Fast forward to last summer when Dana finally decided to leave the husband and move in with her mom. Things weren’t going well for her and I felt sorry for her. I had met her daughter, who is a sweet girl, many times, so I suggested that Matt invite her over to hang out with us, since he said she didn’t have many friends. He declined and something seemed off. He was texting back and forth with her a LOT more than usual, even when we were together, which I found rude. He started seeming more distant, and he said he was feeling like he needed more “space,” which I gave him.
The next weekend I attended his daughter’s sporting event with him and Dana was there. I soon discovered that Mark and Dana had apparently had a texting fight after we arrived because she was so upset that I was there. His daughter hugged me, his parents came and sat by me — it was obvious that there was a relationship of some sort between us, and she was furious. Mark admitted to me later that he had let her believe that I was still just a FWB. I was hurt, to say the least. He said she was so angry she wouldn’t speak to him, and suddenly things started making sense to me. I told him if he wanted to be with her to go be with her — I wasn’t willing to share. He said he didn’t want her, and we moved on. That was in September.
In November, he told me that Dana’s cancer, which had been in remission, had returned and it didn’t look good. A few weeks later, she went into a hospice. Last week she died.
I feel heartbroken for her three children. I feel bad that my boyfriend’s secrecy ruined what could have been a potential friendship between us. … And I am also so glad that she is dead. And I hate that part of me. It feels awful and ugly and jealous and bitter and hateful. I am so ashamed that I even have those feelings. Is this normal? Do you think there is anything I can do to change this? Or do I just accept that I am human and have ugly feelings sometimes? I would never voice these feelings to anyone, but it’s really making me feel bad about myself as a human being right now. I’m embarrassed to even send you this email actually. — Relieved But Guilty
First of all, yes, it is normal to have conflicting emotions and to have feelings and thoughts you know aren’t kind. As humans, we are all capable of enormous love and generosity as much as we’re capable of the “ugly” emotions you describe: jealousy, bitterness, and hate. It’s normal to feel beautiful and ugly feelings simultaneously — to feel deep sadness and regret while also feeling relief. I imagine family members of terminally sick patients might feel this way when their loved ones succumb to death — sadness over their own loss, but relief that their loved one is no longer suffering.
Of course, your relief isn’t for the release of anyone else’s pain and suffering; you’re simply grateful that you no longer have to worry about Dana posing a threat to you and your relationship. But the thing is, her death didn’t release you of that. Not really. Because she was an external force outside your relationship. She had nothing to do with you and Mark and your relationship with each other. If she was a threat, it was only because of doubts either you or Mark might have had (and maybe still do have). Those doubts — if they exist (and they must, if you feel such relief about another woman’s death) — don’t go away just because someone died.
Doubts have lives of their own and it’s our own thoughts that give them breath. If you want to kill the doubts you have, you have to change the patterns of your thoughts. The death of someone you’re jealous of won’t do that. Obviously. You have to talk to Mark. You have to share your thoughts with him. You have to let him know how much he hurt you, and how his relationship with Dana and the exclusion of you within that relationship and the secrecy made you feel disrespected and distrustful. Because it sounds like your trust was broken — or at least fractured — and someone else’s death isn’t going to heal the break. Only the two of you can create the healing your relationship needs.
You need to talk to Mark. These ugly feelings you hate having are just symptoms of a deeper hurt. They’ll probably dissipate over time, but, until you treat their real cause, true relief will continue to elude you.
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stonegypsy January 29, 2014, 9:07 am
Wonderful answer by Wendy.
It’s totally normal to think and feel horrible things sometimes. It’s good that you recognize that those are ugly thoughts. But Dana wasn’t the one causing problems in your relationship, and unless you want to spend a whole bunch of time wishing other people were dead, you need to talk to him and try to repair the trust he broke, or move on.
bethany January 29, 2014, 9:09 am
Wendy’s 2nd paragraph is dead on. No one can just “be a threat” to your relationship. One of both of you in the relationship has to allow that to happen. It sounds like you and Mark have some communication/trust issues that you have to work through. Things might be ok for a while, but those issues are unresolved, and they’re going to pop up again in the future unless you deal with them right now.
