Tremendous Feelings of Guilt...

vinsanity0

Active member
Have any of you ever felt guilty because you were spending time with one partner while something bad was happening to another partner?

It's been awhile since I've posted anything here. Cat, my partner for 22 years passed away recently. I'll blog about that when I feel up to it, but right now I can't get past these feelings of guilt that keep creeping up on me.

These feeling stem from couple of things. One, I travel a lot for work. It turns out she had cancer for the last couple years and didn't know it. I can't help but think if I had been home more I could have seen it/something progressing and insisted she see a doctor instead of trying to treat herself. Two, I visited MK in Chicago recently. It wasn't really a planned visit, but I did sort of arrange my trip so I had more of a chance to see her rather than go home to Florida. Cat was sick at the time, but didn't think it was anything serious. I feel I should have been there for her. I also feel like I missed out on some more time with Cat.

I also feel guilty because I think MK will want us to get closer. How can I tell her I will never see her in the same light as I did Cat? It may sound strange but Cat was my whole world. She was my anchor partner in every sense of the word. None of my other partners really come close to what we had. Am I being fair to hold off on things with everybody? They are all being very caring, but I don't feel like I can talk about my feelings without making them feel like "also-rans" or something.
 

GreenAcres

New member
*hugs* I am so, so sorry for your loss, vinsanity. My heart and thoughts are with you.

Hon, right now, you do not owe your other partners anything in the way of explanation of what Cat means to you.

Take a step back, and allow yourself to heal. It's easy to second-guess yourself, but you cannot do that. Do not go down that spiral. Life is full of "what-ifs," but you had no way of knowing Cat had cancer, love. You did nothing wrong. There will always be "I could have done this differently," but most of it is survivor's guilt, and not a reasonable response. One cannot stay home for every illness throughout a partner's life, for example. You were together for 22 years, clearly you were a wonderful partner, and you and Cat had a deep and wonderful relationship. Love that, and let the rest go.

Right now, heal. Your other partners should be supporting you, helping you through your loss. Do not try and compare what you feel for Cat to anyone else, there is no need. Your other relationships do not need that comparison, the are what they are, as they have always been. They don't need to be relative to what you had with Cat, and that is a road that you shouldn't walk down. Love her for who she was in life, for what you had, and let others love you and love them for what they bring.

I am sure your other partners understand that you need time and support through this. Now is not the time for them to pressure you about anything, and don't pressure yourself. Blog if you want, or don't if you don't. Whatever you need. We are here.
 

Dagferi

Well-known member
All I can offer is virtual hugs.

Cat was Cat there will only be one Cat. Take time to mourn.

You will be in my thoughts.
 

YouAreHere

Well-known member
Hugs, Vin...

Please allow yourself time to heal. You don't have to tell MK anything right now, and I'm sure she (and everyone else) will understand if you need to take time to grieve. It's okay - and it's healthier for you - to do that. It's even okay to let everyone else take care of you. It's okay to lean on people for a while.
 

vinsanity0

Active member
Thanks, I really needed to hear this stuff. It does feel like MK is pressuring me. She seems very insecure. It's like she doesn't understand that I need time for myself. She acts hurt if I don't contact her every day. She still sends me flirty messages. I really don't need that right now. I talked to her about it. She says no pressure but the underlying message is "no pressure, I know we will live happily ever after." I think she is still in NRE and I crashed out of that rather quickly because of what happened with Cat. I feel I need to distance myself because I am very vulnerable right now. I don't want to run toward something that I think would probably not work in the long run...or maybe it could work and I just can't see that right now.

Mary has been very supportive. She is totally there for me as a friend. I can talk to her without her feeling like I am comparing them.

Sprite has been supportive as well. She has always given me the space I need.

