M.Sc. B.A. Relate Cert C.C.
Registered Counsellor BACP & UKRC
Coast Road, Rhyl, LL18 3PL
07551 529 386
Several kinds of bereavement can affect your relationship:
Stages of the grief process may involve:
Our bodies protect us from the hugeness of the difficult news by shock: feeling "this isn't happening to me"; denying the reality of the situation.
Emotions may be overwhelming: you may be repressing anger, becoming depressed, acting like a robot or "on automatic pilot".
This early stage anaesthetizes some of the pain.
Anger comes with the reality of the pain and may be accompanied by guilt or ambivalence. Anger can therefore be directed at self or others, or things. You may feel we need to blame someone of something to try to understand the loss. You might be angry at the person who has died for leaving you.
When things feel out of your control, as they do when someone dies in your life and you cant stop or change this…you might be left with recriminations.…If only we had got a Doctor sooner… noticed symptoms…etc. You may have tried to strike a bargain with a higher power to postpone for example terminal illness.
Sadness and loss are associated with mourning, and a normal part of the grief process.
You may feel emotionally drained, feel tired constantly, lose weight, sigh frequently, fantasise: see or hear the dead person, feel weak and helpless, go off sex, feel guilty, not sleep well, have mood swings, feel lonely, find it hard to keep concentration, become self critical angry or even have self harm or suicidal feelings, feeling hopeless or worthless.
This is a stage of withdrawal and calm, not a time of happiness, but not depression.
It provides the opportunity to make our peace. It involves freedom from emotional pain. It can involve mean doing new things as an individual if your partner has died. It means investing in life and activities.
You may be at different places with regard to the death or at different stages of the loss cycle. Strong emotions are raised and can challenge your dealing with this together.
One partner may want to talk about loss and the other not. It's not uncommon for the woman to want to look to the past and talk while the man may have an eye to the future and focus on moving forward. Often both partners feel the pain but have different ways of coping with these difficult feelings.
Communicating through all the stages: talking and listening, are very important for a couple working through the impact of loss.
Counselling can help normalise some of these responses and help you discuss them together.
Source: Litvinoff, The Relate Guide to Better Relationships