Losing a loved one is never easy, and watching a partner grieve over that loss can be especially painful. Most people try to do everything they can to make their partner feel better but supporting a grieving partner requires delicate care.
You don’t have to feel guilty about struggling to provide the necessary support; most people fail in this regard to some extent. Grief is vast and intense, and understanding and dealing with it is often difficult for people experiencing it and their loved ones.
I have experienced both sides of grief and have used my experience to prepare this guide to help you support your grieving partner.
Grief and Relationships
I wanted to address this topic because offering support as a partner is a different experience. Irrespective of whether your partner consciously realizes it or not, they likely have higher expectations from you than they have from others.
People are emotionally vulnerable when it comes to their partners, and this trust translates into an expectation of understanding. It is also why it feels worse when your partner cannot take care of you the way you need them to.
How to Support a Grieving Partner
Supporting a grieving partner requires empathy and strength. It will be frustrating to see them hurting but acting upon those frustrations will only make matters worse. Here are some tips to keep in mind to help your partner heal.
1. Give Them Space
While it is essential to be there for them, be prepared to give them time and space to work through their emotions. Grief is complex, and it takes extensive effort and mindfulness to make sense of how it affects us.
Therefore, be present enough for your partner to know you are within reach, but also let them have the freedom to do what it takes to heal.
2. Assure Them That it’s Okay to Grieve
The problem with grief is that people expect it to be linear. Grief is more like a crudely shaped winding road that follows a unique path for everyone. You will need to remember this detail and remind your partner that it is okay for them to grieve long after the societally accepted time has passed. They will need the reassurance to stay on a healthy part to recovery.
3. Listen to Them
Your partner is going to cry and talk about their feelings repeatedly. It is a part of the healing process, and you’ll need to create a space for them to talk without inhibitions. The more openly they express their emotions, the less likely it is to suppress their pain.
It won’t always be easy, but doing this will be incredibly helpful to them.
4. Try Offering Comfort through Actions
Sometimes, words are not enough to give them the comfort they seek. In such situations, go the extra mile and help them feel better through actions. Simple actions like giving a massage, taking them out for a walk, or buying them their favorite food can have a tremendous impact.
So, keep a list of such comforting actions to resort to when needed.
I hope this blog helps you in supporting a grieving partner and strengthens your relationship with them. You can also check out my blog and books for more tips about caregiving and mental health.