Elle has kept her distance as well. She knows me well enough to know I need it.
 

nycindie

Active member
Vin, my condolences for your loss. It's a tough thing to need space to grieve when someone in your life doesn't quite understand nor fully empathize. I am sure that, if you keep on expressing what you need, and take the time you need, the message will get through. Don't push yourself beyond what is comfortable, for now. You need to mourn, and you need to be around people who can give you room to do that.

I do hope you can find a way to let go of the guilt feelings. You couldn't have known how sick Cat was. I'm sure she would never want you to feel like anything was your fault. She didn't know how sick she was either. Try just to focus on remembering all the good things you had together. When you wrote here that Cat was your whole world, and your anchor partner in every sense of the word, I could feel the depth of love, caring, and respect you two had for each other. Hold onto that.

(((((HUGS)))))
 

KC43

New member
So sorry for your loss, Vin.

You do not owe MK anything. She needs to respect that you just lost someone very important to you, and you need time to grieve and heal.

Take care of yourself, and do what you can to work through how you're feeling about not being there more for Cat. You can "what if" forever, but it won't change anything...letting go of the what ifs is part of the healing process.
 

Magdlyn

Moderator
Staff member
I am very sorry for your loss, Vin.

My bf just had a close family member die... 7 weeks ago now, and he has been very distant. It's hard on me, but I understand and am trying to be patient. You might need to be upfront with MK, like my bf was with me, and tell her outright to give you space.
 

AutumnLeaves

New member
I'm so sorry to hear this. I was wondering how you were last week (or maybe a little longer ago) because it had been a while since you updated.

I don't really feel qualified to speak to losing a partner. But I can say that dwelling on what you think you could have done is not logical. If she didn't know, you couldn't have known, period. It doesn't matter how much time you would have spent there. Cancer is just insidious like that. And you couldn't have known it was so serious. We just can't know everything. I'm sure the time, love, and support you had for 22 years made a lot more impact than one trip when you didn't know she was ill.

And I can also say that MK has no right to expect a larger role in your life than she has. No one becomes entitled to more time/energy/whatever just because another partner is gone. I don't think she would want to "replace" anyone, but it's possible she is hoping you'll have more time, especially if she's still deep in NRE. She has no right to that, now or ever, and if she's pressuring you accidentally or in purpose, you have a right to protect yourself.

You said that you already talked to her about it. But I want to offer up that maybe you should send her the things you wrote here, about how you feel pressured etc, and if she doesn't stop, maybe it's a good time to take a break. Normally I'd say set boundaries, but I can totally unstand how maybe you don't have enough energy for setting and policing boundaries right now. There is nothing wrong with distancing yourself from her if that's what you need.

Anyway, take care of yourself. The guilt is normal, but that doesn't make the reasons you feel guilty valid.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hi Vince, I am very sorry about your loss. My wife passed away about three years ago from Alzheimer's, and I always feel guilty for taking her for granted when she was still alive. I felt guilty for having a new partner after my wife became unable to have that kind of relationship.

Based on that experience, I would just encourage you to try not to dwell on the things that make you feel guilty. Life is too short, we don't know if we have a tomorrow. Make the most of whatever life you have. Don't let it be wasted on guilt; Cat wouldn't want you to.

With MK, I guess you'll have to get increasingly assertive about the space that you need. At some point I figure she'll get it. Later on, you might need to address the possibility that she wants more in your future than you want in hers. But now is not the time to burden yourself with that. You just need to grieve in your own way. And it takes as long as it takes.

Hang in there buddy,
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 

sdguitarguy

New member
Give yourself time

Give yourself time. It will happen in the time that it takes.

My wife passed away in 2009 after a long illness. No matter what you do, it will be too fast for some people and too slow for others. Some people will tell you that you're doing it wrong. You don't need to explain yourself to anyone.

I would recommend some type of grief therapy whether it's private or a group where you can talk with other people who have gone through this.
 

Ravenscroft

Banned
I spent the weekend at a sort of "extended family" gathering that's been going on for many years. Sunday night, I sat up waaaay too late talking with my brother & a mutual friend, both widowed a few years ago. It was enlightening.

