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TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5839
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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My partner has been going through a traumatic time over the

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My partner has been going through a traumatic time over the past 6months (dad died expectedly & 5 weeks later brother died suddenly) - hes become pretty down over the past 3 months, works a lot, sleeps on couch, doesnt want to go out or see anyone, alienating his friends & is pushing me away. He says he has this pressure in his head and it feels like its going to explode. Its affecting our relationship, he doesnt want to get counselling he says he want to figure it out himself, says he loves me and wants our relationship to work. Im emotionally drained and have suggesed a break for a couple of weeks, which he agreed to as he said it would be less pressure on him - I did say we'll be in touch. I dont know what the rules of a break are but we are a week into it and haven't had any contact & Im anxious and insecure. Please help
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 6 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.


It sounds like your partner is grieving deeply. It would be helpful for him to have a therapist to assist him in working out his grief. But if he will not go, then there is little you can do to force him. But you can learn about the process of grief and help him, if you feel you want to do that.


During your break from each other, it is alright to check up on him. Let him know you are still there for him and that you care. It is nice to go in person to see him if you feel comfortable doing it that way. It will also give you an idea of how he is coping with his grief. But if you do not want to see him, you can contact him by phone. Doing it by email or text is impersonal, so unless you want to convey that type of feeling to him, I would stick with visiting or phoning.


He probably hasn't contacted you because he is depressed. There are stages of mourning and it sounds like he may have become stuck in one of them. The stages are:

denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. If he is keeping to himself, alienating friends and willingly taking a break from your relationship, then it sounds like depression. The main thing you can do is be there for him. Encourage him to talk to you and once in a while, offer to help him find a therapist or pastor (if he attends church) to talk to. Be in his company and allow him to talk if he needs to. But be careful of burn out for yourself. Take time away and be with other people. You need to recharge so you can be there for him.


Give him time. If he continues like he is now for over a year or so (without asking for help or showing progress), you may need to reevaluate your relationship and see if you feel you can cope with his grief. However, he will most likely work this through and your support will go a long way in helping your relationship grow.


Here are some books that may help:


Experiencing Grief by H. Norman Wright


I Wasn't Ready to Say Goodbye: Surviving, Coping and Healing After the Sudden Death of a Loved One by Brook Noel


On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler


I hope this helps you,

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

He had said he thinks it may be depression but still wont see a professional.

When this initally came up and into the open 4 weeks ago, it came about by him niggling at me until I said whats going on, he said he didnt know what he feels about anything anymore and doesnt know why he feels so down a lot of the time. He agreed that he wasnt treating me correctly and that he was withdrawing from friends and me and hobbies etc.. I said I couldnt be with someone who didnt know how they felt about me and left to go home. He contacted me a week later and we talked again this time more positively and then he invited me to go to see him which I did and we talked some more, I told him how I felt and asked him what he needed from me etc.. he did say he would try not to push me away and let me in. I thought this was finally a bridge which we were walking over, but the weekend after that we met up and having a conversation with him was like pulling teeth, I was so confused. We talked during that week and I said I wanted to see him to discuss things, we were to meet that weekend but at the last minute he text to say he wasnt in the best of form and would prefer me not to come over, I was so upset, I went over anyway as I felt I couldnt go through another week without knowing what was going on and worring. So we had another talk which led to me telling him I was emotionally drained etc.... and maybe a break would do us good. He agreed as I said before and felt it would relive some of his pressure.

I feel like Im the one instigating all the conversations and meetings and would like to have some reassurance from him that I matter to him so would prefer him to contact me. If I contact him I think I will feel my efforts will be in vain. Can you advise

Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 6 years ago.

It sounds like he is not sure what he wants. Because of his depression, his mood probably changes a lot. He is going through a tough time, but since he won't get help for it, then it stays a tough time and not much changes for the better.


It sounds like you want to know where you stand with him so you know what to do about the relationship. It might be advisable for you to tell him that you want to sit down and talk out your relationship. If he refuses, then you know where you stand. If he is willing, then pick a time when you both feel you have the time and can talk it all out. Then ask him where he sees your relationship going. Ask him how he feels about you and if his grief is causing his feelings to be confused, or if he feels the relationship is not working.


The only way you are going to know is to ask. Then decide from there what you feel will work for you.



Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 6 years ago.

I haven't heard from you. Did you have another question or want clarification?



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