6 Ways to Help Your Boyfriend Cope With Death

Everyone grieves differently, but we’re all shocked when a loved one dies. Death is surreal, almost unbelievable. Everything is different…yet the world is the same. How do you help your boyfriend cope with the death of a loved one? Whether it’s a family member or friend, these ideas will help you support him through the loss.

how to help your boyfriend cope with death

One of the best things to do is learn about the grieving process from books such as On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and David Kessler. Learn about the five stages of death – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Learn how to apply these stages to your boyfriend’s grieving process and support him throughout all the stages. This book weaves together theory, inspiration, and practical advice, including sections on sadness, hauntings, dreams, isolation, and healing.

The following tips on helping a boyfriend cope with the death of a loved one are inspired by a reader. “My boyfriend and I have been together for a few months now, but have been friends for a while,” says Penny on How Do You Help a Grieving Friend? “He recently lost his friend to suicide and he carried out CPR on him. He doesn’t want to talk about it or even talk to me at all really, he just wants some time alone. I feel helpless. I want to help him through this situation, but I don’t know how. How long should I give him time alone? What can I do?”

The hardest thing to do is just be there for your boyfriend. There really is nothing you can say or do. Your accepting, warm, calm presence will help him more than any words or gifts.

Try to find ways to become more comfortable with the idea of death. Your acceptance of grief and the grieving process will help your boyfriend cope with the death of a friend, family member, or loved one. Read the comments in blog posts such as Help Starting Over in Your 60s After Your Husband Dies. Your boyfriend isn’t a widow, but the expressions of grief in articles like that will help you understand how your boyfriend feels and what he’s going through.

Helping Your Boyfriend Cope With the Death of a Loved One

Become familiar with Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s five stages of grief: Shock/Denial; Anger; Bargaining; Depression; and Acceptance. Remember that these aren’t exact stages that your boyfriend will go through one at a time. Rather, he may experience more than one feeling of grief at a time, such as anger and depression, or anger and denial. There is no right or wrong way to grieve.

Family counselor Beth Morrison says, “Grief is a very personal thing, and we do not all grieve in the same way. Your boyfriend may be angry one day, and crying the next. Grief experts say there is no time limit on the grieving process, but generally two years is the time it takes to mourn a devastating loss. Your boyfriend has to work through the pain of grief, and find meaning in his life again.”

1. Understand that you can’t take your boyfriend’s grief or pain away

How to Help Your Boyfriend Cope With Death
Helping Your Boyfriend Cope With Death – image by JK atelier via deviantart

Your boyfriend has to grieve his loss. It’s crucial for him to be given the space and time to grieve his own way, in his own time. Don’t worry about which stage of grief he’s in – it’s normal to travel back and forth between stages. That is, many people are in shock when a loved one dies, and that shock may still underlie the anger, depression, bargaining, and acceptance stages of grief.

In North American culture, we tend to avoid talking about death or grieving overtly. We’re scared of death because we feel powerless – it’s the ultimate unknown. And grieving suicide or a young death is more complicated than grieving a more natural death of an elder. If your boyfriend is dealing with the death of a family member who took his or her own life, call a grief or loss helpline. Learn how different the grieving process is, and what your boyfriend might be feeling about this death.

2. Allow your boyfriend to grieve and cope with death differently than you

Helping your boyfriend cope with death involves letting him grieve his own way. He may not feel like talking or even being with you right now. He’s dealing with thoughts of the meaning of life, his own mortality, and his helplessness. If this is the first time your boyfriend has experienced the death of a family member, friend or loved one, he may be shocked at the power of his emotions. If this isn’t his first loss, your boyfriend will be affected by previous losses. If he didn’t process or mourn past deaths, he may experience “complicated grief.”

3. Give your boyfriend time to process his grief

This is one of the most difficult things a loving girlfriend can do: let your boyfriend take the time and space he needs to grieve. If he ignores his pain – or if you try to distract or “make him feel better” he will experience a heavier burden later in life. If your boyfriend is the quiet type, perhaps an introvert who likes to read, give him a book such as Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant.

“When you’re this down [dealing with grief], you just look for comfort everywhere—as much as possible, as much wisdom and comfort as you can get,” says Sheryl Sandberg in Sheryl Sandberg’s Advice for Grieving in The Atlantic. “And I think, like everyone, I drew on everything I could find. And then there were moments where I couldn’t draw on anything at all, and I just had to lean into the suck and let it happen. But Judaism … Judaism helped me know when to bury my husband and where to bury him and what prayers to say, and there is something comforting in that, and it was the same prayer that people have said over people who have died for thousands of years.”

4. Remember that emotional and physical withdrawal is normal

How do you cope with grief? Maybe you haven’t lost a friend or family member the way your boyfriend did…or maybe you’ve lost more people than you can count. Maybe you’ve lost a beloved animal companion – pet loss is heavy grief that isn’t well recognized or accepted by most people!

When my grandmother died all I wanted to do was sleep and stare out the window. I didn’t want to talk, socialize, or be with anyone. I just wanted to be alone. I thought I was going to die, and I was devastated that I didn’t get the chance to say good-bye to her. That’s how I cope with loss, trauma, and sudden shock: I withdraw in silence. Is your boyfriend dealing with death by pulling away? Retreating, asking to be left alone, communicating less? This is a normal, healthy way to grieve the loss of a loved one. Let him withdraw.

5. Tell your boyfriend that you will listen to stories about his loved one

Send your boyfriend a sympathy card. Tell him you care about him, and will walk beside him through the grieving process. Offer to listen to his stories and memories about his friend or family member. Tell him you won’t talk…you’ll just listen. You’ll let him weep if he needs, rage if he wants, or just sit in silence if he dares. Write in the card that you’re there for him in whatever way he needs: to talk about his friend, to go to a movie, to take a trip out of town, or to go skydiving! Don’t pressure your boyfriend to cope with the death of his loved one in any particular way (eg, by creating a scrapbook of memories or writing on his friend’s Facebook wall). Instead, let him you you’d like to help him mourn and grieve any way he’d like.

Again, I encourage you to learn about your boyfriend’s grieving process from people who have loved and loss. If your boyfriend’s dad died, for example, read Comfort and Hope as You Grieve Your Husband’s Death. It’ll give you some insight into how his mom feels, which might help you support your boyfriend in deeper ways.

6. Let your boyfriend talk to you about his loss when he’s ready

Don’t be afraid to let your boyfriend go. I’m not talking about breaking up with him or not talking to him. I’m encouraging you to allow him to take the time and space he needs to grieve and heal. This may take effort on your part! It’s scary when your boyfriend stops texting you or doesn’t seem to want to spend time together. Keep reminding yourself that he is not himself these days…and he will never be the same. Your boyfriend is dealing with the death of someone he loves; that is an experience that will change him forever.

Your boyfriend’s grieving style isn’t about you. It’s about him. Your boyfriend is coping with a death in the family or his circle of friends, and it has nothing to do with your relationship or your love for each other. It’s not about you. Give your boyfriend time and space to breathe, to mourn, to reflect on his life, family and friendships. You might send your boyfriend an email, text message, or note every couple of days. Gently stay in touch without pressuring him to talk or be with you.

