Husband Tells Wife He Wished She Died Instead Of First Wife, And The Internet Has Feelings

Husband Tells Wife He Wished She Died Instead Of First Wife, And The Internet Has Feelings
Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Why would you even say this to somebody else? Well, someone did. And the reasons behind it? Just as difficult to grasp as the statement itself.

u/secondwife9 told us her story:

My husband [44/M] told me he wished I [37/F] was dead instead of his first wife. I'm devastated.

My husband "Nick" was married to his first wife "Vanessa" for 5 years and they had two amazing kids, "Luke" (15/M) and "Lila" (13/F). Sadly, Vanessa died in an accident 11 years ago when the kids were very young. I started dating Nick 8 years ago and we started off very slowly for obvious reasons. Nick has always been a little more distant than anyone I'd ever been with, but he and the kids lost Vanessa so young that I understood it.

After 3 years of dating, Nick asked me to marry him and I moved in. I've always had a really great relationship with Luke and Lila and they were happy for me to marry their dad. I had wanted an actual wedding, nothing big, but Nick really didn't want one so we got married at the courthouse with just Luke and Lila present. We had a really fast engagement, but it worked for all of us.

I have loved being Luke and Lila's stepmom and officially adopted them after I found out I was pregnant with our son "Casey" (2/M). The kids have been so great with Casey and help out so much. Nick was wonderful during the pregnancy and had always been a really loving dad and husband.

But Nick has been pulling away a lot the last few months. He's been even more distant than usual and working late nights and going away with friends almost every weekend. I've tried talking to him, but he's been impatient with both me and the kids. I found out I was pregnant in June and am now 21 weeks pregnant with a girl. The kids are excited to have a little sister, but Nick just seems so indifferent to everything and everyone. He's been missing soccer games, Lila's birthday, doctors appointments, etc. Casey is too young to notice, but Luke and Lila are so hurt by their dad's absence. These kids are so good and they lost their mom so young and I'm infuriated that Nick is ignoring the kids like this.

Last week, I finally sat Nick down and told him that he needs to stop disappearing and be more present in our lives. We're going to have another child soon and before we know it Luke and Lila will be grown up and going to college. After an hour of arguing, he screamed at me that he wished Vanessa was still alive and that I had switched places with her and died instead. He also threw in some awful comments that I need to stop pretending I'm Luke and Lila's "real" mom and that I'm only half the mom Vanessa was. The final straw was him saying that he never even wanted any kids with me, but did it so I'd "keep busy and leave him alone."

I'm so beyond hurt right now. I know I'm just his second choice, but I've always tried to honor Vanessa and tell Luke and Lila how lucky they were to have her as their mom. I love ALL of our kids more than anything and I'm just so heartbroken. Nick barely pays attention to Casey now and doesn't even acknowledge the pregnancy. He somewhat apologized this weekend and took all three kids to lunch, but he won't even look me in the eye. He seems like he wants to talk, but he doesn't say anything and I'm too upset to even be near him.

I'm not sure where to go from here. Honestly, I can't even be around Nick right now and if there weren't any kids involved, I'd leave and never look back. I'm not sure if he's cheating or the thought of a fourth child is stressing him out, but I'm devastated and not sure how or why I should save this marriage, besides doing it for the kids. Any advice is desperately needed right now.

tl;dr: My husband has been distant and ignoring our kids. When I confronted him, he told me he wished I had died instead of his first wife and that I'm only half the mother she was. I'm currently pregnant and not sure how to fix this or us.

Here were some of the responses.



Oh man. This is so f*cking heart-wrenching, and I honestly just want to give you a hug right now. You've got so much on your plate.

In your shoes, I think I would tell him that he has a choice between therapy and divorce. Get yourself into therapy as fast as you can- you've had your heart shattered by someone you love, you've been parenting alone, you're facing the possibility of a divorce. Even if you do couple's counselling, individual therapy needs to happen.

My only other piece of advice for you is to not leave the house. If it comes down to it, leaving can affect the divorce. Actually, no, I have another piece of advice for you- consult with a divorce attorney now, even if you're not sure you're going to go through with it, to get an idea of what you need to do during this period.




He's has 2 kids with Vanessa and he's going to have 2 kids with you. Do you think he feels resentful because his new life is 'taking over' his old life? I can imagine that it hurts him tremendously to realize his ex wife is a distant memory and I can see how your new baby will serve as a physical reminder of how the years have passed. This could be a huge stretch.. I'm just speculating what my concern would be if I was in your husbands shoes. Its possible he feel very guilty and disloyal because he moved on and built a new life so he's lashing out on the person who helped him build this new life. You.

I do want to say what you've done is amazing in that you helped to rebuild a home without disrespecting their bio mom's memory and I have no doubt you've been an awesome mom to your children. You do not deserve such hurtful words and whatever his reason I don't think I would be able to forget them. I really hope the best for you guys.




