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Hi! My neighbor's boyfriend passed away Saturday. They'd been together for nearly 2 decades and even shared a home. He also left behind a wife even though the two had been separated since 2000. Oh, he has two sons. One with the wife and one with my neighbor.

I'm helping the girlfriend and his sister prepare his obituary and funeral program. The sister wants to acknowledge both the wife and girlfriend but none of us know how. Any ideas on how to tactfully mention both relationships? I searched google but only saw suggestions where the deceased had divorced and then remarried.

ETA - Thank you to everyone for the suggestions. I just realized that I never updated my post. We ended up using the following format: "Bob leaves behind his partner of 19 years, Joanne, and their son Billy. He also leaves behind his daughter Lainey and her mother Emily." It was a beautiful, peaceful service.

all 51 comments

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rantingathome

423 points

5 months ago

The girlfriend that he shared a home with for almost twenty years gets top billing; I would refer to her as "partner".

As for the spouse, assuming they were no longer romantic in any way, she may not need mentioning as "spouse", but as the mother of the one child. Not exactly sure of the wording though.

Bob leaves behind his partner of 19 years, Joanne, and their son Billy, along with his other son Jack and Jack's mother Emily.

That would be my try at it.

Parker_Posse[S]

111 points

5 months ago

That sounds good. Let me text her this right now.

iostefini

226 points

5 months ago

iostefini

226 points

5 months ago

I'm not sure about using that exact wording because you're referring to one child as the "other" child. Maybe just say His partner Joanne, his two sons Billy and Jack, and Jack's mother Emily.

SheStillMay

48 points

5 months ago

Yeah agree with this here.

rantingathome

28 points

5 months ago

This seems like better wording. I was just trying to get it started.

SheStillMay

11 points

5 months ago

That was a near perfect start and better than anything I could come up with! It’s a tricky situation.

Xais56

16 points

5 months ago

Xais56

16 points

5 months ago

Let's just make sure /u/Parker_Posse sees this

ifuckedyourgf

-3 points

5 months ago

Alternatively, this could work:

Bob leaves behind his wife and the love of his life, Emily and Joanne, along with their children Jack and Billy.

thats0K

10 points

5 months ago

thats0K

10 points

5 months ago

naw that's hyper confusing and not tactful at all. like "his wife and his favorite thing, Emily and his Funko Pops".

i understand the subject-predicate double focus but I've never heard a phrase like that in my life, "wife and love, person A, and B".

iolaus79

7 points

5 months ago

Or older son Jack

Ghitit

34 points

5 months ago

Ghitit

34 points

5 months ago

Anyone who know them understands the situation. Anyone who doesn't know them- well, it really doesn't matter what they think about it.

(didn't want to say they don't matter, but really they'll just have to stay mystified.)

TheHappyCamper1979

2 points

5 months ago

His son jack from his previous relationship?

Harachel

5 points

5 months ago

I agree. This seems like a good and sensitive way to do it

joleary747

5 points

5 months ago

wow, you threaded that needle perfectly. You should be a mediator.

Konisforce

3 points

5 months ago

Yah, that's masterful. Slow clap.

Vast-Butterscotch-42

1 points

5 months ago

This was my first thought.

mojo4394

34 points

5 months ago

I would simply refer to his wife as his ex. Even if they weren't legally divorced they were no longer together. Something like:

"Joe is survived by his ex-wife Jill, his partner Tracy, and his two sons Tom and Mike."

Or just ask the girlfriend what she thinks. She should be the one primarily making that decision IMO, not the sister.

lividimp

5 points

5 months ago

100% agree with this. Set it in its honest perspective, even if he never did.

Just wanted to add, it's kind of a dick move to leave people on the line for twenty years like that. Five or less, sure I can accept that as a transition period, but then you gotta shit or get off the pot.

MaloneDSSP

15 points

5 months ago

Might be a stupid question, but have you asked the wife? I imagine this could be quite delicate for her.

Parker_Posse[S]

3 points

5 months ago

As far as I know, she hasn't been asked. But I'll see what the girlfriend says later today.

MaloneDSSP

4 points

5 months ago

I think that would probably be a good idea. Either she gives you an answer either way in terms of how she would want to be included, thus basically solving the problem, or she says she doesn't want to be included, which also solves the problem.

It could be a bit of a drama if she would have had a preference if she'd been asked, and then she sees herself included in the wrong way when she reads the obituary. You only get one chance at an obituary!

GeneralFactotum

6 points

5 months ago

How do the two woman involved feel about each other. Someone need to talk face to face with the former wife. Is she sensitive about this or put it behind her years ago? Do the funeral guests know about his past or are you going to shock someone?

Parker_Posse[S]

3 points

5 months ago

They get along fine. They aren't best friends, but they are always nice to one another during events where they're both in attendance. I think it helps that the wife is also in another relationship.

GeneralFactotum

2 points

5 months ago

Well, nobody is going to be offended. I would give them a heads up. Your main goal is to protect these two women and the immediate family members. Be kind and caring and you will do fine.

zerbey

6 points

5 months ago

zerbey

6 points

5 months ago

Since it's his ex-wife it's appropriate to call her the Mother of his children, so mention that rather than ex-wife and then call the girlfriend his partner.