6 Ways to Help Your Boyfriend Cope With Death

When your boyfriend is mourning the death of someone he loves, you have to put yourself aside and be there for him. What can you do to help your boyfriend deal with the death of someone he loves? Choose two things from the ideas and tips above – the ones that make the most sense to you. I encourage reading books or talking to grief counselors, to learn as much as you can about the way men grieve loss.

I recently read Megan Devine’s It’s OK That You’re Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand. I love this book, and highly recommend it. I wrote about it in It’s OK That You’re Not OK ~ Echoes of Imagination.

There really is nothing you can do to help your boyfriend grieve, other than be there for him. Your gentle, accepting, compassionate, kind presence is more than enough…especially if you can be silent and let him breathe while he grieves.

Your thoughts are welcome below. Feel free to share your story. You might find that writing helps you see your boyfriend and your relationship more clearly, and helps declutter your mind of all those thoughts and emotions that are racing around.


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71 thoughts on “6 Ways to Help Your Boyfriend Cope With Death”

  1. This may be off beat yet someone that I know loves his dog so much that it hurts him. He cries for her, holds her it’s like the dog is part of his soul. I’m just wondering what to do with him if something happened to his dog. He is one of my best friends yet just wondering if he will cope or go into chronic depression to where he’ll be devastated to the point he’d have to take a couple weeks off from work for grieving..

  2. My boyfriend’s dad just died today … he and his sister were in school when they learned it …. I felt so sad and desperate when he told me. I do not know what to say but I want to help.The problem is that I do not know how. I couldn’t stop myself from crying when my boyfriend said his dad was dead. :-(

  3. My baby father lost his friend like two days ago and hes not texting me back and I dont know what to do.i know he’s hurting but I just continue texting him letting him know I’m here for him.but no reply. Should I send him words of encouragement everyday or what should I do?

  4. Thank you for being here – every comment is so precious because it shows other readers that they’re not alone. I can’t imagine the grief you feel, or how hard it is to deal with losing a loved one.

    My week has been shadowed by loss and death. We unexpectedly lost a member of our church, and it hasn’t been easy. My husband’s family is grieving the death of a sister; the memorial service was yesterday. One of my fellow Christian authors — 37 year old Rachel Held Evans, author of Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again — died on Saturday of complications due to antibiotics. She leaves behind a husband and two little boys.

    Lots of loss…and yet so much life! Surprises, parties, invitations to summer barbecues, 80th birthday celebrations, pregnant women due any day, plans for summer travel and adventures, fresh new plants and flowers and blossoms in my home, yard and forest.

    A She Blossoms reader recently shared an excellent TED talk on how to move forward after losing someone you love. It’s called The messy, complicated truth about grief; it’s only four minutes long and worth every second! The speaker — Nora McInerny — is the author of No Happy Endings: A Memoir.


    Take good care of yourselves, for you are worth taking good care of.

    With love,

  5. My boyfriend and I have only been seeing eachother a few months he lost his son to heroin overdose last night was first time he opened up really opened his son passed little over a year he is i believe blaming himself he said i didnt do enough i heeld him told him im sure he did all he could that he had a illness son also had A.D.D. it broke my heart and i want him to know i am here how can i help him he has done counseling read 2 books i am a hospice aide so i have experience with loss in helping my familys i have worked with yet i felt so uneducated and helpless. so any advice would be great i dont want him to feel alone on this journey he is on. Thank you

  6. Today my boyfriend found out that his really old grandpa died last night and he has to take a ticket to his home town. I know him very well and I know that however he doesn`t show anything at all, but he is in a lot of pain. He is mostly worried about his father, first thing he said in morning was that he has been dreaming about his father crying out aloud which made him worry and call home.
    I thing that I`m concerned with now is that there is a concert tonight which he had got the tickets about two month ago with his friends and they were like super happy!! but now he can not go. I`m not sure to mention his sadness about losing the concert, I mean I know that he is sad about it but in time of this…
    It is really complicated.

  7. Thank you for being here, for sharing your experience. I’m so sorry for your boyfriend’s loss. It’s so hard to know what to say and do. It’s not always clear when to leave your boyfriend alone to grieve, and when to show up with arms filled with comfort food, books, or other items.

    You are in my prayers — I pray for strength and comfort, hope and healing. May you find the right words to say, the right messages and ways to show your love. May this time be filled with God’s peace and love, compassion and strength. I pray that this season brings you and your boyfriend closer together, and that you and he find ways to connect through the grief.

    With the love of Jesus,

  8. My boyfriend lost his mother. He did not participate with family after the funeral. I am not sure he and his siblings have any closeness. I chose not to comment when he took me to dinner and stayed with me for a few hours. He does not text if at all says he does not like it so I am back here giving him his space I know he needs when I text him he was a bit curt with me. I myself have to take my son to a cancer institute in a few days and he knows that I do not know whether to inquire Whether I will see him or not before I leave I am choosing not to text him and just wait please let me know if that sounds like the right thing to do or should I just say take care see you when I get back thank you for your reply

  9. What do you do when your boyfriend’s brother are in the hospital with pnwumonia , his dad gets killed a few weeks later and then his mom gets attacked and then his grandma dies. What is God doing? Trying to bring him down? I am so confused and grieved. I hate to see him look so sad. Especially since he was such a happy person when we first met about 4 mts ago. How do I help when words don’t help and being with him or away from him does nothing?

  10. Beverley Joanne pygram

    Hi , my boyfriend.and myself don’t live together at this stage . His oldest son passed a couple of days ago . He and his wife as there not divorced yet are together for this terrible time , I get a text from him a couple of times since this has happened . I have so many emotions going on , and don’t want to pester him by texting him to often as I know this is a emotional time for him and his wife. Just don’t no what to do . Thank you Beverley

  11. The best way to help your boyfriend cope with death is to accept his indecision and confusion. People who are grieving aren’t in the right headspace or mindset to make major life decisions. In fact, grief counselors tell people not to make any big decisions while they’re grieving the death of someone they love.

    If I were you, I would give my boyfriend at least three months to grieve the death. I wouldn’t worry about the future just yet, or about how he’s coping with his grief. Just let the dust settle, give him time to work through his feelings, and trust that when he is ready to reconnect with you, he will reach out for you. And you will be there for him.

  12. HI,
    my boyfriend just lost his father about 2 weeks ago, and I understand the space part and also being supportive, I have. BUT AGAIN when he does call he sends mixed signals. One moment he will be ok, and tells me he can’t wait to come home (he is another state grieving). Then get that call in the AM stating that he will only come home for a few months and then go live in the state he is now, later that day lets me know that he isn’t going to come home for about 2 more weeks. I had already gotten my hopes up and all, just to see him, and hug him. Then hits me wtth that news. I’m devastated. But as I read more and more on him grieving. Maybe space is all he needs. I see he him post pics on fbook and IG, I try not to come in contact with him just because I don’t want to bug him. I do ask how he is doing, I get the OK which I know is not true. I don’t know how to deal with him moving and him wanting to move back. He became a huge man in my life, someone who I basically said this is it, He is the one…. Now i’m sitting here thinking on does he still have the same fillings, I will be there regardless for him, but again I don’t want to give my all and I end up the one hurt!!!!
    help someone what should I do????

