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AndreF
02-13-2015, 06:01 PM
I've been doing some research about relationships. Never having been in one I don't have personal experience to work with. The story I'm working on set in present time frame will touch on relationships (marriage to be more exact)

Various reports have mentioned various reasons of why a woman (or man) may cheat on their spouse. Their are various reasons however there is one reason or form of affair that all reports mentioned.

This affair is more than just sex, or a means of escape, but one where the wife is emotionally and physically involved with her new partner. She is in love with her new partner and her husband is practically dead to her.

The husband in this story is a workaholic and has never been abusive. And they don't have kids.

Would it be logical for a woman, whose spouse is practically dead to her, not to care if her husband were brutally killed?

Better yet if you divorced your spouse (or no longer loved your spouse) would you care if something horrible happened to them?

I know of people that are still good friends after a divorce they love each other but they just can't live in the same house. What I'm wondering about is a bit different and I know there is no one answer to these kinds of things because people are different. I'm just making sure that things will be logical and understandable. Realistic. But there are people who had very bitter divorces and equally bitter marriages.

Me personally I'm thinking that if a woman is in love with someone outside her marriage to the point where she not only cuckholds her husband but henpecks him. She wouldn't care if someone kidnapped him and cut his head of with a dull rusted blade and posted the footage all over the internet. Especially if they didn't have any kids I'm thinking she'll shrug and move on. She may pretend to care for the of the camera or if her husband had a lot of money. But she wouldn't care. Doesn't matter what kind of woman she is. If there is no love for him there is no reason to care. Right?

Deb Kinnard
02-13-2015, 06:14 PM
The following is ALL MY TAKE and not meant to imply anyone else on the planet would think this way.

I think she would be deeply affected if her "dead-to-me" husband were killed. Guilt. Thoughts of "what if I hadn't...what if I had..."

She might feel that she is peripherally responsible for the trail of circumstances leading up to his death. She would care, from where I sit -- not because she loved him, but because she didn't.

I even wonder if she'd grieve more deeply over this man she wanted to love, but hadn't, because of the sense of lost potential in the relationship. Does that make any sense at all? People are not always easy to figure out; motivations are often murky and confused and mixed. Draw your character this way and you'll give us more than a simple set of emotions and decisions; you'll give us a living, breathing character with a complex response to a horrible situation, part of which was created by her own actions.

Also how does she feel, prior to his murder, about cheating? I want to believe your woman character did not undertake unfaithfulness lightly, because if I thought otherwise, she would not be a sympathetic character to me.

The above is in no way meant as instruction. Readers respond with reactions all over the map. Just my thoughts about your scenario.

AndreF
02-13-2015, 06:35 PM
The following is ALL MY TAKE and not meant to imply anyone else on the planet would think this way.

I think she would be deeply affected if her "dead-to-me" husband were killed. Guilt. Thoughts of "what if I hadn't...what if I had..."

She might feel that she is peripherally responsible for the trail of circumstances leading up to his death. She would care, from where I sit -- not because she loved him, but because she didn't.

I even wonder if she'd grieve more deeply over this man she wanted to love, but hadn't, because of the sense of lost potential in the relationship. Does that make any sense at all? People are not always easy to figure out; motivations are often murky and confused and mixed. Draw your character this way and you'll give us more than a simple set of emotions and decisions; you'll give us a living, breathing character with a complex response to a horrible situation, part of which was created by her own actions.

Also how does she feel, prior to his murder, about cheating? I want to believe your woman character did not undertake unfaithfulness lightly, because if I thought otherwise, she would not be a sympathetic character to me.

The above is in no way meant as instruction. Readers respond with reactions all over the map. Just my thoughts about your scenario.

Thank you for taking the time to answer. You mentioned some very interesting questions and reasons I haven't considered. I don't have anything set in stone for her just yet. So the possibilities are endless. I look forward to more input about this matter.

Once again thank you for your time.

mrsmig
02-13-2015, 06:41 PM
I'm finding the level of detachment you're describing hard to swallow.

If a woman truly hated her husband, I could see her shrugging off his brutal murder. I'd even accept her being glad about it if the relationship was toxic enough.

But what you're describing isn't a toxic marriage - it's one that's simply withered and died. I agree with Deb Kinnard that there would be some sadness as well as a level of guilt from the wife.

Something drew your characters together. Something made them make the commitment to marry. Something made them want to share their lives and dreams. They have a past together, and that shared past can't be erased, even when the marriage fails and the partners have moved on.

Maggie Maxwell
02-13-2015, 06:43 PM
Just my opinion, but if I ever left Mr. Maxwell for someone else and something horrible happened to him after, I'd feel guilty (like Deb said) with thoughts of "What if I hadn't left him? Did something I do lead to this? Was this somehow my fault?" Maybe I didn't love him anymore, but at one time, I did, and he was a major part of my life for a long time. I loved him enough to marry him. Even if he were dead-to-me-no-longer-in-love, I'd mourn the good memories. The only way I wouldn't was if I left him because he turned abusive, and even then, I'd still probably remember when he wasn't, even if I thought he deserved what he got. With the description you give of the relationship, I can't see her not caring at all.

