When anyone is grieving, you may find it tough to know exactly what to say. However, when your boyfriend is grieving an ex, you may find yourself struggling with your own feelings. Juggling your worry about his feelings for an ex and your desire to help him grieve can leave you wondering where to start. The good news is there are many things you can do to help your boyfriend through this time in a way that can bring you two closer together.
Explore your feelings about his ex, and then set them aside. Remind yourself that he is with you now, and don’t let your own insecurities get in the way of your relationship.
Recognize that men and women grieve differently. Your boyfriend may not bring up his feelings or even cry around you. This doesn’t mean he isn’t grieving. According to the “Grief Speaks" website, many men have been discouraged from showing their emotions openly. Remember, just because your boyfriend is silent about his grief doesn’t mean he isn’t bereaved.
Make yourself available to him. Your presence can be comforting even if he doesn’t say anything. Some bereaved men avoid being alone.
Don’t avoid talking about the situation. Ignoring his loss may make him feel isolated. Mention his ex, and let him know that you are aware of his loss. Bring the topic up from time to time to let him know that he can talk with you if he wishes.
Listen to him talk about the deceased. It may be difficult to hear details about his prior relationship, but listening is the best gift you can give your boyfriend. You may find that he is more comfortable talking about his feelings when he is doing something else such as driving or working on a project.
Take care of yourself. Grieving is a long process. Depending on how long your boyfriend was in a relationship with his ex and how it ended, he may grieve for several months or even a year.
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- As you help your boyfriend grieve, you are learning to communicate better. This will help your relationship grow stronger.
- Watch for signs of depression such as hopelessness or physical symptoms such as headaches or stomach problems. If you notice that your boyfriend is unable to work or follow his routine, encourage him to talk to a doctor.
Based in Nashville, Shellie Braeuner has been writing articles since 1986 on topics including child rearing, entertainment, politics and home improvement. Her work has appeared in "The Tennessean" and "Borderlines" as well as a book from Simon & Schuster. Braeuner holds a Master of Education in developmental counseling from Vanderbilt University.
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