  13. hi.
    my LDR boyfriend is shifting to another place for work, so now he is in stress and anxiety because he will be away from his mother who is really old . how to cheer him up or what to say , since i am in a distant. please help.

  14. I cant tell you how helpful it is to know that I am not alone here. My boyfriend’s dad died two days ago. We have been together almost 8 months. Im not really new to the family, except his children and ex wife do not really know me. They will be at the service and have been with him during the end. Im close with all of my bf friends and i will be at the service, but in the shadows. Im just coping with being disappointed in myself, that Im hurt that he isnt turning to me….he did while his dad was sick, but not in his death. He is turning to male friends or alone. he says he will call, but doesnt. Ive told him im there for him, and I told him that im not going to constantly check on him, he knows he can call me anytime day or night and he did…called me at 3am, right after his dad passed. He told me that my behavior has been perfect…but i still feel like im losing him….and i battle with myself that i need to keep my patience….but it is so hard. I hear the hurt and pain in his voice, see it in his face, and he is my love, so i hurt too.

    1. Shelly im currently going through the exact same situation as you. My boyfriend broke up with me because his mother passed away. He has been turned to his friends for help. He’s a huge part of my life and he says he needs to work on himself. What are your updates after u posted that Shelly? Sorry it’s been a year since

  15. I’m not sure I’m even qualified to write here yet as I’m still optimistic in our current situation. I just moved in with my boyfriend into our first apartment together on 1/18/16. About a month later his father was admitted to the hospital. He had a spot on the brain in his MRI and it was later diagnosed with cancer. He has yet to get a second opinion (and will be doing so from a VERY well renowned hospital.) but the first opinion that has been given to the family after a biopsy, the pet scans and various tests has led to the diagnosis that even with chemotherapy he only has maybe a year to live. His family has already lost an uncle to cancer (pancreatic, brother of the Father) and three of the four grandparents are still alive. He’s never really had to deal with grief like this before.
    I on the other hand, lost my Grandmother to Alzehimers at age 11 and my Grandfather at age 14 after a long battle with chronic illness. I’e learned how to grieve and stay healthy. My biggest fear is that I don’t know how to support him throughout this process. He’s already been diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorder. He knows I’m here for him but I just don’t know what to do or say.
    I realize I’m kind of blathering on here, I guess looking for help is my way of dealing with my own depression and anxiety over this situation. Any advice, or words of support would be GREATLY welcomed.

  16. My bf just lost his brother today. When we 1st spoke , he said he wld let me know wen he got home so that we talk better. Few hrs later, i called him to find out if he s home yet. At 1st He refused picking my calls, then he picked and said he doesnt want to talk to me tonite. I felt hrtbroken cos i tot as his gf, he wld want to talk to me , let me grieve with him. Tots r running tru my mind and none of them s good.

  17. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    It’s so difficult to know what’s going on in your boyfriend’s mind or life — and you can drive yourself crazy trying to figure it out! You can read all the clues and pick up all the dropped hints, and still not know what he’s really thinking, feeling, or doing.

    The bottom line is your comfort level. Are you comfortable, secure, and happy with him? Can you see yourself living in this relationship for the next several years?

    If this is what you want for your life, then you need to find ways to accept him just the way he is. If you’re not happy with him as he is right now, then you might think about making changes in your life.

    1. Hi Laurie, I sent him a text with 7 hearts (7 is my favorite number). He called me almost immediately. I wasn’t expecting to hear from him. He broke down crying telling me his mom passed away. He told everything that happened. I told him I suspected that it happened but I didn’t mention that I was snooping around and found out or that I know he lied to me during the process. I really care about him but I feel that I have to be careful and not push him. Our relationship works for both us. It’s sort of distant but I like it because I am very involved with my kids. I also keep very busy when I’m teaching. I know that once my kids go do their own thing, I am going to want to have someone by my side more. He has a son who he’s trying to be more involved with now so I feel that’s going to keep us apart more than we are now but I’m happy he’s stepping up as a dad. I’m very involved with my kids so I understand where he is going with that. I feel that his mom passing away is going to be difficult for him forever and he will have his moments when he’s just going to want time to himself. I have given him so many opportunities in the past. I keep taking him back. I really expected him to take longer before he got back to me this time. I was fine not knowing from him during his absence, now that I heard from him I’m afraid to say or do something wrong that will make him not want to stay. But it is what it is and whatever happens between us will be up to us to make it work. I feel like I need to give it a try to see what happens and where it goes. I care for him very much and he told me today that he loves me. He said he has a lot to take care of (he has no siblings), he said he felt numb at first and that all he wants to do is sleep but that he is pushing himself everyday to move on. He said he would text me tomorrow. I’m happy I heard from him but I feel he still needs time and space.

  18. My (on and off) boyfriend of 7 years lost his mother on 12/31/15 in the A.M. I kept in touch with him via text so I wouldn’t disturb him while he was at the hospital. After her passing, which I was unaware of, I texted him to see how they were doing. I don’t recall his response but he did not tell me his mother passed away. The next day, I texted him again and he still did not say anything. The next day, the day of the memorial services, I texted him to ask him if it was okay for me to go see her at the hospital the next day and his response was “I rather you not see her like that, I want to be alone with mom, I hope you understand”. The next day we texted each other again. That was his last text to me. His lack of responses the next few days lead me to believe his mom passed away. I checked his cousin’s facebook and it confirmed my suspicions but what was worse was that she passed away long before that and that he responded to my texts as though she was still alive at the hospital. I was bitter, angry, upset and disappointed about this the day I found out she had passed away days before. I sent him a text pretending I didn’t know and I asked how he and his mother were doing. He still hasn’t responded to any of my texts. After I calmed down, the next day I sent him a text telling him I loved him very much and that I know he needs time and space. I never mentioned that I knew of his mom passing away. I haven’t sent him another text again since then. I don’t understand him lying to me but I do understand him not wanting me at the memorial services as his family is big and they don’t get along with each other. Sure enough I read in Facebook that there were some problems at the memorial services. My boyfriend had only introduced me to his grandmother and mother and he would tell me that they were the only ones he considered family. His mother cared for me a lot. I fear that he will never come back to me because I remind him of his mother and how much she cared for me. My boyfriend has broken up with me two times before when he has problems (I believe they were financial problems). When he has done this, he just wants to be left alone. He’s come back within the year or year and a half asking me to get back with him but I think that his mother played a big part in that. His mother is no longer around so there will be no one to push him to get back with me unless he thinks about her and the times she would convince him to get back together with me. I am in mourning for the loss of my boyfriend and his mother. I feel I can’t push him because it will only push him away. We live about an hour and a half away from each other so I can’t get to him and he will not allow me to come see him. I’ve tried this before when we broke up and it just made him angry. He usually needs his space and he decides when he’s ready to come back which is not fair to me. I always take him back because I love him and I know he loves me. I have experienced his distance twice before and so I’m mentally prepared for the worst-that he might not come back at all. We are definitely in love with each other but at a time like this, he’s not thinking of me. Please pray for us. I am praying for him everyday and I reach out to his mom to help him and help me keep calm during his time of healing. I am hoping that when he comes out of this, if he comes back to me, that he decides he wants to move closer to me since there is no one near him anymore that he needs to care for. Does anyone think there might be someone else involved? That has crossed my mind but I don’t know how. He works every other weekend and on his weekend off he spends it with me. Sometimes I wander if he didn’t want me there because someone else was there with him? Just so many things are going through my mind. I am a teacher and I’m trying to keep myself very busy. I have even decided to take two online classes so I’m not thinking about him too much. Someone tell me what they think, please.

