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Switch to Forum Live View How do I support my grieving boyfriend?
5 years ago  ::  Nov 30, 2012 - 1:04PM #1
Posts: 3
Sorry, this may not be the appropriate board, but some of the others are not very active.

My boyfriend's best friend of 10 years died suddenly last week in a tragic accident that killed 3 university students.  I have been with him for over a year, and I knew their relationship was very close.  They were both international students who came to the US together 7 years ago and have lived, worked, and taken classes together ever since.

Needless to say he is devastated, and he is now becoming moody, withdrawn, and angry.
Since the initial shock is wearing off, I find myself at a loss.  He has no family here, though he has many good friends, but I am still the closest person to him.  I have no idea what to do or say to support him, I find myself becoming frustrated sometimes, and my feelings are easily hurt when he reacts angrily.

Can anyone give me advice? I love him very much, and I want to help him, but I don't know what to do...
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5 years ago  ::  Dec 03, 2012 - 8:36PM #2
Posts: 9,954
Generally-speaking, ime, most men prefer to grieve alone---so my advice would be to just love him, make sympathetic noises WHEN HE COMES TO YOU.  Usually, it's a man thing---they like to go to their figurative "cave" to recover and/or work through stuff on their own.

Warmest regards-

"History records that the moneychangers have used every form of abuse, deceit, intrigue, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and it's issuance."
-- James Madison(1751-1836), Father of the Constitution for the USA, 4th US President
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5 years ago  ::  Dec 03, 2012 - 9:53PM #3
Posts: 16,577

People grieve differently.  There is no right way.  Just be there and follow his lead.  Also, expect this to take a while.  We tend to think people should "get over it" far faster than they do.  

I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize what you heard was not what I meant...
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5 years ago  ::  Dec 04, 2012 - 1:22PM #4
Posts: 1,543

When he is angry, do not take it personally. He is reacting out of his own grief and pain; it is not about you. But when he is angry or in an emotional time, maybe acknowledge that you know it is his grief. Anger is only a cover expression of pain and sadness. Also, some time when he is not overly emotional, you could ask him how he would like you to support him during those emotional times, then honour what he says.

This is a real stresssor for such a young relationship. You mentioned he is a student. I wonder if the campus has a student counselor available...for him, but also for you so you can go and learn some practical ways to help him cope with his loss.

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5 years ago  ::  Dec 04, 2012 - 1:55PM #5
Posts: 16,955

Clearly he needs grief counselling, particularly since his grief is affecting other relationships.

But HE is going to have to come to that conclusion.  It's something you cannot do for him.

You might need relationship counselling yourself, especially if your bf is using you as his emotional (hopefully not physical) puching bag.

"No freedom without education"
            --Thomas Jefferson

"NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition"
            -- Monty Python
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