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Miri

Why Would Someone End A Good Relationship While Grieving?

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Hi everyone, this is my first post, although I've been reading some topics here in recent weeks. I've been struggling to understand and cope with how my boyfriend has been grieving. We had a very close, wonderful relationship and it was going absolutely great until his mother died unexpectedly. I was the person he was emotionally closest to, so at first he turned to me immediately and wanted my comfort and company. He is very much alone in the world right now because his father died a few years ago and he has no remaining close relatives.

He had to leave to take care of arrangements because his mother lived in another state. I wanted to go with him but all flights were fully booked that week, and he said he would be fine. I just tried to be as supportive as possible over the phone, and we talked at least once every day. But after about a week, he seemed to collapse emotionally and withdrew, and when he came home, he said we needed to take a break because he couldn't be in a relationship anymore. He said he needed to deal with everything alone and didn't want to talk to anyone about what he was going through. He said maybe it would be different if we had been together for years, but I just didn't know him well enough to understand his grief. He said he loved me and cared about me deeply but didn't know if he should ever be in a relationship with anyone ever again. At the same time, he recognized on some level that this was a rash decision and said to give it some time.

It's now been about 2 months, and we've only really had two more conversations since then. I've been trying to give him space, so I contact him rarely and I try not to bring up relationship matters (so as not to make him feel any pressure), but somehow he always ends up talking about them. He seems conflicted and confused about what he wants and says we'll talk more or he'll see me soon, but he never contacts me. I haven't heard anything from him at all in a month now. It is so hard to be treated like we never existed.

I've read a lot of threads on here where people have experienced similar shut-outs from their significant others. It has been so hard to deal with this - I'm still crying almost every day, 2 months later. I want so much to be supportive and he seems to really need it, but he won't let me back into my place in his life. I worry that if I give him too much space, I will simply just drop out of his life completely because it'll be harder for us to ever talk again. Every day I come across things that remind me so much of his absence from my life, and I don't know how he couldn't feel the same way because we were so close and spent so much time together. He always told me that I made him happy because I understood him and made everything else in life worthwhile. He only has a small circle of friends, and they say that he doesn't ever talk about his mother or me at all, even if they try to ask him about it, but he just seems to be returning to his old routines now and looking forward.

Is there anything I can do?? I feel like I am going crazy because none of this makes any sense and I don't know if I am waiting and hoping in vain. We used to always talk so much and spent nearly every day and night together. All our routines are gone now and it has been such a sudden change in my life. I don't know why he doesn't miss our life together, when he used to miss me so much whenever I wasn't with him. What makes it harder to understand and accept is that I know it probably really has nothing to do with me but just with his own emotional issues. Is two months still early in the grieving process even if outwardly he is trying to seem like everything's back to normal? How can I know whether he'll ever come around? Is there anything more I can do or should be doing differently?

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I don't have much time right now but I know how you feel and I know how much it hurts. I'll post a longer reply later on today when I have more time on my hands. For now, just try and stay busy, spend extra time with friends and family and do things that will help keep your mind off things. If you have a job make sure you go work, works probably been the best place for me over the past 6 weeks since my ex broke up with me after her Dad passed away.

Believe me you will be okay! I'm not 100% yet and it will take time but you'll pull through. Like I said, I'll post a longer, more helpful post later on.

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I'm sorry you're going through this. You probably read about my fiance dumping me by Fed Ex when his mom was dying (he was her caregiver the last two months of her life). I was shut out completely, not allowed to talk to him, bring him a meal, nothing. After she died he talked to me (grieving issues) on the phone but it was sporadic...he might talk for hours and then not contact me for weeks. I was crying daily, nightly, not sleeping, it was really doing a number on me, until I finally accepted we are broken up permanently and for whatever reason, he doesn't want me anymore. Now we talk on the phone about every other day, but it's more like friends...he still doesn't let me too close and I've only gotten to see him twice since all this happened...he broke up with me ten months ago. This is the man I'd thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with so it was a real shock. I don't understand the reaction, but there are enough of them that this has happened to that it tells me it's actually fairly common. I did a lot of reading on loveshack.org under the breakup and reconciliations section and it helped me a lot in how to deal with it.