  19. Thank you so much for posting this! I’ve been with my boyfriend now for a couple of years, and this is the first time he’s had a death in the family while we’ve been together,
    So this is my first time experiencing how he’s coping. It’s been a few days, and I was worried he was ignoring me, so I got ahold of him, and he told me he had a lot to think about and that he needed some time alone. At first that was a red flag for me, but this explanation makes a lot more sense. Thank you!

  20. Hi I am in the same boat. My boyfriend n lost his daughter back in september. Since her lost he has really distanced himself from me. He broke up with as according to him he still love me but not in love with me however he told me he want me to be part of his life. then the following days he said he cant think clearly. does any of you guys have a good outcome and the relation go back to seminromality .

  21. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear Ebonie,

    Thank you for sharing; it sounds like you love your boyfriend very much, and yet you’re really struggling to manage the basic necessities of life. I don’t know how long it’s been since your boyfriend’s best friend died, but it may take him a long time to go through the grieving process.

    You’re right, it is alot of pressure, and your feelings of frustration are easy to understand. I don’t know how you can balance your desire to be a strong, supportive girlfriend and take care of the financial situation at the same time. I wish I had answers for you, but I can’t offer the help you’re looking for.

    I’ve been reading alot about the grieving process lately, and am learning the importance of “active grieving.” It might be helpful for you to learn about the tasks of mourning, and support your boyfriend by helping him learn how to grieve in healthy ways.

    You might also contact the companies who are sending the bills, and ask if they have something like a bereavement time. I have no idea if this would work, but maybe if you call them, they might be able to at least give you another month to pay the bills.

    Again, I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

  22. Hey my fiance just lost his best friend and we are also going through some financial problems as well so it’s been really hard for me to stay focused on just one thing. Trying to be there for him and trying to work out our financial situation. Going through a death and financial problems are both very frustrating and hard to deal with. My issue is that I get very frustrated about our issues with money and then at the same time I have to remember that I do not need to add any extra stress on him because of what he is going through and I will admit that sometime I even start a little argument sometimes and afterwards i feel so bad because he shouldn’t have to argue at all especially with what he is going through. I want to be that strong woman by his side and be there for him without thinking about our problems but its so hard when bills constantly come and money disappearing. Right now he is saying that none of these bills matter at all and i know he could care less about them because he is sincerely hurt about what happened to his best friend/brother, but how I think is that the bill collectors are still wanting their money no matter whats going on. What i need help with is being a strong woman for my Fiance and being there for him without worrying about bills, how do I separate the two without getting frustrated.

  23. Thanks for the post. The level of difficulty when someone is in grief can never be measured. Having someone near to comfort, perhaps, is the greatest way to feel less pain. On the other hand, providing a personalized jewelry or keepsake piece may also provide some comfort in times of need. (fingerprint jewelry or tear bottle)

  24. Dear Laurie,

    I meant to say that I subscribed to “What’s Your Grief?” blog. Trying to help myself be understanding. The other website has been somewhat helpful, and I got him a band bracelet from it that he always wears, “Grieving Dads”. Then I found your site the other day in my desperation to get some answers for myself, and I’m so glad that you are a Christian and encouraging with scripture and with the Lord. As much as I feel like I’m not a part of the body of Christ, I seek out people who are truly seeking Him and that which points me to Him and His ways.

    I have been a very committed Christian since childhood, but my relationship grew in my twenties when I started raising my children. I have cried out to God in all of this, but I feel like He is not in this with me. My boyfriend was just starting to seek the Lord, but when his son’s tragic death happened, he pulled back from God. He was hesitant about God and his faith in Him to begin with so this made it worse.

    He is not present for most conversations we have and is extremely impatient and short-tempered. He allows his daughter to tell him what to do and he jumps, even more so now since the death of his son/her brother.

    Please pray that God would help us both in this. I feel like I’m a bad person because I am so persistent in my love and heart for him. I know things for him won’t be the same, but not to the point of shutting me out, completely.

    The Lord Bless you,

  25. Dear Laurie,
    I have been at my wit’s end trying to find help for myself since my boyfriend’s young adult son died last year.

    We had met over 30 years ago and were friends. We reconnected our friendship almost 5 years ago as though we picked up where we left off. We were both attracted to each other and expressed our interests in being more than friends. He wanted to get married within the first 4 months of our dating, but I didn’t think it was a wise idea because I thought we needed more time together. We were both divorced for over 20 years and have several adult children between us.

    We’ve gone through some major things, but the ultimate was his son’s tragic death over a year ago. He raised his kids as a single dad and worked rotating shifts. His former wife moved out of state to be in a new relationship, so he was on his own with the kids.

    Since his son has died he says that nothing matters to him anymore. He goes to work, works hard, always on the go, always has been. I have seen him change emotionally so much. He was so into me and so doting and loving and couldn’t do enough for me. Freely telling me all the time how much he was in love with me. Everyone could tell how he felt about me. I was not used to this kind of treatment, as I am usually the one who is like this. But he is not the same towards me at all. He doesn’t want to get married to me or anyone, which is how he felt before we got together, but then he changed his mind when he fell in love with me. He doesn’t go out of his way for me, he doesn’t really want to talk to me and he doesn’t seem to want to invest spending any time with me. In fact, he seems fine going for days not talking to me and we sometimes go for two weeks without seeing each other. I don’t like this at all. He seems “happy” on the outside, and since his son’s death, he is, what he calls himself, “emotionally vacant”. I love him and I am in love with him, but I don’t like how he is towards me anymore.

    I put myself in grieving counseling so I could be understanding, I have subscribed to Grieving Dads website and done everything I know to be a supportive and nurturing friend to him. I’ve tried not to make this about me, but he has withdrawn and neglects me. At times he will suddenly switch and I will see him behave how he used to be, but I don’t see that he is in love with me anymore. I know he cares about me and loves me and he is an honest man, but he does not want to deal with anything unpleasant or talk about our problems. He wants to just go through his days and just “be”. I don’t know what to do. I have given him space and offer my support, but he doesn’t really turn to me for anything. He says he’s never needed anybody.

    His adult daughter still lives with him and he is trying to get her through college and be patient with her since she has also gone through the lose of her brother.

    I really don’t know what to do. I have broken up with him so many times because I don’t see him making effort to go forward with me. Then I feel guilty because maybe I have unrealistic expectations since his son died. I know everyone grieves differently. I believe men grieve very differently than women.

    I don’t know if I should move on or just back up. I’ve tried to talk to him, but it seems that I make it worse. I can’t fix this. Sometimes I feel like I’m being an enabler because I make excuses for his behavior and then I feel resentment and bad about myself.

