Q: I have been in a relationship with a girl for the last two months.
The thing is, her ex boyfriend died two years back. Now, I’m willing to handle this. But of late she’s started feeling like all of her feelings died with him, that she can never truly love anyone ever again. I really care for her. What should I do?
A: When a couple breaks up, it’s because something went wrong between them. That itself gives both the people a good reason why it couldn’t work – a starting point for moving on. It might be entirely one-sided, that is – it might be just one of them who fell out of love. But even in that case it at least causes pain to the other person – gives them some reason to not want to go back.
Death, however, is a shocking end to a relationship. It doesn’t let you say your goodbyes. It takes you away from each other when NEITHER of you wanted it. That makes it excruciatingly difficult for the surviving one to feel anything but longing, yearning and pain for the departed one. They miss them forever. There’s no closure for them.
Hence your case is particularly challenging. She’s still reeling from the shock and pain of not having said her goodbyes to her departed boyfriend. Two years is a long time. Since she hasn’t moved on yet, her wounds seem really deep. I think she needs help. Why don’t you help her see a grief counselor and connect her with support groups of people recovering from similar experiences? Given her situation, these are very important steps in her healing process.
At the same time you have to control your emotional involvement with her at this stage. She’s not completely ready for a relationship yet. If you do decide to help her, make sure you can do so without expectations. You should also keep your own options open by continuing to date. And you should be open to her about it. Help her more as a caring friend and because she needs it, rather than because you want commitment from her in return (as I said – she’s not ready for it).