Grieving partner has pushed me away

Hello everyone, I would please like some advice. My partner lost his elderly mother in September 2022. We have been together for 5 years. We don’t live together.
I have tried to support him with his grief however he has shut down this resulted in me feeling helpless and feeling pushed away. I understand he is grieving. We had a disagreement over a few weeks ago which was loaded with emotion and now he has told me he doesn’t know if he wants a relationship and feels shut down. He has his mothers property to sell, is finding work stressful and the future is very uncertain.
I am feeling upset but know I have to step back and leave him be. He didn’t say he wants to end the relationship he just doesn’t know about anything anymore. I am very fearful he may not return to the relationship however I would really like some advice as to what I can do or cannot do in this situation. I am concerned that he may be depressed or have trauma presentation and have sent organisations that can support him if he wants to reach out. Thank you Kindly SB.


my humble suggestion is to let him have his space.

6 mos. is not much in losing a mother. i lost my mother so it is a LARGE loss.

with human relationships, men in particular?, pressure on them make them go away.

a kind person you are, you want to help but someone lost in grief is lost to their own timetable. In relationships, giving time and space but not sitting there counting it! and waiting! usually brings the other person back around.

pushing them makes them really stay away. human nature. just my humble observations.

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Thank you for your kind and helpful reply Berit and I am sorry for the loss of your mother. I appreciate your help and support from someone who truly knows how such a huge loss feels.

Shall I just wait for him to come back to me or check in with the occasional whats app? Because we rowed he feels that he is responsible for my unhappiness on top off everything else he is worried about.

Thank you so much.

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I have noticed in life when there has been emotional upset or conflict, emotions go away and often left alone the conflict dissolves on its own.

if I say something or worry I said something, I wait it out … and it subsides. sometimes I just drop it and it fixes itself. it is when I worry or push on it or mull or panic, it makes it worse.

when I was dating someone I just went quiet and sure enough, he came around. you might also study the grief and see what is recommended … even though it is a romantic rel. he is still a person grieving.

men hate pressure from women! what I noticed.

if it were me, I might go silent and wait it out. sends a signal you are respecting his space as I assume he knows you care about him. just my two cents.

Thank you so much for your help. I am going to give him space and focus on my wellbeing. Its so tough because today I felt frustrated and hurt that I cannot support him. But grief takes many forms and if he needs to come to terms on his own then I must accept and respect this.

I am very grateful for your advice.

Best wishes.


maybe in a couple of weeks … just to make sure he is o.k. that is fair.

Thank you. I will let you know how things work out.

Greatly appreciated.

SB. x

When you’ve given it a couple of weeks if you haven’t heard from him I don’t see any harm in sending him a text just saying you are thinking of him and are there if he wants a chat or any help. That way you can be sure he knows you still care and you aren’t pressuring him. It kind of keeps the door open. If he doesn’t respond just leave it at that. You are absolutely right to look to your own well being and get on with your life. Maybe a while apart will help you both. I hope it works out for you x

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Thank you Neil. I appreciate your advice. I almost feel Im grieving for the loss of him too in a way although I cannot compare this grief to what he is going through. He has property to make good and sell since his mums passing, work is very stressful, I became a bit emotionally demanding as I felt pushed out. Something had to give and unfortunately it was the relationship as that’s the only thing that has that ability to stop, change or end.

Thank you again.

SB. x

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I wanted to update you. My boyfriend called me today. He was very dismissive of the relationship. Kept bringing up the row we had 3 weeks ago. Just kept going over and over what I had said. He didn’t mention his part in this. He told me that the fact that I haven’t contacted him and the fact he didn’t have to think about the relationship was great.
Unfortunately after the conversation I felt he has checked out of the relationship. He doesn’t think he needs help for his grief. For my own self preservation and my own mental health I have ended the relationship. I understand he is in a bad place but I was becoming ill with the disconnect he showed towards me and the relationship. His response to me ending things was ‘I completely understand.’ that’s it!

Thank you for your support, I am heartbroken but have to move forward and heal as I am now grieving for the man I have lost.

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I think this is really tough. To be perfectly honest, I have somewhat done the same in my relationship. I have pushed my partner away no matter how hard he tries to be there. Grief is awful and feels so lonely. Just let him know you are there when he is ready :heart:

Thank you Coco. I have ended the relationship now so I think it has gone beyond salvation. Weve been together a while so the relationship isn’t young by any means. We don’t live together either. I just couldn’t take the pain of hearing a person that sounded like a complete stranger saying that he doesn’t think he has capacity for the relationship and he feels better when I’m not around because he doesn’t have to hear about my life and my problems. It was a heartbreaking decision but I am becoming ill with this rejection. I suffer from anxiety so I haven’t eaten. Cried endless times. I think he was wanting it to end but couldn’t say it. So I did. He hasn’t responded since his three word reply. He has items at my house so will need to collect them. I really appreciate your support. I know Im not the one who is grieving but I feel heartbroken that a relationship has just ended. He told me today he’s never felt like he has toward me for anyone else but he just has no space. Its so hard!!!