Oh, and as for if it’s normal to be glad someone’s dead… I mean, yeah, I think it can be, depending on what your relationship was with that person. If someone was a dick in life (not saying the woman in question was or not), then why would you be sad they were dead? In the LWs specific situation I’m not sure the feeling of relief/gladness is specifically warranted or ok, but in general, just because someone’s dead doesn’t mean you have to be sad about it.
jlyfsh January 29, 2014, 9:16 am
I’m guessing that it’s less glad she as a person is dead and more glad that she doesn’t have to deal with her anymore? It’s probably also connected to false hope that if she (which the LW views as the main ‘problem’) is gone then her relationship will be fine. Which yeah, obviously like Wendy said she might be gone, but the over all issues still exist. Even if it’s easier to pretend that with her gone they are too.
Addie Pray January 29, 2014, 10:03 am
Hahaha “dead on” – no pun intended, bethany?
bethany January 29, 2014, 10:26 am
I only realized it as I was typing it! I figured I’d just go with it.
ktfran January 29, 2014, 9:20 am
I kind of feel like this is a prime example of “blame the other woman, but my boyfriend/fiance/husband is quite alright because he couldn’t help it he succumbed to this woman’s powers or that another woman is crazy about him.”
I’m glad Wendy addressed the underlying problem. Because really, as much as it is a relief to not have to worry about the other woman, there was a threat to your relationship and it wasn’t entirely the other women’s fault. Most people don’t manifest feelings out of nowhere.
MMcG January 29, 2014, 10:20 am
Thank you!! I can’t like this comment enough… Mark is shady in his treatment of the LW and there is nothing to indicate that he is going to be less shady or more committed now that one person is no longer living. Dana is merely a scapegoat for the LW – and whatever relief she feels now will likely not last long with these kinds of communication and trust issues – that have developed over years and will continue to exist until she stops wondering when something is off, or dealing with such rudeness and manipulation.
A guy who has a text fight with another woman while you are in the same room, and basically lied by omission, is not someone I would necessarily trust at this point. He sounds incredibly immature… if nothing else based on the fact that you seem to know so many details about Dana’s troubled marriage which was really none of your business in the first place!
ktfran January 29, 2014, 10:29 am
Exactly! Whether intentional or not, the LW’s boyfriend was leading this person on in some way. So much so, he had to calm her when showing up at an event with his girlfriend.
Come on. Something was fishy.
Terrie Walters January 29, 2014, 9:48 am
I can’t believe the LW is glad “the other woman” is dead but is still with her BF who led the other woman to believe that she was just a FWB. There was something going on there. Not sure if it got to anything physical, but there was definitely something going on. And I’m sorry it’s not ok in my book to be glad that a person, a mother of three no less, is dead because of your own insecurities and relationship problems. It’s ok not to be sad, but glad? I’m not even sure what the LW is wanting by writing this letter. Someone to tell her it’s OK, or normal? At least she feels bad about having these feelings but she really needs some therapy to figure out why she’s so insecure and has no empathy.
jlyfsh January 29, 2014, 9:56 am
Well I think your first sentence is the LW’s problem. It’s easier to pretend like something outside of the relationship is the issue, rather than dealing with the actual issues. And she does say that she realizes these feelings are not normal and that she’s ashamed to have them and admit to them. So I don’t think she needs therapy to deal with empathy, she seems to have that.
Anonymous January 29, 2014, 10:29 am
I’m not sure she’s being empathetic just because she feels bad about her feelings. A woman is dead and three children don’t have a mother. Expressing empathy is for those losses, not for feeling bad about your own thoughts. There’s no where in her letter where she expresses empathy for the poor woman who died and only one short sentece about her children. The rest is about feeling guilty about her ugly thoughts. I still think therapy would help her in more ways than one and would recommend she reexamine her relationship with her BF.
jlyfsh January 29, 2014, 12:58 pm
Well yeah she needs to deal with her issue surrounding the bf. But, I still disagree, you can be empathetic while aknowleding you have shitty thoughts. I mean how many sentences was she supposed to dedicate to that to show she’s empathetic. I still think ‘dead’ was a bad word choice, unless she’s truly glad she’s dead and not just no longer the issue. But, honestly I think those feelings for the woman are not the problem in this letter at all. IT’s her issues within the relationship and her insecurities that are making her in to someone that she aknowledges she doesn’t want to be.