Hi Op, I'm sorry you're having to deal with this, this is big stuff. I'll try to keep this short, and I'm hoping it doesn't seem harsh. Having Casey and now expecting a new baby is absolutely bringing something up for Nick. I don't think the word hurt suffices, there's guilt and resentment and anger and all of the worst parts of grief.

11 years is a drop in the bucket. A teeny tiny little blip of time in the scheme of things effected by grief. As his life now with young children starts to resemble his life then, it probably feels like her death was only yesterday. He 100% needs to get back in therapy, not to learn coping skills - he needs to use the therapy as the coping skill.

One of the things he's dealing with is knowing that his life, his family could all be torn violently to pieces at any moment without any notice, and there is an urge to get distance himself from any potential pain if something so horrible happened again.

I think another, maybe harder thing that he struggling with is the part of grief that isn't about missing the person who died, but about the sadness from knowing that the person who died will miss out on, or has missed out on, so many wonderful things. Those feelings aren't helped by someone supportively saying "I know you miss her." It can make you want to yell, "Who cares if I miss her! What about what she's missing!" - I am of course projecting from my own experiences a bit. Grief isn't just about feeling sorry for yourself as someone who lost a spouse, or a mom - it's also about feeling so sorry for the person who died. I don't want to excuse what he said, it's worse even that what he said is the symptom of him neglecting his psychological wellbeing. Like, I wanna say to him, hey Nick, you think you're some kinda tough guy? You're gonna just power through and try to distract yourself away from this pain? Away from all of these reminders? You got some kinda pride delusion that you're too good and strong or whatever to get some therapy? You're not....

Anyway, I'm not excusing what he said, but I suspect he's quite literally out of his mind at this point. He needs to be able to talk about his resentment, about his anger that Vanessa was taken, about his immense sorrow that she didn't get to raise those kids, and about his guilt over feeling all those things. How crazy making it must be to - on one hand wish that she had never died, and then on the other be thankful for you and the life you share. He can't say these things to you, he probably shouldn't say these things to you, he needs a therapist to say these things to. He's been keeping all of it bottled up and the pressure has grown and now he has exploded all of that nasty griefy bitterness all over you.




One thing that sticks out to me is that your child is 2 and that 11 years ago your stepdaughter would have been 2. I wouldn't be shocked if a milestones like that has kicked up a lot of feeling about her death. Since this behavior has started up, have there been any other milestones (kids birthdays, deceased wife's birthday, their anniversary of dating or marriage, when they found out they were expecting, etc) that could have exacerbated any issues he was having?




Your husband sounds depressed. He is disconnecting from everyone, his perception is skewed, his emotions are volatile, he isn't logical, he is irritable.

Sounds like his mental health has gone way downhill. I would have him talk to a doctor.




My husband lost his first wife. He used to get kinda upset around anniversaries or important dates. But after while, that stopped. He got help, he moved on.

He never, ever said anything so horribly hurtful to me. As a spouse to a widow/widower, I think we always have insecurities about measuring up to the deceased spouse. To have that thrown so awfully in your face? No. Unforgiveable. Especially since he refuses to apologize or offer to seek help.

OP, I know you are in a very bad place right now. You're pregnant, and trying to keep it together. You can do this.

The way I see it, Sir Buttface has 2 options. Which you can present as you see fit, if at all.

  1. Grovel, apologize and seek immediate therapy.
  2. File divorce papers.

Obviously, this what I would do and you need to decide how you handle it. But for me, that level of cruelty cannot go on. How this ugliness ends is up to him.

It certainly seems possible he's having an affair. I would bring it up.

It seems more possible he's having some hefty issues that he is dumping on the rest of you. That isn't fair.




OP he said he wished you were dead. That's scary as f*ck especially if he's emotionally unstable right now. I don't know how any amount of grief or depression could excuse that or how you could ever work past what he's said. You've also said you know you were never his first choice, your husband of eleven years shouldn't make you feel like that. Don't forget need hiring the kids too. If you're worried about losing the kids, I also just wanted to add (because a lot of people have wrong ideas about adoption) you will get custody of you fight for it, because they're legally yours. Good luck, you're a great mother and person.




He's had it hard losing his first wife, yes. And perhaps it's stressful and painful for him and that is, of course, understandable.

However, I cannot imagine a situation where it is EVER acceptable to tell your loving spouse that you wish she was dead instead of your late wife. This is beyond childish, this is not okay no matter what he himself is feeling.

Beyond this he only KIND OF apologized?

If you let him get away with this kind of behavior now without repercussion or action then you're only going to become his emotional punching bag.

I'm not saying you need to leave him right now, but I think you should seriously consider the possibility that this relationship is not good for you.