    Thank you for your help,

  26. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear Deja,

    I pray for peace in your relationship with your boyfriend. May you find the strength you need to support him in his grief, and may God show you ways to help your boyfriend cope with the death of his beloved grandmother. I pray for healing – and for a healthy grieving process.

    Jesus knows your boyfriend’s pain, as well as your sadness that you can’t help him cope with death the way you’d like. Jesus knows what it means to grieve and be in pain. Jesus knows how you feel and how your boyfriend feels. Trust Him to lead you through. Let your boyfriend process his pain and grief his way, and trust God that you and your boyfriend will reconnect when he is ready.

    Blessings and sympathy,

  27. Hello my boyfriend has lost his grandma and i currently am expercing everything that everyone else is. We don’t and when he texts me its all written with no emotion. Today we had the talk about him being lost and needing to find him emotionally because he is lost . It wasn’t until i came upon this page that i now know and understand what it is that he wants from me and what it is that i must do !! Its really going to be hard for me we have just grown and overcame so much recently ! If anyone has any prayers and anything that i can put into my prayers to make this time better for both him and i please share them with me i love him so much him and i have so much love within each other some one please share with me how they found the strength to make it through this difficult time

  28. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    If you’re helping your boyfriend cope with death of a loved one, please know that your presence may be all you can offer! He is dealing with grief, and he is devastated by everything he’s feeling. Your boyfriend is in shock, and he doesn’t know how to handle his emotions.

    The best thing you can do to help your boyfriend is to gently let him know you’re around to talk. Don’t push him to spend time with you. Give him time and space to accept what’s happened, and deal with his feelings in his own way and time.

    It’s not about you.

    My prayer is that you find the compassion and love you need to let your boyfriend deal with his grief his own way. I pray for strength and healing, and that you and he reconnect in the future — when he’s ready. I pray you accept his grief and pain, and let him come back to you when he’s ready.

    In sympathy,

    1. How can u you support to ur bf if he asked you don’t wait for him, how can u tell u there for him whenever he is ready, how can u give him support if he block u from all contact, we both deeply in love to each other, we build a strong bond, and when his mom died he pusb me away. Please help me

  29. I am extremely in love with a guy. We have been together for 8 months he was a loving and caring boyfriend he made me live my own fairytale. We always spend each and every moment together in college. He helped in studies. I was a below average student and he is a topper in his batch and he my senior also but now he changed me completely. I became the most favorite student of all teachers we were very very happy together but suddenly an incident changed everything,his elder brother died and now he is suffering from loss. He is coming college regularly as he is a sincere student but he ignore me as I am nothing for him. I am having holidays but still I am going college only for him but still he don’t want me around him anymore. I respect his feelings but why do he is pushing me out I want nothing from him I just want to support him. I left everything for him,I am having nothing in my life not even a single friend or person to share anything than him. I am so helpless this time. I want him come back. Plzz help me out!

  30. Dear Laurie,

    thank you so much for this site. It has been two weeks since my boyfriend asked to
    be left alone and withdrew completely following his father’s death.
    I feel all the more helpless since we have been in LDR for only six months now and he is in the military. I truly appreciate everyone’s comment -I have been going through exact same!
    I would have never thought I’d need to let go of my boyfriend while he is grieving, but this is apparently what some men need us to do! Honestly, I’d be much more comfortable letting him go in a happy and frolicky state of mind :) Feeling is pain is almost unbearable. In any case, when it starts wringing me, I send out a little supportive note by email and hope for the best.
    Wishing your loved ones a healthy recovery.

  31. I’m in the same boat I don’t know if I’m still in a relationship with ,y fiancée, he lost his mother a month ago, but before that we are close he been travel here 3x a year since 2013, we’re very open and very inlove to each other, and when his mom died, he changed a lot, he don’t say his not giving up directly but in his email sounds like that, he never talk to me since then, he de activated his FB for couple of day’s and when he activated his FB, he fixed it and start 2014, but I’m still in his FB the memories, pictures post for me are still there, and the on his page he don’t deleted the engaged status, I’m still engaged to him, it’s confusing, I sent him an email every once in a while, text him but he ignored me, I know from myself ho much he loves me, we’re in a long distance relationship btw, but everyday we talked twice a day, we have a couple tattoos skull wrote my name and his name, and one at the back same tattoo, everyday I saw him online on fb, but he never mesage me, and he don’t do any post, is my man checking me? Please help me, I’m in pain, I don’t sleep eat, and thinking right, this is to mget ch painful, sometimes I’m thinking about committi suicide to avoid all the pain, is there any hope for me to get him back? Please help me

    1. Hi.
      Taking your life is not the way to think!!!!!! How will you live to share your life with the amazing man you are about to marry?! Trust me this too shall pass. You need to get a positive support system going for yourself whether it be friends, family or whomever you feel comfortable sharing your pain with. Your fiancé is going through far more pain, confusion, and anger than you can ever imagine. SPACE is the best thing you can do for him until he’s ready to return. You can’t put a timeline on when because you will never be able to fill this void for the loss of his mother. I’m sure that he loves you very much and still wants to be your husband very much so. Yes this is probably going to be one of the hardest things to give him. But find you some hobbies or dive deep into your own work and self. You can do it! This has nothing to do with you, trust me. He has to figure it out on his own and the best thing you can do is to send him prayers and or let him know that you are right there if he needs you. So check out my website listed above and whatever you want me to pray for you about leave it in the message box and I look forward to hearing that you and your fiancé got through these rough times and finally got married!

      1. Thank u very much for this wonderful message, I know I’m not alone for this kind of situation, I sent him a text and email once in a while, but I really don’t know if he will get my email. I’m from Philippines and his from USA. To be honest I can’t focus in life not in a right mind,I’m thinking of him every minute of my life, I miss him so much, please pray for me, I don’t know how to handle this, we have the same tattoos it’s a symbol of our love, devotion and dedication to each other, he also said nobody can seperate us only dead,

        1. It’s been a month now, still, I don’t hear anything from him, it’s not fair he leave me hanging, i cried most of the time, thinking of what he doing, I miss his face his smile, I only see him on FB, It’s driving me crazy, I don’t know where I stand, his bday is close, what do I need to do? Text him? Greet him I don’t know how to greet him, last year we celebrated his bday together we travel in Vietnam, we had lots of memories to hold on, where is my man? Is he coming back? I saw him on FB once in a while, but not doing anything, we still engaged on his status, but, he ignored me, does he knows I’m into much pain? Does he know I also experience grief in our relationship? Please help me,

          1. If you have any contact with his other family members such as his mother, father, sister, brother try reaching out to them and asking how he is doing.

