Grief and a brand-new long-distance relationship
January 21, 2014 6:28 PM Subscribe
I am in a brand-new long-distance relationship with a guy I really care for. He recently experienced the death of a friend, and since this happened a week ago he has been essentially non-communicative with me. He sent me one generic text at a strange hour a week ago (along the lines of "busy week, really tired") and other than that it's been silence. Should, and how, can I support him during this time? Help me make sense of his behavior and to gauge what my response should be.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (38 answers total)
He and I met in November in the city we both lived in. Things started to move really quickly and by all accounts he adored me, we were an affectionate and easy pair, and my friends who met him agreed that he and I seemed like a great fit. Last month, he accepted a work project that has taken him across the country for six months (he'll be back in June). We had started to talk about exclusivity and considering ourselves a couple before he left, but things became very ambiguous once he moved as he forewarned me he is bad at keeping in touch.
Things have gotten more complicated. My friend saw him in our city early last week. He told her he was in town for a funeral; she immediately called me and then he texted me a minute or two later with the same story. I was surprised he hadn't told me he'd be in town but I expressed my condolences and he asked if we could get lunch the next day before he flew back out. I never heard from him. Two days later, he finally sent me a text very late at night saying things had been busy at work and his week was off to a sad start. I responded immediately by text, very carefully stating my surprise and concern that he hadn't been talking to me the last couple days, while also acknowledging this wasn't the time to talk about it (I thought I was being sensitive to his grief). Since then, I have called him twice and left two very brief voicemails with a similar message. It's now been a week since his last contact with me, and almost two weeks since we last spoke.
Where do I go from here? I'm not planning on contacting him again, as I've been quite proud of myself for reigning in my anxious attachment style and contacting him what I think is very sparingly and compassionately (keeping it about my concern/care for him while expressing that I am also feeling confused and would like to reconnect). Is this relationship dead? How long should I wait? Is this normal grief? Help me to understand what you might do in this situation.
There have been some slight implausibilities with his coming into town for the funeral, namely that my friend saw him coming onto the subway line from the street at a stop that has no relationship to the airport he told me he had flown into. I also do not have any context for his life where he is - I don't have a mailing address and I haven't seen any photos. This of course has resulted in conspiracy theories that he's lying to me or *cymbal crash* never even moved. He has also intimated that he's working on an additional project that he can't talk about for security reasons, which jibes with his career and the city we lived in. So, the left-field theory is that he was in town for something secret for work. I think this tinfoil-hattedness is me (and my friends, who are trying to comfort me) grasping at straws to avoid the reality that he may just not be into me.