Regina Chapman January 29, 2014, 10:04 am
She does have empathy – that’s why she recognizes these feelings are bad, and is asking for people’s outside perspectives so she can get a handle on them.
I agree with you that she’s insecure, and that that insecurity probably stems from her boyfriend’s reactions to Dana, rather than just Dana’s behavior.
Lily in NYC January 29, 2014, 10:21 am
I don’t think it’s fair to demonize the LW for what is a completely normal, human reaction. If she were gloating, it would be one thing, but she wrote in because she feels awful about having these feelings.
lets_be_honest January 29, 2014, 10:32 am
So, I totally agree with everyone about him being the problem, not Dana, buttttt I do understand being “glad” (more relieved really) that someone is dead. Having bad thoughts IS normal. Realizing they are bad and feeling guilty for them is also normal. And she does feel bad – for feeling that way and for the woman’s kids. Should I go to hell for knowing I would feel relief if someone is dead? Maybe. But I would feel relief.
Addie Pray January 29, 2014, 10:04 am
jottino January 29, 2014, 10:08 am
I feel like there’s a distinct difference between “I’m glad she’s dead” and “I’m glad she’s gone.” One of those makes you feel like a bad person, and the other just makes you human. I’m really hoping that you agree with the latter, because in that case, you just need to keep the distinction in mind and stop getting so mad at yourself about it. Focus on the problems in your relationship instead of focusing internally.
And then, obviously, talk to your boyfriend! There’s really no reason for him to not be up front with everything now, and from there you can face your feelings of jealousy, or his dishonesty, or both.
Phew. Wendy is good at this.
Addie Pray January 29, 2014, 10:10 am
I agree – I am just giving the LW the benefit of the doubt that she means “I’m glad she’s gone” and not “dead.” Because yikes then I’d suggest therapy big time. Though I personally think therapy is always great if you can go, for big or small things or just for nothing but checking in.
Fabelle January 29, 2014, 10:16 am
Yeah, like jlyfsh is saying above, I think this is less “glad she’s dead”, & more “relieved she’s not in our lives anymore ohhhhwaitshit that’s ’cause she’s dead; I’m such a horrible person”? So, LW, phrasing it as being happy she died isn’t doing you any favors—you’re sort of guilt-tripping yourself. Just admit, yes, you feel more at ease in your personal life without this woman around BUT you’re sad for the reason she’s gone, & for her children. Like Wendy said, it is very human to feel these conflicting emotions simultaneously.
You do need (again, like Wendy said, & like everyone else said/will say) address the problems in your relationship that led you to feeling so threatened. Because, those problems are likely still present (just hibernating for now).
something random January 29, 2014, 10:19 am
I think Wendy was spot on when she used the word “relief” as opposed to glad. I’ve experienced both relief and sadness with death before. I think the circumstances surrounding this relief make it particularly selfish, but the lw acknowledges that. The deceased woman was obviously very burdened in her relationships and was somewhat hostile towards the lw. But the true feelings of fear and insecurity stem from the relationship her boyfriend had with the woman, not the woman herself. And that was a choice on the part of the boyfriend. So while the “relief” is there, it is most likely temporary and will not resolve the feelings of doubt about her relationship.
lets_be_honest January 29, 2014, 10:24 am
WOW. Unbelievably good answer Wendy.
katie January 29, 2014, 10:29 am
i have read anything but the title and im excited….. haha
j2 January 29, 2014, 10:30 am
I think “glad” might be correct only if LW’s feeling towards Dana had been hate.
To me, the LW’s feeling towards Dana reads nothing like that, so “relief” seems the far better description.
Lyra January 29, 2014, 10:30 am
Yeah, this is a MUCH deeper issue. I don’t think Mark’s friendship/relationship/whatever with Dana was appropriate and I think it’s easier for the LW to peg Dana as the “bad guy” instead of her boyfriend.
