Grieving BF can’t love new baby

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I’m a 26 year old female i have been with my fiancee for about 14 months we now have a baby boy who is a month old about 2months ago i found out that he had been seeing some one on the side whom he worked with. He told me that he was not happy anymore with me and he couldn’t tell me why just that he wasn’t happy. About 2 weeks ago we separated he didn’t want to see his son and had really nothing to say to me.

last week i took the baby to see him and we talked and decided that i was going to move back in and that he was done seeing the other woman and he said she would get over it he was even talking about changing shifts at the job to avoid anymore problem he told me that he loved me and our baby and that was what he wanted, things were going well we were acting as if nothing had happend and it was wonderful

2 nights ago he went crazy and i had to call a family member of his to come help me he had locked his self in our bathroom and was threatening to kill himself and he got very physically violent in ways i had never seen him act. I will add that he is 37 and he lost his first and only child before ours 12 years ago tomarrow in a car accident.

Last night he wakes up from a nap and tells me he is tired of living with a headache and that he can’t force his self to be happy and askes me to take my boys and leave, told me he wasn’t asking me to move out just to give him time and space to himself to think and decide what he wants.

I will add that this is a man that is a alcoholic in the first 3 days i was gone from the home i found 5 empty beer cases on my porch and i believe that he needs help for that along with mental help am i wrong for thinking that?

Do you think it would be wrong for a family member to have him commited for mental health help even tho he is going to get extremely upset with everyone. And do you think i am wasting my time waiting for him to decide what he wants or could it be he knows he mad the mistake and don’t how to deal with it and could it be that he still hasn’t found the right way of dealing with the anniversary of his sons death.

I love this man with everything in me and i want us to make things work but how do you do that when the other person won’t try and get help all they say is there not going to help me it would be a waste of time.

A: What a painful and difficult situation for both of you. It certainly sounds like having a child has triggered unresolved grief and pain in your fiance. He is casting about for a way to dull the pain. Alcohol, an affair, and even suicide all look like options to him. Sadly, he is missing out on the baby he has while he mourns the child he lost.

Sometimes people who have lost a child are terrified to love another. They know how vulnerable being a parent makes us. They never want to feel that kind of loss again so don’t let themselves get close.

Some people believe (consciously or unconsciously) that moving on means disrespect for the child they lost. They don’t want “help” because they feel that it would be in some way abandoning the child.

No. I don’t think you are wasting your time to try to support a man who is in this much pain. Your baby is only a month old. Standing by him now may mean that you can yet make a family. If you love him, you need to be patient and you need to get some practical advice. Please consider finding a therapist, not because I think you are ill but because I think this situation would be difficult for anyone. A therapist can give you the support you need and can help you figure out what to do. Once the therapist knows you and your story, she or he can also invite your boyfriend to join you in a few sessions. Sometimes this is a way to show someone that help is actually helpful.

It’s unlikely that you can commit your boyfriend unless he is actively suicidal. It would be far, far better for him to face his pain and accept some help. I hope you can talk with him lovingly and gently. I hope you can let him know that you understand how overwhelmed he is feeling and that you want to be with him in his grief. And I hope the two of you will seek out some counseling to help you through this difficult, difficult time.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Jun 2009

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2009). Grieving BF can’t love new baby. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 25, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/06/06/grieving-bf-cant-love-new-baby/