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How to support a new man following death of exW.

(54 Posts)
bespectacledrooster Fri 15-May-20 05:23:34

I am at a loss.I cannot sleep tonight.
I am in a brand new situation where I am
Chatting and video calling with a man for the last month.
His exW has died. They were not on speaking terms.There was great sadness in terms of addiction and related difficulties in their marriage.I am led to Believe that all necessary interventions were made over a period that over 15 years but sadly, none was a success.
Please advise we how to support . I cannot t see him. He is heartbroken.

OP’s posts: |
Shelanagig Fri 15-May-20 05:33:02

Listen. Listen some more. Make interjections to show you understand, but not comparing his situation with others. Help with ensuring sleep and food and try to steer him away from self medicating with alcohol or other drugs if he has a tendency that way.

In the end, it's up to him to process the feelings. He is lucky to have you there to support him. He might need professional counselling. A non involved person who can listen well, help him see connections, and progress through the complicated feelings. The GP is a good place to start, or if he can afford it google counceling your area. The Samaritans are good too and are available 24/7 Details here of how to contact them via phone call, email or letter www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help/contact-samaritan/

Don't blame yourself if you wilt under the outpouring. Look after yourself too.

bespectacledrooster Fri 15-May-20 05:46:14

Thanks. I have absolutely no terms of references for this type of scenario.
I was going to text him daily , just. For the moment to offer support. Is this a good idea or should I leave him
Alone ?

OP’s posts: |
Carrotgirl87 Fri 15-May-20 06:02:01

My husband died, after being separated for a few years, from a drug overdose, I'd nagged for a divorce but he was off gallivanting on drugs and I'd just let him go do his thing and meanwhile I was dating someone for around 6 months... it was horrendous. We had been in relatively constant contact for our son. My advice to you would be patience is key, but it's not a nice situation for you. The first week or two was like a fog, then after the funeral it was really up and down, there's grieving and then guilt added on top and it's really complex. I took a lot of space, spent a lot of time with mutual friends and family, could cry at the drop of a hat. My partner stayed consistent, there when I needed him and at arms length when I needed that. I did not use him as a sounding board or shoulder to cry on though as it didn't feel right. Sorry he and you are going through this, but a year on I'm considerably better, but he has to look after himself and not try to bury his feelings even though it's tempting xxx

JazzyTheDog Fri 15-May-20 06:08:22

It’s likely he’ll have a lot to work through in unresolved feelings (I don’t mean romantic ones) and grief in coming months, for his ex. Bear in mind he may no longer be at a place where he’s able to progress a romantic relationship and you might become a bandaid or someone who props him up. That might not be the best place to start a relationship with someone you’d only been chatting to a short period of time, it starts very unequally where you’ll be expected, or feel you should, to give him a lot of leeway or some such thing, and the dynamics may never change.

So I guess be there for him, maybe text daily without putting pressure on him. I don’t meant to be harsh, like drop him because of what has happened. But bear in mind that you have the right to have your own thoughts about where this relationship with him might go and he may no longer be up for it. You don’t owe him that, you’ve chatted for a brief period of time, and too often women put themselves last or try and fix situations to their own detriment. So see how things go with him if that’s what you want to do but don’t forget about yourself in this.

Carrotgirl87 Fri 15-May-20 06:08:33

Don't suppose I actually answered your question then did I... I'd say text exactly as normal, but don't take it personally if his replies are less. Take his queue if he needs to talk let him, but let him lead the way. For you, be normal and consistent with it x

searchaway Fri 15-May-20 06:09:58

You’ve only been talking to him for a few weeks so I think it’s a lot to ask for you to be a bereavement support. You barely know him and it’s hard enough to know how to support somebody that you’ve known for many years. It’s going to be tricky to carry on any sort of romantic relationship under these circumstances. It’s probably best to take a break from any sort of chatting/relationship building right now. Scale it right back. If it was me, I’d set a reminder on my phone for a certain time, say 9am and drop him a little message once a day. Very few words. Just “hope you’re ok. Thinking about you”. “Here if you need a chat” “sending you a hug this morning” that type of thing. No pressure but shows you care. If he doesn’t answer, don’t chase but don’t put your life on hold for somebody you’ve only known for 30ish days. Be careful of becoming a counsellor and having to discard all of your own needs.

bespectacledrooster Fri 15-May-20 06:15:24

Thanks for all of your thoughtful and considered replies.