Here is my story:

http://www.loveshack.org/forums/t249457/

Here is a link to Don Ho's thread that has some guidelines that really helped me:

I can't seem to get the link to work but he's told us we can re-post what he says, so here goes:

Reconciliation List

I'm not a fan of second chances because they typically end up with the Dumpee getting dumped again and I think the Dumpees most often are holding on to false hope of getting back together. However, I have this list I was working on (based largely on another LS Members thread) for those of you that want to know how to act and what to do IF a Dumper contacts you and really wants you back. Before you read this, you should probably take a look at No Foolin's thread:

"Do you really think contacting your ex is going to help you? Guide for the long walk": http://www.loveshack.org/forums/t56954/.

Also there's Caliguy's, "Guide to second chances": http://www.loveshack.org/forums/t84894/

and Caliguy's "No Contact Guide": http://www.loveshack.org/forums/t81399/.

This should give you PLENTY to read and think about. Ironically, my list turns out to be 12 steps:

1. ACT HAPPY

Don’t show any signs of being sad or depressed in front of them. This doesn’t mean going up to them and saying “my life’s fabulous now I’m sooo glad we’re finished”. It just means you should put on an appearance that everything is fine and dandy. This is an especially important rule if your ex found you to be clingy. No one wants to feel like they’re responsible for someone else' happiness, so show them that they’re not. You don’t need them to be happy.

2. DO NOT BRING UP THE RELATIONSHIP!

As above under ‘stop questioning them’. If they happen to bring up any relationship type talk, it’s ok to engage if you think you can both do it in a calm collected manner. If not or if it drags on without going anywhere, it’s best to just to divert and go back to normal, friendly chit chat or make your excuses and exit the conversation (in a polite way). If they’re constantly on the phone to you crying over what’s gone on but show no sign whatsoever in wanting to reconcile, they’re just stringing you along and you can’t let them.

3. DON'T ARGUE

Arguing closes off lines of communication which is not what you want to do when you’re trying to open them up or keep them open. The more you fight, the more you criticize, the more they defend themselves, the more they back off the less they think of you and the more they think they’ve made the right decision to leave you. Stop arguing, keep your emotions in check!

4. DON’T REACT TO THEIR HOSTILITY

It’s not unknown for dumpers to react in a cold or hostile way to the dumpee after a break up even when the dumpee hasn’t done anything to deserve it, especially when they have a new person!! The natural thing to do is react angrily to this and demand to know why you’re being treated unfairly. I don’t know why the dumper feels this need to be cruel but I do know that when you react to it, you just make matters worse. Quite often you don’t get an answer for their behavior and the more you push the more hostile and distant they get. If they tell you that you can’t pick up the rest of your stuff from their place because they’re too busy, just tell them “that’s fine, we can sort that out another time”. You’re easy going, you’re cool, you’re calm and that should hopefully force your ex to stop fighting and start acting rationally.

5. FAKE INDIFFERENCE

Fake indifference about the breakup. It’s not what you wanted but it was their decision so that’s ok with you. Obviously it’s not ok, but acting like you care too much is unlikely to work. Especially if they’ve told you there’s no chance they’ll change their mind and want you back. They’ve broken up with you and they’re totally unfazed by the whole thing. You on the other hand are heartbroken, confused, hurt and angry. You cry, you get upset and you give off the impression that you’re desperate and you need them. You push and you push and you push and they back further and further away. When you act indifferent to the break up you stop becoming needy and instead come across as a mature rational person who although didn’t want the break up is willing to accept it and refuses to dwell.

6. STOP TELLING THEM YOU LOVE THEM

When they’ve dumped you and you’re saying “I love you” you’re trying to claw them back into a relationship they don’t want to be in. You’re saying to them I need you, I want you, please give me what I’m looking for. As far as they’re concerned it’s all done and dusted and you’re just grasping at straws. You can’t force someone to feel what they don’t feel. They don’t love you anymore, that’s fine. You’re backing off. There’s no pressure and you’re not gonna tell them you love them because although you’d like to have them you don’t need them.

