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Cliches We Shouldn't Have To Hear

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  • You shouldn't be sad, you should be happy for (name)...
  • It's God's will...
  • They must have fulfilled their purpose here...
  • You just need to trust God!
  • At least you had such and such time together...
  • Well it's not like you were married a long time.
  • You're young, you'll find someone else.
  • Don't say you never want anyone else.
  • I want his/her (name item/s)...
  • I understand how you feel...my dog passed away...
Edited by kayc
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I agree that I have heard all that was said here and more but like terry said the thing that really gets me is the people who say nothing and act like nothing happened. My husbands friend since he was 12 said it was a "bummer" what happened to my husband and I havent heard from him since.

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"You're doing better than I expected you would".

If I've heard this once I've heard it hundreds of times. Again today my adult granddaughter made this comment. My response was; "What you see isn't even remotely connected to the way I really feel"!

I didn't say it to hurt her, but rather to let her know that things aren't always what they seem. In the past I've made the same comment to others in my shoes. If I'd known then what I know now; I'd have bit my tongue before speaking those words!

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I had to add some of my experiences...


The day of his service a friend said "you think this feels bad, just wait a few months".

And a friend I've had over twenty years said "Do you think you'll ever have sex again??" Oh my God,You are probably having the same reaction I had to that statement! I couldn't close my mouth, I was so shocked.

Everyone has said you have to get ahold of yourself, Larry wouldn't want you to be this upset!! WHAT??? How would Larry think I would react to his death?? Of course he knew I would be devastated.

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Here are some of mine and some I don't think are cliche's but still put me in more pain.

At the funeral my old boss said to me "Well, it will be all over and done with today" what???????? It will never be over for me.....

You knew he was going to die. Won't we all? That hurt so much.

You had him for 17 years longer than you should have. I want him longer.

And like all of you: you look so good, you are doing great, it was God's will (me and God are having are disagree on that one)etc. etc.

You are young you can get married again. I don't want to get married again....Herman is the love of my life.

Larry's Girl.....my mouth would have dropped when I read the will you ever have sex again, except they said that to me too. (seems even the things said to you and me are similar)

The newest ones for me are: Don't you think you are worshipping a ghost...what???????????, he wouldn't want you to hurt so long, you have a granddaughter now that will make it better (like it doesn't tear me up that Herman will never be able to hold his granddaugher) and it goes on and one and one.

And Chrissy you are so right about the people (including family and people I thought were friends) that act like nothing even happened. That is so hard to deal with.

Well, guess I rambled on enough. Sorry for the rambling.


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Hi All,

The cliche that I have heard and has really bother me is " You have to be brave" I find that everyone just thinks that if you cry you are weak.... I heard this many times between both of my parent's funeral since they were so close together.... Take care Shelley

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Okay, I just have to add some more...these are things people said to me shortly after George died...maybe not actual cliches, but statements they made:

from my mother the morning after he died: When are you going to come get his trailer?

from my exhusband the morning after he died: I think the kids should know why we divorced...(what? maybe statements like that had something to do with it?)

from a boyfriend I had 30 years ago: You are the one I always wanted, I just didn't know it...(when I told him I was mourning George and didn't want anyone else, he said he'd wait a year...he did and then hit me up again...he didn't seem to get it that I just wasn't interested)

from my former brother in law: I know how you feel, I lost a parrot once (and then went on to tell me his stupid parrot came back in a day!)

from his friend's girlfriend the morning of his memorial service...they came to my home just before I was to leave and she grabbed his hat off the rack and said, "I want this!!!" I grabbed it back and started crying and said, "No! It's HIS!"

from my sister: She got upset with me because I wouldn't sell my house and move to a big city...she would not back off with it so I finally told her, "I'll tell you what...when your husband dies, I'll tell YOU what to do!"

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Someone told me i should be relieved b/c i was her caretaker. they said now you can go on with your life. how stupid some people are. now i say death does not skip anyone and one day you to will feel the pain. i am not nice about it anymore. get mad it does make you feel a little better. loir

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I don't think these are all cliches, because my situation was a little different -- Don and I were divorced for 20 years when he died, because he was gay, but we still loved each other and had a close loving friendship. But people said:

"Well, dear, that's too bad, but what can you expect with his lifestyle?" (My mother said this!)

