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I think I am losing my boyfriend after his Dad passed away :(

(31 Posts)
gandisupp Thu 09-Jun-16 01:03:26

I just joined up to try and get some advice or words of sense in terms of what might be going on here and hat it might mean in the long run for me.

My boyfriend's Dad sadly passed away quite recently and since this happened I feel like I am losing him.

I tried to be supportive and give space, but I feel so much space has been given that we don't even have a relationship any more. I haven't seen him for weeks.

His behaviour is a bit confusing. He seems genuinely to want to speak to me and he says such lovely things to me that show he feels a lot towards me but he also avoids me and has gone into his shell.

He says things like I deserve someone better and he is no good for anyone right now and all that which is nothing like him and makes no logical sense to me.

I have been pushed away to the point I feel like perhaps our relationship is over, and one minute he says he doesn't want that and the next minute he says defeatist things about me being too good for someone like him.

This is so unlike him, I feel like he is hiding away from me and it's been going on like this for almost three months months and we were only together for three months when this happened so it's been a strange situation, but I love this guy and really want him to come forward and rekindle the connection we had but I worry that maybe the situation has ended us.

He has so much going on in his life now...so much to sort out, huge changes and I realise love takes a back seat but I feel very confused. I feel almost as if he does not want to lose me, but he pushes the other direction.

Any advice?

Move2WY Thu 09-Jun-16 01:40:15

The situation you are talking about is his dads death. This is way bigger than anything else. You sound very young and Inassume not had experience of losing a close family member.

His dad has died. You may be sad about the death of your relationship but let him grieve how he neess to. This will be by spending time with his mum and family. 3 months is nothing, trust me.

janaus Thu 09-Jun-16 01:47:48

He is grieving. Grief affects us all differently. Be there if he needs you, but allow him the space and time he needs to be with his family.

gandisupp Thu 09-Jun-16 01:48:27

Please don't confuse the fact that I am concerned about our relationship as lack of concern for his Dad's death. I've really felt for him more than you know and tried to do anything I could because I care about him a lot. I understand it takes along time to grieve but it's not an easy position for me to be in either.

Redglitter Thu 09-Jun-16 01:51:25

When my dad died everything took a back seat. I had my own grief to try and deal with and a mum who's world had shattered around her to try and help. I had immense period of ups and downs. I was in a relationship when my dad died but I couldn't contemplate going out initially when I'd come in and find my mum sitting on the floor sobbing like her heart was breaking. It's only been a few months and your relationship is also new. If you want to keep seeing him you need to let him get his home situation sorted first

Mondy Thu 09-Jun-16 01:54:59

When I met my girlfriend 9 years ago my sister was ill in hospital. Within a fortnight my sister had died (aged only 27). The relationship survived and we're still together, but mainly because my girlfriend gave me space when I needed it and just let me know that she was there for me (I did say to her that I understood if she wanted us to finish, as we'd been together such a short time and bereavement would clearly change me).

The only advice I can give you is to let your boyfriend have the space he so clearly needs. Everyone deals with bereavement differently, what is happening with him at the moment is down to how he's feeling, nothing else will seem as important as the death of his Father. It's horrible watching someone you love going through this process, all you can do is let him know that you'll be there for him. If it's meant to be, then it'll all work out in the end - and you'll be a lot stronger as a couple because of it.

gandisupp Thu 09-Jun-16 01:56:19

Really what I was asking was if I should assume our relationship was over or if he might come back once he feels clearer. I definitely want to keep seeing him but wasn't sure if I should take it as a subtle sign things are over or what he needs from me. I am not sure what direction to go in.

I was also a bit confused over whey he did not wan to spend time with me, get hugs, comfort, a listening ear or why he keeps saying negative things about me doing better than him.

I am very sorry about your Dad.

gandisupp Thu 09-Jun-16 01:57:18

thank you Mondy. I am so sorry about your sister. If space is best and what he needs that is easy to give. I mostly feel useless.

Mondy Thu 09-Jun-16 02:06:03

It takes time, and you won't really know how your relationship is until things get better for him and his family and you can start being a couple again. Just let him know that you're there for him if he needs you, he'll be going through hell emotionally at the moment. Take it easy when you start seeing each other again, as it's possible he could be up and down with his emotions and how he feels about the relationship for a while - I know I was. It has made us stronger as a couple though.

I hope that it works out for you both.

nooka Thu 09-Jun-16 02:17:45

I think that your boyfriend probably doesn't really know why he is reacting in the way he is right now either. Grief does odd things to us, I'd not worry about analyzing things too much. I think I would let him know that you are there for him if he needs you and otherwise step back (at least emotionally) for a while.

