You are here:

Counseling/How to help my fiance cope?


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?

Hi Sara,

How are you?  I feel that you and your fiance have gone through a roller coaster ride in terms of your relationship but with you and him, both of you seemed to handle it very well.  Your mom's support have been a good way to keep you both in consistent healthy relationship. Your fiance may have been quiet and sound normal all the time because he is away from his dad but a child who is hurt because of parent who is into drinking and that are and may have been abused verbally and physically can take time to heal.  Suppression of feelings don't mean healing.  I think what may have happened to your fiance is that he didn't get the chance to recover from the abuse.  Based on his reaction when you asked him how he felt; he still have anger that was repressed.  There are ways you can help him but again I would still seek help from a Counselor to help him go through counseling.   All of these that are happening is his coping mechanism to to losing a parent.   But being there on his side would be the best thing you could ever do.  Treat him the normal way you are doing.  Don't get offended if he is not responding the way he used to be because again he is still trying to get over the pain and the abuse.  Feel free to let him cry if he would like to.  Again, if he said he is okay, let him know you are there for him.  Don't ask too much question.  Just allow him to recover and give him space he needed.  It's not the approach you are having difficulty as you already did what you could.  The difficulty is accepting his response to you.  For someone who is always used to the same behavior and response they are getting from friends, relatives and family that keep us feel the feeling of belonginess is always a pleasure.  But if something change it, we tend to raise our eyebrows or even sometimes have this crunch in our stomach because suddenly what we were used to didn't really happen in the same way. I am not saying you have to be used to the negative response but instead you can help him to modify his response by your ability to identify what situation or feeling he is not feeling okay.  Here is where the expert goes in.  With that, of course he can find help and someone can help him as long as he is willing to accept to be helped.  

Hope the best for both of you.


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts




Queries related to psychology and counseling (general, psychometrics, education, behavioral concern, and religion). I basically answer questions of any kind with sympathy and modesty and relate them to psychology and counseling. But please nothing related to relationship questions.


Skilled in using psychometrics, education and counseling as well as religion.

BS Behavioral Sciences Dean's List, Medical Office Assistant Previous work: Psychometrician and Counselor

©2016 All rights reserved.