Marriage has its own complexities, adding grief, or mental health struggles into the mix can add to the stress.
After 22 years of watching her husband struggle with his grief over an ex-girlfriend who had passed away in high school she intervened. Her husband relied on a teddy bear with a voice recording from the late ex to fall asleep every night.
sosotiredofthisshit9 went to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback on how she handled the situation with her marriage mate.
”AITA for keeping my husband’s ‘comfort bear’ that holds an audio clip of his dead ex until he agrees to go to therapy?”
The original poster (OP) explained what happened writing:
“When my husband was in high school, he dated his best friend at the time for two months. They didn’t break up, she died in a car accident, God rest her soul.”
“I also attended the same high school, albeit as a student two years junior, but we only started dating after we both went to colleges that were close by each other.”
“From when we started dating to now, my husband has had a stuffed bear with an audio clip of his ex saying ‘I love you’ in it. You know, one of those bears that you squeeze and they say the audio.”
“Every night, he squeezes it and it supposedly helps him fall asleep. He never went to therapy to get over her death, and the fact that he still has the bear and squeezes it to help him fall asleep at least once every night leads me to believe that he still hasn’t moved on from her death.”
“At first, when we started dating, I was okay with it. I know that everyone has different times for processing loss, and that she wasn’t just his lover, but also based on what he told me, she was his best friend who was there for some hard times in his life.”
“However, as the years went on, and he remained attached to the bear if not more so, I suggested and started pushing for therapy. He adamantly refused at the time, saying we couldn’t afford it, which was true, because we were both struggling financially.”
“Now, however, we’re both financially stable and able to afford therapy. He still refuses to go. We got into a huge fight about it yesterday, and I ended up taking his bear.”
“I told him that I won’t give it back until he promises to either attend some sort of online counseling or actual therapy when this pandemic is over. My husband is extremely upset with me.”
“I don’t want him to get rid of the bear by any means. I think that it’s a lovely idea to continue to honor the memory of his best friend, but his attachment to the bear is nuts.”
“He NEEDS to hug it every night no matter what, panics is he cant find the bear, panics if I take it for a bit to wash or clean it, etc.”
“I want him to keep the bear, but stop being so attached to it. I communicated this to him several times over the years, but he has either brushed me off or told me that I’m disrespecting his ex.”
“I know at face value what I did as definitely an asshole move, but I think I have enough justification and reason behind my actions. It’s going to be twenty two years next month since she died, and I just don’t think his obsessive attachment for this long is healthy.”
“Still though, my husband hasn’t talked to me ever since the fight, unless it’s him demanding the bear. I’m starting to feel like I did the wrong thing.”
Redditors were asked to judge OP’s actions:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Although there was some disagreement between Redditors on this one, however, in the end the judgement declared to OP- YTA.
“YTA. You can encourage him to get therapy all you want, but it is ultimately his decision.”
”He clearly has some issues with anxiety and you stealing the possession he uses to calm himself down is going to make it worse. Give it back now and apologize profusely if you want to save your marriage.”~Jaded_Cryptographer
”NTA. It sounds like you’ve finally had enough. He dated this person for 2 months 22 years ago yet can’t sleep unless he hears her voice say I love you? I’m surprised he doesn’t also clutch her picture and that you didn’t draw a line in the sand and take his toy away years ago.”
”He’s being very hurtful and disrespectful to you. I’d make counselling a requirement for staying in this marriage. Give him back his binky and tell him he can choose mental health and marriage or this stand in for his long dead girlfriend.”~tirv56
”NAH. He needs help and you want him to get it. However taking his bear away obviously isn’t going to get him into a therapy session. And if it does it will only be out of resentment towards you.”~Agent_Ayru
“YTA. Jaysus, yeah the dude probably should go to therapy, but no degree of rationalizing makes you not the asshole in this situation. I mean, damn, she’s dead – not exactly competition FFS.”~MeanderingSalamander
”YTA. He might need therapy, but is him having a stuffed bear the hill you want to die on? It is obviously very important to him and you took it from him and are using it to extort him into something.”
“I don’t deny that he could benefit from therapy, but holding his bear hostage is not the way to go about it.”~PuxinF
“Gentle YTA. The ultimatum you used is definitely not going to be successful and will only build his resentment towards you. A better ultimatum would have centered the two of you and your relationship.”
”I understand why you did what you did and I understand your frustration, but he’s just going to fear you’ll destroy the bear and that will put him against you and make him unable to see what he’s actually at risk of losing, which is your relationship. Find another way, this ain’t it.”~jasmine-blossom
The OP edited the post after some commentary to clarify:
“edit: I don’t know how this got so twisted, but I am not jealous of the bear, or his late girlfriend. The issue isn’t the bear, it’s my concern for my husband’s mental health.”
”Maybe I made a poor judgement call, but it sure as hell wasn’t me acting out of my own ‘jealousy’.”
Whatever the root reasoning we hope everyone involved got the support they needed.