I'm not sure about long term implications, but your relationship was really quite new when his dad died and it might be that it never really recovers. Or it could be that after a while he feels ready to move forward and you go on to something more serious.

Kuriusoranj Thu 09-Jun-16 02:32:35

If you're close to the parent who dies, in my experience, it changes everything. Everything. I am a different person than I was before my dad died. Agree with the others- give him time and space and try to ignore any expectations you had about normal grieving. People grieve how they grieve.

Your relationship is very new and, hard as it may be to acknowledge, it may not survive. I shut down for a long time - didn't feel anything good or hopeful or positive for a long long time. I disengaged from life. I wish you both luck - but it doesn't sound like he can be the partner you want at the moment. Only you know if you can wait and see what happens. If you can't, that's perfectly fine - you are entitled to your own happiness too and IMO your responsibility to such a new relationship is relatively small.

GarlicSteak Thu 09-Jun-16 02:44:29

There's a metaphor about grief that's been helpful to me. Think of your boyfriend's mind - or heart, if it works better - as a house. When you met him, it was his house: all nice and comfy, the way he liked it. There was a work area, a place for his car/bike, his friends came round to hang out, and you shared his big squishy sofa. He knew where everything was and it worked.

Three months ago, he woke up to find a fucking great rock in the middle of his house. It is a vast and ugly rock. It overshadows everything. It's squeezed all his normal stuff into the very small spaces left between the bastard rock and the walls of his house. He can't get from the loo to the kitchen without clambering round the damn rock, and some places are inaccessible unless he mountaineers over it with ropes & crampons.

The rock is pretty much everything. It's all you see in there. If you're on the sofa, which is now crammed in a corner under a granite cliff, and he's in another corner with his mum, there is absolutely no way you can communicate. You may as well send a letter by post, it'll reach him more reliably.

There's nothing he'd like more than for it to go away - to have everything back the way it was. He didn't ask for this rock to take over his life. But it's here - and you can't shift a mountain!

What will happen? The mountain will never disappear. He'll eventually learn to chisel bits out, rearrange his stuff on the rock, plant a rock garden, install a cable car, and his life will start up again. It'll be similar - with all his things from before, his social life and everything - but now it'll be taking place on & around the mountain. After a long time, years, everybody will stop noticing the mountain because it is now his home.

Sometimes there'll be a small avalanche, or he'll trip over a boulder, and then he'll remember when the rock arrived. He'll feel the shock all over again.

You can't make the rock go away. Nobody can.

flowers to everyone who is going through any stage of this.

DeathStare Thu 09-Jun-16 05:14:18

*
I was also a bit confused over whey he did not wan to spend time with me, get hugs, comfort, a listening ear or why he keeps saying negative things about me doing better than him. *

Because he's grieving and everyone deals with grief differently. In any case you have hardly been together any time at all so perhaps he doesn't feel ready yet for you to be the person he turns to in this type of situation. Or maybe his way of dealing with fried isn't to get hugs or a listening ear from anyone at all.

Seriously OP I know you mean well but if you want your relationship to survive you really need to stop analysing it right now. Your relationship is not the most important thing going on in his life right now and isn't (nor should it be) his first priority. The last thing he needs is to feel under (well-meaning) pressure to include you in his grief or to grieve in a way that reassures you. And if you keep analysing it right now I suspect that sort of pressure will destroy a fledgling relationship.

If you really want to develop a serious relationship with him you need to back right off at the moment. Give him space without analysing why he's taking it. If you can't do that I suspect you are incompatible.

DeathStare Thu 09-Jun-16 05:16:58

Grief not fried

HandyWoman Thu 09-Jun-16 07:06:51

Garlic that's an incredible metaphor, and so very true.

OP this is a fledgling relationship that may not survive. Because you don't know him well enough to put his grief into context.

Actually why don't you write him a letter. And take a step back emotionally from this yourself. Re-define your relationship for a bit. Because your own pain of losing him is most unhelpful and unproductive in these circumstances.

That said you have the right to decide this relationship isn't for you either. Look after yourself while this is happening.

frenchielala Thu 09-Jun-16 07:21:35

When I lost my mum - I just couldn't deal with being in a relationship, all my energy was taken up on just getting through each day. I had been going out with someone for a while and was really in love but I had to cease all contact in the end really, it took almost 3 years to be able to get back in contact with that person. I think it was hard because so many memories I had with them related back to my mum and my way of dealing with it at the time was just to draw a line under my life to that point.

I still consider that person to be 'the love of my life/the one that got away' even now I'm happily married and I know that I was the one that ended the relationship.