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…Im crying just writing these words to you.

SB25 - he may be telling the truth when he says he has no space. When my daughter died I cdnt cope with most things for a good six months and now after a year I’m still in a place where it’s still an effort to think of anything but my daughter. He is grieving but so are you, not for a death but a loss of a relationship that meant a lot to you and still does. Nobody is to blame for any of this but sometimes grief can make people ‘unreachable’. It can just make you feel so overwhelmed that there’s no emotional room for anything else. It certainly made me want to hide from anything that wasn’t around the grief. You are being wise to think about yourself. You have tried your best and he isn’t in the right frame of mind to accept help and support. I don’t know how he’s feeling but I felt like my head was a jigsaw puzzle and somebody mixed up all the pieces and I couldn’t think straight. I felt like my emotions couldn’t take any more I was full up top to bottom with grief. No room for anything else. I shut people out. I’m feeling better than that now but, truth is, I had to start to cope by myself, in my own way. So my guess is he’s overwhelmed with grief. Not much anyone can do to support him till he starts finding his own way. You are doing the two most sensible things - talking to others on here so you can get support for yourself and doing your best to think of your well-being. You count too. It is definitely not selfish to think of what you need going forward. He knows you care and want to help and he knows where you are. Be kind to yourself (I know that sounds a bit cheesey!) you deserve it. Take care of yourself. Sending hugs xxxxx

Thank you your message Nell. I really appreciate you reaching out to me and reflecting on your own grief. I will have to be strong and learn to be kind to myself. I thought we’d be together for all time. I worry about him but he wasn’t being kind to me all be it unintended.

Thank you again for your support. This site is really helping me. :heart::heart:

I’m also very very sorry for the loss of your daughter and think you are brave and strong helping others on here with your own experience of grief. Thank you Nell. You also take care of yourself. xxx

I can honestly say coming on here has really helped me. It really is a site full of wisdom and sharing and support. A community. It is definitely more healthy to come on here than to keep all our thoughts in our head all the time. Sending you hugs xxx

Yes Nell, it is incredibly supportive with strong and brave people supporting others like you.
I spoke with him today, he told me that I am the love of his life and he has never loved anyone like me before, however he has no space for our relationship. He offered to still come and help me with practical things but he cannot give anything emotional and needs to go off and reset. He doesn’t want me to wait for him either because the thought of someone hanging around makes him feel stressed. He felt like I was pushing him for an answer when he doesn’t have one.
So I have to put my big girl pants on and go off and live my own life and to leave him to grieve. He told me that because Im on here trying to understand grief it doesn’t help him. But he did say that your analogy of the puzzles pieces muddled up in your head is exactly how it feels for him right now.
Thanks Nell. Speak soon. xx

he prolly has a support system or deals with it in his own way so I would not worry for him.

you would think a partner would be that person. if they are not, you may not have had the real relationship you deserve.

I accepted a faux relationship. I also was the faux, unserious partner.
I really feel that if this is the status of your pairing, it is not a good one. honestly, aside from the death, no matter your age, people who want to be together are. nothing can separate them.

you might as well be out of it … and one day seek someone who really wants you around.
he has made it plain, he doesn’t.

don’t do like I did and waste years living off of hope and crumbs. in the end, the man I knew was never serious about me when I could have forced myself to move along and find something wonderful.

I would really lay low and not allow yourself to be used as a place to land if he comes back around. if I had had a partner I loved when my mom died, I would have been nothing but grateful.

AND IF A PARTNERSHIP CANNOT WITHSTAND SUCH EVENTS, maybe you really did not have ta real partnership at all? wishing you the best and maybe it is for the best.

breakups are horrible. the worst pain in the world. they are like a death in of itself.
and if you are not living together and no talk of marriage, what kind of life is that for you?

I know couples in their 70s who got married! take care of yourself. I so regret all the times I went back to a bad relationship. a terrible waste. years I will never have back. I would have been better boozing for a year just to remain OUT of it. :broken_heart:

p.s. people underestimate the critical seriousness of mating to human beings. a mate is more important than family in the end because we need our own person. our own special relationship. being single is not good, for neither gender. never underestimate how important it is to have a good partner, but the right partner for you. :grinning: