The guilt dies with you
How to deal with the death of an ex
Ariana Grande's ex, rapper Mac Miller, recently passed away at the age of 26. The two dated for almost two years before PEOPLE magazine confirmed the split in May. In retrospect, many said Ariana was heartbroken, and someone on Twitter even claimed she was the reason Mac Miller dumped his own car while drugged. The actress and singer legitimately defended herself against the sexist allegation that she was responsible for Miller's behavior. Describing the relationship as toxic and scary, she said she had tried and continued to support his abstinence for years.
On the occasion of the death, we spoke to grief expert, author and co-founder of grief.com David Kessler about how people mourn who have lost an ex. Because that of course also depends on how you stood with one another and what the previous relationship was like, we distinguish between three different starting situations.
Situation 1: Your relationship was anything but rosy
Grief is always a complex issue. But the kinds of feelings Grande had for Miller make things even more complicated - as does his drug history, explains David Kessler. "A relationship with a dependent person usually turns our entire life upside down." Then, when that relationship comes to an end, you may think negatively about your ex or the relationship itself. However, you should not forget that it was not your ex as a person, but only her or his behavior that was toxic. As a result, you can also mourn someone if you didn't like their behavior. "The negative feelings you feel when you break up have nothing to do with the fact that you once loved the person".
Situation 2: The relationship was okay, but you blame yourself for death
But even if your relationship was not toxic, dealing with the death of the ex is often not easy. When a loved one dies, there is usually nothing left but deep, clear sorrow. However, if you had previously quarreled with the person or separated from them, dealing with death is particularly delicate, according to Kessler. You might then ask yourself if you could have done something differently. But this thought doesn't help you either. You lost someone forever and blaming yourself for it doesn't change that fact.
Situation 3: You are newly in love and then an ex dies
When Mac Miller died, Ariana was already engaged to Pete Davidson. In a situation like this, the emotional chaos is practically inevitable: The subject of the ex is usually such a thing anyway - especially in young relationships. But when that person dies, things get even more complicated. You (or your newcomer) may then be afraid that the grief could negatively affect the happiness of your relationship. But that doesn't have to be the case.
It's okay to be sad - after all, you loved the deceased or loved one once (and in some ways you may still do so). But that has nothing to do with how you feel about your new partner. Just like your friends and family, your newcomer should accept your grief and support you during this difficult time. When feelings of jealousy arise, Kessler always advises pushing them aside and focusing entirely on being there for one another. The bereaved person now needs a lot of love and the freedom to live out their own emotions.
If you think that for whatever reason you are not allowed to mourn someone (publicly), one speaks of Disenfranchised Grief (socially less recognized grief). Because you broke up, you (or others) think that death has no effect on you and that you have no right to react as emotionally as the immediate bereaved. But that's not true. Your grief is real, and just like any other grieving person, you deserve understanding and support.
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