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Comforting Your Boyfriend When a Family Member Dies

If your boyfriend is grieving and pushing you away, he is normal. This is a natural response to grief – especially if your boyfriend’s family member died unexpectedly. These ideas for comforting your grieving boyfriend will help you understand what he’s going through and show you how to console him through his grief. The more you learn about your boyfriend’s grieving process, the more helpful you can be.

In The Way Men Heal Tom Golden describes how men grieve when a family member dies. 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. Knowing how men grieve will help you comfort your boyfriend when a family member dies.

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.

It’s important to let your boyfriend grieve in his own way. Learn how men experience grief and healing, get information about the grief cycle and stages of grief, but give your boyfriend space and time. He’s moving through the stages of his grieving process his way.

These tips on how to comfort your boyfriend after the death of a family member are inspired by readers who are facing the same grief. On Helping Your Boyfriend Cope With Death, the most common comment from readers is “my boyfriend’s mom died and he is pushing me away.”

There aren’t any solid answers on comforting a grieving boyfriend 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.

How to Comfort and Console Your Grieving Boyfriend
Comforting Your Boyfriend in Grief

The best way to comfort your grieving boyfriend is to accept his natural way to deal with loss. Maybe he’s action-oriented, like the men in Tom Golden’s book, and he needs to hike and run and swim. Maybe he needs to withdraw from all relationships and be alone. If you truly want to comfort your boyfriend after a family member dies, put your own wishes and ego aside. Let him go through the grieving process in his own way.

Your boyfriend may not want to talk through the grieving process – 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.

How to Comfort Your Grieving Boyfriend

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 any man who is going through the grief process is to be sensitive to what he needs from you.

If you think your boyfriend is struggling with extreme or complicated grief, you might start learning how to help your boyfriend deal with depression.

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 grief therapist who specialized in mens’ grieving processes. “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.”

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

grieving boyfriend what do I do
How to Comfort Your Boyfriend When He 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.”

Let go of your insecurities and fears

If your boyfriend is pushing you away after a family member dies, his grief may alarm you. You may feel scared that he doesn’t love you anymore, or that he’ll break up with you. Your insecurities and fears may stop you from giving your boyfriend time and space to grieve loss in his own way. Take time to look at your own response to death and grief. How do you deal with grief, and how would you want to be comforted if a family member dies? Don’t treat your boyfriend’s grief the way you would treat yours. Simply be aware of how you yourself process grief. This will help you see if you’re letting your own fears and insecurities get in the way of truly comforting your boyfriend after a family member dies.

Don’t allow your expectations or insecurities affect your ability to comfort your boyfriend. For example, on What to Do When Grief Feels Scary and Overwhelming a She Blossoms 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.

Helping Your Boyfriend Through Grief

One of the best ways to help your boyfriend through the grieving process is to give him time and space to heal. And, learn how grief can create a deeper, more meaningful life. Grieving is healthy and healing – especially if your boyfriend has hope that he’ll heal and that he won’t always feel so terrible.

In More Beautiful Than Before: How Suffering Transforms Us, Steve Leder says “Pain cracks us open. It breaks us. But in the breaking, there is a new kind of wholeness that emerges.” If you believe that a new season will emerge from this time of grief, you can help your boyfriend through the pain. Exactly what this means is different for everyone. A great place to start is by learning how men grieve and how you can help your boyfriend through grief without being overly emotional.

You might also help your boyfriend stay healthy and strong. Some men stop eating or lose their appetite after losing someone they love. So, dropping off a basket of healthy homemade muffins or cookies at his door is a good sympathy gift for a grieving boyfriend – but don’t stick around. Give him space, time, and room to heal.

sympathy gift comfort grieving boyfriend

Pavilion 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 type of gift or gesture of love would he most appreciate? What is his “love language”? There are no right or wrong answers. The best answers are the “this just feels right” ones.

For more ideas, read How to Help Your Boyfriend When His Parent Dies.


