Does Your Partner Understand Your Grief?

We’ve finally made it to February after the longest January ever! And with Valentine’s Day around the corner I’m thinking about how grief impacts our romantic relationships. In all the years that I’ve been working to support people who are moving through loss, one of the biggest issues I’ve encountered is how grief and loss affects our relationships. Most people do not feel that their spouse or partner truly understands what they are going through when they are grieving, and this is something that can cause unnecessary strain and stress on the relationship.

Grief and loss can can also cause us develop anxious or avoidant tendencies in our relationships, making us fearful about opening up and being truly vulnerable with the people we love.

These are normal reactions, even when they are problematic. Of course it’s scary to love someone when you’ve experienced loss. Being compassionate with yourself in this area is vital. Finding ways to communicate with your partner about how you’re feeling, and what it’s like to have loss in your life, is also important.

Overall, one of the best ways I’ve found to ease that tension in your relationship is to find other outlets for your grief. We tend to expect our partners to be fill every role in our lives, but that’s not realistic and generally just impossible. Joining a local grief group, finding an online community, or reading books about grief that make you feel validated and nurtured can help take the pressure off your partner and help you feel understood and soothed through other outlets.

If you have lost a parent and would like to do more work around this area in relation to your partner, consider singing up for my online course Supporting Your Partner Through Loss. Using the included workbook and audio presentation, you and your partner work through the material together.