"He's just your ex, why do you care?" (Isn't it enough that I do?)

"You should have moved on, and since you never remarried, it proves you didn't." (Mind your own business!)

"Oh, he must have died of AIDS." (He didn't, but even if he had, does that make it HIS fault, and I shouldn't grieve for him?)

"I guess he was an alcoholic, since he died of liver disease." (He was a teetotaler, where do you get off assuming that?)

"How can you grieve for a man who did that to you?" (Who did WHAT to me? We were young when we met, he didn't know he would find his gay feelings surfacing 12 years later! Besides, who are you to judge how I should feel!)

My best comfort is that his best friend has now become one of my best friends, and she is wonderfully supportive, and she knows how he felt about me and understands. So does my sister. Without these wonderful people, I don't know how I would have ever dealt with my feelings, and the complicated, disenfranchised grief feelings. And his boyfriend has been wonderful to me too, and told me how Don talked about me, and I told him how Don talked about him. We accept that we both loved him. And he has disenfranchised grief too, since our society often ignores the grief of gay people who are widowed -- not even recognizing that they ARE widowed. And this board is so comforting. I am lately feeling like a loser for crying almost daily although it's been more than two years. But I have read some posts of people also feeling ongoing grief after years have gone by, which made me feel that at least I am not going crazy. I hope.


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Ann, The worst one for me was similar to yours:

"He's your 'ex' so why are you so upset?"

I heard this when I was so upset because I had just spent the weekend un-packing all of his boxes from his apartment when he lived less than a mile from where I live now. You don't expect to be doing this when you're 27 years old!!

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I am sorry you have been told such inappropriate and ill-based remarks. It just goes to show people's ignorance even when they mean well. Sometimes the fact that they mean well doesn't even help. My husband was dysfunctional so people conclude I shouldn't grieve for him. He was very loveable, how could I not love him? And he understood me and was my biggest fan and supporter. Of course I am going to grieve for him. Some people also assume that because I am now seeing his friend, I am over him. They couldn't be more wrong. I have accepted the fact that he is no longer here in the present, in my day to day life and I choose not to be totally alone...of course since John is 170 miles away from me I am still alone, but at least we can talk on the phone and see each other on weekends when work permits. But one person doesn't replace another, but rather creates a new place in your heart, all of their own. I will grieve the rest of my life, I know that. You never stop missing those that you lose that were so important to you, and they don't have to be perfect to be missed. My George is proof of that. I am feeling a little angry that people don't seem to understand what I am going through.

You loved your husband. The fact that he came to terms with his gayness has nothing to do with that and does not alter your love. Your and his love was a strong bind that nothing could sever. And the fact that he had a boyfriend that he loved does not take away from his love for you. The fact that George turned to his ex girlfriend as a friend/confidant after we were married does not alter the fact that we loved each other either. It all gets rather confusing sometimes, especially to me since I didn't know I was going to have to deal with that and relegate it into whatever role it had, but I am having to and that's how it goes. You had a lot of years to deal with and come to terms with your relationship and even then I daresay, it probably hasn't been always easy...and yet you have done it. You are an amazing person with an abundance of love and understanding and wisdom...it triumphs over everything. I like how you accept things as they are. You have learned to get assertive and I think that is necessary and key to change in the world. Just today I got an email from my pastor's wife, supposedly a friend of mine, that I have not heard from in some time...I have been gone on the weekends lately as it is John and my only chance to see each other and he's been working most weekends and can't come here...I get this email from her stating that I am sinking into a deep depression. I wrote back and asked her how she would know since I haven't talked to anybody? Maybe she's just assuming that since I'm out of work, my furnace is out again, my car is having problems, I'm dealing with grief, I'm running out of unemployment, my interview was cancelled, and I no longer hear from my friends. But I kind of doubt it since she doesn't realize any of these things.


Having broke up with somebody in no way diminishes your feelings for them, but rather it just states the fact that for whatever reasons there was something you couldn't accept and live with as/is. The fact is, loving someone in no way equates with agreeance with choices. I had delivered some tough love to George right before he died with regards to his drug use...but I loved him more than anyone in the world had ever loved anyone...and I loved him too much to sit idly by and watch him kill himself. I loved him enough to deliver the things he needed to hear. Sometimes we can't accept something, but the love goes on.

