM
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Good morning. Well, I have talked to both of the friends involved and am feeling a little better. I got an email from the male friend expressing hope that we can continue to be friends, card playing partners and dinner partners. I know that things will work out and I thank you for validating my feelings and helping me see the reasons for them.
Gneegirl, Im sorry you experienced so many losses and in such a strange pattern. It does make you wonder about the timing etc. If you are able and comfortable could you share a bit of information about the loss of your daughter. I don't believe I know the circumstances. Satine

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 8:38AM
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Satine -

Thanks so much for your thoughts. I'm happy you had a chance to talk to your friends. That's a great big hug for sure. Just be sure that the male friend won't try to burn the candle at both ends - if you know what I mean. Also, make sure you don't get sucked into that as well. Go ahead and enjoy the new relationships though - sound like loads of fun still to be had.

RE my daughter - she was a passenger (in my car!!!!!, believe it or not, but I'm not going there!!!). The idiot driving wasn't familiar with the narrow back roads in D'wood and I think tried to pass someone on a 2-lane road that started winding. When he did that, he probably saw an on-coming car and slammed on the breaks. My car didn't have anti-lock breaks, and of course they locked up, and the car veered right into a HUGE tree, on the edge of the road. That tree no longer stands - they cut it down because there were several accidents there within a few weeks of each other(even 2 days later) and decided to widen the road - DUH! Even though the car veered right, and up an embankment, the wheels were tured as though the car was trying to go straight, on the road. OK, that's the accident part - as most people believe, including me. Witnesses pretty much said the same thing, but it was dark and basically, in the woods, so you never know. They were about a mile from the house.

The first responders were about a half-mile away, and a friend who knows the fire station, gave us a copy of the report (which we aren't allowed to have, BTW), so I know they were there pretty quickly. The report says w/i 4 minutes of the call, and the call was right away. They were taken by land to different hospitals because his injury was supposedly worse than Cheryl's. He has a ruptured pelvis; Cheryl, for the moment only had dislocated shoulder and leg fracture. He also was on suicide watch (friend was nurse at "his" hospital). Since Cheryl was 18, they could do stuff w/o my permission (thank goodness because again, I was in MB). She did call my sister, who went to the hospital. They joked about who was going to be the one to tell me about my car (almost paid off) being totaled - actually blown up!! My sister was an almost RN and knew some stuff when they put in a catheter and the fluid was a very slight pink. That's when they realized she had internal injuries - a nicked aorta!! They did an angiogram and then medi-flighted her to a major trauma center in DC. My sister saw the chopper land, but it was about 5-6 hours before she saw them take her into surgery - YIKES! No one said anything to my sister. I happened to call "home" to check on things and a friend told me about the accident. I knew Cheryl was a good driver and wasn't worried. BUT, why was my sister's friend answering her phone - he never does. Also, he told me to catch a flight home. Another friend paid for my plane ticket home and I went directly to the hospital. When I got there, they were wheeling her into an elevator for the 2nd surgery, and the Dr. in charge just looked at me, and shook his head - basically saying there was no hope. Good news after the 2nd surgery - they even set the fracture this time. After about a day, some friends and I were looking at her - still wouldn't wake up, and noticed her face began to change. Basically she went from OK looking except from a scratch over her eye, to a pie-faced look. To me, that meant she probably wouldn't be OK even if she survived. The next day we were called to the hospital early in the AM (DD's guidance counselor's boyfriend was a nurse at the hospital and would tell her all the details they wouldn't / couldn't tell us, which she relayed to us). When we got there they told us that she was brain-dead (sorry, don't mean to be gorry). We had to decide to turn off the machines. We told them to wait until visiting hours were over since a lot of her classmates were on the way. At 8:00 that night they shut everything down and she "went" about 45 min. later. The nurse told me that we would know if we made the right decision if that happened. Still, ya kinda never get over not knowing if you did. But, that's my long story about my DD, the bicentenneial baby - 10 lbs, born on the first holiday of '76, and died on Memorial Day - 18 yrs later.

