My Boyfriend Lost his Father

Visitor's Question from a 21-30 year old Female
My boyfriend of four years just lost his father a week ago. During the trip to and at the funeral he seemed to need me. When we got home, he wanted to go out with his friends without me. I was ok with it.

He came home at 5am and talked to me about how I wasn't the same anymore and that he met a girl at the bar and they liked each other. He sounded like he was telling me he didn't love me anymore. I cried all night and wrote a 4 page note telling him he needs to make a decision on what he wants and how the negative things he said about me made me feel.

He called me and said he never wanted to hurt our relationship and that he was just drunk and he didn't want her he wanted me. This being after he read the note. Now I think he is grieving and is distant from me. What do I do to get through this and how do I help him?? Please Help! Advice
When you lose a parent, suddenly your own mortality is staring you in the face. You start to wonder about all the decisions in your life. Should you have your own kids before it's too late? Now you're the "head of the family", now people rely on you, now you have nowhere to turn and nobody to save you if you get into trouble. It is a HUGE traumatic event and it can easily take months if not years to recover from. I know people who lost a mother or father and who went through huge life changes for several years afterwards as a result.

So his going to the bar and thinking "maybe I need a fresh start!" is just one of the reactions. Yes, you got upset, but I suppose I personally wouldn't have taken it too seriously, given that his father just died! I would have done a "sure, dear, let's talk about it in the morning" sort of redirect. Probably any serious changes he proposes in the next few months at least should be talked about and mulled over and not given immediate reaction to. He's going to be thinking about a lot of important issues in these months.

So be there and be a best friend. Be PATIENT. If he says dramatic things, then give him time to reconsider. Offer to go to a therapist with him to deal with the pain and loss. Many people do. We all have to lose our parents someday, so he will get through it. It'll just take time.

-- from Jenn
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