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BluebellGirl

How to support a partner who is dealing with an ex's suicide

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My partner is currently going through a grieving process and undertaking professional help following the suicide of his ex partner. The event happened at the very start of our relationship almost a year ago and he has been in denial and pushed it to one side for some time in order to not have to deal with it. We have been together for a year now and we have both admittedly been in denial as to what happened. He said it wasn't hurting him, or causing him guilt and I was happy to to believe this, but we both knew it wasn't true.

 

Today he will start his first class with a professional to talk through what he is going through. 

 

Is anybody going through the same thing? Its the hardest thing to see someone hurt so much and know that I need to give him space and understand its not something he can talk to me about. (Talking about it has caused huge difficulties and at times pushed him to feel that we would need to separate in order for him to deal with it.)

More than anything I want him to be happy and deal with all the pain he is feeling, and I want to be there for him when and if he needs me. I can't bear the thought that he could decide that he feels we can no longer be together if he is going to deal with this, I don't want him to push away the people that he loves and who love him unconditionally.

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BluebellGirl,

You sound like a wonderfully supportive partner. I feel (and I'm certainly no expert), you have taken the best path in dealing with this by allowing him to take the lead and you being there when he needs you. Just continue supporting him in the way you have. He just may not be able to voice to you some of the feelings he is experiencing for fear of hurting you (I'm just thinking about if I was in his situation what I might be thinking). The very fact your are so supportive is just amazing. Many partners would not react in the same way you have.

 

Hopefully, others who have experienced similar situations will be able to help more.

 

ModKonnie

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Thank you so much for your kind words, I wish I could agree but I feel I have totally failed him at times. 

 

I know only few of the facts and its so incredibly confusing for me to try and deal with, over the months I have come to bring in what happened into arguments and in doing so attach all he is dealing with to me and our relationship rather than leaving him to deal with in his own time. The not knowing/understanding all that came before has pushed me to make my own conclusions and in sheer frustration at his denial I have pushed to get more out of him.

 

We reached breaking point last week where he ended everything and said he needed to handle this alone. Only then did i realise how much he was truly going through, and how much I made his grief about me. We've completely opened up to each other since then and I have realised it is not my place. His family his friends and professionals are there to help and listen and advise. My role is to love and support him and be his rock. I wish I had realised this sooner, I wish I had not been so naive to take his denial as genuine feelings. 

 

If anyone is reading this in a similar situation, know that no matter how much the pain shows on the surface, its there and never ever undermine that. His happiness means more to me than anything and I cant begin to understand all that he is going through, for the times I have made it harder for him I will never forgive myself, but I will and have learn't. 

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply, it means more than you know. 

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Certainly I can see where it would be completely normal to try to attach what he is going through to your relationship. Anyone in your shoes would do the same thing. What's important is that you realized it and backed off.

At some point in time, he will share with you everything you want to know. It may be a year or 20 years from now, but give it time.

You are doing a good job.

ModKonnie

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Dear BlueBellGirl,

 

I am so sorry that you both are going through this horrible ordeal. My Mother committed suicide by shooting herself and I found her. Suicide is something that alters everyone involved forever. We will never be the same. Our worlds were shattered in a million pieces, what be believed is tested and our body and nerves are frayed beyond imagination.

 

Surviving suicide of a loved one creates so much guilt for those left behind. Why didn't we see their pain, was it something I did or said that pushed them to this, why, why, why? Those are answers we are seeking that can never be answered. When a person dies of an illness or an accident, the loved ones will grieve and be sad, but it was more natural of life and they did not chose to leave us. When one dies of suicide, they chose to leave us and our grieving involves so much more. So many emotions.

 

Yes, all you can do is listen, be supportive and know that it may take years before the healing process is complete. We won't be the same person we were before the tragedy, but hopefully, we can rebuild our shattered world to somewhat being normal.

 

My prayers go out to you both. May God wrap his arms around you both, comfort you and give you strength. Sincerely, Sherry

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Thank you so much for your message Sherry. I can't begin to imagine the pain you are going through. Thank you for taking the time to offer insight as it is something I so want to understand but I know I will never come close to. I can't put myself in his shoes, and wouldn't try to, I can only be there when he needs me and be the space he needs when he needs time alone.