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60 thoughts on “Comforting Your Boyfriend When a Family Member Dies”

  1. My boyfriend and I had been together for a year and a half (very very happily) when his dad quite suddenly died. His health rapidly deteriorated and he had to go abroad to see him and was by his bedside in hospital all the time until he passed away. I offered to fly out for the funeral (12 hour flight) but he said all was ok. He remained in contact with me the following weeks or so then started to hardly message me. By text (as i couldn’t call) I tried asking how he was feeling, or taking his mind of things, or telling amusing anecdotes of my day, or talking about what i was up to etc, and all i got were “how was your day?” and never actual conversations or responses from him. I eventually spoke up and offered to give him space if he wanted as the rejection was getting very hard for me. He didn’t reply so I did this anyway, all the while insisting i was always there when he needed. I checked in every 3 days with a simple heart or hug emoji, just to let him know i was there. I just waited as patiently as possible for his return, hoping I’d done the right thing.

    When he returned 2,5 months later, he didn’t get hold of me all weekend. I was very upset and felt rejected, having had to quiet those sad thoughts of rejection for over two months and having just longed to hug him and support him.
    I reached out on the 3rd day to which he said he was upset that i hadn’t come to see him (how could i have known when i told him i was leaving him space and left the ball in his court). I went over there and after a long conversation he broke up with me, saying he couldn’t handle the pressure of a relationship (yet he was the one who wanted us to live together). I was heartbroken and shocked.
    He said he wasn’t the boyfriend that I deserved and the person I needed him to be, that he felt empty, that he didn’t want to hold me back from living my life. I asked him if he still loved me to which he couldn’t reply.
    We broke up for 2 months, but remained in contact. He checked in on me (I was suffering from anxiety and depression due to this loss, as well as losing my job at the same time) by message maybe once a week or less, and I had numerous outbursts of sad texts towards him where i insisted that i just loved him so much and wanted to be there with him through this and that how could all this be happening to us.(after reading about grief i realise i shouldn’t have done that but i was so so heartbroken and clueless).

    Eventually, I approached the situation like a breakup should be and tried to not message at all until i was healed (i usually stay friends with my exes), but found it hard not to send the odd “I miss us” and eventually he started to say that he did too and wanted to see me. By this time my trust in him was really broken and i was so afraid to get my hopes up to be just rejected again.

    2 months later we saw each other and have been seeing each other since then about once a week. It has now been a month and a half since we started seeing each other again, and i do not dare bring up the “are we together or not” chat.
    I regularly have to hold back tears, and am in a constant state of anxiety for fear of being left. I also tread on egg shells about how i message him, i try to never ask about his emotions as he seems to never want to talk about them or shuts me out.
    He threw himself into working ridiculous hours as he now has debts to pay off due to the travel/funeral and is himself entirely supporting his family where he comes from. I think he feels guilt as he believes he should have been able to save his dad since he was the “monyemaker and strong one” of the family. He is highly stressed for sure and has told me so.
    We used to have such open communication and speak about how we feel, now his messages are cold and rare.
    Sometimes he reaches out to give me a “cold” hug, sometimes he doesn’t even touch me at all. I am never sure if i should hug him or not but i do anyway. It hurts every time i take his hand or attempt to love him and he just doesn’t react.
    I’ve tried to give him space too, by messaging less and also leaving it at one point for 2,5 weeks until i saw him. He still goes about his usual work routine and cooks when i go around but it’s all void of emotion and dettached.

    Last weekend though, he was his bright chirpy fun self and even mentioned my xmas present (I don’t expect a hug now so that shocked me!) and was very cuddly and I offered him to come to have xmas with my family abroad as i didn’t want him to be alone and sad during the festive season, to which he said why not.
    Then, before flying out for Christmas, i went over to be with him one last time and he was so cold i nearly had a panic attack from repressing all my hurt and rejected emotions.

    Since then, he has barely messaged me and when i stopped messaging i got nothing at all. It has now been 3 days without contact. I am very sad and worried about him. I also told him i was going to turn my phone off, and apologised for this. I did this as the anxiety of waiting for responses and getting nothing was making me cry every day.
    The last 5 months have been very hard. Everyone says I should cut my losses but I have read so much about grief that I am determined that his strange hurtful behaviour is due to grief. I cannot turn a cold shoulder, especially for Christmas.