7. STOP QUESTIONING THEM

Don’t ask them what they’re thinking, what they’re feeling, what they thinking about the break up, if they’ve noticed how much you’ve changed. This can be very intimidating to people and it puts them on the defensive. Also if you keep asking them and they keep having to explain what they feel they’ve already explained, they’re gonna start getting annoyed with you and want less and less to do with you. Take off the pressure and watch them feel more at ease.

8. STOP CRITICIZING & COMPLAINING

Don’t blame them for the break up, don’t complain about what they did wrong in the relationship. It’s fine to talk to let off steam to others about this (just don’t do it too often otherwise your friends will dump you) but if you want to reconcile with your ex, don’t criticize. Judging them and chipping away at them is not gonna keep the lines of communication open. If you wanna discuss the ins and outs of what you both did wrong in the relationship, chances are you’ll have that talk if you get back together. Now is not the time.

9. DON'T TRY TO CONVINCE THEM TO FEEL DIFFERENTLY

People don’t like to be told what to think and feel. It’s a form of control and who likes to be controlled? Nobody. They already know how they feel, they’ve made their decision and the more you try to persuade them otherwise, the more they’ll dig in their heels. Don’t try to convince them that you’re so wonderful, the perfect BF or GF and why they should love you and feel a certain way. You’re just pushing and it will push them away. Also, when you try to persuade them to feel differently you’re insulting them because they think you’re questioning their judgement and decision. That’s not going to help your cause.

10. DON'T GIVE THE IMPRESSION YOU'RE WAITING AROUND

If you keep letting them know that you’re there if they ever change their mind, you’re nothing but a pushover and a sap. Every time you give off that impression you’re saying I can’t get anyone else, I have low self esteem, I’ll be your plan B, I’m willing to accept whatever breadcrumb you throw in my direction. Not very attractive to a potential mate. This attitude doesn’t give of confidence or sex appeal. You’re absolutely no challenge to them anymore. They don’t even have to try. Boring! Best to tell them or give them the impression that you’re out having fun, seeing people of the opposite sex and moving on.

11. TRY NEW THINGS

If you’ve been stuck in a bit of a rut in your life, now’s the time to get out of it. One of the reasons your ex may have left you is boredom. Everyone has things they’ve been putting off doing or have always wanted to do but have never had the time. Now’s the time to take action. Now your partner has gone you probably have that extra bit of spare time to try some new things and show your ex that you’re not as boring and predictable as they thought you were. It could be anything at all. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn to drive, or learn a language or visit some far flung city or take cooking lessons. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as it’s something you want to do. Your new found confidence that you’ve gained from your new skill/new experience will be alluring and you’ll find yourself having more to talk about which will make you more interesting too.

12. TANTALIZE, REASSURE & WORRY THEM

Tantalize them, reassure them and worry them. Tantalize means your new found confidence, your looks, your conversational skills or whatever it was that your ex was attracted to in the beginning. Tantalizing them means alluring them back to you but in an indirect sort of way. You don’t want them to know that all this effort is for them! Reassuring means making sure they realize you’re not gonna be needy, you’re not gonna be possessive, you wont be jealous and you’re not desperate to win them back. Worry means worrying them that they might lose you. Don’t tell them they might lose you, just go out and date and don’t let them know that nobody else compares to them. If you do that they’ll know you’re effectively just waiting in the wings. Reverse the roles and hopefully when they know someone else is cozy-ing up to you they’ll start to wonder what they’ve thrown away.

Yes two months is still really fresh, I am not surprised you are still crying and feeling like you are. It takes time and that's the hardest thing to rush.

If we can help you, please let us know, keep posting here.

Kay

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Thanks for the advice. It's been a difficult adjustment but I'm trying to find happiness on my own again. I think the situation is complicated for us because of the grief component, which is why I found the posts on this site to provide the most insight, rather than a site about general relationship advice. I know that my relationship in itself was great before this death happened - even the night before his mother died, he expressed how happy and in love he was with me, and we were making plans to travel outside of the country together. We had so much we were looking forward to. I can understand needing to put those things aside now, of course, but I can't understand why grieving means that he has to treat me like I don't even exist and it's like he made a decision overnight to throw away everything we had built together. I get very angry sometimes because I feel like he's treating me horribly and I know I deserve better, even though I feel a lot of sympathy for his terrible situation.

