How to help a loved one

I am new here and am hoping I am in the right place. I met someone 6 months ago. When we met I was told his girlfriend, who he loved very much, had died a year prior. I found out a couple of months into our dating, seriously dating, that she had only died a few months before we met. He said he didn't want to tell me right away because he didn't want to scare me off and also her diagnosis was a year prior and he felt he had time to prepare for what was to come. Anyway, in these couple of months I grew very close to him and did not want to end the relationship. We have been together for 6 months now in a monogamous relationship. The thing is, I am trying to be very, very understanding and compassionate of his situation. I thought if he were ready to date, than that meant he should be ready to move forward. All of her things are still around the apartment; clothes, pictures, dressing table, cosmetics, etc. I really like this man, I do not want to give up this relationship, but how can I remain supportive and understanding to his needs and feelings while trying to move forward with the relationship. It sounds to me as though he is still in the grieving process, yet as I said by the time he told me when she had actually died, I had already grown to like him quite a bit. Any suggestions on what support I can give him yet not feel I am in "their" home. Thank you for your help and support.

Callie, you have come to the right place. There are a lot of caring people here, going through very similar things. What I can tell you about grief, is there isn't a time table. Although, it isn't fair for you to suffer too, if you care about him, you have no other choice. He probably felt his feelings for you could over shadow his grief. Unfortunately, no one has that much control over their feelings. I think that if you can be strong enough for the two of you, sharing his pain will only strengthen your relationship. If he can express his feelings to you without causing you to feel insecure, you should earn his deep respect. I will keep you in my prayers. Hugs Raylene

callie

prehaps its time to gently suggest the things go away somewhere safe, but be prepared for him to be reluctant to do this, its hard to remove all traces of someone when mentally u know she has gone but emotionally u are still caught up by grief.

for some they dont even realise that the items are still where they were left, its become habbit to see them there where they have always been

all so although he migh be ready to move on its hard to erase someone when the guilt of still living is there so the stuff could be out to make sure he doesnt forget her,

why not ask and see what answer u get to tidying them away, dont forget if u are in a relationship at this time with someone who suffers grief all u can do is give unconditional suport (so make sure u eat well and have no underlying problems cos it takes a toll on the sanest person)

wishing u well

as always loving thoughts and positive vibes

D :)

Thank you all for your advice and support. I really do care about this man and I am being as patient and understanding as humanly possible. I understand grief as everyone here is or has experienced. I have talked with him, very gently, about our relationship. I am the first person he has seriously dated since her death. I have told him I am afraid of being the "transition" person, he assures me it isn't so but I must admit there are times it is difficult. When he and his friends are together, there are times I hear how wonderful this woman and her family are. Don't get me wrong, I am glad he had such a wonderful relationship, it is just with seeing the cards he gave her still hanging and such, it can sometimes be a difficult position for me to be in. We see one another all the time, this isn't casual dating, and because I know in my heart I am able to feel completely for him, does sometimes scare me; what place I fill in his life? Also, he is still very close to her family. They know about me and he wants me to meet them and "fit in" to her family also. I sometimes feel I have to be "approved" before we can move forward. Yes, I have voiced my opinions and I know I must trust his answers, but it is difficult at times. And please understand, I am in no way a selfish person, just that this can be a scary place to be, for me to be able to completely learn to love this man when his heart is still with someone else.

I can tell you are a very strong woman, and I'm sure a great asset to him. The grief process is uncontrolable, that ebbs and flows much like a wave. He will continue to need memories of her to overcome any guilt he may feel for loving you. Even for those that don't have another signnificant other, just moving forward with plans for our future, makes us feel guilty. Nothing makes sense, even to us, but we are compelled to go with the flow. If you can try to understand what we don't fully understand, you will be ahead of the curve. Try to segregate your relationship with him, from this grief thing, that he can't control. You will both benefit in the long run. He may fear disposing of or packing away any of her things. I know for me it is very important to keep Doug's things wihtin sight and it's been 5 months today. Keep posting and we will try to help you any way we can.

callie

u can make it thru those bleak times funny face has some good advise for u.

and dont forget its easy to put someone on a pedestal when they are no longer being annoying, its often a wonder how people who have gone suddenly take on no faults its how the mind deals with the whole process of grieving

keep posting

as always loving thoughts and positive vibes

D :)

Thank you all for your kind words and support. I know you too are sometimes facing difficult times, and to know you have taken the time to support me and welcome me, I want you to know how much I appreciate it. What you say Domestic is true, how we put people on a pedestal when they are no longer with us. I have been in relationships where the other person has broken it off with someone, but this is new to me, being in a relationship with someone who has had such a significant loss. Trying to put myself in his shoes is the reason I am hanging in there and being as supportive as I can. He has children, who also are dealing with the loss (not their children together) and it does feel awkward and sometimes hurts when I am at his place, (which I am most of the time, we have spent everyday together for the past 6 months) and they sit together and talk about their lives together, how beautiful, loving and fun she was, and I am on the sidelines, literally. They will all snuggle up on the couch and reminisce. Again,, I am wanting to be as supportive as possible and I know everyone grieves differently, but I am not sure I would have entered into another relationship until I knew I could be fair to the other person.

