How to Comfort Your Boyfriend When He is Grieving 18


These suggestions for comforting your grieving boyfriend will help you understand what he is going through and how you can help your boyfriend in his grief. The more you learn about the grieving process for men, the better you can understand and comfort your boyfriend.

How to Comfort a Boyfriend Who is GrievingIn The Way Men Heal, Tom Golden describes how men grieve. He uses real-life examples, such as how Eric Clapton healed after the death of his young son Conor and how Michael Jordan healed after his father’s murder. This book describes how these and other men use action as a way to process grief; this information will help you learn how to comfort a grieving boyfriend.

Golden says men are pulled to the future and use honoring as a means to heal, rather than the expected interactive “talking about the past” modes. This way of processing grief isn’t easily detected – it’s basically invisible. This means that your boyfriend may be dealing with grief in a healthy way that is natural for him…even if you feel like he’s not grieving the way you might expect him to.





These tips on how to comfort a grieving boyfriend are inspired by readers who want to help the men they love.

On Helping Your Boyfriend Cope With Death, the most common comment from readers is “I don’t know how to comfort my boyfriend who is grieving.” There aren’t any solid answers, because everyone deals with grief in different ways. For example, I slept a lot after my grandma died. I didn’t want to be around people, I didn’t want to talk about my loss, and I wasn’t interested in grief counseling.

The best way to comfort your grieving boyfriend is to learn his natural method of mourning. Maybe he’s action-oriented, like the men in Tom Golden’s book. Your boyfriend may not want to talk through his grief – but this doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you or won’t heal. It just means his grieving process is different than yours might be.

When your boyfriend is grieving, it’s important to let him process his loss in his own way. He may withdraw, ask for time alone, text you less, email you less, hug you less. The best way to comfort a man who is going through the grief process is to be sensitive to what he needs from you.

Here are a few ways to learn how your boyfriend deals with grief and what you can do to support him…

How to Comfort a Grieving Boyfriend

If you think your boyfriend is struggling with extreme or complicated grief, you might start learning how to deal with boyfriends who are depressed.

Learn what grief is – and is not

“Grief can be likened to a beast: it comes in many shapes and sizes,” says Tom Golden (a therapist who specialized in mens’ grieving process). “Micro-grief might look like a small beast, a bird or an insect perhaps, in keeping with a loss related to a small desire of some sort. Then there are larger varieties of grief that could be compared to dragons. Their size is unreal to us, and they are so powerful that they appear to be from another world.”

what to say boyfriends parents died

How to Comfort Your Boyfriend When He is Grieving

The “dragon-sized grief” is what your boyfriend may be experiencing as he is grieving his loss. Major grief draws men out of their normal functioning and thrusts them into a world and a part of themselves that is very unfamiliar. The grief has become the dragon of myth – a beast your boyfriend may have heard about, but never experienced himself.

“By approaching and confronting this dragon, we open ourselves to an inner quest that has all of the trappings of a distant land – danger and unknown landscapes,” writes Golden in A Man’s Grief. “We can choose not to fight the dragon, but if we do so there is certainly a price for that. The price is that we always have a dragon on our heels, breathing fire down our necks. We find ourselves unable to engage in life, and always having to look over our shoulder to check on the dragon.”

Give your boyfriend time to process his grief

Whether your boyfriend lost a loved one due to a sudden death or prolonged illness, he’ll be in shock for some time. How long he needs to overcome the shock and grief depends on his personality, spirituality, and perspective on life.

Some of us deal with grief quickly, while others take months or years to mourn a loss. Often we never fully “get over it”, and we always carry a shadow of grief in our hearts. It can be difficult to give your boyfriend time and space to deal with his grief, but the best tip on how to comfort a grieving boyfriend is to let him work through his grief in his own way.

Learn what to say to a guy who is grieving

“From personal experience, I did learn that time does ease the daily heartache of a death,” writes Anne Roderique-Jones in 7 Things You Should Never Say To Someone Who’s Grieving, “but you never completely heal. Show that you’ll be there for the person that day and for years down the road. Don’t assume that after the first four weeks or six months or even first year that your grieving boyfriend no longer needs your support. The road is long and it’s often later in the grieving process when people need the most support from friends and family.”

Emphasize you’ll be there down the road, no matter what. Offer simple, yet heartfelt words – or don’t say anything. Listen deeply, and show silent support.







“One of the kindest things that a person did for me after my father’s death was to drop off a basket of homemade muffins at my door – without knocking,” says Jack. “My friend Olivia also expressed great appreciation for a neighbor who mowed her lawn – without notification – after her brother died. Whether you don’t know what to say or just want to give your grieving boyfriend time to be alone, these gestures are appreciated beyond words.”

