Apr 03

Gemma and Clay - Sons of Anarchy

The act of dating your friend’s wife or girlfriend after he dies or leaves is always viewed as suspect from other males.

So men, answer me this: What goes through your head as a man when your newly dead friend’s ex-wife sends you an invitation to her wedding and the husband is his brother? Is it the same thing that goes through your head when a man gets a lengthy sentence in prison and you find out that she’s now sleeping with his best friend? What about the “best friend” who finds himself over at the military wife’s house weekly, then a few months later he’s spending nights? All very different situations, different people and different levels of loss and need from the woman’s standpoint but one thing remains constant with these: To the outsider’s eye it looks as if the man took advantage of her.

On the surface the sight of a woman being in love with a guy that was close to the family leads to many questions. Was he always eying her that way even when her husband was still around? Had he already been sleeping with her and moved in full-time once hubby was out of the way? Yet with this knowledge of how bad it looks to outsiders it remains a standard pattern, almost automatic that the man who the woman grieves with will end up crossing the lines eventually.

Why men blame other men in these situations

When someone has suffered a great loss (death, divorce, abandonment), it is very hard for them to think clearly due to the emotional trauma. In this state of vulnerability a knowledgeable player can slip into a woman really easily just by offering a shoulder to cry on. It happens all the time and the most frequent offenders are the “guy friends” that women tend to keep around.

Men don’t see it as an even situation for the woman who is the one going through the loss. We see her as emotional, wanting someone to take the pain away, and dependent on that person to help her move past the pain. When the guy who offers her his shoulder manages to sleep with her too (we all know sex is often used to bypass heartache temporarily) then he is seen as getting some easy ass at the expense of the woman’s lowered defenses.

The only people who know the truth are the ones together

Of course our scrutiny of the coupling of uncle and ex-wife is unfair and harshly judgmental, but where there’s smoke there’s fire. Here’s my view on it – As a man you know what can lead to lines being crossed and it is up to us (in these situations) to navigate carefully. Now if both parties are suffering the loss then the situation is extremely different and the chances of the scandalous hook-up is inevitable.

The guy whose brother dies leaving behind a loving wife that has no friends and family will find himself in her house bringing in groceries, fixing her appliances, or sipping wine as the hours tick by, reminiscing on how great he was. This inevitably leads to a kiss, which becomes sex, which becomes a vice for getting over the loss which in turn becomes a relationship. Different situation, but men on the outside still see it as a violation on the man’s part.

This all stems from our belief that a strong man can overcome these situations and stick to the code of “off-limits”. In our minds we see it as weak men with no game finding a vulnerability in a woman who he already knows. It’s like the nerd who asks his crush out only after she has been in his office for 2 years, assumes him friend, and shares with him that her boyfriend just dumped her. See there is no ice to break, no questioning her situation (he knows she has no man), and little risk. Basically it’s cowardly, and regardless of the situation it will always look bad to the outside viewer.

Have you ever been in this situation as a man consoling a woman or a woman being consoled? Did it lead to sex and do you feel bad for it having went there? Did the relationship last? Let me know what you think, and most importantly the main question is – did you catch hell from family members for crossing the line.

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  • MJessica

    I lost my husband last October. Our best man has been there for my toddler and I ever since. We have slept in each others beds and he has held me like no other. I have fallen in love with him however I know he will never kiss me on the lips because of ridicule of his male friends. My own mother even wants us together. His texts saying hey buddy are enough to brighten my day and I look forward to that. The person who ends up being with him will be the luckiest woman ever.

    • Kayke

      Did you two get together?

      • MJessica

        Sadly no we never did

      • CanuckExpat

        Is he still single? Do you still love him?

      • MJessica

        Yes he is still single and yes I also feel the same but accept that nothing will ever happen 🙂

      • CanuckExpat

        This is what you should do. Go to the jewelry store buy a cheap man ring, then go tell him you love him and propose.

        Don’t think about what could happen or how things will play out just do it.

      • MJessica

        Oh wow. I would never have thought of doing anything like that. Although, if worse came to worst he could just say no. I might as well take the chance. Thank you 🙂

  • valentyne

    Thank you for this! My husband’s friends, married and single, came on to me before he died, and are still pestering me, 6 months later. I have a very low opinion of this behavior. Glad to find out that men do too!

  • Shattered


  • Shattered

    I lost my husband (who was also my best friend) of 20 years 5 months ago. I’ve never felt so lost and heartsick in my life. A friend of his was quick to offer comfort. Constantly.I thought it was out of loyalty to my husband. I didn’t see it coming. I was (am) so vulnerable and he reminded me so much of my husband, even smelled like him. My eyes are tearing up at the memory of burying my head in my husband’s chest and inhaling his scent, his arms around me. I let this happen. I feel a shame and guilt that I’m sure will last me the remainder of my days. Oh, and the friend? The “affair” was intense- said he was in love with me and had been attracted to me for years. We burned hot and went down in flames over the course of a month. Suddenly, he always had an excuse for not responding to texts, why we couldn’t have a drink together – always too busy or too tired- always something. Regret is just the beginning of what I feel. I have so much self-disgust, I can’t explain the feeling adequately . And the pain that was the catalyst for this stupidity- I still carry it everyday- with immeasurable disgrace.

  • Robert

    It is a comfort issue, like the author spoke briefly about. But the comforting issue is also related to the issue of humans also being “pack animals.” Pack animals comfort grieving pack members in all ways…even sex. Instincts play an important role even in our 21st century lives. Don’t dwell too much on it, but move on asap.
    Now is your life.

  • Vampi

    I don’t think it is anyone else’s business except for the woman and the man. Coming from a widow whose husband passed 9 weeks ago, I can tell you that grief and death are not black and white situations. Yes there are some low life players who will snake their way in, but there are also some honourable men who are genuinely there for widows as friends and feelings just develop without either of them planning it. No one can judge another if they are not part of that couple. You just don’t know and until you do, you have no right to judge.

    • faith

      I agree with Vampi….until you are in the actual situation you don’t know. I am a widow of 6 months – his best friend was like his brother…Now, there is an attraction that we have acknowledged….But, will not act upon; instead we’ve distanced ourselves from each other, resumed our lives and maybe the attraction will fade who knows? I know that this not easy nor is it cut & dry..and it is so unfair to judge relationships that grow out of these very, very painful situations. Look at it this way instead; TRUST is already there between the two which leads to a feeling of being Safe, let’s face it..our spouses would not be best friend with a jerk…they are more than likely very similar in some way to our spouses. I could go on and on..just know this is very hard and very painful.

      • Lauren

        Thank you for being so open with this chapter of your life. I am reaching out in consideration of a documentary that opens up a dialogue on the complex relationships that form through the grieving process. Specifically, I’m exploring relationships where a widow is drawn to a family member or close friend of their lost loved one. If you’re willing to continue sharing your journey with me as part of this project, I’d love to find a way to connect. It would be great to include your perspective on the uniqueness of this phenomenon.

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