    I feel very hurt, rejected, feel unloved, unappreciated, ignored and even talked down to. He keeps saying he’s ok, but I don’t think he is. Every day the hardest thing for me is to fight with my anxiety and also the insecurities about being unloved, and the relationship not working, or even if this even is a relationship anymore. I am determined to see this through but I don’t know how to stay strong and not let my fears get the better of me. I have to be strong for him, he needs me, even though he doesn’t think so (he NEVER asks or accepts help). How can I be a better girlfriend?
    I want to ask him what he wants me to do or how to support him but he just doesn’t talk these days. I am worried of being too loving, too distant, too compassionate, too cheerful, too motherly, too emotional, too present etc. I simply have no idea as he doesn’t talk at all.
    Am i going crazy? Does this sound like he wants me in his life or should i just chose to be there for him as a friend only?
    I have summarised this as much as possible but I really am hurting a lot and feel so guilty for this as the one who is grieving is him, not me. I saw myself spending the rest of my life with him and this sudden change has thrown me into depression and fear and it is even harder for me to support him when i have to also fight my own thoughts AND hide them from him.
    Does anyone have any advice???
    Thank you and Merry Christmas to you all.

    1. This is very similar to what Im dealing with. My boyfriend of yr and half lost his mother unexpectedly back in Aoril of 2019. Before this things were great. He was even sending pics of engagement rings asking me what I liked. We talked about marriage all time. Couple months after her death he stated that he hasnt cried. I replied it would hit him within the next few months after he realized she was really gone. Come August he totally completely shut down. He told he needed time alone. Keep in mind when I asked if he needed time before he always said, are you crazy? I love u. We went right about 6 weeks without communication. We live 2 hours apart. I prayed on this then out of nowhere i received text that he missed me. We started everything up again but he’s still not the same. Its been like a roller coaster. We go few weeks where he seems ok then all of a sudden he shuts down for few days even weeks. Hes asked me to be patient and I trust him completely.This is not easy, he still goes to work and communicates with people. I feel rejected, unloved and stupid for trying so hard sometimes. I love him and I’m really trying to understand. Oh while he’s grieving the loss of his mother his father is very ill. This is not easy for me so reading other peoples stories help. I pray everyday and hope that God will guide us both in the right path.

    2. I don’t know if I can offer a unique perspective but, as a guy, I think it’s important for you to simply let him control the flow of everything. He’s going to have good and bad days, weeks, and months for a few years to come. When my former best friend lost her father and mother to rapidly-progressing cancer, both within the same year, it took her a good 4-5 years to even start talking to me somewhat normal again. Now she’s finally like her old self again (she’s in her mid 30’s), going out to concerts, dates, drinking, etc. You cannot rush this at all. You’re talking a lot about how you feel, but it’s possible he can’t even feel anything for himself, let alone how he’s making you feel. When you saw tremendous value and hope in the hug, for example, you don’t know what he was thinking, or not thinking, at that moment. My best friend reminds me a lot of the guy you were/are dating. He doesn’t like to overly express his emotions and you essentially have to trust what he tells you. So my main advice: don’t read too much into his behavior. He has several years of healing left, and his emotions will be all over the place. If he’s truly meant to be yours, and he wants you in his life, he will return. But in his mind, he can barely process what he wants and needs right now, let alone what anyone else in his life wants and needs. You have to respect that and let him control practically every aspect of stuff between you guys until he can rebalance his emotions and mental health, otherwise you’re just going to scare him away. And although this is easier said than done (as I suffer from generalized anxiety and have for years), you have to tell yourself OVER AND OVER to not stress about if you’re doing too much or not enough. “Walking on eggshells” shouldn’t be something you feel. Just be yourself the best you can, while letting him control the pace of everything. If he keeps coming around, even just sporadically, it’s clear he cares about you and enjoys spending time with you. Focus on that thought every time your anxiety or depression takes you somewhere dark, and don’t read so much into every little thing, because chances are his mind isn’t even capable right now of processing it to 1/10th of the depth you are, and probably won’t be for at least another year or few years. Good luck.

  2. OMG this article has blessed me so much today. My boyfriend lost his brother on Oct 27 2019 and nothing has been the same since. I’m so scared that we will not make it thru this season. We are only 7months in and he has been nothing but perfect before this. I’m asking for your prayers and please leave anything you think that will help..