Take a deep breath, and let go of your insecurities and fears

Are you having trouble giving your boyfriend time and space to deal with his grief? Do you think he is grieving in unhealthy or even wrong ways? Are you scared your boyfriend might be withdrawing emotionally from you, or even considering breaking up with you? Take time to examine your own thoughts, beliefs, and experiences about grief.

Don’t allow your expectations or insecurities affect your ability to comfort your boyfriend. For example, on 5 Tips for Helping a Grieving Friend a reader said she panicked when she didn’t hear from her boyfriend for three days. Another reader said she can’t convince her boyfriend to talk about how he’s dealing with grief after his mom died. She feels like she doesn’t know how to comfort a grieving boyfriend because he won’t talk to her…but she doesn’t understand that he may not be ready to talk about his mom’s death yet.

If you find yourself resisting your boyfriend’s need to deal with his grief in his own way, then it might help you to figure out why. Are you scared he’ll leave you? Insecure about his love for you? Afraid your relationship won’t be the same as it was before? Those are legitimate fears when your boyfriend is dealing with grief. But, if you let them affect your relationship, you may push your boyfriend away.

Trust that you are enough

Don’t fall into the trap of trying too hard to be something you’re not. You are enough, just the way you are.

How to Comfort a Grieving Boyfriend

How to Comfort a Grieving Boyfriend

You are his girlfriend. He loves you. Your boyfriend especially loves all your flaws and weaknesses and fears because they are charming and endearing!

Know that you will comfort your grieving boyfriend by simply staying beside him. You don’t need to talk, or ask him to talk. You don’t need to hold your boyfriend while he cries or sleeps. All you need to do is be present and available, without expecting your boyfriend to grieve a specific way.

Your presence is the most important thing you can offer a man who is coping with death and dealing with grief. No matter how inept or uncomfortable you feel, you are enough.

Let go of your expectations about your boyfriend’s grief

You may not feel 100% comfortable with these tips on how to help a grieving boyfriend because of your own expectations. Maybe he grieves differently than you. Perhaps you expect him to act a certain way or you expect your relationship to be a certain way.

Remember that not only do all people grieve differently, but men experience and express grief in different ways than women do. Take your hands off the wheel, and let your boyfriend grieve his own way. Sometimes you lean on your friends, and sometimes it’s good just knowing they are there.

Take a deep breath, and trust that God and healing will work through you. You need only show up and reach out to your boyfriend once every couple of days. Send him a text or email regularly, but don’t expect a response right away; don’t push him to give more than he can. That’s how you help when your boyfriend is dealing with grief. Just be there. Be there. Have faith that even though you have no answers, your presence is enough.

I welcome your thoughts on how to comfort a grieving boyfriend in the comments section below. I can’t offer advice or counseling, but you may find it helpful to share your story.

Comforting Gift Ideas for a Grieving Boyfriend

Comfort Your Boyfriend When He is GrievingA tin of Freshly Baked David’s Cookies is a cheerful, practical sympathy gift. Instead of focusing on your boyfriend’s grief and grieving process, I encourage you to help him eat regularly. Ideally, you want to eat nutritious comfort foods with him, but cookies are the “go to” food when we need comfort and love!

Dropping off a basket of homemade muffins at his door is a fantastic sympathy gift for a grieving boyfriend – but don’t stick around. Give him space, time, and room to heal.

sympathy gift comfort grieving boyfriendPavilion Gift Company “In Memory” Sympathy Comfort Candle is a warm, touching way to help your boyfriend remember his lost loved one. 

Whether you give your boyfriend cookies or candles, the sympathy gift must reflect his personality. Don’t give him a gift that doesn’t suit his life or home, his style or hobbies. If your boyfriend has a bookcase, he might really appreciate the “In Memory” comfort candle. If he’s more of a sporty athletic type, the cookies might be a better sympathy gift for a grieving boyfriend.

You know your boyfriend better than most people…what sort of gift would he appreciate, that would help him remember the loved one he lost? There are no right or wrong answers. The best answers are the “this just feels right” ones.

For more tips on dealing with grief, read 5 Ways to Help a Grieving Friend.




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18 thoughts on “How to Comfort Your Boyfriend When He is Grieving

  • zarh

    Me and my boyfriend have been together for five months. Recently his best friend was murdered. I want to support him but do not know how to do. Should I give him his own space? I am afraid he wants to end up our relationship because of this. Like I think I love him! One thing is for sure, that I want to be with him because im in love with him. But sometimes it feels like he don’t want to talk to me or see me. All I want to do is be there for him and help him but dont know how.