          2. I don’t have any contact to his family, he live my himself away from his relatives,
            I saw him online on FB, once in a while, I sent him an email, short email still no reply, Is he knows that he hurt me so bad? Is he still care like he was before, he was a perfect man for me he think me first before him, is the FB things is the sign that we still have a chance to be together? Or this is the way he express himself that he still there for me, please help me,

          3. He live by himself away from his relatives, he don’t know his father, and I’m not close to his kids, one time I sent a message to his friend, he told me do not bother his friend, I saw him online in FB, I just want to know, if FB is a sign that we still have a chance? Or this is the way he express himself to let me know he still there,
            His status we’re still engaged, all the post for me and my post still there, please give me some idea what is all about, I read all his email from the past and he was not a type of guy who will give up so easy, I love him deeply as I know he love me the same way, I cried a lot even in front of people was not my intention but I can’t help it. I tried to avoid how I feel, focus myself in other things, but it doesn’t help,
            I’m like a walking zombie everyday, please help me

          4. Hi Lyn,
            I just spent some time with my girlfriend who lost her mother two weeks ago. She is literally paralyzed, all of her thoughts literally revolving only around her mother. In addition, she is trying to take care of her ill father who is now left all alone. She is fully focused on her pain, on how much she misses her mother and attempting to make adjustments in her life, so that she and her father can continue living without her. Having held this crying friend my my arms yesterday helped me relate to what my boyfriend is going through right now, having lost his father two weeks ago. I realize men cope with grief differently and his reaction was asking me to give him time to feel better. He said the only way I could help him right now was to leave him in peace…. Hope this note helps you feel a little better.

          5. Thanks Maria
            After 2 months of waiting he sent me an email,
            Ive seen all the messages you’ve sent. You’re read on what was happening really wasn’t right and I don’t want you to be out there waiting for me as you are. I care for you very much and I wish it hadn’t come to this. I’ve become certain over this time that there isn’t a future for us. You’re not coming here and I’m not going there. That’s the crux of it. I can’t live the online, pretend world anymore. I just can’t. I’m so sorry. At some point, you’ll realize this was true for you too. But I know it will be hard as it has been for me. I’ve never felt so sad as I do sending this message. I’m going to drop out now because I think that’s the easiest and most humane thing to do. I wish there had been another way.

            can u please finalized this email? Are we done ? Or he still not in his right mind becaus of grief, he blocked on his fb, do I need to leave him alone? And give him a long tym space using NC tactic?
            But Do I have a chance to get him back?
            We both deep inlove to each other, until this happen, PLEASE HELP ME. I don’t want to beg him To get back what relationship we had, I live him so much

          6. We’re very close, he always told me before, I make him very happy, he sacrificed many effort for me as well, please help me, do u think his feeling is change for me? Is NC help him to miss me?

  32. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Thank you for sharing how you’re helping your boyfriend cope with the death of someone he loved. I can tell that you love him so much, and you want to support him in any way you can. I know how difficult it is to stand by and watch when your boyfriend is coping with death…you feel helpless, alone, scared, and worried about him and your relationship.

    I just wrote another article on helping your boyfriend cope when someone he loves died, to offer more suggestions on how to help him. I can’t offer you specific advice or tips, but it may help you to learn how dealing with grief is different for different guys.


    My prayer is that you find peace. May you reach out to your boyfriend regularly, and show him how much you care. May you find the strength and courage to let go of any expectations you have of how he should be grieving or how often he should see or talk to you. May you be free from the temptation to push your boyfriend to give you attention or overwhelm him with your concern. I pray you find wisdom as you help your boyfriend cope with the death of a loved one. May you act out of genuine concern for him, not fear or insecurity about your relationship. I pray that you set yourself aside as you think about what your boyfriend needs and wants right now. Amen.


    1. thank you so much….i feel better after reading this. He is still hasn’t contacted me but i understand so I will continue to pray and send him a text in the weekend see how he doing.

    2. This is my confirmation. These words are truly a blessing to me. May God saturate every area of your life with his unfailing love. I am most grateful. Thank you very much.

  33. Let me begin by saying thank you whoever made this support group i need it right now so much.I met my boyfriend online we talked for 6 months since he was in the middle east. I am 25, he is 30. I finally met him march 17 2015 i was so happy and thrilled. We were both so happy to finally meet in person. Even though he was jeylag from his flight and was sleeping the whole time we enjoyed each others presence. I love him he loves me. We bonded so much over those 6 months. So now the next day he found out his mom has breast cancer she wasnt taking chemo so good. I felt so f’ing sad like why God he just came home and he has to hear this about his mom. It was heartbreaking me. He told me over text i can tell he was angry. Oh and his parents live in washington state and he has a 4 year old son from his divorce. He told me i am sorry but a relationship is not the time right now.i thought i was gonna come home to spend time with you and my son. Right now my mom is my priority we haven’t had the best relationship since my divorce. is not you is not me is my mom just understand that. Ima deal with this later just let me deal with my mom right now. I told him i am here for you all the way ima be by your side. I was being very empathetic with him. He left today to Washington with his son for 30 days. Iam so depressed and sad my boyfriend just came overseas and hear this bad news. I love him so much to the moon and back. Will his feelings change after his grieve? It sucks i only saw him one time that’s it. I wish i could have said goodbye and hugged him. I need a hug right now :(

  34. Hi. My boyfriend lost his brother 2 months ago. Everything happen so fast. He and I were sitting next to each other. He called his brother up on the phone. They were actually talking and then the phone hung up. Minutes later family members begin to call him to say that his brother had been shot. My boyfriend was shocked. He began to gather his things to leave because he also had to work later. I went out behind him and accidentally locked the door not thinking. We were locked out of the house for about 20-25 minutes. He was furious because people were calling him telling him to come quick. When we did get back inside we hugged and kissed and he drove to the hospital. I didn’t go with him because I didn’t think he wanted me to and I stayed here with our 9 month old daughter (I regret not saying “I’m coming with you). I texted him to see how his brother was and he said “he’s gone babe”. I was speechless. He showed up 3 days later with sadden spirit all over him but showed no emotions. He didn’t even invite me to the funeral. Days began to get longer when I wouldn’t hear from him or see him. I panicked and thought why? We both desire to be married soon and we were doing good in our relationship for the better. He later began to cry around me and talk about his brother more. I appreciated that. He was extremely close to his brother who was just 2 years younger than him. I spoke with his mother when I didn’t hear from him for days and she said he was doing alot of crying. Moreover, 2 weeks ago his aunt past. He did say he was starting to doubt his faith. But he’s still working, grieving, and moving forward. Now, the days are getting longer where there’s absolutely no contact. Nevertheless, he or I will initiate communication eventually. I’m giving him his space(extremely difficult for me) and the responses are pleasant. I did act out as being selfish and insecure at one point because I didn’t understand. We reconciled. However, this is brand new giving we were so close and now I feel like he never communicates with me and there’s division between us. Not sure how to feel after going from talking almost everyday and night to no talking at all. Eventhough, the times I do see him he assures me that we are ok. His behavior shows different.

    1. Hi Elizabeth. I am in the same boat. My fiancé lost his mother back in February. Since her lost he has really distanced himself from me. He is always blaming me for things as well. He states that he is having a hard time coping with the lost but will not seek help. He is from Florida and I am from Virginia where we currently reside. I think he feels guilty because he was not living in the same state as his family. I feel like he is blaming me for that. We went from seeing one another everyday to not really talking at all and he assures me that everything is ok as well. I am depressed and sad, and really don’t know what else to do.