Love blinds us to so many things. It can be hard to face the parts of relationships that aren’t rainbows and roses. It’s tough to recognize that the person you love may not be the person you thought. It’s even harder to do something about it. Talk to Mark. Tell him what you’re feeling. How he reacts to that will really tell you a lot about him as a significant other. If he blows it off and tells you everything is fine, that’s not ok. If he listens to you and makes a conscious effort to understand what is wrong, that tells you he is at least willing to work on things in your relationship.
Kate B. January 29, 2014, 10:31 am
I think your emotions are normal. We are human beings and sometimes we do or feel things that don’t make us proud. But, for me, the real issue is Mark. He lied to Dana about the nature of your relationship, and he hid the true nature of his relationship with Dana from you. This is a guy for whom lying seems to be the way to deal with things, and that would worry me. Secrecy comes easy to him. I’d talk to him and let him know you expect total honesty from him from now on if he wants to regain your trust.
Addie Pray January 29, 2014, 10:51 am
Can we have a little tangent about death? First of all, I’m deathly afraid of death. One thing that helps me overcome my fear of death is talking and joking about death. Every time I fly, for example, I text my sisters that I love them and if I die I want them to take care of themselves and don’t be sad and I’ll remind them of my bank accounts so they can try to clear those out fast before, I dunno, the government does? (I don’t know how that works.) Then one sister who is similar to me will say, “Ok, got it, but I hope you don’t die – so try not to die!” And then our other sister who is not like us will say, “Oh for Christ’s sake, shut up you’re being silly and you’re making me uncomfortable.” Ok, that was my disclaimer about death.
So here’s my deep thought this letter reminded me of (because it’s about death) and that lucia-the-lurker (hi, lucia! i think it was lucia; lucia and all lurkers should comment more!) from the other thread reminded me (because she mentioned missing former regular commenters who don’t comment as much, e.g., RR, Zepp, Anna – Anna come tell us all your secrets!): WHAT IF FORMER COMMENTERS ARE DEAD?! We’d have no way to know! If I die, my family won’t know to notify this site, you know? And we all will die eventually; so what if some readers have already died?! We need to set up a way to both prevent death and to be notified when a commenter dies. What if Spaceboy is dead? He stopped commenting all of a sudden. TheOtherMe too. Do you think it’s possible? Now I’m scared. Do you ever wonder if commenters have died or is that just me?
jlyfsh January 29, 2014, 10:55 am
sorry AP you’re facebook friends with enough DWers that there is no way you could die and DW not know about it!
Addie Pray January 29, 2014, 11:05 am
But what about all the others who aren’t on FB? I’m really worried about commenters dying.
lets_be_honest January 29, 2014, 11:08 am
Its also kinda sad we would miss each other’s funerals. Now I’m sad. Thanks Addie.
Addie Pray January 29, 2014, 11:10 am
It’s ok I’m not having a funeral for myself. My family knows I am to be cremated and then I want them to go to a bar and drink and tell funny stories about me and then to put on their big boy pants and be healthy and smart and raise my nephews and niece to be good people.
I also told them if I die abroad they should leave my body there because holy shit transporting that stuff is expensive!
lets_be_honest January 29, 2014, 12:11 pm
So I do a lot of estate planning, and I have a client who has it in her will that she wants to be turned into coral reef after she’s dead. My favorites are the crazy ones, who leave weird messages in their will or cut people out with nasty messages. I guess that makes me mean.
Addie Pray January 29, 2014, 12:26 pm
Oh tell us more stories!!!!! Tell us the nasty messages.
lets_be_honest January 29, 2014, 12:41 pm
Hmm, I’ve had a lot of people leave a dollar and a fuck you or a you know what you did. Those are funny. Had one that said if you turn out like your sister, you get nothing (apparently that’s provable and enforceable haha, not really). One said if you are in jail, you get nothing, and he WAS in jail when I probated. The real crazies are the ones who change it every time they argue with someone. Oh, and I have one that says her new husband has to let her ex husband pick one personal item and give it to him over a restaurant meeting so they can finally get to understanding each other better, AND her boyfriend on the side gets something (one that the new husband doesn’t know about). wtf. I’ve had couples come in and give to each other, and then one come the next day and change theirs too. There’s one I’d love to quote, but really can’t.
Addie Pray January 29, 2014, 1:20 pm
that. is. awesome.
MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE
MsMisery January 30, 2014, 1:07 pm
I have already planned to have my body donated to science after I die. I suppose any remaining loved ones can have a service/dinner/party in my memory, but no wake and no funeral for this gal! Straight to the Body Woiks!
iwannatalktosampson January 29, 2014, 12:32 pm
That’s what my Dad has requested. He has friends all over the world because he has lived in so many different places so he has said he wants to be cremated and for us to take him on an international pub crawl. He’s the most inappropriate person I know. Every time he spends a significant amount of money – like takes a vacation or something – he’ll call to inform me that he’s spending my inheritance.
lets_be_honest January 29, 2014, 12:34 pm
I love your dad.
Casey January 29, 2014, 2:19 pm
I recently told my brother and sister that if I die, they need to dispose of my body as cheaply as possible, then use my money to throw a huge party! I like the international pub crawl idea, totally the way to go.
AliceInDairyland January 29, 2014, 3:51 pm
I am going to try and donate my whole self to science/medicine/learning. If for some reason they don’t take me someone can just toss my body in a hole and plant a tree over it. I probably better start writing my will now…
lets_be_honest January 29, 2014, 3:56 pm
Alice, my mom wants to donate her body to science, but asked my brother what happens if she dies in a plane crash or something (she’s never even been on a plane). My brother was like, are you seriously asking that? If your body doesn’t exist, you can’t donate it. Poor mom.
AliceInDairyland January 29, 2014, 4:03 pm
Hahaha, that’s ridiculous and kind of sad. I hadn’t thought about dying and then not having a body afterwards. Eeek, weird.
jlyfsh January 29, 2014, 11:10 am
Well there needs to be a rule. You have to be facebook friends with at least one DWer. And that DWer is responsible for letting us know if something happens.
Or since I can’t read you have to be email buddies or something. You know with at least one DWer. New rule.
Addie Pray January 29, 2014, 11:14 am
I like that rule. And then the other rule is you can’t travel with your DW buddy because if you were to die together in a plane crash or something, then we’d be screwed.
jlyfsh January 29, 2014, 11:16 am
Well you can if and only if one of the two buddies is facebook with friends with a third DWer.
Addie Pray January 29, 2014, 11:29 am
good rule. put that down in the DW bylaws. i hope someone is drafting a set of bylaws.
lets_be_honest January 29, 2014, 11:05 am
I send my family emails with instructions about what to do when I’m dead. I mailed my sister a funeral cd playlist once too. They don’t like it. I think its my job that makes me like this. I also have a safe full of little notes and advice for Lil in case I die before she’s a teenager.
bethany January 29, 2014, 12:32 pm
I wrote Dave a letter for if I die. It contains all kinds of practical stuff he’ll need to know!
something random January 29, 2014, 12:55 pm
Aw, I think the notes are really sweet. I write little notes to my boys in journals sometimes. In the back of mind I think they will be read them after I’m gone.
Diablo January 29, 2014, 11:10 am
AP, lawyer question: is your online identity an asset you could leave to someone in your will? We speak of identity theft… well, if it can be stolen, it must be worth something and therefore transferable upon your passing. I always thought that if, say, a fighter had a nickname, like “The Natural,” that when he is defeated, the victor should then be allowed to call himself “The Natural.” You know, like the Dread Pirate Roberts. So could you deed your sobriquet (I mean the word “sobriquet,” not the DW screen name) to one of your sisters, so she could carry on making a million comments a day in your name? Would that be a way of allowing continuity and a sense of closure?
Addie Pray January 29, 2014, 11:15 am
Gosh that’s a good question. I think because we’re in Wendy’s universe here, she probably owns “Addie Pray” and can do what she wants with it despite what I say in my will. Gosh what a dictator she is!
Diablo January 29, 2014, 11:20 am
NO!!! ALL CAPS!!! I AM DIABLO!!! NO ONE CAN OWN DIABLO!!! HULK SMASH!!
(Do i sound insecure?)
CatsMeow January 29, 2014, 12:08 pm
You said before that if you die, I get to be you. YOU SAID IT.
Diablo January 29, 2014, 12:16 pm
Only if you defeat me in combat.