OP’s posts: |
bespectacledrooster Sun 17-May-20 12:43:04

Hello again.
I've been re reading your responses and I
Doing my best to take them on board , but I feel so conflicted. As I said we have only just started to get to know one another and it was fun and flirty aswell as deep chats etc at times.
Now he is bereft and is going through all the emotions daily, as expected. He is eaten up in regret and guilt.
So I listen and support and reassure and advise him. But selfishly, it's just so draining and sad and brings back so many memories of sudden deaths in my family. Naturally, I never thought that when we began to
Chat that something so horrendous could ever happen. I'm sad too that the building of the relationship is over because it is over I think. I can't see how we could ever come back from this to start something new.
He refuses to entertain the idea of therapy or counselling.
He rang me the other night . He had had drinks. Not drunk but he was so emotional . Crying, angry with himself, talking about her as if she was a god like figure . Really really beating himself up .
I want to support him but I do not want to become his crutch. I hardly know him. I don't want this dynamic of
Me being his counsellor yet I feel so terribly hurt and upset for him and my instincts are to do just that .
Have you any words of advice that could help me to get the balance right . I don't want to leave this but I don't want to be his crutch all of the time, yet I do want to support him. Sorry if I'm rambling and thanks for reading .

OP’s posts: |
Tittytittydoomdoom Sun 17-May-20 12:49:33

I probably sound awful here but it’s very easy for emotional support to become women’s work. You haven’t known him long enough to support him through this. A new relationship should be fun, you deserve that. It’s a terribly sad situation but not one you signed up for. You need to step back and reevaluate your boundaries. It sounds to me that he has work to do before he’s read for a relationship and he’s not at a place to start that if he has refused counselling and wants to use you for emotional support instead. At the start of a relationship you set the dynamic. I’m sorry this has happened, for both of you.

Doowop20 Sun 17-May-20 12:49:46

You haven’t even met? You will have to back off. I can’t see how you can support him in this situation when you don’t know him. You can do it kindly with a one-off message saying you are Sorry but you are bowing out. I would personally do that and then respond no further.

bespectacledrooster Sun 17-May-20 12:57:12

Thanks. It really is so terribly sad and yes I don't know how to draw that line between being supportive and being a crutch. I don't want to drop him outright.i could not do that. I do need to revisit and revise my boundaries and feel so selfish by saying that it is hard to click and connect with somebody, at least it is for me, and we did just that and it was so exciting and fun and equal and mutual and couldn't wait to meet . I almost feel cheated even though I'm sure that sounds horrible and selfish of me.

OP’s posts: |
WellIWasInTheNeighbourhoo Sun 17-May-20 13:08:14

Be careful, you don’t know anything this person is telling you is actually true, or a truthful representation of events. My ex came on strong with a terribly sad story of how he was a widower. Was not until some time later I discovered several people close to them blamed his treatment of her for her ill health and eventual death. The worst people start with a tragic sob story to get you prematurely onside & as a get out of jail free card for all bad behaviours, it’s an established tactic for abusers. May be fine in this case, but as I said it happened to me & I wish I’d been warned.

Carrotgirl87 Sun 17-May-20 13:32:43

Think you need to be careful listening to other peoples opinions @WellIWasInTheNeighbourhoo you're basically calling this person a murderer. When someone dies there's always people looking to place blame, even I got blamed by some for my husband taking heroin, I think unless you were there and saw it then that's a very strong opinion of someone to have based on third hand information.

OP it's a really really shitty situation you find yourself in, in your shoes I think I'd write off any relationship and be his friend if you want to be, but in regards to romantic connections, move on from it, you can always pick it back up in a year or so if you haven't met anyone else in the meantime. It's really tough and you're entitled to feel cheated, you were, but his emotions -at the moment- will be out of his own control.

