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I’m stuck in my grief

He’s the only person who loved me unconditionally

Love Letters

Love Letters

Q. My best friend died nearly two years ago. Looking back, I feel that he’s the only person who loved me unconditionally. I was 14 when we met and we became friends immediately. When I was 20 he came by and professed his feelings for me. I only saw him as my friend. Soon I relented and the chemistry was amazing. But his life became complicated and he cut contact for a year.

Then we began hanging out again and never really stopped. We did stop having sex, though. We valued one another more as friends. Then I got married and he still never let me go, but our relationship changed because of my responsibilities as a wife. Without a doubt, I missed our outings and laughter. Now, two years later, all I can think about are missed opportunities. I thought we had more time together. I thought we would double date with our spouses and share many more experiences.


You have a category on Love Letters about how there’s no such thing as closure, but how do I let go of this sorrow? How do I stop the piercing regret of not being with my friend again? Never getting to see him smile or hear his laugh is so devastating! I even tried befriending his wife to assuage my grief, but she had her own grief to process and couldn’t take care of mine too. Will I always feel like this?


A. You won’t always feel exactly like this. You’ll still feel the grief, though.

From my experience (and from what I’ve seen and read), grief is always with us but takes different forms. Also, it is very much not linear. It can smack you in the face during year two, but fill you with gratitude on a random day during year three.


I’m glad you mentioned your romantic history with this person because it’s clear you’re grieving an ex, a lover, a friend, and chosen family. You put it best — you thought you’d have more time together.

If you’re not in therapy, figure out what options are available. Also look into grief support groups. But really, when you find yourself stuck in these thoughts, remember that feeling sad is part of the experience. There’s nothing to fix here, only better ways to manage and frame it.

I don’t believe in closure, and when it comes to the death of someone wonderful, I hope it doesn’t exist. Who wants to put closure on feelings about someone important? There are days I see something that reminds me of a loved one and I want to cry — with misery. Other times I smile because the memories are so good. Please notice when a thought is actually positive. You can take a beat to realize that something about him made you laugh, feel more confident, or see something new in an interesting way. This person is still adding to your life experiences because of your rich history.

I have to bring up your second sentence — the one where you mention your friend is the only person who’s loved you unconditionally. Marriages aren’t necessarily about that kind of love, but I do wonder if everything is OK at home. Are you happy? You might need to talk about that too. I might be reading into that sentence, but please consider it.




“M: I do wonder if everything is OK at home. Are you happy?” I’m wondering about this as well, since it sounds like she was still in love with this man, and mention of her husband was in terms of fulfilling “responsibilities” as a wife. People usually don’t use that language about a partner they’re passionate about. Letter writer, I’m sorry for your grief. He sounds like he was a special person to you. We all think we’ll have more time but life has no guarantees. That’s the sad reality of life. This will take time, but I do think this may help give you perspective on whether you’re truly happy in your marriage.


I think you need to sort out what is grief from losing your friend and the fact that you think you might have wanted to have more of a romantic relationship with this person and it never came to fruition. If you are pining for lost love (no matter how they were lost) while you are in a relationship, then you need to take a look at the relationship. It usually means something is wrong there.


You don’t let go of sorrow, you learn to carry it. A grief therapist or support group could help.


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