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almost relationship ended due to sister's death


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HI, I'm new here and I joined because I was searching the internet for help for dealing with the loss of a relationship due to grieving. It seems like it is pretty common after reading some of these threads. I am having a lot of trouble with it and had a breakdown in front of my friends this weekend when we were trying to have fun and realized I need another outlet for this pain. 

My ex and I have been on and off for a few years now, but mostly off. We are both 34 and he's never had a long-term relationship. I think his longest is with me, which was only 3 months - we did that twice. His attachment style is definitely avoidant and he would tell me in the past that he "can't be what I need right now." This time, however, I broke up with my boyfriend for this ex (I'll call him D) because it seemed like he wanted to have a real go at it. A few weeks after that breakup was D's birthday at the end of October and that's when we kinda got back to "trying" to be together and it was really nice and I was glad about it. The weekend right after his birthday he had a beach trip planned with friends so he went on that. On the Sunday during the trip, he found out that his little sister had died of a drug overdose. He told me about it and said that he might be a little distant for awhile. I said something really supportive but expected that he needed a lot of space. I did offer to go to her memorial service and he wanted me there. However, instead of being distant, he was reaching out to me a lot for support and asked to come over and cried to me. He was very open with me about his grief at this time, much to my surprise really. I felt like we were closer than ever due to this. I did go to the service and he introduced me to his family. For about a month after that, we continued to see other, maybe four more times, so not a lot, but we went on dates and spent more time together than I expected considering how much space he usually seems to need. 

Around mid-December, that stopped and then it was me reaching out and never really being able to pin him down. He wasn't wanting to do much which was understandable. Then he started saying that he doesn't know what he wants and that he is really depressed and needs to get his life together and that this is just who he is, a recluse. It is really hard, especially because I see him out with his friends, but that he doesn't have the energy or desire to see me - I guess because being with me is unwanted pressure to be a certain way or feel certain things. I freaked out a few times and he did come over and comfort me and we decided to "keep trying," but then we just went on one date that I suggested. I definitely said things I regret because I am so upset that I left my boyfriend for D and now the chance of a relationship with D is gone. I didn't really think it had to do with grief - just thought maybe he only wants me if I am unavailable - until I started reading these groups and seeing that other people have had breakdowns of relationships due to grief. I thought that the experience of being there for him made our connection stronger, but in fact, it was the opposite.

I am here because I am so sad about it. I keep crying all the time and am so depressed.

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Hello Cygnet,

I'm so sorry you find yourself in this position, and I can understand how frustrating it must be to lose not only D, but also the relationship prior. Now, I don't have much relationship experience outside of the one you may have read, so I think Kayc is more qualified to give you advice there. Though, from what I have gathered from research, as well as what you have probably already picked up on, is that some don't have the ability to grieve and maintain a relationship at the same time. There are certain expectations in a relationship that they just don't feel they have the capacity to reciprocate--its suffocating and they push us away. Don't be hard on yourself over this, you had no idea that this would happen.

1 hour ago, Cygnet12 said:

I am here because I am so sad about it. I keep crying all the time and am so depressed

Your reaction is very understandable, and something that all of us here have gone through, but maybe for different reasons. It's incredibly frustrating knowing that something, seemingly outside of your control, has come in the way of your hopes for the future. However, it may be helpful if you think of it as exactly that: out of your control. What is in your control is how you internally deal with the now. Its okay to be sad and depressed--its a sad and depressing situation. But we must live in our current situation, not in what could have been or what could have been different. Think of this as one door closing and another opening. In my opinion, and feel free to disregard it, is that your first ex wasn't willing to commit to you; and the second was also an ex, and who knows, maybe trying things out again would have ended with you in more hurt. I see a potential light at the end of the tunnel here to maybe a more committed and loving relationship (if thats whats you desire). Its best to think positively, even if its hard to see right now. 

1 hour ago, Cygnet12 said:

I am having a lot of trouble with it and had a breakdown in front of my friends this weekend when we were trying to have fun and realized I need another outlet for this pain

I'm sure your friends don't mind being there for you, mine have been more than supportive and I know I would do the same for them--Thats what friends are for. But I understand that you may feel that you are burdening them with your problems; though I'm sure they wouldn't look at it that way. Feel free to post here if you're feeling down.

Hope this helps, take care.

 

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6 hours ago, Cygnet12 said:

just thought maybe he only wants me if I am unavailable - until I started reading these groups and seeing that other people have had breakdowns of relationships due to grief.

It's likely it's both avoidant and the grief.  Either way it puts him unavailable.  One thing I've learned in life is you can't make anyone love you no matter how wonderful and dedicated you are.  It's there...or it's not.  And feelings sometimes have little to do with it as they can feel for us but avoid the relationship...if that makes any sense.  I don't know that they're conscious of it or that's just how it goes with them w/o their realizing it.  But they'll sabotage relationships they're in.