CatsMeow January 29, 2014, 12:18 pm
Addie Pray January 29, 2014, 12:25 pm
That’s right. You can be AP. I’ll have to get you my password so you can just continue commenting for me after I die.
bethany January 29, 2014, 12:30 pm
I hope Spaceboy didn’t die!
Portia January 29, 2014, 1:15 pm
Holy crap, well now I’m afraid of death AND that the DW community wouldn’t know if I did die…
Addie Pray January 29, 2014, 1:18 pm
I know. It’s a scary world we live in.
BecBoo84 January 29, 2014, 10:59 am
Who the heck is Matt?!
Lyra January 29, 2014, 11:01 am
I think she wrote “Matt” instead of “Mark” by accident.
Diablo January 29, 2014, 11:02 am
I think a lot of people share these emotions. We know what we are supposed to do and be. We know what “proper” people should think and feel. But our personal reactions don’t always match up. Mostly, no one speaks this stuff out loud, for fear of being thought a bad person. Which you are not. Hell, i go through periods, especially when there is conflict in my family, where I congratulate myself if I manage to have anything I can label a “normal” human emotion.
starpattern January 29, 2014, 11:03 am
Aw, LW, having terrible thoughts happens to everyone. The fact that you feel guilty about it tells me that you’re a good person. It will always feel awful to have thoughts like that – but it doesn’t mean you are crazy or uncaring or bad.
I love Wendy’s advice. Hopefully when you talk to Mark, his response is positive, and you can nip this kind of secrecy in the bud. Because he kind of played you both, there at the beginning. You deserved better from your new boyfriend. And she deserved better from someone she was depending on to help her get through a tough time.
Amanda January 29, 2014, 11:24 am
Your first paragraph were my exact thoughts. This is okay.
And I do think that therapy might help the LW. Just to help sort out the feelings – especially if they’re bothering her this much. Plus, it might help her figure out a way to bring this up to Mark.
lets_be_honest January 29, 2014, 11:26 am
Hi again Amanda!
Amanda January 29, 2014, 2:56 pm
Hello! I’m trying to make a concious effort to de-lurk myself.
AliceInDairyland January 29, 2014, 3:24 pm
Amanda, chinchillas are amazing. I am a convert.
Amanda January 29, 2014, 3:37 pm
Oh, good! So the snuggling went okay? And I agree – they are amazing! I could ramble for hours about their amazing-ness. But I won’t. Because I don’t want to become the Crazy Chinchilla Lady.
AliceInDairyland January 29, 2014, 3:50 pm
Oh my gosh so good. It just snuggled in my arms and snoozed while like 3 different people listened to its heart and palpated its little jaw. There was a Crazy Chinchilla Lady there with her “boys” but I loved it because I just love people who love their animals.
Amanda January 29, 2014, 4:00 pm
Aww! Mine is much too nosy/curious to sleep when others are around.
starpattern January 29, 2014, 11:56 am
Good suggestion – that conversation will probably be much more productive if she goes in with her thoughts and feelings organized.
bittergaymark January 29, 2014, 11:15 am
Good grief, God knows everybody on here thinks I am a bitch on wheels… BUT even though I have (on rare occasion) been threatened or jealous of others while in my relationships — I’ve somehow NEVER wished any of them ever drop dead. Much less been secretly happy when they do so.
Insecure much, LW?
something random January 29, 2014, 11:31 am
Wait, didn’t you say you had fantasies about going on shitty-parent killing sprees? Or was that just some idea for a movie?
bittergaymark January 29, 2014, 12:09 pm
Maybe, but NOT petty romantic rivals.
MMcG January 29, 2014, 1:12 pm
important distinction 😉
tbrucemom January 29, 2014, 1:53 pm
Sometimes it’s scary how much I agree with you. I read Dear Wendy but don’t comment often but like to read the comments and more times than night I think you’re spot on. I think I’m going to start calling myself bitterstraightmom.
Addie Pray January 29, 2014, 3:26 pm
haha I love it!
Bittergaymark January 29, 2014, 8:24 pm
Wait! Why is there no I LOVE THIS COMMENT button?!
mainer January 29, 2014, 11:22 am
First of all, Mark is not “the real issue” here. I don’t know why all the comments are moving in that direction, he is a completely separate issue that you have to deal with and has nothing to do with your glee in the death of a person, a mother, a daughter.