      1. Hi Pam,

        I can definitely sympathize with what you’re going through. My honest advice to you is that if you two love each other which it seems you do because you are both planning to marry and spend the rest of your lives together, then this too shall pass. It’s only temporary. My situation has improved far more greater for the better than I ever imagined. Our communication is amazing. We have a closer bond in our friendship and my patience has grown because of this. The only thing I’ve been doing is praying for him constantly and sharing those prayers with him via text so he can always them to go back and read, giving him space, and literally putting myself to the side. This is extremely hard for me but in these last few months I’ve discovered a whole new meaning for “waiting on anything”. These are the times in which your relationship will be tested the most because we can not began to process what they are going through. Trust me I know your pain, fear of disconnect between the two of you, and frustration. But this has nothing to do with your relationship with him. I’m sure he loves you very much. What you can do that is helping me is put more focus into yourself and the things you have going on in your life. Last, it’s okay to be scared and for your faith to get weak. But be secure in the love that you have for each other and know that it’s this along with God’s love for the two of you that will mend any gaps while you’re waiting as he grieves. There is no time frame of how long this will take. My guy just recently started to show emotion in front of me and talk about his brother’s death with me. He’s just starting to make me apart of his pain after 3 months. But you need to understand that you will never be able to feel your fiance’s void for the loss of his mother. Pray boldly and watch your prayers. Comment me back so you too can share your good news and testimony.

        1. Hi Brandi,
          I really want to thank you for your encouragement. I never forgot about you. Good news! My fiancé and I are back together and is doing fine. I didn’t give up on us. We went to counseling and we also sat down with our Pastor. I can truly say prayer works in so many ways. Thanks again.

  35. My bf just lost his friend on his birthday I’m saying he’s being cocky and he said he’s not he’s lost his best mate brother and partner in crime and a school mate it’s this first time tonight I’ve spoken to him on the phone about it and he opens up and told me all about it he took his son to school and is in bed when I called him and didn’t feel that bothers in speaking to me but he’s been like this before his friend died so dunno what’s up with him on that part but I want to be their for him in everyday I can for him but I don’t know how can you help please

  36. I posted here originally in Dec 2011. My boyfriend never did contact me. It’s been almost 3 years. I never pressured him. I let him know I would be there for him whenever he wanted to talk, but that never happened. I miss him now, just as much as I did then. I still love him. I hope you all have a better outcome than I did. I am still devastated, lonely, in love, and utterly helpless to do anything for him.

    1. I read your comment. I’m going through the same thing. The person I’m with is mourning over their loss of their grandma and they don’t handle death well. I don’t know what to do because they don’t see their pushing me away to deal with the death. I’m told it’s quite opposite because their telling me their feelings weakness they don’t tell anyone else but I see different. I see them shut down and acting happy sad distant etc. I’ve been told numerous times all her close friends know she can’t handle death and everyone understands and she’s been with someone who totally gets her and they connected at a deeper level because they both can’t deal with death. So I feel is it just words they’re telling me because I feel like I’m just in the way and I should just leave my partner alone. Let them go and hope and wish them well. I don’t know what to do……

  37. Hello Akasa,

    You can’t convince your boyfriend to go back to school. I agree that it’s probably best for him to go back to school and be with people again, but it won’t be helpful to try to convince him to do it. He needs to grieve his loss and cope with the death with his mother in his own way.

    Sometimes the best thing we can do to help a boyfriend or any type of friend cope is to just tell them that we’re here when they’re ready to talk. Put a card in his mailbox or under his door — or in his hand, if he’ll see you. In the card, tell him that you would love to sit down with him and listen to his stories about his mom for as long as he wants to talk. Give him time to respond, because he is grieving a huge loss in his life.

    The most important thing you can do is tell him you’ll be there for him….but don’t push him to do what you think is right. In time, he will be back at school. He may never be the same, but he will eventually participate in life again.


  38. hey,this is akasa,i m nt sure if is hes my boyfriend or best frnd,we share a close relationship,unfortunetly so suddenly he loast his mom 2 two before.he loved his mom vry much i must say he actually lived for her mom.i knw hes too brokn n shattered,bt he needs to come up.he doesnt answers calls,text msges,n evn he refused to meet me,denies to attend schl ever.i knw ita a big loss,bt m too worried for him.cn u plse advice to hw to convice him to cme to schl sooner or later,bt he should come.

  39. Dear Nelja,

    Thank you for your patience – I hope you and your boyfriend have connected since you left your comment!

    I wrote this article for you:

    How to Find the Answers to Your Relationship Questions

    You probably already know that I can’t give you the answers you’re looking for. I can’t see the future, or know what your boyfriend is thinking and feeling!

    I hope this article gives you a few things to think about. Let me know what you think.


  40. Thank you Laurie so so much for the advice! You were right after all. I left him to cope by himself, messaging him regularly letting him know that I was always gonna be by his side whenever he needed and whenever he wanted to talk about the subject. He still hasn’t talked about it. He felt pretty upset the day of the funeral but. His mates made a beer round at the top of the hill all gathered together, he didn’t went. He is focusing very much on his studies and on his job which is a relief as he can’t surf for now due to a bad ankle injury (yes, I know this is a way to take his thoughts of the subject but thank god it’s a healthy one). On the not so very bright side of the picture, we are no longer together. Due to many reasons, not the tragedy he went through. So to all girls, yes. I believe the best way to help your BF cope with grieving is letting him cry it out in his own way. Even if we feel it is not healthy to not talk about it, we express our emotions differently. So, just be there for him. Don’t stress or push him. If you have, apologize and tell him you trust him enough to do this on the way he needs to, whatever that way might be. All my love to you girls, I wish you all the luck on your relationships. My heart goes to you all who are going through this difficult time, and finally, thank you Laurie, for helping us, teaching us, and leading us in the best way you can to the right direction on helping our loved ones.

  41. I recently started facilitating support groups for people coping with loss, and I now think that’s the best way to deal with most of life’s situations! A good, healthy support group is a place you can share your struggles, and others can tell you what they tried – what solutions worked for them.

    If your boyfriend can’t seem to cope with the loss of a loved one, it may help you to find a support group of some type. Different men cope with death in different ways, and I can’t tell you how to help your boyfriend. I think the best thing is to stay as emotionally and spiritually strong and healthy as you can!

    Be there for your boyfriend, but don’t enable him. How do you do that? By talking to other women in the same situation — either online or in person. I think in person is better, but online resources are good too.

    1. What does it look like to enable your boyfriend when he is grieving? I have gone to CODA meetings in the past and read nearly every book on codependency and enabling. I have asked myself this question, “Am I enabling him in his grief?” But I don’t know the boundaries since giving compassion and grace can sometimes get confused with enabling. I’m at a loss in how to be a support and be understanding and compassionate and give grace, not make this be about me, but also am I unrealistic to get my needs met by him or not? I mean, I know everything is an emotional toll, and sometimes more than others on him, and he himself has said several times, “this is not fair to you.”

      I’m looking for answers. I felt like the 8 counseling sessions I went to didn’t answer this question or truly help me to help him and even help myself.