  3. Hi I really need this right now coz my boyfriend’s grandma passed away. I actually don’t know what to do coz he’s very different right now. I understand that he’s in a grieving situation but Im just worried coz he only message me once a day and never call me he also doesn’t want to see anyone right now but I sent him a message I told him that Im always here for him and also I gave space and time for him coz I understand but what keeps me bothering right now is Im scared that he doesn’t love me anymore and also what if one day he will for a break up, Im a kind of a person that if you didn’t text or call me first I will not text and call you too but Im trying to text him and ask him if hes okay or how was his day going on. Im really worried right now I don’t understand Im acting like weird also because Im really scared that one day he will ask for a break up. yesterday he message me and he said he really missed me but sometimes I don’t believe coz he only message once and yesterday he called me and that’s it. I don’t know what to do any advices? thank you

  4. My boyfriend lost his sister very suddenly a few days after Christmas of 2018. We had been talking and flirting for a while and I was there for him when his sister first got sick. I ended up making a detailed card for Bella (his sister) and got our entire improv team to sign it, I dropped it off at his home with baked cookies while they were at the hospital. Four weeks after her death we got together officially and are still going strong, he’s a remarkable person even at the age of 17 and even with his grief he can talk to me openly and we have a healthy relationship. Yet recently he has been more and more depressed, feeling as if he stuck and has issues with how he looks, I have been quiet and just listened as well as said small but heartfelt comments throughout the process, but I feel the urge to be able to say more. I am growing tired and aggravated that all I can say is, “I don’t know what to say, but I’m listening and I’m here for you.” I know that is a good response but to say it again and again without a more helpful one is getting to me, I want to be able to say more for him. We’re both juniors in high school but we’re thankfully a more mature couple, we work great together and I want to help him more, I feel as if most of the articles I read are never for your boyfriend losing a sibling, much less for teenage relationships. Any feedback is insanely appreciated.

  5. I found some lovely quotes on how to comfort your boyfriend when a family member dies:

    “Maybe I can’t stop the downpour, but I will always join you for a walk in the rain.” —​ Unknown

    “There is nothing I can say to take away your hurt but you have my shoulder to cry on and my loving hugs. Know that I will be here for you when you need me.” —​ Unknown

    “It’s okay. It’s okay to miss them. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to laugh. It’s okay to breathe deeply. It’s okay to smile when you think of them. It’s okay to function. It’s okay to be angry. It’s okay to be thankful. It’s okay to love again. It’s okay to remember. It’s okay to hope. It’s okay, to be honest. It’s okay to trust again. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay.” — Scribbles & Crumbs

    “A grief blessing:
    May the sun bring you new energy every day, bringing light into the darkness of your soul.
    May the moon softly restore you by night bathing you in the glow of restful sleep and peaceful dreams.
    May the rain wash away your worries and cleanse the hurt that sits in your heart.
    May the breeze blow new strength into your being, and
    May you believe in the courage of yourself may you walk gently through the world, keeping your loved one with you,
    Always knowing that you are never parted in the beating of your heart.”
    — Native Apache Blessing

  6. My boyfriend for almost a year just lost his aunt on Tuesday (4-22-19) to suicide. He is taking it really hard and I hate seeing him in such pain. This tragic event also is making me very upset and I am going the stages for grieve and mourning. Do any of you have tips to help me or my boyfriend?

  7. I really needed this, however my situation is slightly different. My partners mothers has stage 4 cancer and has been declining rapidly and it is not looking good at all, we are praying she makes it through the year. My partner of about year is going through a lot, he has his moments were we talk then he has his moments where “its a family thing and we got it” and completely shuts me out (current phase). This article has definitely given me a new perspective because like many I feel neglected, unhappy and so much. I want my boyfriend to talk to me and tell me what I can do to help (often times I got mad when he did not respond or gave one word answers) but I see now that there is literally nothing I can do but be there for him physically and in his time let him come around and continue to pray. I commend all of the women that have been there for their partners this is definitely a hard phase, Lord knows it is. This article fails to mention, its helps to occupy yourself while your partner is going through this, yes be there for them but also find something to occupy yourself with that makes you happy.

    1. Anne-Marie, I too am going through something extremely similar. I know this is hasty, but do you mind if I get your email so I can chat with you through there about your experience? My boyfriend left to work overseas 7 months ago after asking me about it- and now he is so distance I feel like I don’t matter to him. It’s so hard to find someone that is going through this too. My email is elicia1989@yahoo.com.
      Shoot me a message with your name if you don’t mind. I’d really love your insight because I feel so lost.


    2. Thank you for all you said. I am going thru this right now, at this very moment. I was feeling all the things you were and after reading this article, I feel like I was being selfish. My boyfriend has completely shut me down, in every way. I don’t get calls or texts back. He didn’t even want me to be there when his father passed. Thank you!!!

