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Boyfriend is Grieving; Resulted in Breakup


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Hi, my name is Nikka. It feels strange to be typing all of this out since it is personal but sometimes you have to let it out and get a strangers opinion and support. 

About 2 weeks ago, my boyfriend of almost 2 years and I made the harsh mutual decision to break up after months of repetitive arguments and a failed attempt at a month long break. These have been the longest 2 weeks of my life and my (now) ex and I have not been able to hault communication for more then 2 days even when we both agree in order to find ourselves we need to stay apart. Let me back up a bit. 

In April of last year, my boyfriend lost his sister in an incredibly sudden fatal car accident. All his life, he resented her and said nothing but hateful things about her. At one point he told me he wanted to cut communication with her completely and said he hated her. He never had a concrete reason other then she was a trouble maker and was pretty unreliable. I only met her twice before she passed so I did not create a solid feeling about her. I figured it was meaningless sibling rivalry and told him one day he might change his mind. We had a wonderful relationship which shared its fair share of trouble in 2 years. We were our first loves and went through familial hardships, depression, and growing up together and thought we could overcome anything. At first, when his sister tragically passed, he pushed it away. He told me he was fine and needed to stay strong for his parents. He said he was the only one who could keep them afloat. He turned to me for distraction and I didn't want to pressure him into talking about things since at home, that was all he heard about constantly. He didn't want pity or for anyone to look at him any differently so I gave that distraction and comfort to him. But, summer hit and things took a turn. He started fading away. He stopped caring about things he normally would care about and in the midst of a pandemic it was hard to find any excitement. 

I stayed by his side and tried to slowly get him to talk about things but eventually it became too much. Around November, I started feeling this overarching fear that he was falling out of love with me but anytime I tried to bring this up it resulted in a fight. He would blame me for the fights and say I asked too much of him. I believed it and worked really hard to give him space but after months of us having this same fight, something in him snapped. One day, he told me he didn't know if he wanted to be with me and didn't know himself anymore. We decided to take a break for a month after a long conversation full of tears and hugs and after a week, we got lonely and got back together. We tried to go on break one more time in this same span of a month until 2 weeks ago, I broke up with him. It was mostly mutual but, I got fed up with him avoiding me and blaming me for everything. I asked and begged him to take me out on a date and took him out on multiple and did everything in my power to help him find happiness but ultimately realized he couldn't love me, if he couldn't love himself. 

Long story short, we still talk. And after these 2 weeks he has apologized for being so distant and avoiding me. He didn't wanna keep disappointing me and wants to find himself but doesn't know how to. I just don't know what to do. All I want to do is be with him and I am terrible at giving him space. Multiple times we have both said we should not talk for the better but then end up talking anyway. I know we can't find ourselves if we don't spend time apart, but I just don't want to be without him. It is a tricky situation and I just needed an outlet to tell my story in a long winded way. He has lost so much; his sister, his aunt, and now his grandma is looking to be heading in that direction. So much death for someone so young is a lot and it is reason enough not to know why you want to live anymore. I just wish he knew how loved he was and how much he means to me. I can tell him time and time again but he will never understand until he figures it out himself. 

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Hi Nikka,

I'm so sorry you're going through this. I know it feels strange to share such a personal situation with a bunch of strangers, but it does help to let it out!

My GF of 1 year / 4 months broke up with me 8 months after her mother's death. We also went through a lot of hard times together, but my ex was so close to her mother that her passing completely changed her, which it's not uncommon. Unfortunately grief is extremely powerful and consumes every bit of the griever, including their emotions (like love). Some people are unable to deal with it and have the pressure of having a relationship on top of it, so they end up breaking it up because they simply can't handle it.

From what I understand, you guys stayed together for a while and broke up some months after when things have gotten to a breaking point, which is exactly what happened with my relationship as well. This was especially hard on me because I saw my ex slowly fading away for 8 months. I understood her behavior at first but then the distance became so noticeable that I started feeling lonely and not loved. She stopped saying ''I love you'', stopped sending good morning and good night texts, stopped talking about a future together, etc. Naturally I talked to her about it which I think pushed her away even more.

This is something out of our control, and it's important that we don't take it personally. Grief is making the decisions for them, and they're just in autopilot going through the roller coaster of their emotions. Be proud though that you were capable of staying by his side throughout all this. I'm sure you've helped him a lot even though he might not see it right now.

I'd suggest to give him space, even though it might seem contradictory. He seems like he needs to figure out himself for now.

Meanwhile, focus on yourself and work on being comfortable and happy being on your own. The only love that will never go away is ours. It will be a tough road, but the amount of self-development that comes out of it is incredible. You've got this.

 

If you ever feel like talking to someone, we're here for you.

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Hi Nikka,

Firstly, I'm very sorry this is happened to you and to your BF of 2 years. I understand how hard this must be for you, and you are in an incredibly difficult situation. Its crazy how similar how stories are.