I wish I could hear from people who have been on the other side of this, to understand why someone would do this in grief and push away their nearest and dearest source of support. At first, my friends who knew both of us thought he had just gone crazy with grief and would surely come around soon because they knew how great we had been together. They can't make any sense out of his behavior. I can understand needing some time alone to grieve but he is letting friends and family gather around him and I am the only one who has to stay away. Memorial services are scheduled for later this month but he has asked me not to come (although originally, the first week after his mom died, he had asked me to be there with him). Why would someone's feelings change like that, when I haven't done anything wrong? It feels so wrong for me not to be there at a time like this. I was closer to him than anyone and most of his friends didn't know anything about his mother at all.

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Maybe he feels guilty for spending time with you instead of his mother, I know thats how I feel about my ex boyfriend, all those times and last moments I couldve had with my dad and instead I was with him. Doesnt make sense of course because thats what happens people have boyfriends/girlfriends and dont spend as much time with their parents but its just because you asked how you think someone on the other side might feel and I know thats how I feel. But its different because my ex was never there for me or supportive but thats just a possible reason?

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I do think there are a lot of guilt issues involved. Although he did talk to his mother over the phone pretty regularly, I felt like he often wasn't very supportive of her emotionally and I once kind of chided him (in a way that was mild and constructive) for that last year. They definitely had a love-hate relationship where he was always resisting her influence because certain aspects of her personality annoyed him. He was always complaining about her to me. I'm sure he feels a lot of remorse for that now. But it isn't fair of him to take it out on me as I've always tried to be supportive.

What I find hardest to understand is the sudden breaking off of contact so abruptly, when everything had been going great between us. When she died, we had come back a couple of weeks before from a very romantic trip and we were very happy, more in love than ever. I could tolerate needing to cool off relationship stuff now, as it isn't the time to think about that, but don't know why he can't even treat me as a friend anymore (though at first he begged me to stay in his life), when I had been such an important person in his life before. I feel like he's punishing me for something even though I've been nothing but good and supportive to him. I haven't done anything to deserve being treated like this. :(

I have a hard time deciding between whether it's better to maintain radio silence for a while longer or to try to check in on him again. Friends are of two different minds about this, and I constantly finding myself wishing I could contact him but then holding myself back.

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Don't take it personally, it's just what they need right now. It takes a lot for us to understand, I still don't understand but I respect my ex's wishes and I'm now trying to move on after 6 weeks of trying to talk to her. There's nothing we can do to help them unless we bring back that person they want in their lives. Maybe one day they will realise what they have given up, Fern's friends used to tell her that they all thought she had the perfect relationship with me, something Fern thought as well but losing her Dad changed her and changed things for us, there's no one else in the world they want apart from that one person they can't have.

My advice would be to protect yourself, retreat and focus on you! If they come back great, if not, remember it's not your fault, it's not their fault but it's just something that happened and you can't chance how they feel. You'll be fine in time, I promise.

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It's hard not to take it personally. On one hand you can say it's not his fault, but of course he can make choices about how he treats people he cares about and he hasn't pushed away anyone else except for me. He is responsible for how he behaves, especially if he seems to be functioning okay with friends, family, and work. Maybe those things require less emotional involvement, but at least he could drop me a line now and then, right? It's hard to understand why I have to be excluded completely when I did nothing wrong and have only been sweet and supportive to him (as he said himself).

I think the memorial service is this weekend but I don't even know for sure since he hasn't contacted me in over a month. It's horrible considering how close we were before all of this happened. Not sure I should say anything at this point, or if any contact I try to make before he's ready would be viewed as an intrusion.

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I know how hard this is not to take personally, sometimes I think about it and get angry but Fern's done exactly the same to me as what your boyfriend is doing to you. Fern told me I've done nothing wrong and she doesn't know herself why she's chose just to push me away so I'm guessing your boyfriend will be the same. For now, having a relationship is just too much for them, they're probably scared to lose someone who's so close to them again and so they push us away to protect them. It seems like me and Fern had a very similar relationship to yours and so I can see where you're coming from, and for dropping you a line every now and then, they probably just don't know what to say unfortunately.

