- This topic has 27 replies, 5 voices, and was last updated 10 months, 4 weeks ago by Leon.
October 22, 2019 at 12:17 am #855376BlakeGuest
My boyfriend’s dad suddenly passed and I am here for him wholeheartedly during this time. I feel emotionally drained currently and deal with depression as well. I had to take a small step back for my mental health and explained that to him as I feel like i’m spiralling into another dark hole, which he seemed to just brush off. I continue to offer my support but he seems quite put off with me now, and I feel so guilty for not physically being able to be by his side. He has never lost a loved one before but I feel like i’m just being transferred all the emotional parts of this situation. I feel so selfish knowing I should be there for him.October 23, 2019 at 1:54 pm #855631BarbieGuest
Your boyfriend is grieving and turned to you for support. Unfortunately, you were not able to provide him with the support that he needed and instead explained that you felt like you were heading for a mental health crisis. If he brushed it off and is seeming resentful for it still it is probably more about his own grief then not caring about you. You mention that you weren’t able to be physically by his side, I assume this means that you weren’t able to attend the funeral of his father. That may be a really difficult thing for your boyfriend to accept and forgive. Give him time and continue to let him know that you care about him and are there for him, even if that is at a distance. Grief is not a straight line and everyone reacts to loss in different ways. It doesn’t sound like either of you are in the wrong, per se, you are both just hurting and not really able to offer the emotional support that the other needs at this time. I hope that you continue to prioritize your mental health and with time you can both heal.October 23, 2019 at 2:34 pm #855635
I don’t think it’s the greatest thing to tell a partner who’s actively grieving a parent that you just can’t handle it. In your shoes, I would make sure he’s getting grief therapy and I’m getting therapy as well to care for my own mental health and help support him. Get over the alleged “brush off.” He lost a parent, you didn’t. He’s actively grieving, do you expect him to be able to just drop it and help you? That’s not realistic. At this point, what Barbie said. I’m not trying to pile on, but I wish you would have sought help before just saying sorry I can’t do this. If you see a life future with this guy.October 23, 2019 at 2:44 pm #855638CurlyQueParticipant
I agree with the above. I understand why you said what you said but it really comes across shitty. As if you’re trying to turn his grieving around to be about you and your issues. I mean this whole post is about you and not how you could better support your partner while he’s dealing with tremendous loss.
There’s multiple books out there about how to be there for someone grieving and really all he needs is someone to BE THERE and listen and be willing to talk about it or willing to distract him or basically whatever he needs in the moment. I understand that’s high maintenance and that the balance of your relationship will be off for a bit but that’s what you do in a relationship.
When my mother passed my partner was not the best and it’s something that i couldn’t forgive.October 23, 2019 at 2:57 pm #855639Ele4phantGuest
So I’m sympathetic here.
Five years ago my father in law passed (it was expected but it was still hard).
My mother in law was diagnosed with dementia just over a year ago.
My husband is an only child, his extended family is not close and they live far away. He’s just got me.
Being emotional support for a grieving partner is draining. Even if you are mentally fit…it is so hard. So hugs to you.
That said, he can’t support you right now. All the love and support needs to flow to him, he’s not going to be able to return it for a while. You need to do your best to be there for him, and then you need to turn around and tap into your own support network (your friends, your family, your therapist) help lift you up so you can be there for him.
Of course, he may need more than you (or anyone person) can give, so you should encourage and facilitate additional support for him too.
But you just can’t expect him to be a partner to you or to comfort you for the next while.October 23, 2019 at 3:03 pm #855641Ele4phantGuest
For what it’s worth, my own mother was going through chemo for colon cancer right about the same time we got my MIL and we were moving her into assisted living.
And we did have a dust up over our competing burdens at one point, so I do understand what’s its like to have your own sh*t going on and needing to support a partner.
Ultimately my mothers treatment was proactive, and I have lots of family and siblings to help so my husband got the bulk of the love and the leeway.
But just hugs to you, I’m sorry it’s so hard right now. I hope you have plenty of support that’s not your partner, because he just doesn’t have it to give at the moment.October 24, 2019 at 2:28 pm #855760BlakeGuest
I have been there every day nonstop for my boyfriend and his family doing whatever i could, but just wasn’t able to for a brief period of time and that was not okay in his eyes, regardless of me explaining. the funeral hasn’t happened and I will be attending which he and his family would like. I never have and do not expect my partner to be there for me and drop everything due to my mental health, in his eyes he needed an explanation as to why i couldn’t be there and I gave him the truth. I did not feel comfortable trying to support him when I couldn’t control myself mentally.
I have been there every day all day with him and his family now, but he has expressed as to how i’m not prioritizing him, which I am confused on and am trying to gain understanding.October 24, 2019 at 2:40 pm #855761ele4phantGuest
Look – he’s struggling. He’s very sad. Some of his angry at you may be transference, some of it may legitimately may be that he needs more than you can give. Maybe he needs more than any one person could give, I’m not sure.
All I can say is keep being there. Your issues take a back seat for a bit.
That’s not to say you can’t have them, it just means you need to turn and look to your friends, family, counselor for that kind of love and support.
I’m so sorry, I know this is hard. All you can keep doing your best. Listen to him, and try to do your best to give him what he asks for. Do your best to get plenty of support and help from other places so you don’t drown yourself.
I don’t want promise everything will turn out it okay. It might! He may get past the height of his pain, and you guys can resume a more normal pieces. Maybe work will need to be done, but you’ll be able to work together to get back on track. Maybe this will break the two of you. Its sad, but tragedy can do that. Tragedy can fracture an already stressed relationship. Tragedy can make people rethink who they are and what they want out of life.
The best you can do is…do the best you can do. Be there as fully as you can, and know my heart is with you, and I hope you have people you can go to yourself during this hard time.October 24, 2019 at 2:42 pm #855762BlakeGuest
is there anything i can do that would help him? i’m one of the only people in his support circle that isn’t family, he doesn’t want to have his friends part of this.October 24, 2019 at 2:47 pm #855763ele4phantGuest
Hold his hand.
Ask him what he’s feeling. Let him tell you and just listen, no matter how sad, angry or distraught it comes out. Don’t try to fix it or reason with it, or explain it. Let him feel what he feels.
Tell him you love him.
If he asks you for something specific, do it.
Do actual things around the house. Make food, keep the house clean, pay the bills so he doesn’t have to worry about it.
If you do all this, this isn’t necessarily going to make him feel better or fix it. Not today, maybe not tomorrow, maybe not anytime soon. Your job isn’t to make him feel better, your job is just to be there, loving him, and bear witness to his grief.October 24, 2019 at 2:47 pm #855764
Look, it’s not that complicated. Have you ever lost someone? I’m grieving right now because my dog passed on Sunday. My mom’s been unwell this past year. I haven’t lost a parent, but I can put myself in his shoes. When you’re grieving, you don’t need your partner telling you, sorry, your grief is affecting my mental health. What do you expect him to do with that? Turn around and focus on your mental health? Go get help. Make an appointment with your therapist. I don’t know what you want right now.
If you needed a quick break, you should probably have just taken a quick break. Made sure he was with people, and said you had to go take care of xyz and you’d be back. Called your therapist. It’s just a bit insensitive to say his grief is affecting your mental health.October 24, 2019 at 2:50 pm #855765
But as for what to do now, what Ele4phant said. This isn’t about you right now, it’s about him. Listen. Clean. Make food.