Callie, Waiting to start a new relationship would have been the right thing to do. Just try to understand someone going through grief doesn't think clearly. It's a roller coaster of emotions and if he found a new love, he was on a high and clung to it in hopes of not feeling that low again. Unfortunately the lows come and are at the most unexpected times. Just a little thing can dump us back into oblivion. I think and hope they become less frequent and a little less deep each time. If you're there to help him back up, he is blessed and should always be greatful to you. How long you're able to wait for this period of grief to stop is up to you. Good luck and and I pray God's blessing on you and him. Hugs, Raylene

callie

hon if we all waited to do the things we did we would be stuck in neutral forever,

if u are sure this is the relationship for u its gona be hard but u need to absorb some of the time he spends with the kids and make it your time with them, as well as having u and him time, tall order when they are all caught up in grief and constantly say how wonderful people are i know, but if its right hang in there but do try and view it as a tragic soap opera rather than a slight to u. the kids will move on when they have no friction cos kids are generally self centered and put themselves first, if it looks like overwhelming them sugest they get help to sort out what they feel,

but most of all make sure u have plenty of time to do the things u want to do, offer them a chance to come for that walk, park etc but make sure u do things so that u can feel valued for the right reasons

as always

loving thoughts and positive vibes

D :)

Again, thank you for such wonderful support. I have not posted in several days trying to figure out; if I am over reacting or being true to what is going on. His finace's family is having a family function this weekend, he and they consider themselves family and I have been invited to go. As with meeting any family members, it would be understandable to be a little nervous, but this is her family. I must admit I am more than nervous. It is not only meeting her family after they have just lost a sister, daughter, Mom but also my boyfriends comments, such as what to bring and saying, "It is a casual weekend, but bring "nice" casual things, don't dress like you're just hanging around the house, they dress nice" and of course it will be natural for them all to reminisce, but I sometimes feel my boyfriend is overlooking my feelings. I know he is going through a rough time, I just feel I cannot measure up to his and their expectations. I know one of you stated previously, when someone dies they are idealized and any of their faults and imperfections are overlooked, but I sometimes wonder if I take some of what is said, such as how I dress when I with them too personally or if I have a real concern. I truly understand some of the reminiscing, but when I hear how beautiful, sexy, funny, etc she was and he is concerned how I may present myself in front of them and sometimes to him, it is hurtful. I had been married a long time before and have dated since my divorce, which was many years ago never has anyone been embarassed by me, quite the opposite, I don't know if I am seeing a side of him that I haven't seen before or again if I am over analyzing his concern over me meeting her family.

callie

hon its not u he wants to change but he is desperate for them to accept u in their lives, it sounds strange i know to have to think of it like that but its so that u dont get more flak than u are going to get,

and yes its easy to say people who are gone were sexy funny had oodles of personality and the more its said the easier it is to deal with cos the truth is who wants to grieve over a nag,bad tempered shrew who refused sex cos of a headache?

its all muddled up in their minds somewhere is the truth but he is not ready yet

so go to the party and dress to impress, u will probably find people who are interested in you for yourself, i know my daughters partner and his ex often attend the same family functions as they share a past history and have two boys together, but its up to our daughter to let what isnt important flow under teh bridge, he leaves with her so there is no harm done.

and i can quite understand u werent thinking of turning up with your rollers in or a slip but men just dont seem to cope with things like we do, im sure it wil b more a case of making sure he and the kids are as presentable as u are

good luck and keep us posted

loving thoughts and positive vibes

D :)

Thank you. I always get another perspective when I come here and it gives me something to think about and what you say makes sense. I hope this doesn't sound harsh, because it truly isn't meant to be, but it seems easier to have to compete with an ex. than someone that is deceased.

callie

i quite agree with u its always easier to compete with something tangible even if its a tv babe :)

u know where u stand and how to do things whereas u are sailing solo adrift in the sea of yesterday.

take a deep breath and good luck hon

as always loving thoughts and positive vibes

D :)

Why should her 'things' matter in the end? I'm sure if the relationship goes further they will eventually end up replaced by your things. Over time, her memory will fade to the background if you do your job rightb:0)
You said it yourself, "It sounds to me as though he is still in the grieving process, yet as I said by the time he told me when she had actually died, I had already grown to like him quite a bit. Any suggestions on what support I can give him yet not feel I am in "their" home."
First of all, the truth is, it was "their" home and your man needs time to go through the grieving process.
If you can be understanding and not press him about it, I'm sure it will work out. You are not her and there is no need to try to "compete" with her. Honestly, I thinks it's cool he gave you a heads up on her family and how they might expect you to dress and I totally agree with domestic on everything!
Most of all, realize that you aren't competing with her. You have CHOSEN to start a new relationship with someone who is dealing with grief. Be there for him. Take your time, find your way into his heart and sooner or later, it will be yours and his home instead of "thiers".
Wishing you God Speed and much light and peace!

oodagaloo

wise words of wisdom hon so thank u for helping out and welcome

love D :)

Callie, I dont know how close you both are now, but is there a way you could suggest a spring redecoration project for a fresh start? I could be really good for him to change his home, and you can both go through everything together?

kmhrh

wonderful idea hon glad u made it for callie

be kind to u and have a great day

love D :)