Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Going to an Ex's Funeral

Rate this topic


Recommended Posts

Should a woman who is married attend the funeral of the ex. The context. The divorce was due to disrespect and verbal abuse. After several years the ex was forgiven and the ex was amicable and not the same as they used to be.

I say that this is disrespectful to the current spouse. Here is something that was said to me that I am arguing against.


The point of a funeral is to pay respect to the person that passed and to honor their life. This is because they had child with that person and that is meaningful.


My question is who is this benefiting. If it is benefiting the spouse that is attending the funeral in what way are they benefiting that is not in the face of their current spouse?


Also does not to “pay respect to someone” assume that the respect is owed to them? If the divorce was due to disrespect what is owed to the deceased?


As far as compassion goes what about simply being compassionate to the person that decided to marry you and respect you and treat you very well and not go to the funeral of your ex?


What are your thoughts?


Link to comment
Share on other sites

If they have children she should go; refusing to attend their father's funeral would be an incomprehensible and inexcusable cruelty to them. If he has a family (wife, siblings, parents, later children) and she knows them, she should go as a favor to them. Otherwise, if she didn't like him and doesn't miss him, she has no reason to show up.

The point to remember is that he's dead; nothing she does will affect him. if one's attendance is optional (anybody other than intimates: immediate family and closest friends), the principal consideration is what want wants to do for those intimates.

This illustrates Rand's point about sacrificial and non-sacrificial generosity. Her showing up would (to judge from the facts you present) be non-sacrificial good will. If she has no respect for him or for anyone around him, or if getting there would be intolerably expansive, then she would be making a sacrifice.

Edited by Reidy
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Reidy has given some major salient reasons for deciding to go.

I only have to add the following:

Any consideration of "should" is to be viewed from the woman's rational "self-interest".  One cannot forget that starting point whenever determining a moral/ethical question.


Some facts which play into this:

A.  A dead person has no existence and no value, but a living person's memories, feelings, and thoughts of a dead person do exist and can have value (or disvalue), often profoundly affecting that person's experiences and actions going forward.

B.  Children, common friends, in-laws, and current spouse, who are all alive, are a value to a person, and that includes their well-being, and their relationship with the person.

The woman should consider what the likely factual consequences of her actions would be were she to choose to abstain from going as against were she to choose to go, and to evaluate them against her hierarchy of values. 

A2: Without resorting to psychoanalysis, a funeral service can provide time and context, an event with people and stories etc. to provide reflection and closure on the loss, i.e. the passing of the woman from a world in which the deceased was alive into a world they are absent from can be quite profound.  There may be very real personal psychological reasons why the woman herself, for her own psychological well being, should go [possibly some reasons not to go].  It must be evaluated in her context.

B2:  Since others are a value to her, [and if you are a parent you will understand how precious children are (no matter what age) to a parent] in order to serve herself she cant ignore the effect that her actions have on them.  Reidy has outlined why this is important.  To a lesser degree this applies to considerations in regard to common friends, and in-laws.

The thoughts and feelings of the new spouse and the ongoing relationship are also important.  Once and if the woman decides to go, she should have a conversation with her spouse explaining WHY it makes sense for her to go, personally, and in support of other people and her relationships with them, which she values highly.  If she has a good relationship with the new spouse and he is rational and values HER, he will understand and be comfortable with it. 

IF he is NOT rational, DOES NOT value her, or if their relationship is rocky to the point he does not or is unwilling to understand, then the context changes drastically, and the moral questions open up to much broader than simply deciding whether or not to attend a funeral...to a whole range of options including, taking a hard look at who she is with and whether they should stay together.




Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 9 months later...

I think we have to look at the situation as a coin. On one side we have the the ex couple's wife who decides to attend the funeral because they made peace after the divorce even though the man verbally abused her. On the other we have the new couple or husband, that is "being" disrespected because his wife is attending her ex's funeral. She has the choice of going or not, but she should talk with her husband and ask if he is ok with that, because if he isn't then I understand she shouldn't. Also there's the fact of children; if they had children together she should attend the funeral out of respect. Either way she should attend the funeral out of respect, but then again she should talk with her husband to see if he doesn't mind because it wouldn't not be fair for him that she attended when he didn't like the idea at all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...