I'm telling you this to illustrate just how complex these kind of situations are - people don't always act as you would expect.

Kwirrell Thu 09-Jun-16 08:27:01

I don't think you should take this as a sign that your relationship is over. May I ask how old you both are?

I lost my dad when I was 21, the grief totally consumed me. It was a year before I could function properly in terms of my relationship with my partner.

You seem like you really love him, so I would advise you to listen to him, give him lots of space and reassure him you will be there when he needs you.

As for not wanting you to comfort him, please don't take that personally. I could not bear anyone near me after my bereavement.

RaptorInaPorkPieHat Thu 09-Jun-16 09:14:49

All I can say is, when my mother died, I went on to auto pilot for a good 6 months. I did nothing apart from go to work, eat and sleep, I wasn't interested in anything at all.

Luckily, relationship-wise, I was already married and therefore living with DH (who just provided the food and otherwise let me get on with it). If I'd have had to go out to meet him or do dates and stuff, I honestly don't think we'd have been a couple by the time I came out of my bereavement fog.

senua Thu 09-Jun-16 09:33:39

When there is a bereavement people often say "let me know if there is anything I can do". While such sentiments are well-meant they are often not well-received because they are so waffly. A person's head is full of grief - they don't need the extra headspace to think of things that need doing. It is much more helpful to say something more concrete like "I can put the bins out / get the groceries / walk the dog".

Maybe it might be better if you went round to the family home and helped (him and his mum and his siblings) with practical tasks. That way you get contact and are useful without seeming to selfishly demand his attention.

DeathStare Thu 09-Jun-16 10:30:07

Maybe it might be better if you went round to the family home and helped (him and his mum and his siblings) with practical tasks. That way you get contact and are useful without seeming to selfishly demand his attention.

While this is a well-meaning suggestion think very carefully about him and his family before you do this. You've only been with this man a very short time, and I'm guessing you don't know his family very well yet.

When one of my parents died the last thing we wanted was relative strangers around, however well-intentioned they were just under our feet and intruding on our grief.

gandisupp Thu 09-Jun-16 10:46:46

Thanks very much for all the stories and information which really helps. I think I was mentally prepared for a bit of space at the start but expected him to want / need me as things moved on and I did take it personally eventually and began to feel like it was rejection or a reflection on me in some way. As if maybe I should be able to make him feel better but couldn't.

It is too new a connection for me to help with practical things and so it's been a bit like a hibernation or separation and I have just been a bit confused by his lack of communication that is coherent in terms of what he needs.

I never know what to do. Message once a week something nice? Try and encourage him to speak to me? I don't think he is speaking to anyone at all about how he feels.

His Mum died a long time ago, so I know he feels a bit like he has no one now and he is feeling worried as his Dad was so young (64). We are 35 and 38 respectively so we're not teenagers but I know from what he says that he feels like his family is gone now.

It's a strange feeling to love someone and to have to leave them alone when they are in a lot of pain. I would be content to sit with him and watch a film and have a cuddle but I know he believes that because we were a new couple that what I need / deserve is to be taken out on dates and have the "old" him and I wish he could see that I don't want or need that at all, I just want him as he is.

I suppose there is an element of frustration that he seems to think he is letting me go for my own good, to protect me in some way from all of this, but the truth is I would rather be with him than anyone else on the entire planet and whether he wants me to or not I will just sit and wait.

loobyloo1234 Thu 09-Jun-16 10:52:57

That metaphor made me well up Garlic Couldn't have put it better myself. My grief was over my best friend though. I can't even explain the heartbreak to this day - to anyone else, but you have summed it up almost perfectly

OP - give him time. For months, I drove to work without realising which route i'd taken, would go shopping and forget half of the things I needed, forget to reply to texts, forget to eat etc. He will get there though. 3 months isn't a long time. I think I was on auto pilot for at least 6 months. Appreciate it is hard though as you hadn't been together long but all you can do is let him know you're there for him if he needs you smile

RosieSW Thu 09-Jun-16 10:53:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

RosieSW Thu 09-Jun-16 11:19:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

gandisupp Fri 10-Jun-16 22:09:51

Thank you for all the replies and the help. I will follow the advice and try and focus on the things you have said.

I have to be honest in saying my heart breaks every time I send a message and he doesn't reply, or when he does not want to see me. Even more painful to think of him hurting and now knowing how bad it is or what he is thinking.

I really do care about him and want to be with him, so if you all believe there is a chance he will want to see me or speak to me when he feels a little better I will try and hang in there for that hope.

I am sitting here crying away, just wish it didn't feel like this or I could be a bit wiser or more understanding.

It feels a bit like being ghosted. Which I hope isn't the case.

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