Love & Sex Magazine

Marriage Tips: Helping Your Partner Deal with Loss

By Barbarajpeters @CouplesAuthor

Helping Your Partner Deal With Loss

When it comes to giving advice for love, you may be surprised that I’m talking about loss, too.  But in a lifetime relationship, the reality of loss will affect all of us at one time or another. For some, the effect is minimal, but for others the veracity of loss can be catastrophic. My advice for love that lasts a lifetime is this: Helping your partner deal with his or her loss can strengthen your relationship. The sense of loss is one condition that everyone on the planet will experience; it is universal.

Loss has many faces and forms, but one thing is for sure – it hurts. There are many life events that trigger the sense of loss – losing friendships, relationships, health, financial security and dreams, as well as the death of a loved one.

While a couple may share a specific loss, an important part of my advice for love is that each partner will respond in his or her own way.  Often one partner responds much differently than expected. One partner may be more affected than the other, simply because he or she owns the loss. Sometimes one partner has a more difficult time getting over a loss and will grieve more intensely and longer; this can drain the relationship and lead to conflict.

If a parent, child, or close friend is lost, it can be catastrophic. The loss of a job can be financially devastating. If the loss stems from illness, feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem may appear. If the loss is intangible, such as the vaporization of a dream, it can lead to hopeless and demoralizing feelings.

marriage tip - helping your partner deal with lostMy advice for love is that you recognize this.  After a significant loss, a person may feel depressed and suffer episodes of tearfulness and irritability, along with other surprising and strong emotions such as anger, guilt, and numbing shock. They may want to be alone most of the time. They may seem uninterested in sexual activity and may become isolated from family and friends. This time can be the most challenging for the spouse or partner who is trying to be caring and supportive.

Any loss, regardless of what it is, needs time for recovery.

How can partners help each other during this process, and even strengthen their relationship?

Advice For Love: Helping Your Partner Through Loss

Patience is what is needed the most. There is no accelerated course of recovery from the pain of loss. But there are several ways to help the recovery process as it progresses.

• Let the person feel their pain. It will help if you let them know it is okay to feel sad, teary, or irritable, and that those are all appropriate emotions. Normalize what they are experiencing.

• Let them talk about their loss and ask how you can comfort them. Letting your partner know you are there for them tells them they are not alone.

• Be supportive of the emotional cascade your partner is experiencing and offer practical assistance with daily tasks such as grocery shopping, housework, or watching the kids. Often, the simplest tasks are overwhelming to a person dealing with emotional pain and help is so appreciated.

• Be loving and kind. As the old saying goes, this too shall pass. While you’re helping your partner recover from a loss, it won’t be the best time for getting your own needs met. Accept circumstances gracefully and with compassion; this can strengthen the bond between you and allow your love to grow in ways you never thought possible.

Grieving a loss is an individualized process. No two people grieve in the same way. It’s an important part of anyone’s advice for love to know that this can be confusing and difficult to understand. Don’t expect your partner to react as you might in the same situation. Do for your partner what you would want them to do for you if your roles were reversed. During the grieving process, the empathic communication you share will help heal pain and expand your feelings for each other.  Isn’t that what love is all about?

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