Hopefully everyone understands the detail here. I'm OK with it - believe me. We all just question her care when they transferred her. The Dr. at the 1st hospital was SHOCKED that she didn't pull through. He told me that if he had any idea that things would have ended this way, he would have done the surgery there. He just didn't want anything to happen and they not have the truama experience to handle it. The 2nd hospital handles lots of gunshot traumas and he thougth they would beter equipped if anything went wrong. Ya never know. It was good she lived long enough for us to see her alive. Dr. said only 10% with that injury make it to the hospital; only 1% make it after that. I just believe in Malichi 3:17 - she is now a jewel in God's crown (the gathering of the jewels).

The driver - he has a permanent injury/limp. I met someone three years after the accident that knows him well. She said he was still sufering from Cheryl's death. That did give me some closure because we never knew him - won't go into that either! BUT, DD was a good kid, and unfortunately, things happen. He had an alchohol problem but was very different and respectable when he wasn't drinkng. So...

One thing - WEAR YOUR SEATBELTS! She wasn't, although we had JUST had that conversation the day before. Dr. said DD's injury was typical in accidens w/o seat belts - blunt force trauma.

Enough of me - but there is a message for everyone here. Have faith, and you can get through anything!! I'm not Bible-toting, but know that without that faith, I coulnd't have gotten through it - even now. Thanks for listening!

Wishing all of you well - sunny side up :)

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 9:47PM
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Gneegirl, so sorry about your loss. I appreciate your sharing it with me and hope I was not too forward in asking you the circumstances. You have to be a strong person to get through such a terrible time. As far as the young man involved it could be that your daughter saw the good in him. My daughter seems to bring home alot of "mongrels" but it is because she has a good heart and wants to help and be friends with the underdogs. It could be your daughter felt that by being his friend she could help him. I hope Im explaining this so that you can understand. I hope your job is going well and that you and your friend work things out. Satine

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 3:44PM
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Satine, please - no worries about your question. I often ask what I am supposed to do/say after having gone through something like this. I watch so many people become advocates for a cause that was influenced by some tragedy such as mine, and even worse. But I have only found that my story and my strength may help the next person. I worried that I might offend someone with the details, but honestly as I wrote, the story began to unravel as though it was yesterday. Thank Goodness it was not, because I NEVER want to have to experience that pain again. But really, it was as though I was writing a novel that someone would read and know the spirit of its intent - educating in some way. Learning how to strenthen your own ability to cope; knowing that life ain't fair, but you can live through it; going through your trials with love in your heart, no matter what. If I can help a friend along the way, I know I'm better for it. So, thank you for your wonderful thoughts. I truly appreciate the comments about my daughter. You happened to hit the nail right on the head. She was such a dynamic person and the world was her oyster. It was good to hear someone say that about her - opened my eyes for sure.

OK, enough of the mushy stuff. How are you doing with your situation? Are you guys partying yet?

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 9:50PM
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Gneegirl, Thank you again for sharing your story. Going through such a tragic event makes us stronger and you are kind for wanting to help others see that.
I have talked to both of my friends-in fact the man involved called me Sunday evening and we had a nice chat. I am trying to not say anything that might sound judgemental or to allow the hurt I was/am feeling show through. I truly am happy for anyone who finds someone to care deeply about and to have that feeling returned. It is what makes life worth living. It will be an adjustment and Im sure that there will be some changes in the group dynamics but even if things change now I know I have been very fortunate to have had these kind people in my life. I do have to force myself out of my comfort zone and create some new opportunities for myself.
Hope your job is going well and that things have settled for you and your friend. Take care. Satine

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 8:42AM
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Satine - sounds like things are settling for you with your friends. Glad to hear that. Yep, maybe it's time to stretch out. But that doesn't mean you can't hold on to what you've got. It's great that all of you have maintained your friendships. I'm sure with new friends, that circle will grow.


    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 11:47PM
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