Though they're both monogamous, the guilt feelings came up -- touring with the band, or long days at work, or fishing trips, or just sitting around the house doing nothing in particular but (in hindsight) wasting precious time. They give each other healing, & strength, by being able to speak to someone who knows what they mean. I love 'em both more for being trusted to witness this.

I hope that you'll be able to reach out directly to others here who have experienced such loss. Maybe keeping it out of the public eye will make it easier for you to ask the questions you need to ask (if only to express those doubts without judgment).
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I am so sorry for your loss. :(

It turns out she had cancer for the last couple years and didn't know it. I can't help but think if I had been home more I could have seen it/something progressing and insisted she see a doctor instead of trying to treat herself. Two, I visited MK in Chicago recently. It wasn't really a planned visit, but I did sort of arrange my trip so I had more of a chance to see her rather than go home to Florida. Cat was sick at the time, but didn't think it was anything serious. I feel I should have been there for her. I also feel like I missed out on some more time with Cat.

All that to me sounds like grief and survivor guilt. It's normal to feel and go through. Maybe you could look into grief counseling so you have extra support while you are going through it?

I also feel guilty because I think MK will want us to get closer. How can I tell her I will never see her in the same light as I did Cat?

Don't jump the gun. She's not actually asking. So don't spend energy "pre-worrying" things that may or may not happen. Grief takes a lot out of a person. Conserve your energy.

If she does ask to get closer? You can say "I'm sorry. I'm not up for that at this time. Dealing with one big change, don't want to pile more on right now."

Or if you already know MK is not a partner you want to intensify with already? Be up front about that. "I like you and I like how things are. I don't want more than that here. This is all I ever want here. If you want something more intense, it has to be with a partner that is not me" so MK has full info.

You can be honest about where you are at, without comparing your partners.

It may sound strange but Cat was my whole world. She was my anchor partner in every sense of the word. None of my other partners really come close to what we had. Am I being fair to hold off on things with everybody? They are all being very caring, but I don't feel like I can talk about my feelings without making them feel like "also-rans" or something.

Yes. You are being fair when you take a time out to collect yourself. It is fair when you meet your needs first so you are running on a full tank before trying to help other people with their stuff.

It fair because other people can be doing the same thing -- they can meet their own needs first, before helping others. Everyone puts their own oxygen mask on first. Then nobody is burning out, spread too thin, or gasping for air.

You are GRIEVING a major life partner's passing. It is ok to be up front and honest about that and say "Other partners, I am grateful and appreciate your support at this time as I deal with grief and a big change in my life. Please understand that I am not up for adding MORE changes in my life at this time" if they start asking about growing closer or whatever.

Intensifying a relationship or not -- you do have a voice in that and when that happens or not. It isn't like a car accident or some other unexpected/unplanned thing that just gets foisted on you.

It's totally ok to take the TIME OUT you need to heal. Report your emotional weather, and articulate what it is your need at this point in time without worrying about how other people will take that or what may happen later on at the next point in time. Just deal in the present. You do YOUR end of the job and communicate.

How people choose to receive messages --- that is THEIR end of the job.

Again, I'm very sorry for your loss.

Galagirl
 
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opalescent

Active member
I'm so sorry.

Loss seems worse sometimes when we don't see it coming. Try not to get bogged in the regrets and 'what ifs' - I know that is not easy at all. Both of you - Cat and yourself - did the best you could with what you knew at the time.
 

vinsanity0

Active member
Thanks again for all these responses. I'm just going to address some things randomly.

The guilt is real. I'm not just feeling guilty. I am guilty. But I'll use that to improve myself. Too late for Cat, but hopefully I will become a better person. I think Cat would appreciate that.

I will be looking into bereavement groups. I'm going to ask my Mom if that helped her when my Dad died. When he died, Cat was my support system. Now I don't have much of one here in Florida.



I'll write more about MK in my blog.
 
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