Carrotgirl87 Sun 17-May-20 13:36:22

Oh and for what it's worth, bereavement services and counselling where I am don't work with you until 6 months post death. I imagine simply because the first 6 months are a fog of uncontrollable grief, and it's only when that's settled that any sort of talking therapy would be useful.

yesterdaystotalsteps123 Sun 17-May-20 13:38:18

Personally I would drop the rope. If it's true it's a sad situation for HIM. He is not your responsibility. But also bear in mind it may not be true, he is a stranger and you don't know him, his mental health issues, his background, anything. Your health and your energies should not be sacrificed for a stranger. Even if it is all true, getting pissed and offloading on you is not ok in this situation

bespectacledrooster Sun 17-May-20 13:43:10

Thanks.
He lays all the blame solely on himself.
He has regrets and feels tremendous guilt.
I know from before the event happened, that he did everything in his power to make things work and help his ex but eventually the health and safety of the children and himself were at risk so he had to end it and thisnis why he feels so devastated .. wondering if he could have done more , wondering if it was his fault .
He is who he says he is .

OP’s posts: |
Carrotgirl87 Sun 17-May-20 13:43:50

He sounds exactly like I was.

yesterdaystotalsteps123 Sun 17-May-20 13:58:15

You sound like a nice, caring person, but you've been chatting for 1 month which means you don't actually"know" you know what he is saying about a situation. Don't get any more invested in this stranger. It's terrible for him and his family, but you are not the right person to share his grief with. You are strangers who may have pursued a romantic relationship. I would also think lockdown is a perfect time for people to play games. Imagine if after lockdown he just disappears. It is very sad but a stranger, you, can't help him

TwentyViginti Sun 17-May-20 14:33:47

After a while, he will view you only as his grief counsellor rather than a potential partner.

I think you should step right back. You hardly know the man and haven't even met in person.

This is not your burden to bear - you are basically strangers.

bespectacledrooster Sun 17-May-20 14:58:12

Agree with pp.thats exactly what I don't want . I think I should forget idea of anything romantic and be a friend with strong boundaries. Maybe someday when he feels better and if I still have interest in him, we may get together. It's all very sad .

OP’s posts: |
JazzyTheDog Sun 17-May-20 22:25:36

Yes I agree time to back off and end contact.

Look at it this way, if all this had happened to him a week before you connected, would you have pursued a relationship with him? Of course not, he’s a mess and the thing about online dating to think about what YOU want in a potential relationship with a perfect stranger, and no one in their right mind would decide what they really want is to be a bereavement counsellor and listen to some random get drunk and go on and on about their dead ex. You don’t know him, you’ve spoken online for a month, he’s not your problem, move on.

SandyY2K Mon 18-May-20 00:24:50

I have to be honest, I really wouldn't put my all into such a new relationship like this and I wouldn't be able to listen to him suddenly seeing her as a god on earth.

There's enough to deal with having a new relationship during lockdown and this is just something you don't need....I'd leave him to get family support...or he'll drain you.

Regarding therapy...it's too soon for him to do that. Usually a minimum of 3 months is recommended before bereavement therapy, as the feelings and emotions need to be processed first.

bespectacledrooster Mon 25-May-20 10:35:40

Hello. I'm
Back once more to ask for your thoughts and advice. Since my last update,I have text him daily to check in and ask how he is doing. He really is not doing well at all.
He is in a very bad place with guilt, remorse and anger. He isn't eating or sleeping too much. He is not taking calls or visitors. He's not returning calls.
He rang me one evening and we spoke for a long time about lots f things including his wife.
It seems he has gone to ground now. He has text to say he's taking space and essentially doesn't want any contact( with anyone) for a few days .
Is this usual/ normal? I will of course give space and simply not contact him. But for how long? Romantically I know it's over for now of course but where do I go from here ?
Does anyone have experience of this? Any words of advice or wisdom please? Thank you .@Carrotgirl87

OP’s posts: |
Carrotgirl87 Mon 25-May-20 10:47:08

Eurgh sorry this is still going on for you, I imagine the lockdown is just making everything that bit more complicated. Where normally you might go out try to distract yourself or throw yourself into work these things aren't an option really meaning more time for him to wallow 😞 I haven't noticed you mention kids either, which would've been another sort of 'pull your bootstraps up and get on with it' reason that he doesn't have...

Honestly, if I were you I'd draw a line under it and not expect to hear from him again. You will, of course, but you don't deserve to be kept waiting, this is not your responsibility. However when he does text you could obviously reply from a place of kindness. Keep dating others etc but no need to mention it to him, just do you!

It's harder without being sexist, for men, as I really opened up to girlfriends, my mum, even workmates at times, whereas as a rule men don't tend to do that. 😑

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