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Broken up for over a year after girlfriend's dad died

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 It's been almost a year since my girlfriend broke up with me and I still can't stop thinking about the relationship and how everything went down. I was just wondering if anyone else went through this when a partner lost their parent, because the whole experience was new to me and I feel it has left me scarred.

Here's a breakdown of the history our relationship (apologise for the long read):

My girlfriend and I were together for almost two years, we were friends for a few years before we got together and our relationship has mostly been online and long distance. We only got together when she came to see me at my home and we just fell in love immediately. We were pretty serious about our relationship, talking about moving together and marrying etc. She was 29 at the time and I was 25 and I think this was the first time either of us actually saw a future with someone. 
We were really in love and we talked every day and saw each other in person when we could. We never really argued but when we did we were always able to resolve arguments by talking through it with each other like calm adults. I really thought I could be with this person, and she always said she felt the same way about me. 

Last September, my girlfriend's dad was diagnosed with brain cancer. He pretty much didn't have long to live at all and he deteriorating rapidly. I knew it just completely broke my girlfriend apart. I've never been close to my dad but I knew how close she was with him. She called him up pretty much every time she had a problem with anything and he was always there for her. He was a really loving father and he had always supported her even when she came out as a lesbian to him. I was devastated for her and I did whatever I could to check up on her and pretty much told her I would fly out to her as soon as I could. I stayed with her for a month and we flew out to Florida so I could meet her parents, who both welcomed me in their arms so warmly. Her parents were the kindest people I've ever met and it broke my heart seeing her dad struggle to even speak. 

That month I was there, I took care of her as much as I could. I wasn't expecting it to be a vacation or anything so I didn't ask to go out or whatever. I work from home usually so I did the same in her apartment and would clean the place for her and cook for her when she'd get back from work. But as her dad got worse and worse, our relationship began to strain too.

Throughout those months, things got more and more difficult between us. She snapped at me often from me just asking innocent questions like how her day has been, and took out her anger on me a lot. I would try to talk to her about what she was going through when she seemed like she wanted to talk, but she would never really open up much to me. I obviously didn't want to probe her about it if she didn't want to talk about it and wanted a distraction instead so I always made sure to keep a positive environment around her but be there when it was too much. I was always there for her whenever she would break down and she would always thank me after for talking with her. I made sure she ate, took time for herself, I never pushed her to do anything and always talk to her friends if she needed to... I also looked up on how to handle your partner in grief just so I could be well equipped. However it always felt like for some reason I was always getting the brunt of everything. Like for example she told me to not message her at work (which is fair) but then I would hear that she was having funny conversations over text with one of our mutual friends while she was at work.

One day I snapped. And it was possible the worst thing I've ever done and I regret it so much still. 

One night, we were in a call with our friends until she got a phone call from her mom saying her dad was in the hospice. I knew this was a bad thing (obviously) but I didn't know exactly what it meant I'll admit. From where I'm from they don't really have such a thing and in my experience with death, everyone was at a hospital beforehand. I asked if she was okay and if she wanted to talk about it but she didn't and just went to bed which honestly I understood. It was a lot. The next day, I tried to check up on her and she said she was feeling better after having an extensive conversation with her co-worker. I was feeling pretty emotional and especially hormonal that day and I regret that I let my emotions and irrationality get the better of me. So I ended up telling her that I was feeling hurt that she didn't really open up to me and it felt a bit shitty that she talked to everyone but me. She immediately told me she needed space so I stopped messaging her. 
But I was worried to death and I didn't want to be that person who fought with their girlfriend while their dad was dying, so at midnight I apologised to her and asked if we could talk about it. And she pretty much yelled at me and said that she didn't want to talk and she needed space and I was giving her a panic attack. She was already calling over her co-worker and she didn't want to talk to me. I understood so I didn't message her.