Yes, he clearly needs help of some sort, but you are not obligated to just sit back and let him treat you like garbage in the meanwhile.




My mom died and my dad remarried. If he ever said this to my stepmom I myself would disown him, forever, until he offered the apology of a lifetime that showed full self awareness and shame. Grief may be the explanation for his actions, but it is not an excuse, whatsoever.

I want you to internalize this: everything that's happening is a reflection on who he is, it says nothing about who you are. At all. His memories are outweighing reality, and his lack of self awareness about this has caused him to lose a complete grip on everything, to the point of cruelty.

If I were in your position the next thing I would look forward to is the day you and him behave civilly for the sake of your children, with all other vestiges of your relationship kept in the past where they belong. (But I'm just an outsider with limited info who doesn't actually have to live your life so what do I know.)

I'm sorry he did this though. Sincerely.




My first thoughts were guilt and fear. OP, you're having kids at the same age gap as the first wife and it feels like history is repeating itself. Nick is so fucking terrified that he'll have to go through that loss again, but at the same time, building a new life feels disrespectful to Vanessa. So, he lashes out at you so he's not losing you, he's choosing something else, and absolving his guilt about moving on at the same time.

All obviously a god awful sh*tty f*ckface thing to do to his wife. Absolutely not an excuse, and OP, I can't tell you what course would make you happier long term. What I can tell you is that if I die and leave my young children without a mother, there is nothing I'd ever want more than for my babies to be loved as you have taken in Luke and Lila. I 1000% promise you that if Vanessa were able to, she'd be raging at and disgusted with Nick even more than you are.




You could suggest couples therapy to find out if he has "checked out emotionally" or something else. Sometimes when a partner "checks out" emotionally they start avoiding their partner and eventually becoming resentful for no good reason. Even when a partner does that its another thing to wish someone is dead! With his previous history it could be more complicated.




Honestly, it sounds like some pretty serious depression. He could be cheating on you, but I think most likely he's hitting midlife crisis age and thinking back on a lot of stuff that maybe he never properly dealt with.

I'd say that line about talking to a therapist or a lawyer, his choice. If you even want to forgive him that is- I don't know if I would after someone said something that hurtful to me, personally. Either way though OP it sounds like you're a great wife/mother. Trust your gut and do whats right for you and the kids.




He has to be out of his mind to have said something so horrible to you of all people. I'm guessing it's stress-induced based on what you've written- no history of alcohol or other substance abuse? How is the financial situation? Job security? Notice I'm not jumping straight on the affair-train.

Y'all both need therapy stat. You need support and he needs third-party professional help.

Then couples sessions with another counselor or each of yours. You've got a lot of little ones dependent on you both and you deserve to be happy and feel loved. xoxo




First I'm so sorry you're going through this.
Is it possible that having your children possibly bright back unresolved issues he had from losing his first wife as it seems your youngest is about the same age your older children were when it happened? I may be reaching but it seems like he's never dealt with things properly and now having another son and daughter with you might be reminding him of the past.




What crossed my mind is he might be scared of losing you like he lost his first wife after they had children. Perhaps your pregnancy is bringing that to the front of his mind and he isn't good at communicating his feelings leading to his blow up. It could also be depression, maybe suggest couples counseling, if you don't think he would seek help alone. Another thought that crossed my mind, could your husband be using drugs? Some of the things you said made me think of someone hiding substance abuse. I'm sorry he said something so cruel to you, it's definitely uncalled for and if it gets worse or continues into abuse ( even verbal abuse however this was said in the heat of the moment and is out of character for your husband) please don't hesitate to remove the children from the home (you did adopt them) and leave until he gets sorted out.




People can say awful, hurtful things in the heat of the moment. And Nick said the most awful thing he could. It sounds like you two have had a good marriage until recently. Something is happening in Nick's life that is having a drastic impact, and he isn't sharing that with you. It's causing him to withdraw from you, your marriage and the kids. You and the kids are suffering because of whatever is happening in Nick's life.

Is that a fair synopsis? If it is, then it is so important that you find out what is going on with Nick. If you can get him to communicate with you about that, then at least you'd know what you are up against. It could be anything, right? Work pressures, midlife crisis, an affair, drug addiction, etc. Whatever it is, you need to know. Maybe you and Nick can accomplish this first step on your own, but I'd recommend marriage counseling. By yourself if he refuses, but preferably together. A really good counselor can help you both work through the mess, find a foundation to rebuild on, and repair the marriage. Also can help you with the decision to end the marriage if it comes to that.

Just from personal experience, the not being able to look you in the eye.... I do that when I am horribly ashamed of something I've said or done. I think it's possible that Nick is regretting those words and is sorry and ashamed of himself. He just hasn't been able to gather enough courage to actually express that yet.

Good luck to you and your family.


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