  • Steph

    So my boyfriend just lost his godfather two days ago. I didn’t know him well, but they were extremely close and seeing him go through this is incredibly heartbreaking. I know that it’s only been two days, I know that time needs to pass. But my concerns are less for my boyfriend and more for what I can do for him. I feel uncomfortable with the fact that I am crying as much as I am, as I feel I should be strong for my boyfriend. Has anyone else done this? I myself have never lost anyone close to me or had to see someone I love lose someone close to them, so this is unsettling on all aspects for me. I am so afraid of overcrowding him with texts but I also don’t want to leave his side as I am so scared too. Can someone give me some tips on how to be a better partner for him through this? How can I keep myself from crying in his presence? I don’t want to make this about me or make him feel like he has to worry about me too. I just want to help him as best I can and be there for him. Not being able to do anything about this just breaks my heart. I almost feel like Im grieving because I lost a part of my boyfriend. I feel like this isn’t normal, to be acting this way. I should be strong for him and should be able to be my normal self. Why can’t I?

    • Zarah

      I am feeling the same way and lost at the moment. My boyfriend’s father just passed away and I don’t know what to do and how to act.

  • Arianna

    Hi, this article helped a lot just letting me know that I need to back away a little bit and give my boyfriend time to grieve. So, my problem that I have is my boyfriends sister past last year and recently his grandmother and now just yesterday his bestfriend died. I believe I should do something and not just sit back and watch him grieve. I hate seeing him like this now he barely texts me or calls me and we rarely see each other…do you have any tips?? Thank you

  • A'rel Boies

    This helped me so much. My boyfriends uncle was just killed 2 weeks ago. They lived together with his grandmother (his uncle’s mom) and they are both dealing with the shock of that sudden loss. It’s hard for me to be in another state wanting to know how he’s ding and talk to him all the time like we did prior to the death. Taking myself and my insecurities out of the equation is the key I know, and alot of patience. Thank you for this encouragement. It helps to remember that his withdrawal really isn’t about me at all. I just want to be there enough. This article let’s me know that I am.

  • Laurie Post author

    Hi Ria,

    I’m sorry about your boyfriend’s auntie. It is heartbreaking when a family member dies – but when she was expected to live and everybody got their hopes up, and she dies… That makes the loss that much more devastating. My condolences and sympathies to your boyfriend and his family.

    I don’t know if the grieving process is different when there was a long illness before the death. I think it’s more likely that the grief is different from person to person, versus the type of death. That is, I think your boyfriend’s style of grieving might be similar regardless of whether or not he expected his aunt to die. But I don’t know for sure.

    Telling your boyfriend that you are there to help and support him through this process is the most important way to comfort him. If I were you, I would also get as much information as I could about the grieving process. The more you learn about grief, the more you will understand what your boyfriend is experiencing.

    Here’s a link to a popular, helpful book on the grieving process:

    On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss
    by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and David Kessler
    http://amzn.to/2iKye7X

    It’s also important just to remember that different men grieve in different ways. Sometimes the grief is obvious and on the surface; other times the grief is deeper and more hidden. If you don’t see signs of grief in your boyfriend, it doesn’t mean he isn’t grieving. He may not want to talk about his aunt’s death, and he may not want to talk about the process of grieving and healing.

    The best thing you can do is walk alongside him as he grieves in his own way. I would also consider giving him a book about grief – but that’s only because I’m a huge fan of reading and learning. Not everybody approaches life the same way.

    Trust yourself. Listen to that still small voice inside you, and reach out to your boyfriends in however your heart leads you. If you are a believer, this is an excellent time to connect with God! Ask Him for help, wisdom, guidance, compassion, and courage to be there for your boyfriend the way he needs.

    xo
    Laurie

  • Ria

    Hello,

    Thank you so much for putting your thoughts on here, it certainly seems to make sense.

    Can I ask I anyone has experienced the loss of a loved one due to illness? My boyfriends family were told his auntie was getting better but then all of a sudden she was taken away. As you might understand it was a huge shock for everyone.

    All I want to do is help, does anyone have any tips about loss via prolonged illness?

    I’m also sorry to hear about each loss on here, I hope your other halves, and yourselves, are finding ways to cope x

    Thank you
    Ria x

  • Laurie Post author

    Emma, I’m sorry for your boyfriend’s loss. I can’t imagine losing a 24 year old brother, and I know it must be extremely difficult and painful for his family. Your boyfriend is dealing with a shocking and unexpected onslaught of scary feelings, and he won’t be able to put you or your relationship high on his list right now.