Don't contact them, maybe a little text or e-mail now and then but not too much and maybe things will be okay again in the future, but for now, just try and focus on you, do things you like and stay busy as it will hit you hardest when you're alone.

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Theres a loss of a love relationship section which might be more appropriate and theres stuff on there that is more like what you're saying and maybe more people would write

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Thanks, I had considered posting there originally but thought this was a better section for my topic because it's not just about the loss of a love relationship but specifically about grieving behavior and why it would lead to ending a relationship which should not have ended for any other reason.

I want to try to understand why someone would behave this way while grieving. I was hoping to get a broader perspective and insight into grief as it applies to my situation, from people who have grieved in this way - people who have pushed away a significant other as part of their grieving process. It's hard for me to rationalize it but maybe if someone can explain what it is like to go through that and why they would do it, I can begin to understand it a little better.

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I know how hard this is not to take personally, sometimes I think about it and get angry but Fern's done exactly the same to me as what your boyfriend is doing to you. Fern told me I've done nothing wrong and she doesn't know herself why she's chose just to push me away so I'm guessing your boyfriend will be the same. For now, having a relationship is just too much for them, they're probably scared to lose someone who's so close to them again and so they push us away to protect them. It seems like me and Fern had a very similar relationship to yours and so I can see where you're coming from, and for dropping you a line every now and then, they probably just don't know what to say unfortunately.

Don't contact them, maybe a little text or e-mail now and then but not too much and maybe things will be okay again in the future, but for now, just try and focus on you, do things you like and stay busy as it will hit you hardest when you're alone.

Tom you're so right about how similar our situations are. My boyfriend did say a couple of times before that he had thought about emailing or calling me but couldn't finish the email or didn't know what to say. I guess it is just too much effort and they want to take time out for themselves for a while? He says being around me is too confusing and causes emotional stress but I don't understand why my presence wouldn't be comforting at a time like this, why there is this inner conflict which never existed before. He has a high-pressure job and in the past, he would always vent to me and say how much better I made him feel after he talked to me about things. Now he is going through a more difficult time than ever but he doesn't want to turn to me as usual. I hope he is seeing a therapist as it seems like he really needs it, but of course now I can't know what he has been doing lately or whether he's starting to feel better at all yet.

It feels wrong to not send any words of support while he's going through the memorial service stuff this weekend, but I guess I have already reached out enough times to express my condolences and let him know that I care. At this point, I may just have to let it be.

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Whatever you do, don't ever feel like you didn't do anything, you gave everything but sometimes your best won't be good enough for anyone, the one person they truely want is no longer here and so to them, nothing means what it used to. Fern told me she had changed and so she broke up with me out of care for me, that she didn't want it to be one sided, maybe it's the same for you? You're right, right now it's all about them, no one else, it's time for them to find themselves again, to find a way of life without that special person. Fern loved me, she might still love me but nothing can replace that love of a parent, it's hard to understand, I still don't understand but I respect Fern's wishes and leave her be, she doesn't want me in her life, yeah she says she's confused but I'd rather stay away for her, and to protect myself and to give myself a chance to heal too and move on.

I would send a little text this weekend, just saying that you're thinking of him or something. Nothing too much and nothing to put any sort of pressure onto the situation, if he doesn't reply, then at least you tried.

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Miri, Tom, I feel your pain, sorrow and frustrations as I read through each and every post. I find myself in a similar situation, and can relate to questioning "why?". I found KayC's contribution and advice extremely helpful, and my heart just swells with warmth when she talks about the love she had with first husband.

My boyfriend (him 43, me 35) of over two years ended our relationship the same day as he came home from cleaning out his deceased father's house out of state. It absolutely slaughtered my heart, my dreams and so much more. It's been over a month and a half since that day and yet the pain is still drags me down. I want to be there for him, hold his hand and share the path thru the good and bad times......but he's let me go and I feel like I have no place in his life or heart anymore. The past two years with him were the best two of my life, so much love, laughter, fun, caring, intellectual and physical stimulation. No drama, infidelity, lies or such things, just pure and honest respect, love and fun. He reasoning for the breakup was that he stated the three following things: I'm too nice, he doesn't feel the same way about me and that I deserve better. He may have said more, but I was in to much shock to grasp what was happening. He never stated the break up had anything to do with his father's passing, but it's hard to not imagine that grieving process was involved in some manner. I guess what complicates the matter is that his relationship with his father was not good. The father had been a disappointment in his life multiple times. They spoke, but not often and ex-b was appalled by the way his fathered lived, handled his health and finances. To add to the complexity of the situation the father had passed in his home, alone and wasn't found until a week later (I haven't mentioned the hoarding yet either.) So the responsibilities that fall on ex-b are huge, I can only imagine a myriad of feelings come with it such as anger and guilt as well. He has wonderful friends, boss, an amazing mother and sister, so I am comforted that he is not alone in this difficult time.

