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Father Died, Boyfriend Neglectful

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A couple of weeks ago, my father died after a long battle with congestive heart failure. A few days later, I went to visit my boyfriend of 7 months, seeking comfort. Also, I wanted to share with him a DVD of a short film I’ve adored since I was a child, which I’d told him was very special to me.

We had sex briefly and then he treated me to his end of lengthy telephone conversations with a couple of friends for most of the rest of the evening. At one point, I simply left. He called and talked me into coming back, though it was rather against my better judgment — I really felt I deserved better treatment than this, and indeed, that anyone would. He continued as before and I slept on the sofa.

In the morning, he apologized for being inconsiderate. I thanked him for that, though I felt he was rather minimizing his lack of compassion; apologies are difficult for him, and I did really appreciate it that he offered one. However, I remained hurt and angry that he’d chosen to treat me in such cavalier fashion just when, quite literally, I needed him most.

In the few days since then, he’s been very supportive by telephone, but hasn’t acknowledged in any way that I might still be hurt or angry, nor made any effort to make amends. Finally I brought it up today. He said he doesn’t feel bad about this at all and that my “idiosyncratic response” is an overreaction. It is perfectly true that sometimes I do overreact. I do not think that this is one of those times. What do you think?

Father Died, Boyfriend Neglectful

Answered by on -


Just because you are generally an over-reacter doesn’t mean you were over-reacting. One’s father doesn’t pass every day. You gave him a very clear message about what you needed. His response was to ignore you. As painful as it may be, he may have done you a big favor by showing you that he isn’t a guy who can be emotionally supportive, even when the situation is this unique. However uncomfortable he is with feelings, he could have handled the situation more gracefully and with a lot more caring.

You’ve only been seeing him for 7 months. Please consider carefully whether his response is enough for you. At his age (40 something), he’s not likely to change.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Father Died, Boyfriend Neglectful

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Father Died, Boyfriend Neglectful. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 23, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.