    I don’t know your boyfriend, but most men (and women) need time to grieve after they lose someone they love. The grieving process is different for everyone, but it’s important to actually feel the pain of loss and let go of the person who died. Avoiding those feelings of grief and disbelief will only prolong the pain…so my hope is that your boyfriend takes time to grieve his brother’s death.

    What can you do? The same thing you’ve been doing! Send him notes of comfort and love. Tell him you don’t know how he feels, but you’re available to talk whenever he needs. Tell him you love him, and you are sorry for his loss.

    And let go of your expectations of your boyfriend. For now, let him deal with his brother’s death in his own way. Your boyfriend may have no idea how to grieve, and if you push him to revitalize his relationship with you, he may turn away from you altogether.

    I also encourage you to learn about the grieving process so you understand what your boyfriend is going through. Get one of the books I listed above, or do an internet search for dealing with grief in your city or community. Find someone to talk to in person – a grief counselor or distress line – and learn how to support someone who is grieving the loss of a brother. The more you learn about what your boyfriend is going through, the better you can support him in the grieving process.

    And, accept that sometimes the best thing you can do is just be there for when your boyfriend needs you. It’s simple, it’s valuable, and it really is the best way to help your boyfriend cope after someone he loves dies.

  • Emma

    Hi thanks for your article. my boyfriend’s brother passed away a few days ago from a sudden heart attack, he was only 24 years old and i’m trying to be there for my boyfriend and i’m keeping my distance at the same time. i’m not calling him and i just send him 1-2 text messages a day so that he knows i’m here. i’m not sure if we can go back to the way we were, but God knows he might be trying to stay the same way with me but its different, he replied and told me merry Christmas a day later and i didn’t even think about it but he just said sorry its late but you know whats happening, and another time was to thank me for coming and paying my respects and helping his family, then he wouldn’t reply at all. I honestly don’t know what to think or how to act really, any tips?

  • Laurie Post author

    I’m sorry for your boyfriend’s loss. Death is so shocking and surreal – especially if it’s your boyfriend’s child – and it often brings up unprocessed memories and pain from the past. This makes the grieving process complicated and even more painful than “just” grieving the loss your boyfriend is currently facing.

    Yesterday I sat with a friend who is grieving his mom’s death. His mother died 15 years ago, and today is Christmas Eve. I didn’t know what to say to “make him feel better” so I just sat beside him and gently rubbed his back. Right after I first put my hand on his back, though, I asked him if it would be okay if I rubbed his back. He said yes – and actually, his mom used to rub his back too! So he felt better just sitting in silence and simply “being.”

    Rub your boyfriend’s back. This doesn’t have to be literal…maybe you could bring him something he loves to eat (though he may not want to eat it), or give his dog a bath (dogs always need baths), or do the dishes.

    I think it’s really important not to have any expectations when you’re comforting a grieving boyfriend. Don’t expect him to feel better or start communicating with you. Don’t expect him to share his feelings or show up more often. Just let him be. Be there for him in HIS way, not yours.

    And say your prayers. Pray for comfort, healing, and the blessed rest of forgiveness and freedom from the entanglements of the past.

    Blessings and sympathies,
    Laurie

  • Paris

    This artucle truly helped me. Wow I greatly appreciate the insight. I have been struggling for a couple of months now. It’s such a complicated situation but my fiancé’s son was murdered a couple of months ago and before it happened we were extremely close super happy in love and excited about our future together but of course all of that came to a screeching halt and I just could not understand for the life of me why he started getting distant from me. Much of it had to do with me being insecure but he tried so hard to be there for me emotionally but with the holidays approaching and his son not being here he’s just emotionally dead and has nothing to give to me. But this article is so good and I needed this. I have backed off and have been dealing with my own issues etc and have been giving him his space, but you saying to just be present and don’t think it’s me that one am enough etc helps tremendously. Thanks so much!

