Difficulty supporting partner during grief, feel blame


I was in a two year relationship with someone who lost their mum to cancer. The first 5 months of us dating, I had no idea the mum was sick and I only found out on month 6 that the mum had cancer and will be dying. After the death of the mum, I was involved in every little event to support my at the time partner. I attended the funeral, was at the hospital, over at their house all the time, running small errands, etc…and it really helped bring us together during a time we were still getting to know each other. Then, all of a sudden, my at the time partner started to become increasingly distant and stopped communicating/initiating plans for us to go out. This distance started to make me feel upset, confused, and angry. Why was I involved in everything to not being involved in anything at all? In the end, my at the time partner started asking for space, and we eventually broke up. I took this personally, and started blaming myself for not supporting them correctly.

Now, I am feeling so guilty and angry with myself for not giving them space and asking for my needs to be addressed in the relationship. I found supporting someone I was dating so difficult, and all I wanted was for that person to feel better around my presence.

Need some advice and thoughts here.

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Hello @hellogoodbye1,

Thank you for reaching out. Supporting someone through grief can be so hard so please try to be gentle with yourself.

You might want to take a look at this thread in which people share similar experiences to yours:

Take good care and keep reaching out,

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Thank you for sharing. This story really resonates with what I went through.

We also spoke of marriage, but after the death, my former partner told me they simply cannot think of the future now when they need to grieve their loss.

I felt like I was so pushy during his grief, and all I want to do is fight for that person…but it could be wasted time on my end, especially since they don’t know when they’ll feel better again. Do you think I should reach out in a few months time?

I’m not able to give advice I’m afraid, but hopefully someone will be along to share their thoughts. :blue_heart:

My then fiancé’s Dad died suddenly 6 months before our wedding day. His parents had not been happy with him for his choice in me. It was a very difficult time considering my parents were so welcoming to Phil and shouted from the rooftops how happy they were! I worked really hard trying to build a relationship with his parents, even redecorating their lounge as a surprise one weekend. I was making progress and actually got a hug from my future father in law. Sadly he died in the December and his wife wanted her son to cancel the wedding so he could look after her. Right or wrong I gave an ultimatum that if he cancelled we were over. We did marry in the May, his mum wore white, and we gave her a granddaughter and grandson who she loved, but I never felt accepted by her. My husband Phil died last September and yesterday I celebrated my 49th wedding anniversary with friends, my daughter and grandsons. I guess I’m saying that although people are in grief, my own feelings did count and I wasn’t going to be ignored as I had been previously. I’m so grateful that on my husband’s death last year I had the love and support of my children, their partners, grandkids, my brothers and extended family. I’m so glad I stuck to my guns and Phil and I had a wonderful 48 years+ marriage.

Even though we are over, I just miss him and want to continue supporting him and being there for him. It doesn’t feel right for me to move on with someone else.

He didn’t want to end our relationship, but he did it so he wouldn’t drag me down with him anymore.

Should I reach out in a few months and see how he’s doing?

Don’t. I would move on. If they broke up with you then they will always try to run away again in the future. Move on like I did. I tried running back and it didn’t work. Only way this works if the other person comes back without you signalling them at all. Don’t hate yourself. You did nothing wrong. Grief just fucked them up. I don’t agree with it myself but what can we do. I hope you heal properly and i promise you in a few months you’ll be a lot better and stronger.

Thank you Pilot :heart:

Life is beautiful, and we cannot surround ourselves around people who push and hurt us.