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Thank you so much for your post, you made me feel a lot better! I have read on this board your struggles with what you learned about your husband, and I think it's wonderful you are coming to realize that we love people, faults and all. If we only loved perfect people, there wouldn't be much love in the world, would there? The miracle of love is that we can be loved for the imperfect, struggling, mistake-making human beings that we are.

You are right that I had 20 years to adjust to the change and divorce. I did move on in life. We stayed more or less in contact over those years, sometimes it was too much for me and I wouldn't speak to him -- not because he did anything wrong, but because it was hard to have "just a friendship" with someone I loved and who had once been my husband. But when he became ill, we reconnected very strongly and became close again. I realized then that love should not be put in boxes -- did I love him as my husband, my former lover, my friend, a family member? It really doesn't matter what I call it. I just loved him. He called me his soul mate, and his boyfriend said he both understood it and was jealous -- but wanted to meet me. He never imagined he would meet me at Don's funeral. I'll never forget it -- Brian searched the reception to find me, and told me right off that Don had told him how hard it was to come out all those years ago, and that he never would have left me if he'd been straight, and that I was his soul mate. I was stunned to learn Don felt that way, and even more stunned at the generosity of heart that led Brian to tell me that! Brian told me it meant to him that Don was capable of the kind of love and commitment that Brian wanted, and it actually made him more attractive, that he would keep me close to his heart all those years. And for Brian it is tragic, because they were only together for six months before Don died.

But he was no angel -- our breakup was very hard, and he kept the real reason secret for a long time, too afraid to tell me -- I had to figure it out for myself and confront him. And I have a lot of anger and pain from the past -- some he deserved, and some he didn't, but emotions are not logical! I will never forget the pain of his leaving me, no matter how much I understand the reason, and that he could not change who he was, though he tried to do so for years in order to stay with me. Nor have I ever figured out why he introduced me to his lover while we were still married, and we had New Year's Eve dinner together -- myself in total ignorance of the situation! That one seems so out of character, and he never discussed that with anyone, so I have no idea why he would do such a thing. It's possible he had decided to ignore the attaction and stay married, and thought if he introduced us, the relationship would stay at friendship level -- but that didn't work. And I don't know for sure that was the reason. I would love to have him back long enough to demand the reason for that! I'd love to have him back at his worst, just to see him again. I know my family thinks I'm totally nuts to keep my gay ex-husband in my heart like this, but he was the love of my life, and if that makes me a loser, OH WELL!!! That's just the way it is.

Some of the things I have learned are comforting, but do not make up for losing him. And I regret now every time I told him to keep his distance, or I ignored his calls and letters because it was too hard to stay in touch. His friend told me he understood and came to respect that I needed to do that, but it doesn't help my pain to know that he ended up living a short life, and I missed so much of it.

I believe you are right that seeing someone else is not evidence you are "over it". I am seeing someone, too. He is entirely different from Don, and my feelings for him are quite separate from my feelings for Don. Nor do my feelings for this man change my grief for Don. They are no threat to what we shared, nor were Don's feelings for Brian any threat. (Brian gives me tips on dating men! It's pretty funny.)


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Oh Ann,

I think you are wonderful! You have tried to do the best you could with a very complex situation...and you are right, emotions don't need to make sense. We are what we are and we feel what we feel. George also tried to bring Ali into my life...he wanted us to be friends...I don't know if it is natural to want to keep the two people who meant the most to you in your life and to share them with each other, I only know it's what he wanted. They may not have handled everything perfectly, but we do know that they loved us and we them. Good luck with continuing to sort everything out, I know it's difficult and sometimes we do better than other times. Who cares what others think, it's what we know inside that matters most.

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  • 2 weeks later...

One of the first things my mother said to me was "thank God you didn't have a baby with him", (we had been thinking about it) Then she said "Did he have life insurance, are you gonna lose the house?" These things really hurt. She never really accepted him, but if it had been my ex-husband (my children's father) she would have been devastated.

Other than that, what I really hate is "everything happens for a reason.", you're strong you'll get through this. He's in a better place--- I hate that, I don't want him there, I want him here with me-- He would want to be with me, how can it be better if we're not together?

I don't get mad at people, I know thier only telling me what they honestly believe, I just don't agree.

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