  8. It is really very helpful….My bf recently lost his Father who was a known Pastor…He was Really a very nice person.He loved me as a daughter..even my religion is different I belong to a sikh family and my bf belongs to a Christian family then also his father accepted me..and know I don’t know how to deal with my bf ?
    I would surely used these methods to deal with him..

    1. I am also in a similar situation. My bf recently loss his father who was an exceptional man of God. He was an awesome provider, the list goes on and on and he is also wanting time alone. Its very difficult when you love someone and know that they are suffering and there is nothing that you can do to make them feel better. The best thing to do is give him space and pray about it. Keep your head up and know that you are not the only one going through this.

  9. My bf of 5 yrs just lost his son to suicide, worse still, he’s the one that found his son. It’s breaking my heart watching him fall deeper into depression every day. I wonder how do you stamp down your own insecurities? In the past week I get one word or grunt responses, but yet he can talk to friends, family, and even his ex wife for hours. We live together and I’m trying to be patient, I’ve told him I’m here for him in whatever capacity he needs. Today was my day off and I watched him spend hrs on the phone talking to people. How do I not take that personally? How do I not give in to my own insecurities?

    1. Alexandria, I am in the same boat. My bf lost his mother tragically to a drunk driver. We stay together and I watch him go out wth friends and communicate with friends no problem. Then when it comes to me he says he has nothing to say. I had the same questions you have. Reading this article helped me put my expectations and insecurities into perspective. It is comforting to know that I am not the only one dealing with this kind of situation.

    1. I know that feeling. His emotions are all over the place. Just give him time. You may feel lonely or rejected for a while, but you need to remember that this isn’t about you right now. (I’m dealing with this; my bf lost his son a few months ago and it’s been really hard.)

  10. Hello, everyone. I have a unique situation and have found Laura’s site helpful with being involved with married man (MM). We have been together on and off for over two years and work together as colleagues. It never intended on things getting serious and definitely not falling in love; but it did happen. In the past month, he resigned from his job (there was extenuating circumstances) and felt like he did not have a choice especially with his brother dying from cancer and being put on hospice at the time it all went down at work. His brother died about 4 weeks ago. He has been more distant than normal at times. We have not seen each since his brother’s funeral when I went with other colleagues who attended the visitation. I have tried to be supportive and understand what he is going through but it’s hard because his sorrow and pain is beyond my imagine. His entire world has been turned upside down. He is grieving for his brother, career and friends at our work place. He was done pretty crappy which his a entirely different issue. Anyway, he agreed to finally meet with me today but asked about the expectations. He said he is not ready for physical activities which I somewhat understand because I can see there not being a desire to have pleasure when you are hurting so badly. Guess, I just needed reassurance that his behavior is normal. I am trying not to take his distance personal and told him that what is important to me right now is his well being. Although my desires are screaming the opposite; I just have to focus on him right now. it is one complicated mess but I do love him and care about him.

      1. Hey Bee. MM ended things with me a few weeks ago because he can’t seem to get his feelings under control. He told me earlier today that the only way he knows to heal is to seek faith and obedience which means he can’t have me in his life. It’s a little hard to ask for healing when your are committing adultery. It’s really hard because I do love him and can’t seem to help him. All I can go is let him go and hope he can find peace. How are you doing

  11. Hello,
    Am currently experiencing this in my life and I thought he should have grieved in the way I think he should but thank you for enlightening me on these true facts, guidance that make sense. I will apply as much as I can and allow my boyfriend to grieve and process the lost of his father. I will let go of my insecurities, fears and selfishness and “just be there”. Thank you for these words of wisdom.

  12. For those TLDR: how can I be useful for two grieving men surprising their feelings and worrying about everyone but themselves?

    My boyfriend just lost his “uncle”. His dads best friend and a second father to him. It’s very sudden, and he wasn’t yet 50, I believe. My boyfriend is quiet and overthinks everything but wants to be kept preoccupied. His dad is flying in for the services and my boyfriend anticipates his father stuffing his feelings inside until he bursts. He’s concerned with how his sister and his aunt will be. I’m worried he won’t let himself grieve because he’s worried about making the right impression and everyone else’s feelings. I haven’t spoken to him about it, other than telling him, if he wants I’ll drive him to the services and I’ll be in the car unless he wants or needs me. I asked him for the details of the services as well and if he plans on going to both wakes etc. he drove me around year ago for my sisters services and was very helpful to my family and I would like the same for him. Example: went to target (we were in a different state) and bought all of us black cardigans because None of us thought to bring them. I guess my main question is, how can I help them when his dad refuses to acknowledge feelings until he burst, and how can I help my boyfriend when he won’t worry about himself?

