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Coping with Loss/How to help my fiance with the loss of his father?

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Okay, well... I'm 20, and my fiance Paul is 22. Him and I have been together for a little over 3 years, and he lives with my mom and I. My mom agreed to let him move in last year around this time because his father is a drunk and would verbally abuse him constantly and smack him around when he was drunk. One time he came over my house with a nasty black eye and marks all over him and my mom offered to let him move in because she knows he's a good kid. Honestly, we would move out but him and I are both full time students and cannot really swing it right now. He pays her rent, and he's really helpful around the house. He does all of the yard work for us, cleans up around the house and helps take care of our animals.

We actually just got engaged, because we were just in Disney World, and he proposed to me there. Well, we got home Tuesday night and my mom told me that there was a message for Paul on the answering machine but that she had just skipped past it when she heard it was for him. Well, his aunt called and told him that his father died that morning. Apparently he took a bunch of medication, downed a bunch of alcohol and died in his sleep. Paul was silent for the rest of the night. I hardly knew what to say to him except for "I'm sorry." He has hardly spoken since then and he just seems void of any emotion. When he got home from work yesterday afternoon, I asked him if he wanted to talk about it and he just said "No thanks, hun. It's fine." and went to take a shower. He seemed upset afterwards and I asked him again if he wanted to talk about it and he started cursing and shouting about how he just "wanted to forget the bastard, but he didn't have to die." He went on for a few minutes before calming down and he apologized for going off and gave me a kiss. I didn't expect him to go off like that because he's normally very quiet. Never talks more than he sees necessary and always has a very calm, even tone to his voice. I've never seen him get angry like that. I don't know what to do or say.

I don't even know how he's feeling, because I know he hated his father, and quite honestly, his father was a terrible person. But on the other hand, he was still his father. I don't know if he's sad or angry or a combination of both, or something else entirely. I don't even know how to approach the situation. I don't know if he's even planning on going to the funeral. I don't know what to do. I'm just really worried about him because he's hardly spoken. Last night he went up to bed really early, and I came up to lay with him. When I got upstairs, he was just laying in the dark looking at the ceiling, and when I laid down next to him, he turned over and put his arm around me. So I assume that means he wants me there? But I also don't know if he wants to be alone more, and whether I should be giving him more space. Can someone help me? I don't know what to do for him. I'm worried. What should I do?

Answer
Hi Sara... it sounds as though your fiance is having issues coming to terms with the loss of a father that was not a very nice person... He is probably feeling a lot of mixed up emotions...It was very good of you to ask him if he wanted to talk... It appears that at this time he does not  but that does not mean he does not want you near...as for going to the funeral.. that is something only he can decide... if he does decide not to go... then accept his decision.. No one can know what it feels like to have a father verbally and physically abuse you  unless  you have walked in their shoes... I suspect your fiance does not know what his feelings are supposed to be either.. Just be there for him...  do not ask if he wants to talk  because when he is ready  he will open up to you... For now  he just needs time to come to terms with the emotions that he is trying to figure out how to deal with ... I wish you all the best and hope that both you and  Paul can get through this..  

Coping with Loss

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Edith Ziegler

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I can answer questions about how to move on with your life, what sort of things to do to help you move forward, how to deal with offhand remarks such as it will get better with time, you may meet someone new in time I am not sure what I cannot answer because usually something occurs to me that will suffice as a satisfactory answer

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I took a course through the VON for couselling and am also doing grief counselling

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