Boyfriend Doesn’t Understand My Grief

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

My father passed away unexpectedly 3 months ago and I have been struggling with the grief of losing him and also being there with my father when it happened and everything that comes with that responsibility. It happened overseas and I have come back home and have been for just over 3 months.

I am very close with my father from traveling together and working together and being apart of a close-knit family.

Since being back home my boyfriend and I have been on different wavelengths. I’m not sure what came first the arguing, the snide comments and pressure I feel from him to be his girlfriend (the one prior to my father passing) and my distancing from him. I do care about him but honestly feel we are different people. Well I am different. Evolved and I have taken on this welcomingly. I see it as a gift my father has given me.

But it doesn’t feel like it includes my boyfriend though. I’m not sure what to do because I have read this is common but I have always been too nice to make that decision an often get more and more hurt.

I guess I am just asking for some insight? I am getting my support from my family but still am struggling with the grief and the struggle of what is a tumultuous relationship.

A: Your pain of loss of your father sounds very powerful, and my guess is you don’t also want to go through the loss of another important man in your life = even though it is time to let your boyfriend go. As you continue your grieving I would allow yourself to be more truthful with your boyfriend and begin explaining that he doesn’t fulfill you as he once did, and that you are not willing to continually make the investment. Explain that it is becoming more and more difficult for you to continue the relationship. Be honest with him. My guess is that in allowing yourself to realize he isn’t what you need or want, he will be able to realize the relationship can’t be what he needs either.

Cutting off the relationship rather than letting it come to a natural ending most likely feels too abrupt for you. Allow yourself to grieve the loss of your father and this will eventually allow you to have the strength to let go of your boyfriend.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 24 Dec 2012

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2012). Boyfriend Doesn’t Understand My Grief. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/12/24/boyfriend-doesnt-understand-my-grief/