  13. Well, my boyfriend just lost his dad and it has just been a rough couple of days… I haven’t heard from him in now 4 days and I was very very worried. Bout after reading this its given me some comfort that everything will be okay, that my presence in enough and that I shouldn’t push too hard. Now I know he’ll come around and he’ll eventually let me in no matter how long it takes. I’m willing to wait. I’d do anything for him.

  14. One of the best ways to love and comfort your boyfriend – or any man who is grieving a loss – is to let him grieve in his own way, at his own pace. You may not understand why he’s grieving — he may not even understand it! Your boyfriend may feel confused at the depth of his grief, the pain of the loss. Grieving is exhausting, and many men don’t know how to express their pain. It’s easier to lash out in anger, or withdraw in isolation.

    Remember that your boyfriend’s grief isn’t about you. It’s about him, and his ability to work through the pain. He may not be able to work through it quickly…and he may not even be able to work through it at all. Sometimes people get stuck in grief, and can’t move on.

    I encourage you to learn about grief and the grieving process. This will help you comfort your boyfriend, and walk beside him through the pain. Read books, visit forums and online grief groups. It’s hard to see people in such pain, but it will give you insight and understanding.

    May you find healing and peace as you move forward with your boyfriend.

    Blessings and sympathies,

  15. My boyfriend is grieving really hard over the death of a famous rapper by the name of xxtentacion. I honestly don’t know how to handle it. One moment he’s cursing me out because I’m asking questions but I’m just trying to understand. I needed to know the situation & didn’t even know the rapper died! (Shows I’m not a fan) I’ve never even heard my boyfriend mention this rapper so when he started crying I was really shocked. I don’t understand how this person he has never even met before has such a huge impact on him. My boyfriend does make music and does listen to deep music alot. It hurts seeing him cry especially because I’m currently in a different state for the next couple of months.?I’m lost, I hate seeing him cry.

  16. My boyfriends daughter committed suicide 2 months ago, we’ve been dating 4 months on and off. Its been a huge challenge not only to be the only person he has leaned on but to have put my life on hold to be there 24/7 for him. I feel exhausted and very much alone. He is still struggling with the loss, which i completely understand and respect. It is like dealing with a Jekyll and Hyde personality though. One day he is so loving and committed to our relationship, the next he is distant, depressed and criticises me for every little thing, from going to bible study to the table i reserved at a restaurant. Its hurtful and mean and so very unnecessary. I am on the verge of ending the relationship not because i don’t love him but because I’m starting to feel I’m not good enough anymore. Any advice would be greatly appreciated x

    1. I lost my sister a year ago today, and my boyfriend was there for me while I was grieving. I too went from sad tears to maybe okay to livid. My family was the tipppig point for my anger though. They were literally having a house party and showing their house renovations off. After the services, very specific things set me off, like crazy drivers or going out to eat. It made me think “how can you do that knowing there might be someone hurting, or you might hurt someone!”. You are good enough and he will issue an apology at some point when his grief settles. It may take a long time, though, so it depends on how long you’re willing to play wait and see. He’s not really angry at you, but rather likely, at himself for not noticing his daughter was at risk. There are literally days you wake up just in pain because you miss that person.

  17. My boyfriends mom passed a month ago and we talked for the first few weeks but ever since her funeral he has completely shut down. Wont answer any texts or calls and he hasnt spoken to me for 3 weeks. The worst part is i just lost my grandma last week. Ive backed off havent talked to him giving him his dpace
    I sent him flowers and he sent me flowers which is nice and then a few weeks later i sent him a card. But he still doesnt want to talk and i havent seen him in a month. Do i just still continue to leave him alone? I guess its extra hard because now im grieving too.

    1. Regina L Saldana

      I’m recently going through that. My boyfriend of 3 yes close cousin was murdered. I was there for him when he first found out. But since the funeral he has been distant. One min convos. And sometimes doesn’t answer. Now yes it’s only been a week since the service. But it’s hard. He’s my best friend and use to seeing and talking to him everyday. I dont know what else to do. I also need to remind myself it’s not about me. But I feel so shut out. Like he let me there for him before service and after I feel like nothing. I’m so lost and confused.

