In a healthy relationship, two people are there for one another when the other is going through a crisis. Whether the crisis involves losing a job, having a death in the family, fighting with a friend or encountering financial difficulty, there are things you can do to support your boyfriend during his tough time. Offering the support he needs is a good way to keep your bond strong and remind him of your love and affection.
Do not pressure your boyfriend if it takes him some time to open up to you about the crisis. He might be feeling embarrassed, ashamed or nervous to talk to you about the things that are going on in his life. As such, stay patient and be available for when the time comes for him to let it all out.
Listen to your boyfriend. Allow him to talk freely and openly with you about the crisis, with no interruptions. Give him your full attention and avoid distractions. Turn off your cell phone or your text message or email alert if you have to. Doing so will make your boyfriend feel like you are invested in him and his crisis.
Respond with reassuring phrases, such as "I understand," "I know how you feel" and "I agree." You do not want to escalate your boyfriend's emotions by arguing with him about the crisis or putting any blame on him. If your goal is to be supportive, you need to use supportive, reassuring language.
Avoid giving too many opinions. While you do want to support your boyfriend, you do not want to use this opportunity to be judgmental. If your boyfriend asks you what he should do, return the question by asking him "What do you think you should do?"
Offer your help. Ask your boyfriend what he needs or what you can do to help him get through the crisis. If the crisis is of a monetary nature, you might be able to help by loaning him some money. If the crisis involves the passing of a friend or relative, there is not much you can do, but you might be able to cheer him up a little by making a homemade meal and baking his favorite dessert. Little gestures can go a long way.
Do some research about your boyfriend's crisis so that you can better support him. For instance, if your boyfriend's relative died, you might research grief to find out how to handle grief, what the stages of grief are and what types of behaviors to expect.
Put any unfinished conflicts aside during your boyfriend's crisis. If the two of you were recently fighting about something, now is not the time to bring things back to the fore. Rather, leave unresolved issues alone and focus on being supportive.
Offer your boyfriend physical comfort. Some men appreciate physical comfort during crises, such as hugs, while others do not want to be touched. Gauge your boyfriend's emotional state to decide which he would prefer.
Give your boyfriend time to recover from the crisis. Do not expect immediate recovery. Anticipate that the crisis may impact him in various ways.
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- You cannot solve your boyfriend's crisis, but you can be there for him and guide him toward making healthy, positive choices.
- Keep watch over your boyfriend to see if he displays any concerning behaviors, such as depression or substance abuse, in response to the crisis. If he jeopardizes his health by not eating or not sleeping, for example, recommend that he see a counselor to help him navigate the chronic crisis.
Kyra Sheahan has been a writer for various publications since 2008. Her work has been featured in "The Desert Leaf" and "Kentucky Doc Magazine," covering health and wellness, environmental conservatism and DIY crafts. Sheahan holds an M.B.A. with an emphasis in finance.