It killed me inside. I spoke to a friend about it and we agreed that I did something wrong -but to the extent of how wrong it was I don't know. It was selfish of me for sure but when I messaged her the second time, I did it because I was worried about her, not for my own selfish reasons. She didn't message me for a week until one day she called me up to break up with me. She told me things like we weren't compatible and that what I did really hurt her. Plus apparently I never checked up on her like asked her how her day was or if she had eaten when our mutual friend does all these things (which I was truly shocked at cause I did everything she accused me of not doing). I apologised again but I knew just from reading other people's experiences that sometimes when someone goes through grief they end a relationship without there being much of a reason -so I thought all she was saying I could do better for her and make it up to her. In the end we stayed together but it was not the same since then. 

I could tell she was still feeling really weird with me. When her dad eventually did die, I flew out again for her to take care of her needs, and I just knew right on the day I flew out that it was over between us. She's usually quite excited when I fly to her but she didn't talk about this trip at all, and she didn't even wish me a safe flight on the day. When I arrived, she didn't even say anything and didn't even really look at me. The car ride was... awkward to say the least. Everytime I flew out to her, she would hold my hand in the car, but this time she didn't. I asked her eventually if everything was okay and she just said she was tired. But the next day she admitted that she was still feeling weird after our fight and she doesn't know how to move forward from it. When she left for work, I had never cried so hard. I came all the way to fix it but I knew there was nothing I could fix anymore. We had to hold it together when our mutual friend came over for a few days to stay with us but even she could tell things weren't right between us. 

In the end, a few months later we did break up. I cut all contact with her for at least a month, but now we still talk every now and then. It can't be helped cause we're in the same friendship circles and I don't think either of us wants to make our friends "choose between us". Things are... strange to say the least between us. I was still very much in love with her for a while but even though I have gotten a lot better at taking care of myself (going to the gym more regularly, getting therapy) I still think about our relationship a lot. I'm not sure if I can really be friends with her again like we used to be but I want to at least be amicable with her. Neither of us are bad people and I don't hate her, but I just feel really hurt. 

It felt like everything went from 100 to 0 so fast and it hurt so much to see someone you thought the world of, someone who saw the same in you, suddenly doesn't want to look at you at all. I did the best I could during that period of her losing her father, and I know that I could never understand what she was going through and she was feeling a whole range of emotions. I never blamed her for it. I tried to understand the best I could. Yet it still feels like everything I did wasn't enough. Like it was just inevitable for me to fail. I feel like even if I hadn't slipped up that day, she still would have thrown me to the side. She was pushing me out and I just don't how how to go through that with someone again.  

I know I don't want to get into another relationship until I can find peace within myself again. But I feel like I've lost all confidence in my ability to be a partner, this experienced has scarred me so deeply, I feel too scared to go through it again. Because I don't know what else I could've done and it's hard trying to forgive myself. I'm just wondering if anyone else went through the same thing as this, and how they were able to move on from it. Because I truly loved that girl and I just feel absolutely heartbroken that I could lose someone like her.

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I am so sorry you've been going through this.  I wonder if you ever explained to her that you hadn't known what hospice was, not having it in your country.  Please don't be so hard on yourself.  We can't fix what we don't know and it sounds like she had some maturing to do communication-wise, which she may or may not work on.  At any rate, it's over.  It's essential you work on restoring confidence in yourself, even if it means therapy.  From what you've told us here, it sounds like you were very caring and unselfish, again, you can't fix what you don't know.  I've read all of the threads here and there are hundreds...only one I remember made it through with their relationship intact and they haven't updated since.  This is a classic rendition of what happens when certain grievers respond this way, and there seems to be a number of them who do.  It's not about you.  It's not about anything you did right or wrong.  It's about HER and her grief response.  Be assured you did what you could and in the end it still couldn't work because this is how she responds to grief.  Honestly, I'd want a partner that went through thick and thin with me rather than ditching me when they encountered loss/grief, because I can assure you that will happen to any and all of us given enough time.  

I'm sorry all of this has left you damaged but I'm confident that with enough work you can rebuild your confidence in yourself.  Do try counseling!

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