  • TT

    Thank you for the article. My boyfriend’s grandmother died this week. I thought I was prepared on how to be there for him until he totally shut down. I’m a fixer and I needed to read this. I trust that my presence is all that’s needed and alllw him to process things his own way. This is so new to me and I panicked. Now I know it’s how he’s going to deal with this and I love him more than enough to understand and back up. It’s only fair and humane to do so. I’d want the same treatment

  • Megan Elliott

    Hi,
    Thank you for your article. My boyfriend’s mother passed about two months ago. He’s been distant and.. lashing out at me a bit for little to no apparent reason. He told me during our last argument that he just wants to internalize his feelings and do his own thing without having to worry about someone else for a while. I have never experienced a death – not a close one – and so I don’t know even what grieving for more than a week feels like. I thought what he had said was unhealthy 🙁 Not only that, but we’ve had some very serious issues in the past and I’ve been thinking about him grieving about his mother but also attributing the reason for his distance to our past issues as well. Anyway, this article is great and addressed all of the worries I’ve had going on. I feel I will be a much better companion to him in this time now because if it. Thank you.

  • Judith Diaz

    Hi, thank you for such an eye-opener!!
    My 63 yo boyfriend lost his 25-yo son to SUDEP (Sudden Death in Epilepsy) three years ago, and we have been in an “exclusive” relationship for 2 months now; here and there he “releases” and shares with me a memory or a thought or just something that happened, out of the blue, and I am just there, listening and hugging him when I can.
    For the last couple of weeks he has started to take his time, without saying anything, he vanishes … I was already jumping into my own insecurities (I am 47yo, divorced and this is my first “relationship” after 13 years), and even though I cannot talk about love yet, i do feel very close to him, because of how he has “let me in” his grief or how he is trying to work on it.
    Thanks to your article I can be of better support to him, just by being there when he reaches out for my presence… but my little girl within asks “and what about my own emotional needs?”, I read somewhere that each one of us is responsible for their own happiness, and on the other hand I am aware that this might be a long process too, so I guess I will do all that is in my hands to do, as long as I can, because he is a truly sweet man.
    Judith

  • Dee

    Thank You for this article. My boyfriend mom passed away less than four months ago, and they were very close. I notice he have become distance all of sudden, and didn’t want any company. I knew he was going to go through a grieving process due to mother’s day was approaching fast. What I didn’t notice he was still going through a grieving process since the funeral because he seemed ok. When he started pushing me away and getting distance I just thought I did something wrong. This article has truly helped me deal with my insecurities as well as knowing how to console him because I sure was wondering how I was going to be there for him and not get caught up in my own feelings and fears of losing him. Also this article helped me as far as communicating with him. Although he said we were OK; I still had some doubt, but now reading this I am relieved. I will continue to be there for him with all the support he needs from me! Again Thank you

  • Sara

    Hi. My boyfriends dad passes away 3 weeks ago from a sudden heart attack. We’re both Muslim so it’s not like most American funreuls. I was there every day after that. Helping his mom with the house. I am close with all his brothers and sisters. And we’re were supposed to get engaged. Lately he’s been pulling away more and more. He doesn’t respond to my texts as often. He doesn’t really care to see me. So yesterday I brang up that I feel he’s pulling away and I miss him. I see his brother doing things with his girlfriend and attempting to be happy and it makes me sad that he doesn’t even try. He screamed in my face really really bad. Told me I’m a piece of shit for saying that. But I didn’t mean it in a bad way. He later called and said he calmed down but he just needs space. And I said ok. His mom asked me to come over. And he was at work. But when he came home he said hi to everyone and then left again doing god knows what. I don’t know what to do. I feel lost. I feel like our relationship is over and we’ve been through so much I don’t want it to be. I love him very much. I don’t know what to do. I cry everyday because of this.

  • Binelle P.

    Good morn my boyfriend’s dad passed away a month ago! After the funeral he was fine he did ok with my family for thanksgiving! I was spending a lot of time and calling him a lot then all of a sudden he tells me he needs time to grieve! I told him ok I will respect his wishes but I did tell him I will call him time to time! He told me not to call him or else he will block me!

    It’s been a week I have not call or hear from him I didn’t call him for Christmas or his Birthday! I don’t know what to do I feel that the relation ship is over he has distant his self from me and everyone else! I know his in counseling he did admit he needs help doesn’t like how he’s feeling from his mother passing! My heart is aching so bad I don’t know what to do

    I believe you when you say the best way to comfort a grieving boyfriend is to just be there but I feel scared its not enough.

    Thank you for your writings
    Binelle

  • Binelle P.

    Hello ,
    Thank you for this amazing article on comforting him, my boyfriends best friend died and he is grieving. We’re in a long distance relationship and I can’t be with him , and it’s aching my heart to hear him blame his self for not being there for the person that he lost . My question is : what should I say or do do he can know that I’m there with him ? How do I comfort a grieving boyfriend long distance ?
    I text him several times a day and I know that helps him feel comforted because he said it does. What else can I do ?