Not until I found this forum, did I learn that shutting a partner out like this is not as rare as I thought it was. I felt like I was being punished and really coludn't figure out what I had done to deserve this pain. So I guess we're both grieving, one the loss of a father who never was what a father should have been and the other the loss of the one partner that she took forever to finally find.

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Caroline, I feel your pain. It seems like it is a common reaction to a parent's death, as several people here seem to be in the same boat. I wish I could understand it and know whether we can have hope. It is such a difficult place to be in. You might be able to get more responses about your situation if you started a new thread of your own about it.

I have decided to move this to the other forum about Loss of Love Relationships, as someone suggested earlier, in hopes that it will get more responses there. [Edit: It looks like a moderator just moved this over to the new section now. Sorry for any confusion.]

However, I would still really like to hear from people who have been through grief and pushed loved ones away, if you stumble across this topic and have any words of advice. Sometimes it is just so hard to know what to do, because I don't know how to address his grief. Is space the answer? Or is it okay to try to send him little notes or check in on him even though he never contacts me? How can I know whether he's still grieving or if he's really just done with our relationship?

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Today it's been about two weeks after the memorial service. I still haven't heard from him, but a mutual friend confirmed for me that it took place. He had many of his friends there, even though it was in another state and most of them had never met his mother and didn't know much about her. They are old friends from school, but as guys, they don't really talk a lot about intimate emotional stuff. They say he is acting like "business as usual" but I did hear though that he's gone back to smoking (he had just quit before she died) and drinking more heavily than normal.

I feel bad that he no longer wanted me to be at the service, even though I was closer to him than anyone and he had actually wanted his mother to meet me. I wanted to be there more than anyone else. I wish I could say something to express my feelings. Right after she died, which was three months ago, I did have flowers sent and he appreciated that, but I could only put a few lines on the card. I don't know what to do now.

It helped a lot to talk to a friend at work who lost her mother six years ago. She said three months is nothing when one is devastated by grief, so maybe he just needs more time. But for me, my life has been completely disrupted as well, and I am left hanging. We never got to have a proper talk about anything, there is no real resolution yet, and he kept saying we would talk soon or he would see me soon, but I haven't heard anything from him in almost two months now. I want to be patient, but without signs to give me hope, it is so hard. I don't know whether he just needs more time and whether to keep giving him space.

My friend also said to know that it really isn't about me or the relationship, it's just something that is so overwhelming that he cannot deal with my needs right now. On one level I try to understand this intellectually. But then a day like this comes, when I am not busy or have a schedule packed with activities as usual, and I just feel his absence so much and can't understand why he doesn't miss me and won't just drop a line. I want to pick up the phone and check in on him but I don't know if that is the right thing to do.

The whole thing has seemed really terrible and abnormal to me. One day we were so happy together, so affectionate with each other and in love, looking forward to so much...then suddenly a few days later, it just ends and there is no contact. And because of nothing that I did, nothing that should have been wrong with us... To have someone you were that close to just ripped out of your life like that is horrible, it is almost as if he died too. How can it just be this way? Everything was going so well and now everything feels wrong with the world.

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I'm afraid most of us here can't shed much light on it as we are the dumpees not the dumpers. But as Tom said, they feel a relationship is too much right now and it's taking all that is within them to deal with the death of their parent. It's been 11 months since my fiance broke up with me and he never did resume our relationship after the death of his mom, we are more like "phone pals" but that's it. In the beginning we had two or three months without any contact at all and then he made contact, but it's never been the same since. Neither of us date. For him I think he doesn't want to hurt anyone else and for me, I don't trust anymore.