His ex partner left a note when she committed suicide asking him to forgive her and placing the burden of what happened on his shoulders. From what I have heard from family and friends she could never bear the thought of anyone else having him. My fear is due to his guilt she will always be a barrier to stop him ever getting close. We have the most loving relationship and he is the most amazing man I have ever met. I hope one day he will see how much happiness he has brought to peoples life's and not blame himself forever for the sadness he could not fix in one persons.

He started work with a therapist last week after almost a year of trying to deal with what happened on his own and I know he feels positive about the way that this can help him. I won't ask him about it, I just make sure he knows I'm there if he ever needs to talk.

Its the hardest thing seeing someone you love go through the worst pain and know that you are the one person that the subject would be the most difficult to talk about it to. Support from family, friends and people like yourself make each day easier.

It's so sad to see the extent of sadness across this site, but so incredibly inspiring to see such a strong community of people working to support one another.

 

Thank you for your reply, and I'm so sorry for your pain. xxxx

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Thank you. I am sorry that he was left with this burden. Just let him know that it wasn't his fault. People break up everyday and most do not take such drastic measures. We all have lost loves and we may or may not miss them and at times, it is hard to move forward, but the problem was within her ability to cope. The weakness was deep within her and had nothing to do with him.

 

God bless you both.

 

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lizabus   

Hi BluebellGirl,

 

I lost my ex partner of 18 years to suicide less than one month ago, so needless to say I'm experiencing a lot of raw feelings. My ex left me over a year ago and I had been suffering enormously from that loss already. This is so much worse and more complicated. We have a child so my range of emotions is tremendous: sadness, anger, emptiness, deep grief,......

 

I hope I can be of some help to you in understanding the complexity of emotions responding to the loss of someone who once meant a great deal to me, hurt me badly, and then took their own life, the worst hurt of all. 

 

The best support you can be to your partner is to be understanding and patient.  As you have said, your partner's feelings have nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with you. And your partner should feel free to have whatever range of feelings he needs to have without judgement from himself, you, or anyone else. 

 

My grandmother lost her son, my uncle, to suicide. A friend of hers who struggled with suicide wrote my grandmother a note where she described the need to die as being greater than the love of a parent, sibling, friend, or even a child. This has given me some comfort when i wrestle with the awful feelings I'm experiencing. I have such anger at my ex for hurting our child so deeply, and with potentially longterm consequences. I'm so destroyed by that hurt that sometimes I forget that I was hurt too. To complicate things, my ex and I were in the very early stages of trying to get back together. So I feel an extra level of hurt by this betrayal as well. It's like being dumped all over again, but 1000s of times worse.

 

Anyway, I'm sorry you are suffering. There is no end to the community of people who suffer from someone's suicide.

 

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Tfreem15   

This is an old thread, but I just started dating someone who was with her last partner for 5 years, then he committed suicide while age was at work one day. It's only been about 6 months since then, and we've been seeing each other for about two months.

I fear that maybe things may have just happened too soon, but things just kind of happened. 

truly care for this girl, but sometimes it's hard to know if maybe I'm being too affectionate or not. 

I try to be very patient with her situation and realize that anything to do with him is really none of my business. But at the same time, I really would like her to feel welcome talking to me about anything.

I know that that may be an awkward situation, but I guess I just kinda really wanna be here for her. 

I don't think I could ever fix any of this, nor replace anyone, but I would like to be able to think that progression isomewhat of a viable option for out relationship

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BluebellGirl,

I was strolling through the web when I came across your post. And needless to say we are on the same track, my current boyfriend right now experienced a horrible incident more or less 5 years ago. But the sad part is, as his partner the past still haunts me. Last night with our friends, we had our conversation about personal topics and he opened up about what happened. I've heard the story countless times but I've discovered some new facts about it. And it kept me thinking about what I have experienced during the first year of our relationship. I've cried a lot and I couldn't tell him the pain I'm going through because I'm afraid he won't understand any of it. The crucial part is, he sees me as his ex girlfriend, that we are alike in many ways. I am really confused right now and the most frustrating part is I have no one to talk to. No one  can relate to my story. I will forever carry this burden with me. 

 

We've been together for 4 years already but we can never escape his past. As what I always come to mind, I choose this and I will be ready for what will happen and what may happen in the later future. His ex didn't leave any note or goodbyes and when she died they we're still together. 

 

I was the one who supports him in any ways possible, he would ran to me whenever he has a problem.I would literally always be there for him whenever he needs me. I just don't know how to cope whenever that certain topic comes up. You can never compete with someone who's already dead. I was with him through his grieving process and glad to say we overcome it. But how can I overcome it?

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