Grieving a hidden partner

Hi. I feel nervous posting this as I’ve never told my whole truth before. Apologies now for the long post.

I very recently lost my partner of 10 years. He wasn’t ill so it was a big shock particularly as I found him unconscious in our bed. We didn’t have a conventional relationship, so as well as grieving for the man I love lots of regrets are also coming to the surface.

There was a 15 year age gap and we were semi long distance for most of our years together. For various reasons including the age gap, my own insecurities and the relationship with my family I never introduced him to anyone. He told his family and friends about me but it was only a couple years ago that I finally had the courage to meet his Dad. I’d chatted a bit with some of his friends online.

I don’t have any friends or family living nearby so it was ‘easy’ lying that I didn’t have a long term partner who visited me regularly and was my rock. It was a difficult sticking point in our relationship but I tried to show that I was on a slow journey by meeting his Dad. I hope I would have built up the courage to introduce him to my family.

I’ve told my old uni friends that I lost a close friend so they understand that I’m grieving. I had the courage to tell a couple of newer friends that I’ve lost my partner so at least they know the situation but not the full details of the complexity of our relationship.

I will be helping his Dad with the funeral, clearing my partner’s flat etc. I have so many worries about finally meeting the rest of his family at the funeral. It’s the wrong circumstances.

I wish we both had better family relationships and were more a part of those sides of our lives. I regret not fully acknowledging his love and support, his very existence, with my friends and family. He meant so much to me and we had our own little bubble of our normal lives together. We knew how much we loved each other and considered the relationship a valid one despite it being unconventional.

Ultimately I feel like a bad person. I have regrets about how I handled the relationship mixed in with questions of “what if” surrounding his death. I know these latter feelings are normal and I just want to grieve him as anyone would losing their partner. I have the same difficulties as anyone else - having his belongings around me, missing his touch and his company, and all the small things in life associated with him.

I doubt many people are in the same boat as me but I still wanted to share my experience. Any kind words and advice on losing a partner and coping with living alone would be welcome.

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Hi @TheCatWhisperer ,

I am so sorry you partner has died and you find yourself in this situation.
You will see alot of people on the forum have partners either much older than them or younger. My husband was 18 years older than me, I met him when I was seventeen and he was 35yrs. My parents were a bit dubious at first, but they soon came to know him and love him and accepted our relationship and ultimately our marriage.
Perhaps it’s now time to be honest with your own family and friends, age is but a number when you love someone. You might find your relatives very supportive and be there when you need them, grieving is hard enough. As you said his family know about you and have accepted you and welcomed you into his circle of family and friends.
Don’t beat yourself up with guilt, you can’t change the past but you can show the world that you loved this man dearly and your devastated over losing him.
I wish you well, it’s not easy, I’m 22months on this journey still missing Doug everyday.
Debbie xx

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No one has a perfect relationship. I lost my partner of 25 years however another woman thought she was her partner…i knew he saw her now n then but i know it was as a friend…he died in her house.it is such a mess.i do know he loved me and i him .he couldnt stop seeing the other woman because he didnt want to hurt her…we had made so many plans for retirement. He was only 58 and young…i am heartbroken at losing him from my life.but life does go on.no matter what xx

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So sorry you have this to go through @TheCatWhisperer
Losing the love of my life is the most difficult and painful thing I have ever experienced. You have all that pain inside and I hope you can get the kind of support you need from your family and your partner’s.
It doesn’t matter what the relationship looked like from the outside, it’s how much you loved and have lost. Be kind to yourself and do whatever is best for you.
This community is very supportive and will be here for you. x

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