Partner lost his parent and driving a wedge between us

Hi all,

This is my first post, however I’m needing some advice.

My partner lost his dad in December to cancer it was a very short battle and has been a shock to us all. We’re only in our early thirties so didn’t expect to be dealing with this at our age but I guess nobody plans for this!

His dad was his best friend and it’s really hard knowing what to do or say. He’s really open to talking about it and is showing all the emotions I would have expected him to. I’ve tried to encourage him to go to counselling however his main concern isn’t himself but his mum. He doesn’t want to discuss it with anyone because he wants his mum to get help first and is set in stone on that. He’s going round to their family home as much as possible to be with her and make sure she’s ok because that’s his only concern apparently even though I know how painful it must be having lost his dad. I’ve tried explaining to him that by speaking to someone first he could help open himself up more to help his mum since that is his main worry but he’s having none of it.

Another issue is that whenever I try to help or advise he gets really protective, particularly if I say something about him helping his mum. He sees every conversation as me attacking and questioning him on it, to the point where I’ve had to stop asking about if he wants tea making when he gets back because he feels I’m annoyed about him being there. We come from very different upbringings and I can only imagine this is why he feels this way, I’m not as close to my family as much as I love them and I absolutely do not ever want him to feel like I’m questioning his time with his family because I’m not at all, however I feel like I’m walking on egg shells trying to support him.
I told him tonight I’m upset he’s going through this because he asked and asked why I was so quiet and I explained it makes me sad to see him hurting and he instantly got defensive saying “imagine how I feel”. I wouldn’t usually have expressed my sadness to him but he wouldn’t take “I’m ok” for an answer.

I love and think the world of him and his family and it breaks my heart that he’s going through this, I fear it’s driving a wedge between our relationship and I feel so selfish saying that but I want to know how I can continue to support him without him thinking every piece of advice I give him is an attack on what he’s currently doing,

From what I can tell he’s lost his dad and his mums main protecter and thus has fallen into the roll of feeling like he needs to protect his family, but I want him to realise he needs to process his own grief too?


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Good morning,
My condolences on the loss of your father in law.
I too am in a very similar situation, although we are a lot older and my partner has just lost his son(15).
Some men do seem to grieve differently to how we may expect them to?
My partner too got defensive when I thought I was helping?
Inherently they are “protectors” so through the grief and anxiety he is probably taking on this role to try to make himself feel better, protect and show caring for his mum, but also a release for him because it occupies his mind and helps numb the pain.
I feel for you.
Let him take his time and try to only offer advise if he asks for it.
It will be a bumpy road but if you just step back a little and just “be” if he know’s you’re there for him you will get through this.
Sending love and healing.:tulip:

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Hug him, listen to him, continue to be there for him, and let him approach it as he sees best.

He sounds a bit like me, to be honest, in that I massively feared for how losing my dad would affect my mum. I’ve been at her house ever since (4 months, now).

He might not want counselling, or to talk about it with anyone, and that’s fine.