Monday, July 19, 2010

How To Help a Grieving Boyfriend

Dear Jocelyn,
Recently my boyfriend had his mother pass away unexpectedly. It took his whole family by surprise. Since she has passed, I feel like he is hiding his feelings and pushing me away instead of sharing during this very sad time...Advice on how to help him cope?
     -Concerned

Dear Concerned,
Mourning the death of a close family member is unique to each person who experiences such misfortune, although certainly feelings of sadness or shock are fairly common.  This is a new experience for your boyfriend, one in which he has no practice.  My guess is that your boyfriend is not communicating with you because he simply does not know what to communicate.  Sometimes we feel things and cannot even describe them, which can turn some people inward.  The best thing for you to do is follow your boyfriend's lead.  Be there for him.  If he wants to be sad for a while, be sad with him.  If instead he wishes to distract himself with comedies or other entertainment, laugh with him.  

When he is ready to communicate, he will do so.  You don't necessarily need to say the exact right words or do the exact right thing - perhaps the attentions of a devoted girlfriend are just what he needs right now.
-Jocelyn

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