Supporting a partner through times of grief and loss can be really challenging. Grief can be unpredictable and volatile, and everyone deals with it differently. Some people might talk to their loved ones to cope with grief more whilst others may decide to shut themselves away. The very nature of grief can also be different depending on the person’s relationship with those who died. If a death was unexpected or if there were issues in a relationship, those who are grieving can be left with unresolved feelings. And, progressing through grief is rarely ever a straight path.
How Grief Can Affect a Relationship
Grief and loss can create a whole range of difficulties when it comes to supporting a partner. It’s very common for someone whose partner is grieving to feel like they want to help, but don’t know how to. You may feel worried that you are going to say the wrong thing that might be hurtful or you may feel like your frozen, not knowing how to act. Communication might start to break down, especially if those grieving are not talking and choosing to shut themselves away. You may also find that on some occasions, you might be on the receiving end of your partner’s emotions. This is because anger is a natural response to grief. It can also be a struggle to be patient with those who are grieving. If the grief takes a while to come on, or comes on stronger than you were first expecting, then you may feel you are unable to help your partner which in turn, can make you feel guilty.
How You Can Help Your Partner
It sounds completely obvious, but the most important thing is to be there and support your partner in any way you can. The most important aspect of this is to be as flexible as possible. If your partner wants some time to be own their own, then it’s important to leave them be even if it causes you a degree of anxiety or affects your mental health. Sometimes, the best way to support your partner is by backing away from them a bit whilst they deal with grief. But, if they have been spending some time on their own but then decide that they want to talk to you, just be ready to listen to what they have to say.
It’s very common for someone who is grieving to swap between these states and sometimes in a single day. Whilst this might be difficult to deal with, you need to be emotionally understanding and be ready to adapt depending on how they feel at any given moment. This also means being understanding when they experience big amounts of emotion or flashbacks. One way to make things a little bit more simple is to regularly check in with your partner to how they are and find out if you can do anything to help them. Whilst dealing with grief can be an emotionally challenging and complicated process, in some ways, it’s similar to other relationship challenges and can be made easier by effectively communicating with each other.
Even if your partner seems to be coping and is staying healthy during the difficult time, it will be really comforting for them to know that you are there if they need help or need to talk. And, if they do need help, they might find it hard to express it unless you reach out and make the first move. However, they may not know how they are feeling and may feel confused, especially if the grief is still raw. Again, the most important for you to do is to let them know that you are there and that their well being is your top priority.
You might be tempted to keep your distance until they express that they’re unhappy. But, the risk with this is that if they don’t feel like they can approach you, then it might come across as if you are neglecting them. A better thing to do is to find out is that they don’t need help by asking them directly rather than finding out later that did but didn’t want to say anything.
Consider Bereavement Support If You’re Both Struggling
All too often, people think that bereavement support is all about scratching pens. But, the reality is that many couples that receive such support report reduced mental health symptoms and improved communication. Additionally, understanding the different stages of grief can help couples get more in touch with their emotions and thoughts. Bereavement support won’t solve every problem that is related to someone’s death, but the sessions can help you come together as a couple and work through the complicated stages of grief.
S. Stibbards & Sons Are Here For You
At S. Stibbards & Sons, we understand that grief can affect everyone in many different ways. This is exactly the reason why we are committed to supporting you by offering a complimentary bereavement support service to help you cope with grief. Dealing with grief and loss can be very difficult, but we want you to know that you do not have to face this alone. Our experienced bereavement support team available to speak with you and your partner and can offer guidance to help you try and come to terms with the new circumstances. If you would like to discuss our bereavement support service, please get in touch with our friendly and compassionate team through our contact page today.