3 hours ago, Nikka said:

At first, when his sister tragically passed, he pushed it away. He told me he was fine and needed to stay strong for his parents. He said he was the only one who could keep them afloat. He turned to me for distraction and I didn't want to pressure him into talking about things since at home, that was all he heard about constantly. He didn't want pity or for anyone to look at him any differently so I gave that distraction and comfort to him. But, summer hit and things took a turn. He started fading away. He stopped caring about things he normally would care about and in the midst of a pandemic it was hard to find any excitement. 

I stayed by his side and tried to slowly get him to talk about things but eventually it became too much. Around November, I started feeling this overarching fear that he was falling out of love with me but anytime I tried to bring this up it resulted in a fight. He would blame me for the fights and say I asked too much of him. I believed it and worked really hard to give him space but after months of us having this same fight, something in him snapped. One day, he told me he didn't know if he wanted to be with me and didn't know himself anymore.

My ex followed this to the tee. If you want to read my forum post, you may find it useful. Many of the stories here follow the same blueprint as if all our exes are following some manual.

My ex also tried to ignore the feelings and be strong for her parents; however, it was always obvious that she desperately wanted to talk to me about it. Same as you, about a month and a half before the breakup she went cold on me and the fear overtook me. I brought it up a few times and all she did was deny it. Then all of the sudden she starts yelling at me all the time and doubting the relationship, always trying to push me away or justify some reason to break up. It would appear your ex may have been doing the same. Just like Gulf, suddenly all the good morning and good night texts stopped and never did i hear her say an I love you again. My ex also lost 2 people during this few month period.

Just like Gulf, I believe space and No Contact is the best option for your own healing. I stuck with my ex for 1 month after the breakup; she was hot and cold and I reached my emotional breaking point and never have I felt so burned out in my life. 4 months on and I still feel exhausted.  By sticking by him you are delaying your own healing, and just like misery, confusion loves company: you will end up confused yourself. Sadly he may never fix himself, and its not fair for you to have to wait in the wings for him. If you read many of these stories on this forum, these things rarely work out in the end. I understand the how hard the position you are in is, and I understand how hard it is to let him go. I can't blame if you if you choose to stay, but just know what the risks are.

I second what Gulf says, you stuck by him through all this and that's something to be proud of.

I hope things work out for the best for you, take care.

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Nikka,

I am so sorry, I know this is hard, very painful.  This isn't about you although it affects you totally, it's about him and his grief, so I hope you don't personalize as most of us do.  It's hard not to.  When people are grieving, they have nothing left to give to a relationship and usually feel guilty because they know they're neglectful so they often break up...in your case even though you say it's mutual, it's due to his lack of response.   This is all classic, I'm afraid.  Not that everyone responds the same in their grief, but a certain percentage do.  Personally, I would want a partner that could communicate and go through thick and thin with me rather than withdrawing.  One thing is for certain, life has it's tough places AND loss/grief!  It's a matter of when.

The fact that he resented his sister all his life complicates things rather than making his grief easier.  He'd do well to get some professional grief counseling, but that's for him to decide, no one else can push him towards that.  

I agree with the advice to go no contact, it is only then that you can heal from this pain and one thing no contact will do is give you both clarity, as it is your and his emotions can muddy things and drag out the pain.  Try not to worry about the future, take one day at a time.

Here is my story: Here I Go Again

 

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7 hours ago, BaxterBurg said:

I hope things work out for the best for you, take care.

I second this!

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Thank you all for the comforting words and advice. Logging on today, I did not expect to get these wonderful and meaningful responses. I also did not realize how many people have gone through the same situation as I am in, which is comforting as well. It is easier said then done to have no contact. My ex and I have definitely had this same conversation more then once where we know we need to hault communication to heal but end up right back where we were. There is definitely no expiration date on grief and depression, and I feel he is finally realizing this now that I am not such a solid person in his life. I am definitely embarrassed to say I have cried on his shoulder and begged for things to go back to the way they were. But, what I have realized from reading so many of these stories and hearing all of your advice is all of these emotions are human emotions. Thank you again. I know this healing will take time and is easier said then done but it does feel good to know there are other people to relate to. 

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I'd say most probably you'll both start no contact eventually. My ex and I both agreed to stay as friends, but in order to do that we both have to let go of our feelings, and the best way is to stay no contact and regain some clarity. After the break up we still talked every now and then but I always felt it was forced on her part, so I naturally stopped texting her and she hasn't texted me back, and I'm fine with it honestly. It's only after being in no contact for a bit that I realized how much keeping her close was affecting me.

Also, don't ever feel bad for trying to re-spark the relationship. It only shows how much you loved him and how much you cared about the relationship. You have a big heart and that says a lot about you. I'd just suggest to avoid trying the same thing again. You tried it once and it didn't work, now it's your turn to move on and become your best self. Focus on what's best for you from now on and keep those goals in mind every day.

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22 hours ago, GulfP said:

I'd say most probably you'll both start no contact eventually. My ex and I both agreed to stay as friends, but in order to do that we both have to let go of our feelings, and the best way is to stay no contact and regain some clarity.

I agree with this...and yes, I DO know it's easier said than done!  By not instituting it, however, we prolong our own agony as well as clarity on both our parts. ;)

Gulp has given some very solid advice!  From one who's been there!

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