Now, the issue of whether or not it is “normal” to feel glad that someone is dead, then that depends on the situation. If that person was a villain, like say bin Laden, Stalin, Hitler, Hussain, or if that person murdered your mother or threw your cat off a building, then yes you can be relieved, and maybe somewhat happy, that that person is no longer on this planet to do more harm to other people or pets. But if that person was just someone who was jealous of your relationship, or maybe even tried to make a move on your man, then to feel glad or happy that that person, that mother, someone’s daughter, died of cancer then that is not your normal, run of the mill human behavior. It’s somewhat of an overreaction, and perhaps slightly vindictive in nature. That’s not “normal.” It’s “normal” to feel indifferent, not phased, not mournful, sad, or upset. But to actually have your emotions tilt in the direction of pleasure, then you may want to talk to someone, preferably a professional. Now, you may be conflicted on what it is you are actually feeling, and perhaps are confusing indifference or a lack of sympathy as a feeling of “gladness,” so that is all the more reason to talk it out.
But, perhaps your feelings truly are what others have suggested – you are glad she is no longer in the picture or a part of you or Mark’s life. Then those feelings are normal, if the situations was something along the lines of she moved to another country. But dead? Despite all the wrong things Mark did, such as leading Dana on or lying about your true relationship, none of that is a justification for feeling glad that someone who never actually did anything to you is dead.
TECH January 29, 2014, 11:36 am
Wendy’s response to the LW was wonderful, and I have nothing to add, but I did just want to comment on the discussion about whether or not this LW lacks empathy or humanity.
I think the fact that she’s owning up to these selfish feelings is really important. Psychopaths have no capacity for empathy. The LW clearly does have a capacity for empathy. However, she is being insecure and selfish. This letter is a perfect example of how human beings are inherently self centered. But at least when you acknowledge, you can work on diffusing it.
ktfran January 29, 2014, 11:42 am
Do you watch Dexter? Because I’m finally watching the last season and it’s all about psychopaths. And I don’t want to know what happens in the last episode, but I suspect I know the ending.
iwannatalktosampson January 29, 2014, 1:19 pm
Is the current season the final season?
CatsMeow January 29, 2014, 1:35 pm
current? the whole series is over.
ktfran January 29, 2014, 2:19 pm
Yeah. It is. I’m behind. So, I’m finally watching the last season on Netflix.
Amanda January 29, 2014, 2:56 pm
Exactly. If this letter had a “Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead” vibe to it, that would be different. But it doesn’t. If it did, she wouldn’t care that she had these feelings. I doubt she would’ve written in to Wendy for advice. I also would be willing to bet she wouldn’t be embarassed to admit it.
It basically boils down to the fact that this is a crappy situation all the way around – made worse by crappy thoughts (also, perhaps some less than stellar phrasing of said thoughts).
Lucy January 29, 2014, 12:17 pm
There’s no such thing as a “wrong” thought or feeling. Right and wrong only come into play when we choose how to act. LW, it doesn’t actually sound like you’re glad she’s dead; it sounds more like you’re glad she and her drama are out of your life. If she had moved to Papua New Guinea, you’d probably feel the same way. Don’t beat yourself up.
Also, WWS. Your bf sounds like a lying tool. Don’t put his bullshit on this other woman.
HmC January 29, 2014, 1:39 pm
Couldn’t have said it better, especially the last line. Listen up LW.
sobriquet January 29, 2014, 2:30 pm
I read somewhere that every single person fantasizes about murdering someone at some point in their lives. We humans are animals at our core with our goal being survival. Subconsciously view someone as a threat to your (emotional, social) survival? You feel relief when that person is no longer a threat. So I’m not surprised or disturbed by the LW’s thoughts at all. As long as Dana poses some kind of conflict in LW’s life (which could continue for some time… Mark’s grief… unresolved issues revolving around Dana in their relationship…) she will inherently be glad she’s no longer physically around. Which is horrible, but it’s normal. I suspect that within a few months, LW will no longer feel relieved (or “happy”), but only grief for Dana’s children.