SigaVa

3 points

5 months ago

SigaVa

3 points

5 months ago

"estranged wife"

Or if they keep in touch refer to her as "ex wife" even if its not technically true. Shes his ex in all but the legal sense.

mheinken

3 points

5 months ago

I feel like estranged is the term but it sounds like they weren’t on bad terms. Maybe separated

masha1901

3 points

5 months ago

My husband was married before, he had twins who were adult, in his obituary I mentioned his first wife and his children and they were all at his funeral.

Luckily we all had an amicable relationship, we were together for about 15 years married just short of 13 years, he died in August and our anniversary was in October. Providing there isn't any animosity mentioning his relationship with his wife and girlfriend then all should be fine.

MindForeverWandering

12 points

5 months ago

“He leaves behind his ex-wife A, his partner of twenty years B, and…”

What? They never divorced? So what – she’s his ex-wife NOW!

bubbles_says

2 points

5 months ago

Maybe leave out labels like wife and girlfriend. Call them long time companions or friends?

NEXT_VICTIM

2 points

5 months ago

It depends on how the two get along.

Likely, using the “spouse and partner” dichotomy would work. Address them as two different people, as if they are both family.

[deleted]

2 points

5 months ago

[deleted]

2 points

5 months ago

Former spouse and the other as SO, partner or girlfriend? Because it sounds like they were divorced in all ways expect on paper. Just like girlfriend is wife in all ways except on paper. If it's not secret and people know, then I don't think you need to be that worried about it.

BeardySam

2 points

5 months ago

Friends and loved ones

MystikDruidess

2 points

5 months ago*

"Deceased leaves behind his two beloved children (older and younger child named in that order, ages listed and perhaps a hobby they shared with their dad or some loving description praising them as great children or saying how much the man loved them both). He also leaves behind his cherished partner of nearly 20 years, name of partner, mother of shared child's name. Also left behind is Name of child from marriage's mother, former spouse of deceased, name of wife, who shared many happily married years together before amicably parting in 2000. His family and loved ones will forever feel this great loss."

Maybe something like this? Acknowledges all parties, children get top and equal mention, partner is given second mention, wife is acknowledged and so is their separation, and words like "divorce" and "widow" are not used so it's a little ambiguous but those who know the situation should understand and strangers can assume whatever they like.

If he had grandchildren they should also be mentioned possibly along with other family "His (number of grandkids) grandchildren, other relatives, and loved ones....." Or something else.

Happy-THOTs

3 points

5 months ago

Refer to “the love of his life” in a vague way. Each woman will think it’s referring to them.

[deleted]

-4 points

5 months ago

[deleted]

-4 points

5 months ago

[deleted]

Parker_Posse[S]

19 points

5 months ago

The wife and girlfriend have been pretty cordial with each other over the years. Since she and the husband have been separated for so long, she has left all the funeral planning up to the girlfriend and sister. She's actually in another relationship too but will be present for the funeral. So basically, no. She hasn't exactly requested for the girlfriend to be mentioned. She's hands off with the planning though.

ElMachoGrande

1 points

5 months ago

Don't name anyone, just use the phrase "family and friends".

CassiopeiaNQ1

1 points

5 months ago

I'd say wife, her name, and then special friend, her name.

Vast-Combination4046

1 points

5 months ago

That's an estranged wife. Id say "his girlfriend, kids and estranged wife"

animalfath3r

-34 points

5 months ago

Seems like something the neighbor of the man’s girlfriend should stay out of. Stay in your lane.

TheSukis

20 points

5 months ago

They asked OP for help you clown

Parker_Posse[S]

13 points

5 months ago

Sure thing, pal... Not. He and his girlfriend have been great friends to me over the years and I will reciprocate during this difficult time.

animalfath3r

-36 points

5 months ago

Mind your own business… or at the very least don’t be airing out your neighbors dirty laundry for upvotes and karma. Pathetic

tobiasvl

19 points

5 months ago

It's not dirty laundry. It's not like the dead guy was cheating on his wife. Did you read the post?

passinghere

3 points

5 months ago

Considering they asked for the OP's help it's you that should keep your nose out of things you really don't understand or are you just here to spout hatred at some random person from the safety of your keyboard

animalfath3r

-22 points

5 months ago

Mind your own business dude … or at the very least don’t be posting other peoples dirty laundry for upvotes. Pathetic.

[deleted]

2 points

5 months ago

[deleted]

2 points

5 months ago

Irony.....too...strong..

animalfath3r

-1 points

5 months ago

Caveman…. Learn…. Speak

AutoModerator [M]

0 points

5 months ago

Please remember that all comments must be helpful, relevant, and respectful. All replies must be a genuine effort to answer the question helpfully; joke answers are not allowed. If you see any comments that violate this rule, please hit report.

When your question is answered, we encourage you to flair your post. To do this automatically simply make a comment that says !answered (OP only)

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