There's more attachment than just the husband, too. How does the woman feel about her ex-in-laws? If they had a decent relationship, there'd be feelings over their suffering too.

TheCuriousOne
02-13-2015, 08:05 PM
It all depends on the character really. Like different people would react differently in this situation.

You say the husband's fault was basically that he was a workaholic. To me, this means the separation of relationship falls under the "they weren't right together anymore" category. If he'd beaten her up, I'd understand strong emotions towards him. Hatred, anger, things that would make it understandable that someone no longer even cares about the person they've been living with for some time, whom they might have loved for some time.

I think if it's just a question of giving up on someone, the feelings are more "mellow". If you don't have anything that causes a fight, like children, properties, etc, the person moves on. But there might still be caring feelings, even though there is no love, because there are memories, because the person didn't give you reasons to wish him dead.

So it all depends on how your female character felt about the way she was treated. I wouldn't say your example is impossible. She might care, she might not. Because there are probably people who move on and don't show a care in the world afterwards as well.

Then there's also the fact that he dies by being killed. When someone you know dies of natural death, you feel powerless, that you have no choice but accept that things happened this way. When someone you know gets killed, you react differently. Anger, feeling of injustice, of revenge sometimes, the need to know why, guilt as mentioned above, it's a very different situation. But then, if you've completely written off that someone from your life, there is nothing that says that you have to feel this way, and that you shouldn't not care.

I guess I'm not really helpful with my answer, but what I'm trying to say is we're all different, and we all act differently. Personally, I don't see what's wrong in your character not caring if her ex has been killed. As long as the context and the feelings show why and are consistent with this, the reader will understand :)

veinglory
02-13-2015, 08:11 PM
There is a huge difference between not liking someone and not caring if they die horribly. Reading about the horrible deaths of complete strangers on the news effects me. The death of anyone I ever liked and knew well, even if I later came to hate them, would effect me deeply.

flapperphilosopher
02-13-2015, 08:54 PM
When a relationship ends (and obviously the relationship is over, even if the marriage isn't), one of the saddest things is the loss of potential. Once there was a time when you loved them utterly. You had dreams of what things would be like, what you'd do together. You thought whatever you had to face, you'd face it together, that there was nothing the two of you couldn't overcome. You've seen and probably had relationships that ended, but this one won't, it's different, it's special, this person is special. Part of the loss of a relationship is the loss of all that hope and potential you had wrapped up in that person. You thought it would be one way, and it's just not, and it's not going to be. Eventually most people try and find it again with someone else (though, ideally ending any commitment first). I can't speak for everyone but in what I've felt and observed, no matter how over that person you come to be, you never entirely forget that sense of potential. Part of the reason people can hate exes so much, I think, is that they feel that potential was betrayed--it should/could have been like this, but they did x or y or z (though it's rarely, if ever, that simple). You might come to hate the person as they are now, but it's a lot different to hate the person they used to be/you thought they were/you wanted them to be. The hate of an ex is very tied up to love (unless they actually did something really awful, but that's usually not the case). It's the pain of not having your love returned, at least not the way you wanted it to be.

Of course any situation depends on character, but unless you've already set this woman up to be extremely callous, selfish, and unemotional (nearly to the edge of psychopathy), I can't believe she just wouldn't care. Once you've loved someone deeply, you always have some kind of connection, even if you hate that you do. To her, he isn't just the man he became. There are still the ghosts of the man she loved, the man she thought he was, the man she wanted him to be, the ghosts of those feelings of dashed hope and potential. Even if she doesn't miss him, how could she feel nothing?

I also have to agree with veinglory about the impact of not just a death, but a horrible murder. I too feel affected just to hear about the horrible murders of complete strangers who live on the other side of the world. It would be so much more intense simply for it to be an acquaintance. I can't imagine how awful it would be if it were someone who had actually been a big part of my life, even (maybe especially) if I hated them.

Your character may very well keep going on with her life, continue in her relationship, and not have major obvious upheavals... but unless she's a psychopath, I would really, really reconsider feeling nothing at all.

Tazlima
02-13-2015, 09:03 PM
I've been doing some research about relationships. Never having been in one I don't have personal experience to work with.

Even if you've never been in a long-term romantic relationship, you can still draw from personal experience. Imagine the same situation based on friendship. Do you have any childhood friends that you've fallen out of touch with? How would you feel to learn they had died? At the very least, I imagine you'd mourn for the person you remember from so long ago.


If there is no love for him there is no reason to care. Right?

