Dear Amy: My wife and I have been together since 2010. Our marriage has never been perfect, but we have managed to stay together. We were both married before and have kids from our first marriages.
Last weekend, my wife’s ex-husband (father of her 14-year-old son) died — from an overdose, or by suicide.
Her son is taking the news well. His dad has not been in his life much, since the dad has been in prison multiple times.
My wife, however, is torn up. She has said things such as, “I can’t believe he is gone; why would he do this to us ...?” She has been crying practically nonstop.
This is taking a toll on our already challenging relationship. I feel as if she is still in love with him and is going to miss him. I feel the opposite way about my ex-wife (mother of my kids). If she died, I’d celebrate, not cry.
I can’t imagine anyone being this upset over someone they haven’t had a relationship with in 10 years. He has never paid child support, so there is no financial attachment. I can’t help feeling that maybe there was more going on between them over the years, during the time we’ve been together.
Am I wrong for thinking there is something wrong?
Amy says: Yes, there is something wrong. With you.
Perhaps your wife is crying and carrying on because she is basically begging you to notice and to talk to her about her feelings. Not for you to tell her how to feel, or expound on how you would celebrate your ex’s death (that’s nice, by the way), but to comfort her, and ask her to describe her own emotions, even if you don’t understand or share them.
Maybe she would emote a little less if you emoted a little more — or at all. Yes, she should probably dial down her emotions, while you should dial up yours.
The person you should both be paying attention to is the 14-year-old boy. Kids this age don’t express sadness or loss the way adults do. They suppress their emotions and feel anger, confusion, depression, guilt — and sometimes relief (and then guilt about their relief) when an absent and/or troubled parent is out of their life forever.
You stepson also has to deal with a mother who is grieving, weeping and feeling victimized and abandoned — and a stepfather who has decided to be judgmental and jealous.
Pay very close attention to this teenager; he needs to feel supported by the two adults in his life. Right now, he seems to have no one.
One bad apple ...
Dear Amy: I’m a young woman. “Adam” was recently hired where I work, and my general manager told me to train him.
There was immediate tension between us. Adam became extremely hostile after I corrected an action of his. He began to make derogatory statements to me and about me.
I walked away and pulled my manager aside. He told Adam that his behavior was extremely inappropriate. Adam was still rude, and the environment at work has quickly deteriorated.
I am moving and leaving this job in a few weeks, but should I still sit down with my manager and tell him what is going on and how I feel about it?
Amy says: Yes, have this talk. Do not drop the ball, just because you are leaving. Document these incidents involving “Adam” and inform your manager. One person with bad chemistry or bad behavior can quickly poison the entire work environment. Warning the manager about this employee would be your parting gift.
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