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Guilt over a death

When I met my last boyfriend he had an ex who cheated on him. He left her and we got together. After 5 months he told me he still loved her and got back with her. We had feelings for each other still but at Christmas time we stopped communication. The girl suffered with cystic fibrosis and as her condtion worsened they got married and she passed away two weeks after. I still feel guilt for loving my ex and even trying to rekindle a relationship through us both being confused at our feelings after her passing. I feel guilty for what happened with me and my ex while she was dying and I am struggling to handle my emotions now. Am I a bad person?

Ask Sam


Hi there,

There can be unexpected feelings when someone dies, especially when this person isn't someone you knew very well. If you were close to someone who dies you might feel sad, angry and upset. Because you didn't know this person much there might be different feelings you have to cope with.

When we don't know someone it's easy to begin to imagine the kind of things they think or say. You didn't know your ex-boyfriend's partner that well so you might start to picture them feeling things that they never felt. Your ex-boyfriend is the only person who knows what their relationship was really like. You can only focus on what your relationship with him was like. As harsh as it sounds, you didn't owe anything to his partner.

After someone dies, life carries on for everyone else and what your ex-boyfriend chooses to do is up to him.  How your ex-boyfriend copes with her death is his choice. You don't need to feel guilty for how you feel - you don't choose your feelings. There are no set rights and wrongs in this situation - you have to decide for yourself what's okay and what isn't.

When there’re multiple people involved in relationships, it gets complicated and sometimes it's hard for you to know whether you’re comfortable with your actions. One of the best things you can do is talk about it and just be open. You could tell your ex-boyfriend that you feel guilty and see what he thinks about that - you might find out more about how he feels so you both know where you stand.

I hope this has helped you to think differently about the situation, but if you need to talk more our counsellors are here for you. You can also talk with other young people on the message boards to see what they think about it.

Take care.


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