I'm glad you found us here, and I agree with Baxterburg that I'm glad you have friends around.  Right now YOU are grieving loss of a relationship and when we're in early grief, we don't have it in us to listen to other people's stuff, it takes all we can muster to deal with our own.  His advice is good, try to stick it out with them and come here for support.  :wub:  I wish there were a trick to getting over relationships but cold turkey seems best and it takes time for the emotions to die down.  REALIZING it to gain clarity and heal is good. 

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What hurts the most that he tells me he is a recluse and having a hard time but it seems like he is hanging out with everyone in his life except me.I was supposed to see him on NYE - he had to work late and then I told him I wanted to meet him. He had to move out of his house the next day because his lease was up on Jan. 1 so he said he wouldn't be up too late. Anyways, we tried to arrange it but I ended up falling asleep. On Jan. 2 my friend asked me if I was still seeing D and I said yes and my friend said he saw him at the bar with a "hot young girl" about six weeks before, so right when I was seeing him the most. I know that D has a lot of friends and it honestly didn't strike me as bad because it was probably just a friend. But then my friend, whose house I was at on NYE said, "I'm just letting you know, I don't want you to get hurt. I mean, you were at my house on NYE instead of with him." And that really stung. I immediately texted him accusing him and he said he didn't know what I was talking about and then remembered that yeah he went there with his coworker after work and that it's not a big deal. We made up but that's when it went downhill because I don't understand how he can tell me he loves me and never want to see him. He could have asked me to go to the bar after work but instead I'm a separate part of his life even though we literally have many of the same friends! He talks to me about being depressed and grief but he seems to be hanging out with his friends as normal. I go back and forth between feeling so much empathy for him and not trusting anything he says. 

I am trying to decide about getting back together with the boyfriend I broke up with. I know that if I get back together with my boyfriend and be unavailable to D and then he'll try to get with me again. I'm not saying that is a ploy to get D back, but I mean, that is what happened in Sept/Oct. Having a social circle where I see him and our friend groups being entwined definitely adds to my anxiety over him. I'm thinking about just getting up and moving away. I have an amazing job here but I just inherited enough to be able to start over anywhere. I just don't know what to do and it feels like I need to do something because I am falling apart every day in new ways. 

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20 hours ago, Cygnet12 said:

he is hanging out with everyone in his life except me.

Yep!  This is classic for this section.  My ex did the same thing.  When his mom was dying, he'd allow his neighbors, friends, kids, even his ex-wife help him through this, but not me, me he cut off.  I couldn't understand this!  He distanced me from himself, and nothing we can do about that but try to heal...a certain % of people respond this way in their grief, not everyone, thankfully, though!

I don't think they're aware of what they want, what they're doing, but still it's them doing it, it's like they don't know their own minds and they can give mixed signals but nothing concrete that we can count on.  So important to pay attention to these red flags...personally I would not want someone for a life partner that would shut me out of their life when something hard came along...life guarantees there WILL be hard places, death, etc. to deal with in all of our lives at some time or another.  ;)

I recommend no contact to allow yourself healing.  If you have common friends, tell them NOT to relate anything to each other (normally it's hard to get that cooperation so may have to start over), block on FB, email, phone, everywhere.  How is your heart supposed to heal so you can gain clarity otherwise?  THEN if you run into each other a couple of years from now, you will view it differently, you will have healed and gotten clarity on the situation so it doesn't affect you as it would right now.  I'm glad you're financially independent enough to have choices going forward.  What do your closest friends/family think?

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Thanks for the reply. It's been so hard. I went to a snow day party with a few close friends. The party consisted of a different group of people than I hang out with normally and surprisingly he was there, completely drunk. It was really hard. He acts like nothing happened between us. And now my best friend is going to start dating his best friend. It makes me want to just stay in my apartment and not do anything again. I don't want to talk to him anymore or see him on social media. My closest friend is going to start dating D's best friend/roommate which makes me jealous because she will be hanging out with him even though he hurt me so much. I haven't revealed much to anyone except my best friend that I mentioned and my sister. Everyone else I am either faking it hard with or shutting out. 

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It's good to have someone you can talk to about your feelings, that's for sure.  
I want to point out that one of the reasons, which is hard to understand, that they can be with other friends or even date other people but not continue our relationship is because we were a couple when this happened and they feel some guilt at having spent time with us when their time with their loved one was drawing to an end, even though they didn't know it at the time!  And they may not even be aware of their feelings or why they feel this way.  They are confused, lost, trying to block out their pain, dealing with things the way they know, be it retreating, drinking, whatever.  Try not to personalize this as it isn't anything you said/did, it is about HIS situation, so not meant personal, although it sure FEELS that way!

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