The other thing that I have learned is that they can't handle the slightest bit of pressure. If you offer encouragement and support, maybe send a card with a very short message on it...praying for you, something like that, nothing that could be taken the wrong way.

I'm sorry there are so many going through this. The one thing I do know is that it isn't personal, even though it sure feels like it, and it happens often enough to know this is fairly common. It does make it hard to trust again because calamities do strike without warning in life and how can we know it won't happen again?

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Time, time, more time and lots of space,....there obviously is no recipe how to successfully deal with the situations we are in. But what gives me hope and keeps me going is that I know the famlies affected and significant others are in my thoughts and prayers every single day. For myself, I'm trying to be that strong confident person I once was, even though I miss and love Chris dearly, I just can't let his method of dealing with his grief leave me behind as damaged goods.....that's just not right.

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Thank you for your messages of support. I am sure I will hear from him eventually, because I believe he is a good guy and not the kind to just run off and disappear forever. We also have mutual friends who will make him feel accountable. Nevertheless, it does seem like it's taking a really long time - three months since the death, and almost two months now since I last saw him or heard anything from him. I feel like I was just abandoned, and I don't understand why he can't talk to me at all, when he is interacting with everybody who is important to him, including an old ex-gf from ten years ago (she is with someone else now, but they are still friends). I know it is different with me because of the type of relationship we had, and because he owes me expectations of an emotional commitment that he is unable to give to anyone right now. But it still sucks to be completely shut out when he is still talking to everyone else. I want to believe that he still cares. It doesn't make any sense and seems really wrong for him to simply want to drop all contact with me when I haven't done anything wrong, and have always been good to him.

I just want to have faith in him, that he will eventually feel better and come around. We had so much good that was going for us...it would be stupid of him to turn his back on that chance at love and happiness. Our friends think he is being an idiot, because they quite frankly do not believe he will ever be able to meet another person like me again in his life. I was really good for him and made his life better. He says he prefers his solitude right now, but I don't think that will last forever, as he was not happy being alone before he met me.

Weekends are the hardest, especially because I think of all the things we should be doing, would be doing together, if his mother hadn't died. Especially on a long holiday weekend like this, when everyone else seems to be going about with their normal happy lives.

I probably made a mistake by trying to call him this weekend, he didn't pick up and I just got voicemail and didn't leave a message, but he will see that I called. I don't know if he'll try to call back, but at least he'll know that I'm thinking of him.

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I know exactly how you feel, it's almost as if they follow a script it's so similar, all of our experiences. Jim made contact with an XGF that he hadn't talked with in years either, and still keeps up with her. It's like the reach out to everyone who is familiar...except for us. I do not for the life of me understand why/how their response is like this...I know it's nothing personal but it sure feels personal, I know they don't feel they have it in them to invest in a relationship right now and I get that, but they invest in everything else, their friends, etc. I just don't get it. That's why I wonder if there was something they weren't happy with and hadn't told us, I dont know, but just two weeks before he broke up with me he told me he saw us spending our whole lives together...from that to this? He's completely moved on in his life without me...oh sure, he calls now but it's more like he views me as an old friend, not someone he'd intended to share his life with.

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It is a gutt wrenching feeling that we are all experiencing. And it is true, that it feels almost as if this has been scripted -with how similarly we are all facing this situation. And, as it seems, there is a scripted answer. --Be patient, and carry hope inside of your heart.

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That didn't work for me but I hope it does for you.

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So I never did get a call back to my spur-of-the-moment attempt to call him last weekend, but I wasn't too surprised. The question is I don't know whether that means anything. I've read that when someone is grieving it can just be hard for them to get back to you because of what they're going through. It doesn't necessarily mean that they don't want to hear from you or want you to stop trying, but just that they don't have the emotional energy to deal with it at that moment.

