I have been best friends with my boyfriend for 3 years and partners for a little less than a year. He's a separated father of three adult children, none of whom like me and all of whom actively try to convince their father to end our relationship. His children are angry about their parents separation and have barely spoken to him since. His ex-wife is acrimonious and continues to spout vitriol about him to his kids. His kids are emotionally, financially and physically abusive to my boyfriend. He ex-wife was the same way and actively tried to prevent him from having a relationship with his mother.
Our romantic relationship has been great. We were unconditionally loving and supportive of one another, he told me God put me on this Earth just for him, that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. He was active in my children's lives, knew my family, and told my parents that they didn't need to worry about anything (I live out of state) because he loves me and would take care of me. I love him with all of my soul and genuinely believed what he told me, and that he loved me the same way. We talked every day, made plans in all of our free time, and just loved being in one another's company.
His mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer 1.5 years ago, and took a turn for the worst the week before Thanksgiving. We went to see her on 11/17 and she was fading in and out of consciousness. I helped his step-father attend to his mother's personal needs, held her while she was using the bathroom, and cradled her when he was cleaning her. She died the next day. I was with my BF when he got the call, drove him to his brother's house to tell his brother in person, and cared for him for 8 days. His children didn't attend their grandmother's funeral, so I was the only support he had that day. During these 8 days, we were intimate, talked a lot, made plans etc. On day 8, my kids came home from their dad's, so my BF couldn't stay at my house anymore.
During the first 3 days, communication was almost normal in frequency and subject matter. By the end of the week, he told me he had been deep in thought and really needed to clean his life up. He said he hadn't seen any of his kids or grandchild since his mother's death, and he needed to see them and he needed to reconcile his relationship with them. He said he needed to make his house a "bachelor pad" and it couldn't look like anyone else lived there, so he asked me to come get all my stuff (clothes, toiletries etc). He said his children don't like me, and he needs to dedicate all of his energy right now to reestablishing a relationship with them. I asked if we were breaking up, he said it wasn't about that and that he still loves me, he just needs time and space. He asked me to not contact him in any way until he reaches out to me. He said that if he is with his kids and I called or texted, it could affect things and he needed his phone communication to be "clean". He said he can't take any pressure right now and this is just the way things need to be and I need to accept that. He won't tell me its over, just that we can't spend as much time together as we used to (we are spending no time together now). He said he doesn't know what his future is. I asked him if I should return his house key and his belongings from my house, and he said "no", that I was taking this wrong and he just needs time. The last time we talked in person (4 days ago), he hugged and kissed me and told me he loved me and hasn't reached out to me since.
I am dying inside. I can't stand the idea of him reconciling with his kids knowing (and having witnessed) how they treat him. I would love for him to have a relationship with his kids if it is mutual and healthy, but they haven't changed or had therapy, so I am pretty sure it will be shitty treatment for him. My life and future as I knew it and imagined it is over. We had talked about building a house together, getting married, he talked about how "we" will raise my kids and that he would be their parent one day. Now, he won't even acknowledge that our relationship existed, nor will he speak to me. I oscillate between debilitating heartbreak for myself and him and wanting to track him down and beat him to death for doing this to me and my kids. I know he is suffering the most profound loss of his life, but I believed that my support of him, and our strong loving partnership, would see him through this process.
I don't know what to do with myself. He hasn't officially ended our relationship, but it seems pretty over to me. I have his things at my house that eat a hole in my heart every time I see them. What's even worse is that we work together, and have seen one another during the day where he poker-faces our interaction and pretends like nothing ever existed between us. What the hell is going on, and how can a person (even in profound grief) discard someone they claim to have loved more than anything and wanted to spend the rest of their life with? What's more, even if he did "come back", I have lost so much trust in him and that crushes my soul even more.
Please help me. I feel horrible, move between profound longing for him and wanting to hurt him, and I feel horribly guilty for feeling this way since his mother just died and I know he is suffering.