Losing a loved one can trigger the release of a lot of mixed emotions. One day it might be all sadness and another day depression, hopelessness, anger and total disbelief could take over. As the partner of someone in grief you will be the closest person they have for comfort but the situation can be a bit unnerving if you don’t know how to provide the support he or she seeks. One day he/she might want to have you close and another he/she might just push you away. Although you know it’s not personal you cannot get over your feelings of helplessness and loss for words.
Knowing how, when and where to be supportive is a huge part of providing support. Even when you feel that there is nothing that you can do the fact that you make it known that you are there will be much appreciated, even if he/she does not say it. If you are an action sort of person and feel that you need to be doing something to show you care about what your partner is going through here are three ways you can help.
Make Your Presence Known
Avoiding any reference to the loss or doing a disappearing act when your partner reacts to the loss is not going to make it better. Being completely absent will only feel like a second loss to him so do not withdraw and pretend that it is not happening. Grieving is a part of the process and you will not be able to move forward if you do not allow it to play out. Begin by acknowledging the loss and expressing your support and sincere sorrow. Using the right words in this case is very important since underplaying the significance of the event can come across as being insensitive. Avoid words like “I know how you feel” (unless you have lost a loved one) or “its not that bad” and instead use words to convey your sorrow and support like “I am here for you” or “I am so sorry for your loss.”
There is no right or wrong way to grieve. We all have our unique ways for reacting to it and so if your partner takes a lot longer than you would to get over a loss then there is no reason to get upset or ask him to snap out of it. Be hopeful and patient and more importantly encourage and offer support as long as it takes for him/her to recover. In the end you will be a stronger and closer couple for it.
Be a Source of Encouragement
The entire process of grieving is rather important to ones health, without it you will not be able to get back to who you were before and you will be stuck a grieving mess. The flip side is that it should not take over your lives. Encourage your partner to get back to his routine after some time. Incorporate fun things and exercising into your routine as a couple. This will provide some benefits to both your emotional and mental health. It may also relieve the dourness, stress and tension that might have invaded the relationship.
On the whole be there for your partner as much or as little as they want. If you have open communication you can even out right ask “Do you want me here at the moment or should I head home?” Having an open and honest relationship will give you the best chance to help your partner during their grieving time.