But I'm starting to have some moments where I don't know if he just really doesn't want to hear from me anymore. It's been over two months now since I last talked to him. I didn't contact him at all for over a month (all of June and a little before and after). I broke my silence by sending him a postcard a week ago and then trying to call him last weekend (but didn't leave a message). I find it really hard to understand why he won't talk to me at all, as I haven't done anything wrong to him and we did not leave on upset terms. He never asked me not to contact him, or even to give him space, in those words - just said he couldn't be in a relationship with anyone right now, but he asked me to stay in his life and be a friend for now because I was important to him. We were fine, he just said he needed to figure things out and that we'd talk more and he'd see me soon - but that never happened because I gave him some space, and now there's nothing. I don't understand how things came to this.

He doesn't seem to have fallen into a deep depression - in fact someone just told me he was kind of upbeat when they last saw him - but he could just be acting that way on the surface with them.

His birthday is this weekend and I bought a card to send him. But a friend told me that since I haven't heard anything from him in so long that he seriously needs space (even though he never actually requested this) and that any attempt to contact him might be interpreted as not respecting his wishes.

I am so confused - I've always heard advice to give space, but also show that you're still there for him, and to be gentle, patient, supportive, etc. Now I don't know whether it's worse to ignore his birthday or to acknowledge it. What harm could be done, as long as I keep it light and friendly? I posted a bit about this in Tom's thread and he suggested sending a text message instead, but my friend said a card was better because it doesn't imply that a response is expected (unlike a text message, where it would be polite to reply).

I am so frustrated right now. I just wish I could talk to him so I could know how he feels, because without that communication, I have no idea how I should act.

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It blows my mind how similar your situation is to mine. I went through the same exact thing. In my case, his birthday was in March and I was angry about him not having spoken to me in a while. The way I thought of it -I knew it would catch his attention if I chose not to wish him a happy birthday, rather than being looked at like everyone else who wished him that day. As a way to attract his attention, rather than pursuing it –I ignored the date. It wasn’t until a month and a half later when we finally saw each other for a mutual friend’s get together that he brought it up saying, “hmm… you didn’t even wish me a happy birthday! Did you? ” And my response to that had simply been, “I tried to contact you before that, and you never honored my trials with a response, so what’s the point?” And he sort of respected that. It is important for a man to see that you respect yourself, before he respects you. Value yourself enough to just back off for a little while, and allow him to realize what a wonderful person you are for himself, instead of it being forced. “Attract, instead of pursue” –that was the best advice I ever got.

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The other thing I remember now is that he seemed to withdraw in stages. For about a week right after his mother died, things were fine between us. Although I wasn't with him as he took care of arrangements (but I offered several times to travel there), we spoke by phone extensively a couple of times a day, and he would tell me everything about what he had been through that day and what he was feeling. He would say how much he missed me, and how he wanted to put this horrible event behind him and come home and spend time with me. He also asked me to help him with things he'd have to deal with later and asked me to be at the memorial service.

By the end of the week, he seemed quieter but I thought it was just from being tired and grieving as the harsh truth of his mother's death sank in. Then one evening he said he wanted to spend a little time alone when he got back - but he also said that he wanted to spend time with me too, just needed a little time to himself to think, which I could understand. It seemed like everything would be fine. But a few more days after that, when he came home, he abruptly said he needed to take a break from our relationship. At first it was phrased in such a way that showed he intended it to be "just for now". He said he just couldn't be in a relationship with anyone while he was grieving. He also suddenly reversed everything he'd said a few days earlier and asked me not to come to the memorial service anymore.

I tried to give him space, but as time passed, he seemed to withdraw further. Without any further discussion, the break turned into a more serious break-up, then he started saying that he didn't think he could be in a relationship ever again. And now, even though he said we would leave things on hold and not decide anything yet, there is just no contact from him at all.

Is it normal for grief to have this effect and progression? I wonder if I have done the right things, or if my giving him so much space (and not reaching out to him more) has made it easier for him to grow more distant. Other than that, I don't see how his change could be due to anything I've said or done, as I haven't changed. I really just don't know what to do anymore, I tried dropping all contact for over a month but nothing came of it. We do have to talk eventually, as we never had closure and everything is still unresolved. I also have all my things still at his apartment (some are valuable and can't be replaced), but he said a long time ago that I didn't have to move my things out yet (as if he thought this break wouldn't last too long) and I'm still clinging to the hope that someday I'll be able to go back again and we can try to return to the life we had together before. I thought it would happen sooner, but it seems like things have been getting worse between us rather than better.

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