  42. I come to this website everyday to reassure myself that I am doing the right thing when it comes to supporting my boyfriend in his loss. His mother died about 9 months ago, It was extremely sudden, only about a few hours notice. We have been together for a long time, a little over a year this time but we were on and off our entire high school careers (we are both about to end our first year in college). He has good days and bad. But when they are bad, they are really bad. For a while he refused counselling, tried it, but now is refusing it again. He, as well as I, are young, and I know it is difficult for him to ask for help or even talk about what he is feeling, But I worry about him constantly. If he does not want counselling or opening up, I wonder is it even possible for him to properly heal? We go to different colleges in different cities, about an hour to each other, and worry about him surrounded by people that dont know what he is going through. I know everyone heals differently and I never push him to talk if he says he doesnt want too. But I hope that somehow he can heal or begin to while refusing to let himself grieve. Perhaps it will just take a long time.
    Thank you for all the stories and advice. It soothes a soothers mind every now and then.

  43. Hello girls! Well it seems that I have the same problem as everyone but I am closer to Paula since I am also in a long distance relationship and the things might be worse regarding the fact that we have been together for only 4 months with my boyfriend. His mother died from cancer 2 months ago, so it was 2 months after we have been together. In the begining he told me that he need some time to deal with the fact, which of course I gave and after a while (not even a week) he returned to its usual text and skype routine. But after one month he started to say that he is feeling down and then he became more and more distant. He now skypes me once in 3 days and sometimes doesn’t reply to my messages but he also is supposed to come after one month here. But I am kinda worry. Does he really want to come?And how am I supposed to act if he comes? He doesn’t talk about the fact but I have told him a lot of times that I am here and if he wants to talk he can talk and I miss him etc. Of course he answers in a very cold way. But he keeps on his usual life. Like going to parties and clubs with his friends, and althought he is skype most of the time, it seems that I am the only person that he doesn’t want to talk. I wonder, am I a bother to him?What should I do? Should I let him know my feelings? He also mentioned that if I return back he won’t be sad anymore but I don’t know whether he means these or he finds excuses about the fact that he is cold towards me? Of course I still haven’t mention anything about his way or how lonely I feel, but should I do that?Let him know how ignored I feel? After all it is 2 months after the incident.

  44. My boyfriend of 2.5 years just lost his father unexpectedly last week. Like many of the ladies commenting he is of course devastated and has crawled into the cave of his mind. Up until the moment of his fathers death we’ve been incredibly close and I even went out to help his family plan the funeral and take care of cooking / cleaning etc. Since I had to return to my job and he is still out there(its been a week now), our communication has gone down to almost none existent. I will text him daily just to say “thinking of you” or “how are you doing, if you need anything I’m here” but regardless no answer. 1/5 attempts to make contact I may get a one word response like “thanks.”

    The stages of grief are a widely documented form of life and psychology. Unfortunately, grief is not the same for everyone and being the person on the outside looking in on a loved ones grief is becoming increasingly hard. Of course you cannot blame them, you’re not angry, but its just such a shock to your system. Reading some of the comments above– about their boyfriends becoming a different person and the relationship ending pains me incredibly. I love this person but feel helpless to help him.

    Should my role be the supportive one? The distraction? A bit of both? Any suggestions are welcome.

  45. Dear Paula,

    Being there for your boyfriend is the best way to help him cope with the death of his friend. I’m not sure if the cute or funny pictures or messages will help. Recently, I heard a pastor say that when someone is experience grief and loss, the best thing to do is sit beside them and say, “I am sorry for your loss.” Then be silent. Let the person talk, or be silent. Cry, or whisper.

    Helping someone grieve isn’t about cheering them up. It’s about sitting with them in their grief, and letting them mourn the way they feel led. Sometimes it’s loud and talkative, other times it’s silent and painful. Meet your boyfriend where he’s at.

    I know it’s difficult when you have a long distance relationship. Do you and he skype? If your boyfriend doesn’t want to talk about the death or his feelings, then don’t push it. Skype him regularly, but don’t force him to talk.

    I hope this helps, and wish you all the best as you stand beside your boyfriend.


  46. Hey girls :) First, thank you for this advices. They have really made me understand more on how to deal with what happened to my guy. A few hours ago he messaged me telling he just found out one of his best mates committed suicide. I almost threw up as I read the text. He had just came back from a huge party (he’s the ultimate party boy). All I told him was that I was really sorry he was going through this, and that I knew boys didn’t felt comfortable talking about his feelings but I was there for him whenever he needed me. “I’m just a text and a call away” (long distance relationship, Australia-Peru). He was going out with his mates, and I can’t help being worried for his reaction to this shocker. He does tend to drink a lot and the thing that scares me the most is that he might turn to weed or something similar. I feel horrible because I can’t even give him a hug. We always give each other balance, and now that we’re apart it’s a scary though he might go back to his aussie craziness. I have nooo idea what to do. To send him a cute/funny pic, a message, a song…my mind is just rumbling with thoughts and worries

  47. Hi my boyfriend lost his father in january, he rang me to let me know and was crying, he told me he feels peaceful listening to my voice, after we saw each other a few times and i got upset, he said to me that he came to see me to feel peaceful but me being upset has made it worse. since then he asked me to move on as he cant keep me happy. i reassured him that i am here for him and not leaving him. however he does not contact me at all i text him, and phone him but he does not reply or answer the phone. he told me he needs time.. i am finding it really hard at the moment, and if i let go and move on i will feel guilty all my life, as he has always been there for me when i needed him and the sad thing is i know he loves me more than anything in the world, his father and i were the only people closest to him.

  48. My boyfriend suddenly lost his father in August. Since then we have broken up, live in different house and rarely communicate. He has put himself into anything and everything to keep himself busy. We see eachother once a week but everytime we are together its as if my presense brings all of the hurt out of him. I was with him during the whole process following his fathers death and it seems as if he resents me for not being able to fix things. When i see him i see so much saddness and hurt. He is not making the best decisions but i realized a few days ago that i cant help him until hes ready to help himself. I have backed away and will let him reach out to me when and if hes ready. The worst part is how in love we both still are with eachother, but that life stresses have taken over and changed us. I didnt always handle the stress well and neither did he but living in the past wont change anything. Any advice on this situation?

  49. I think this is what could be happening with my boyfriend. His sister died in September and in the month leading up to that, the family was told that there wasn’t much time left for her. He basically stopped talking to me when they received the news and it’s 3-1/2 months later and he still hasn’t contacted me.

    The only contact we’ve had happened when I went to the funeral and I went to my boyfriend to give him a hug. He told me he’d call in a few days. I told him I was going to go to the cemetary but he told me he rathered I didnt go, so out of respect I didnt go. I am not sure why he wanted this.

    He has not discussed anything with his family that I am aware of – but he did tell his dad (who I visited last week) that he just wants to be alone. I am trying very hard to not pressure him and to give him space but I am scared for our relationship. I would love to be there for him and support him but I can’t.

    Not really sure how to handle this. It’s been difficult without him but I know he was devestated by her death – especially since he didn’t get back in town from a business trip before she passed.

    1. I been with my boyfriend for about seven months and I just found out that his mom passed when he was lock up and he didn’t get to say bye or that he loved her she had cancer and I don’t know how to help him he didn’t even get to go to her furnual she been gone some years now and feel bad and mad at the world he even stop believing in God and love from another help me