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My girlfriend is grieving over death of her ex-husband

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My girlfriend is grieving over her ex-husband. It’s been a year and a half since his death, and she has grown very distant. It feels like she takes all her issues out on me. She is generally hateful to me, never shows me any attention, and list goes on and on. I seem to get the brunt of things. It seems like there is no hope for us. I don’t understand what she is going though. This problem has seemed to have snow balled since the anniversary of his death. Things for us are very complicated we live together and we both have children. She is the love of my life and I’m trying to hold on in hopes of this passing, but I don’t feel loved back. Can you help me in any way?

Thank you for your time,
John

My girlfriend is grieving over death of her ex-husband

Answered by on -

A.

This sounds very painful, John. It is good you took the time to write us.

Unresolved grieving can last a very long time and there can be many reasons why someone hasn’t moved on. It is too difficult to tell from what you’ve said if you are the scapegoat for these unresolved feelings, or simply the safest person she has to express them to. In either case the length of time warrants a change. I recommend three things.

First I would begin to set limits on what you tolerate of her behavior. Grieving doesn’t give someone the right to be continually hateful for as long as they wish. I encourage you to set a limit and to find some support for yourself as you learn to do this. The “find help “ tab at the top of this page will get you to someone in your area.

Secondly, try to get yourselves in front of a couples counselor so the issue can be mediated by a third party. Often the emotions during this time can be overwhelming for a couple to deal with on their own.

Finally, see if there are grief counselors and groups in your area. Typically a local funeral home or community hospital will have resources that are specialized and regularly available. Offer to go with your girlfriend so that both of you can learn about moving through this together.

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

My girlfriend is grieving over death of her ex-husband

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

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). My girlfriend is grieving over death of her ex-husband. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 23, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/01/17/my-girlfriend-is-grieving-over-death-of-her-ex-husband/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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