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Alicia_MSW, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 794
Experience:  Specializing in mental health counseling
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My now ex boyfriend of 2 moths list his mother to cancer 10

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Hi my now ex boyfriend of 2 moths list his mother to cancer 10 mths ago this hit him very hard but didn't seem to really sink in until last oct she died April 2012. he used always work a lot which we would argue about but he just seemed to throw himself into work more and more . He didn't want to do anything didn't want to socialise , was always tired had issues sleeping. He seemed to go into a dark place around oct nov dec we broke up end of December because of stupid fights. He just seem to be pushing me away n seemed angry with the world would not be angry towards me but just looked like he had it building up inside of him. He broke up with me told me he loves me but can't give me what I want . For the 2 months of the break he would barely talk to me. He us now replying Back to texts and calls . Does this sound like grief
Hi there,
I'm Alicia. Thanks for your question, I'm happy to help you today.
I'm sorry to hear about this, and I know that it's been a situation that's difficult for you both. It's not uncommon for relationships to undergo periods of turmoil and for relationships to end (even if it's just temporary) when one partner experiences a serious loss like the one your ex has undergone. The loss of one's mother is arguably one of the most serious losses anyone can experience, so it's not unusual that he's been displaying the behaviors you mentioned. During the grieving process (which can last a long time, there's no set time period as to what's normal - everyone experiences and processes grief differently), it's normal to experience anger, depression, hopelessness, sleeping frequently and wanting to avoid socialization, like you've described.
So while it's normal, it's not an easy situation for either party in the relationship to deal with. Men in particular tend to push away the ones they love when they are dealing with grief. Unlike women, who often want to draw in support and talk to their loved ones about their loss, men tend to withdraw and sometimes prefer to deal with their grief alone. So this may be why your boyfriend broke up with you and pushed you away. I know it's a painful experience, but part of helping him is giving him space (even though you broke up) and letting him come back to you when he's ready. It sounds like he's getting there if he's replying to your texts and calls, so he might just need a bit more time. And it's important to show him your support and concern, because he's obviously having a hard time dealing with the loss and feelings of grief.
So to answer your question in a nutshell, it does sound like grief, and it sounds very similar to the behaviors I've heard from others who have experienced the same type of loss. If you want to become involved with him again, then I think it's just a matter of time and being patient. I know it's not easy, but it's the best (and usually only) way through it. If he continues to push you away, then trying to engage him and get him to open up is only going to push him away further. Just make sure you look out for yourself and take care of your needs, too, while you're going through this rough patch.
I hope that helps, and I wish you luck. Please let me know if you have any further questions.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks for your advise.

He told me today he was with some else a month after we broke up I asked him why and he said because he was pis*ed of and angry with the world . He has told me he loves me but things will be great for a few years and issues will arise again and is not willing to talk as does not want to get upset.

So for me that was the final straw. After 3.5 years together it seems so easy throw things away .I suppose grief can do funny things.

That's very disheartening and sad to hear, to say the least. It sounds to me like you're best off just keeping your distance for the time being, especially since you've learned this information. Grief does change people, it's sad to say, and I'm sorry you've learned this first-hand. That being said, you never know how things will turn out, but I do hear you when you say it was the final straw. Perhaps you just need to close the door on this relationship so you can be with someone who will appreciate you and care for you the way you deserve to be treated. I hope that happens for you, but in the meantime, just focus on yourself and take good care.
If my advice has been helpful, please take a moment to rate my answer.
And please let me know if you need any additional help in the future.
Best wishes.
Alicia_MSW and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I saw him wed night , I asked him to call into me which he did as I really wanted to vent my angry but that lasted about 2 minutes . He starts crying straight away and blames himself for everything as says he knows he pushed me away . he constantly cries and isn't he able to look me in the eyes and starts looks away from me I don't think this is normally behaviour for something who breaks up with there girlfriend . I asked him to speak to someone but he says he doesn't need to by the looks of him he really does . he had gone bck smoking in the last few weeks hasn't smoked in over 2 years . he can't give me a reason why we can't be together he just seems so clouded and its like he doesn't want to be happy. he says he is a mess. Should I leave him 2 it or try get him to talk to someone . His behaviour is not normally ..
Hi again,
It might not be normal behavior for someone who breaks up with his girlfriend, but it does seem "normal" (as normal as can be expected) for someone dealing with grief - to a certain extent. It doesn't justify his actions in the past (i.e. regarding what you mentioned in your last message) but it does help explain why he's acting so erratic. I do agree that he needs to speak to a professional, because sometimes grief can become so extreme that it starts to affect a person's long-term, overall well-being, health and ability to function, which sounds to be the case here. It seems that he is truly unable to cope and therefore unable to identify the reasons why he can't be with you right now - which, in and of itself, is a reason that he feels he can't be with you, if that makes sense. I can see that you really care for him, and I get the feeling that he does care for you despite his despair, so it's really up to you as to how you should proceed. I'd listen to what your gut says. You have the lines of communication opened up somewhat with him, so that's a potential way to encourage him to see a counselor. The only thing is, you can't (and nobody can) force him to see someone, you can only let him know that you think it's in his best interests and that you're concerned for him. So I'd suggest a combination of leaving him to it, and suggesting he see someone. After you make the suggestion, it's up to him as to how he proceeds, so that's sort of like leaving him to it. You can't do more for him if he doesn't want the help - but you can be there for him to support him, as much as you're willing to do so. But as I said in my last message, please make sure you take care of yourself and try not to become overwhelmed or engulfed by the situation. It's not your responsibility, but that doesn't mean you can't still care and help him within the context of your relationship (if you are willing to do so). Best of luck.