As for your relationship with Mark… is he a Martyr Type? Was his correspondence with Dana excused by “She needs me to help her through a rough time! She has no one else!” etc. etc.? He truly thought he was only one who could help her and if he stopped corresponding with her she would be crushed? Yeah, that’s a Martyr Type. You needed to have a Come-To-Jesus talk with him a lonnng time ago explaining that she would be just fine without him. Explaining that his correspondence was completely inappropriate due to the context of your relationship and that no, reverting back to an acquaintance type relationship would not crush her. But anyway, other’s have covered the whole “your boyfriend is a lying scumbag thing” so I’ll leave it at that.
TECH January 29, 2014, 2:35 pm
I never ceases to amaze me when women have shady or lying boyfriends, they tend to get upset with the “other woman” rather than the shady boyfriend they’re choosing to stay with. Poor Dana. You should be more upset with Mark, LW.
But somehow, when the sex is good, and a man makes you feel wanted and needed, any sense of decency goes out the window.
LW January 29, 2014, 3:14 pm
LW here – after reading all your comments, just wanted to say thank you. The issue with the BF’s dishonesty was dealt with at the time. It was a “friendship”, but he refused to acknowledge when it started to intrude on our relationship, even when I suggested it looked & felt like “more”. At which point I backed off & gave him his space. He let this get out of hand & it ended up being hurtful to both Dana & I. He was wrong & has admitted it & is dealing with his own guilt about this since her death, even before really.
I think Wendy’s use of the word relieved fit better than “glad” sorry for my poor phrasing, I kind of wrote that in the heat of the moment.I recognized all along the BF’s role in this & that he was to blame, not Dana. Which is why I was even more upset by my feelings. I have never been in this situation before. Ever. And as someone stated above, its not something people talk about publicly at all. After reading everyone’s comments, I am going to take these feelings as as sign that we need to re-visit that whole issue of the trust being broken. Obviously what I thought we had resolved is still bothering me, because I really truly am not a psycho monster who wishes death upon people. Her daughter is such a sweet girl, & her son was a mama’s boy through & through… I would much rather they still had her. thank you very much for your comments & ideas, & not judging me too harshly, I have done enough of that myself.
Kaluu January 29, 2014, 7:14 pm
LW, I’d probably feel the same as
you about the death. Confusion, sadness, relief etc. where we differ is the moment I suspected something I’d have been on his ass. I have no idea how you still respect him as “your boyfriend” if he texted her in that fashion and tried to hide things from both of you. Wtf, unless you’re only with him for the money you should move on. It would be very hard for me to forgive that kind of behaviour, and also to forget it. Tell me please, What is his excuse ?!
Kaluu January 29, 2014, 7:24 pm
By the way I’m not that picky about cheating, haven’t been through it but its natural to have crushes, maybe a brief emotional affair (or worse) at work. I understand why my husband, or any man or woman I a ltr would do that, though he hasnt. But if I’m the one he’s lying about that would just be too insulting. Its like the other woman is the first wife. If I caught my man, at any point in the relationship, texting like that, it would completely change my world view.(of the relationship)
Teri Anne January 29, 2014, 7:38 pm
The distinction between FWB and girlfriend; and the LW’s transition from FWB to girlfriend is pretty confusing to me. If a man and a woman are having sex, aren’t they also in a relationship?
LadyinPurpleNotRed January 29, 2014, 7:43 pm
A FWB relationship or a one night stand relationship, yes…an exclusive relationship? No.
katie January 30, 2014, 7:28 am
really? youve never heard of a friend with benefits?
Lindsay January 29, 2014, 10:11 pm
I don’t think you should beat yourself up over this. But I will say that a relationship should make you a better person. And if it’s instead making you actively feel like a worse person, then I’d take note of that. When your SO lets a third party call the shots in your relationship, then that individual being gone isn’t going to solve your problems. The problems are rooted in who your SO is and what kind of choices he makes.
Erica January 29, 2014, 11:57 pm
I completely agree with you. I broke up with a guy cause I hated who I became when I was with him. He wasn’t mean but he made me feel so insecure in the relationship, like I had to always prove myself. When you aren’t happy in a relationship, you think of some crazy things that normally wouldn’t cross your mind.