Grieving - my boyfriend was supportive but has become unsympathetic?
December 28, 2013 11:25 AM Subscribe
My boyfriend has gone from being supportive to unsupportive/critical of me in a short space of time.
posted by Kat_Dubs to Human Relations (37 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
A very close relative was diagnosed with cancer at the start of this year. A few months later I started dating my current boyfriend and he said he wanted to be in a relationship with me. I warned him about what was happening and if he was ready to deal with it alongside me as it wouldn't be easy. He said he could do it and wanted to be with me (especially having been through something similar).
For the most part he has been there for me. We hit a stumbling block about a month before my relative died. Almost every time we were on the phone he said I was taking a 'tone' with him and had been distant for a while. I told him I couldn't handle this on top of looking after my family and said I didn't want to see him for a while. I then switched off my phone and was by myself for a whole weekend to get my feelings in order and just let myself feel what I felt.
Afterwards I told him I just needed him to be there + support me. He said he would try harder to be supportive and for a time was - the night before my relative passed away he came to see me and looked after me. Immediately after the death he praised how strong I was and how well I was doing and held me when I cried.
Then 2 weeks after the death he said he wanted to make me a Christmas meal + exchange presents etc. Bear in mind up until then I'd been really involved in funeral arrangements, had just had my first full week back at work and hadn't had time to stop. On the day itself I was in a lot of pain (I have a chronic condition at the moment - I know, not been a great year!) and could barely move. He meanwhile cooked for hours in the kitchen and made me a really nice meal. Afterwards I was feeling less Scrooge-like and suggested we put on one of my favourite festive movies. He whined and pouted about it, saying it was 'a bit girly' before giving in. But he complained again afterward. Why was this such a big deal to him?
He says he would have rathered we didn't watch anything at all and just spent time together. He began the conversation with 'Well there are things that annoy you about me...' in order to launch into a full on description of things that have annoyed him about me recently. Most of the time it's him feeling I'm 'off' with him on the phone - the first time was when he phoned me the day after the funeral and I was feeling sad. The second occasion was him calling me up drunk after a xmas night out + me being in the middle of consoling an upset family member. The next day he complained I'd been off with him, and I told him he never thought to ask what was going on when he called. He also complained that I hadn't offered to do the dishes after him toiling in the kitchen to make my christmas meal, seemingly forgetting I could barely move because of the pain I was in! I told him it was out or order to be having this discussion considering I'm still grieving.
I feel like I'm being expected to put all my energies into being the perfect girlfriend that I don't currently have the energy to be. How can he go from being so supportive, to unsupportive as he has been? Is this a big red flag for me to run? I thought everything was great for the most part and now feel faced with having to accept two losses at once. I feel like he should be patient and put me first for a while, but he doesn't seem wholly willing to do this. He's clearly struggling with my grief - it's not even that I'm sobbing very two minutes, it's more that I can sometimes be down and he takes it personally/thinks my mood is directly related to him.