Wrong. Completely wrong. Not only can you care about people you don't currently love, you can care about people you've never even met. I'm sad for the victims of the recent murders in Raleigh. One article ran a picture of the couple's wedding photo and I just thought, "They were so young and they look so happy. It's not fair that their lives were cut short like that." They're total strangers to me, but I care about them.

In the scenario you've described, she may not love him any more, but she loved him at one time. It sounds like he treated her well and did the best he could to make the marriage successful. The fact that she found someone who makes her happier doesn't erase that history. If he were murdered while she was in the midst of cheating? There'd definitely be a lot of guilt there.

One last thing to keep in mind (depending on the POV you're writing from). People who are cheating frequently tell the lover "I don't love my spouse anymore and plan to leave him/her." This is rarely true. Typically if they really wanted out of the marriage, they'd already be out. They're telling the lover what they want to hear to string him/her along.

I had a coworker who was notorious for being "the other woman" and the obvious lies she swallowed from these guys were just sad. Often they'd say they were single at first. Then after a few dates when she found out the truth, they'd trot out some real whoppers.

One guy was living with his wife and daughter and swore to my coworker that he was in the process of getting divorced, slept on the couch every night, and never ever had sex with his wife anymore. It was fine to date him. Except for living with his spouse, he was practically single!" She believed every word and dated the guy for eight months, during which his story never changed a bit and his "divorce-in-progress" mysteriously didn't move forward at all.

Myrealana
02-13-2015, 09:29 PM
Would it be logical for a woman, whose spouse is practically dead to her, not to care if her husband were brutally killed?
It might be logical in a strictly cost-benefit sense, but it doesn't sound realistic. If she's been having an affair and he dies like that, I'd expect some DEEP guilt, regardless of how "dead" their relationship was.


Better yet if you divorced your spouse (or no longer loved your spouse) would you care if something horrible happened to them?
I think unless she's completely psychopathic, she would care. Her feelings would be complex, and may waver--sometimes feeling relief, sometimes guilt, sometimes sadness, maybe joy if she was bitter--but she would care.


Me personally I'm thinking that if a woman is in love with someone outside her marriage to the point where she not only cuckholds her husband but henpecks him. She wouldn't care if someone kidnapped him and cut his head of with a dull rusted blade and posted the footage all over the internet. Especially if they didn't have any kids I'm thinking she'll shrug and move on. She may pretend to care for the of the camera or if her husband had a lot of money.
Sure.

If she's a complete sociopath.

Ravioli
02-13-2015, 09:32 PM
With enough disappointment, abuse (including emotional), and ultimately, resentment, one can grow very cold to one's previous "the-one" indeed. While the credibility of such coldness is limited, it's possible. Hell, it's happened to me and whenever a deadly accident, terrorist attack, or other is reported in the news, I hopefully look for specific names to appear. While I've had nothing but love for them previously. It happens. It's ugly but it's also kind of natural.

Cath
02-13-2015, 09:39 PM
/removes mod hat

I suspect this is an impossible question to answer, simply because no two people will react the same.

I think your scenario is highly unlikely, for the reasons others have already said, but I don't think there's any one way or any right way to react to this situation.

//replaces mod hat.

chompers
02-13-2015, 10:20 PM
I'm finding the level of detachment you're describing hard to swallow.

If a woman truly hated her husband, I could see her shrugging off his brutal murder. I'd even accept her being glad about it if the relationship was toxic enough.

But what you're describing isn't a toxic marriage - it's one that's simply withered and died. I agree with Deb Kinnard that there would be some sadness as well as a level of guilt from the wife.

Something drew your characters together. Something made them make the commitment to marry. Something made them want to share their lives and dreams. They have a past together, and that shared past can't be erased, even when the marriage fails and the partners have moved on.
All of this. See PM.

AndreF
02-14-2015, 04:43 AM
I wanted to thank you all for taking the time to provide some input on this matter.

I knew you guys and gals could fill in the gaps of what I was reading. Once again thank you all so much for clarifying some things.

Oh my female character isn't a complete psychopath so I can have her acting and thinking in a way many of you have suggested. Once again I never considered morning the loss of what was once something and would have been something special. That makes a lot of sense to me.

And with that little wrinkle ironed out I can really move forward. Thank you all.

culmo80
02-18-2015, 01:33 PM
They type of detachment you describe would classify her as a psychopath - and I'm going by the clinical definition, not the pejorative.

It's much easier for people to shrug off the brutal murder of someone we don't know. The world does that everyday as ISIS brutally kills people in all manner of ways.

Seeing someone she personally knew brutally killed would still affect her. Even if she stopped loving him and even belittled him, his brutal murder would elicit some human response in her - empathy.

I would think she would feel some remorse, maybe even guilt over how she treated him. You could make her a psychopath, and that might be in keeping with the way she treats her husband.