  18. Hi there,

    Thank you so much for your article. My boyfriend’s brother-in-law whom he called a brother passed unexpectantly. We think it may be from drug overdose.
    Due to school and work responsibilities, I have been unable to be physically with him and there for him. I have been so worried about if I am supporting him “enough”. Reading this has made me feel better. I think I worry too much about if he is grieving okay since he does not talk about his feelings well. I am a very emotional type personality so it is difficult for me to comprehend how someone might grief in a less outward emotional way.
    This part of your article really hit home for me:
    “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.”

    Just wanted to express my gratitude for your words during this difficult time.

  19. In the first he read my message but when l message him if he still love me and need me tell me ..atleast l can move on with my life
    Ufter that he doesn’t want to read my message l try many times but he didn’t want to read even his online…l don’t know what to do..then l try not to message him again 1 weeks l don’t know if he still love me …but when his father died we are ok when we talk and he last message he still rather be sad and he said goodnight…and now 1 month and 1 weeks he didn’t want to reply me and read my messages.he didn’t say anything if it over.but l told him if you don’t need me just block me but he didn’t do that..what do l do l know l was wrong but l’m hurting too l want the answer from him but he didn’t responds to me.

  20. I just found out this morning that my boyfriend lost his grandma over night and I am concerned for him because he hides his grief except for being sleepy. Also we live on a small campus together so we see each other during free time. Should I be with or leave him alone to grieve? I don’t know what to do.

  21. My boyfriend just lost his brother and it’s been very hard for me to help him because he kinda pushes me away at times I know it feels good to do that because your hurt you don’t know anything else or you may fear that your spouse will leave you as well bit reading this gave me relief and praying a lot I’m clingy and yes I felt like he didn’t love me or want the relationship but just taking the time out to actually listen and see it’s not all about me helped! Thanks for the advice

    1. Hi Rea,

      I am currently going through the same situation. Did things improve in your relationship ship? It’s been about a month since his brothers passing. At first he was very attached to me, extremely kind, and grateful for having me there to comfort him. Now he’s cold, ignores me everyday, doesn’t answer my text messages. It’s uncomfortable because we live together and I’m not sure what I am suppose to do. I am very concerned we will break up.

  22. 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.

    1. Continue to be there for him pray with him a nd for him and don’t fear losing him death is something well all have to face one day and it’s may sound harsh but I’m going through the same thing and just by me being there and praying and sending messages and praying he’s come around but just know he will have his days . Just pray and continue to let him know you there and you live him.

  23. 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?

    1. 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.

      1. same. my boyfriends family is going through so much its like one continuous blow after the other the most recent was his grandma before that his dad shot to death and his mom was attacked a week or so later. I know he must be grieving but I cant tell and he doesnt talk. I need to talk cause this is confusing me and I want to help. The only thing that helps him is punching the punching the punching bag. He sometimes acts like he wants me near but other times he wants to be alone or he will change his mind. How can I help him? Bring him candy?

  24. 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

    1. Hi Arianna,
      I’m almost in an identical situation. My boyfriends best friend was suddenly killed in a car accident 5 days after his grandma passed on and a few months ago his uncle killed himself after the pain of being re diagnosed with cancer. It took about a month for thre pain to set it, but now it finally has and I’m feeling our relationship taking the brunt of his pain. We’ve both established that he need space to grieve, but I wonder when he space is too much. I go days without hearing from him as well and we haven’t seen each other in about two weeks. I’m curios on what’s been going on in your situation. Maybe we can lean on each other for strength in these hard times.

  25. 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.

  26. 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

    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.


  27. 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

    1. Hello,
      Yes I have been thru a similar circumstance but it’s my boyfriend’s mother who became very ill and she got out of the hospital and was doing much better. But then things took a down fall and she passed away 2 months latter. Everyone’s was completely devastated. My boyfriend and his mom were so close and she was like a mother too me. I had lost loved ones before but seeing someone so young full of life being taken knowing she was leaving her grandbabies all her young kids was heart wrenching. I would love to talk to you more, it’s hard sometimes going thru this alone being the girlfriend. I never left his side, even her last breath I was holding his hands. There are some things that will never be unseen. But I just pray shes in a good place and that I can be the best girlfriend I can possibly be for him. Yea I would love to talk Ria about it if you would like to.
      Thanks ,

  28. 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.

  29. 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?

  30. 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,

  31. 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!

  32. 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

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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

  36. 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.

  37. 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

  38. 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 ?