When is it okay to move on after a spouse commits suicide?

Diane - posted on 09/20/2011 ( 10 moms have responded )




My spouse committed suicide and my kids and I are doing the best we can. Our marriage had always been a bit rocky and we basically stayed together for the kids. Infact on a number of occasions he would threaten it. I did love him but we honestly were not inlove with each other any longer. I have started dating and am in a relationship that I never knew could exists. My younger son loves it but my older son struggles due to the loyalty to his father. He gets along well with my boyfriend as our families have been aquantences for many years. I know that it is different for him but how do I move on and do it comfortable. I want what is best for my kids and I know that God put this wonderful person in our lives to show us how things could be but just can't convince my oldest of this.


Sara - posted on 11/13/2011




Well -- this is coming from someone who regards the home as the place where the children grow up, and who saw the effects of her dad's bringing in a new girlfriend/wife too soon.

I understand you need companionship. However, this is your son's childhood. He won't get another. He's already traumatized by the loss of his father, and he's indicating clearly that he's not ready to have a new father figure in the house.

I'd say keep your dating private, your relationship private. Don't force your son's involvement. It may take a few years, but he'll grow up, he'll assimilate what happened to some degree, he'll recognize others' needs. But right now, he's a grieving child. I'd say respect that and keep your relationship out of the house unless the children are gone somewhere. If this is the man for you, he'll respect your decisions as a mother. Good luck, and I'm sorry.

JuLeah - posted on 09/20/2011




No you can't convince him. He doesn't want to forget his father or do anything that he feels his father might not want.

This takes time

The time you spend now waiting for all to gain comfort will pay off in the long run

So, can this man and your son spend time together? Just the two of them? Maybe if they get to know one another?

Make sure your son has some voice in this and his feelings are honored

I was the youngest and I pretended many times that I loved something I really hated because I felt my sister was kicking up enough dust, upsetting our folks, and I was making effort to smooth things over .... not saying that is what your youngest kid is doing, but what the youngest often do

If this guy is the one for you, he gets how important it is for your kids to be okay with the changes in their lives. He will be willing to do whatever it takes to make sure they are okay.

Sara - posted on 11/17/2011




Diane, the other thing to remember is that *your* emotions are running high and are likely a little overwrought right now. Suicide is a major, major event. It's like standing next to a bomb that goes off. Your perfect relationship may be perfect in part because of that.

Unless you and this man have a long history together -- I'd say something on the order of a year -- it's reasonable to expect that the relationship will fade, and that you'll find another man sometime after. I know it seems impossible now. But trust me, this sort of thing is not rare. If that's how it goes, and you're not very cautious about protecting your children, you run the risk of introducing them to -- and attaching them to -- men who come and go. That won't be good for anyone.

So again, unless you've been involved with this man for a long time, I'd say back off. Talk to your counselor about managing your needs v. theirs, and how you can satisfy your needs for a good adult relationship without bringing the children into it, at least not for a long time. Everyone needs time to recover.

One thing to keep in mind is that many counselors do follow the "happy parents mean happy children" line. While there's some wisdom in it, I see many counselors advocating parental choices that make the parents happy, but disrupt the kids' lives significantly. And if you listen to the kids, while they want their parents to be happy, they don't want it to happen at their own expense. The other phrase is "kids are resilient" -- but your son's resilience is already being tested very hard by his father's suicide, and even children's resilience has limits.

So -- things to think about. Again, I'm sorry for your loss.

Kelina - posted on 09/20/2011




First I'm so sorry for your loss. Despite how things were, it was probably tough on your kids too and you are the one who has to help them through this now. Second, how long ago did this happen and are your kids in counselling? Cause that might be a good move if it was relatively recent. But either way, maybe sitting him down and letting him know that no one will ever take the place of his dad would be a good starting place. I think that without being in your situation it's difficult to know what to do.


View replies by

Sofia - posted on 06/22/2016




Can we get an update please?
And to the poster who said her son should 'move on'. What an awful thing to say. No one just moves on.

Sal - posted on 11/13/2011




I am a great believer that a happy mum helps make happy kids... And now that you are their sole parent you have to make sure you look after your self, for your son there may never be a good time and he will grow leave home and you will be alone and missed to chance to have a very special love, if this man is a good man and hd makes you happy your son will come around over time

Barb - posted on 11/13/2011




I'm so sorry you and your families had to go through such a senseless tragedy.

My husband is my son's stepdad. And although my son's father is still alive and in his life, my husband has always told my son, "I'm not replacing your dad, consider me a coach like figure. I will help you with whatever you need and can teach you things, i will love and care for you, but i'll never be your dad, you have one."

I think it would be very important for your new boyfriend to let your son know he isn't replacing his dad, that no one can ever do that. and maybe the boyfriend can do something in memory of the boys' dad. Like plant a tree in his memory. If the new boyfriend honors their Dad, they will appreciate and respect him doing that.

Edited to add the note: The new boyfriend will have to repeat this over and over again as well as take actions towards doing it.. young people tend to forget somethings. It isn't just a "i told you once" type deal.

Diane - posted on 09/20/2011




I guess somethings that I didn't mention and should have are that we are all in counseling. I have asked my son if it would have been easier if I had started dating someone he didn't know and he quickly said no. The other day he asked to read the letter that his dad left and I gave it to him. He took it to his room. some of the details in the letter (which I had previously told my kids) were that he wanted them to be successful, that they had done nothing wrong, that he was their biggest supporter, that there were no issues between he and I but that he wanted me to find someone to make me happy. I'm not sure if my son finally wanted confirmation on this or just ready to actually read the letter.

User - posted on 09/20/2011




Sorry for you loss, I believe as parents we sometimes do not realize that kids stuggle with loss as hard as adults. Your son and other children could be in need of counseling. I know you said that you were not inlove with you spouse anymore but that didn't mean you did not care or respect him. Your are probably dealing with grief even though you have moved on. Sounds like you may need to consult with a counselor for your family.

Shara - posted on 09/20/2011




I think that if you sit him down and explain that his dad is gone and he would want him to move on and be happy. that doesnt mean that he has to forget him, he will always carry him with him at all times but that is isnt going to hurt his dad if he moves on. He has to understand that his dad wouldnt be upset. after a while time will heal and he will get used to the idea. Good luck, I wish you the best!!!

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms