Friday, February 26, 2010

February 26, 2010

Grief in relationships.

Most of us are familiar with the type of grief that we experience when someone dies or our pet dies. It is only the last 20 years that our society has made monumental steps in dealing with death and the grief that loved ones experience.

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross contributed greatly to our understanding of grief and the five stages of grief, denial, anger, bargaining, sadness and acceptance.

However, we are often unprepared to deal with ambivalent grief. The kind of grief that comes when a marriage or a relationship or just the expectation of relationship comes to an end. This is ambivalent grief because there is no closure. The only closure we can get often, is the closure that we give ourselves. The loved on or the desired is obviously still alive only removed from our presence.


Whether we experience a divorce or the death of our trust in a relationship this grief is just as real as if someone we loved had died. The illusion or the dream of the relationship has been drastically altered and we feel something is broken or taken from us.

It is important to allow ourselves the ability to grief. Become aware of the stages of grief, surround ourselves with friends and families who are supportive of our grief and can listen or find a professional who can do this for us without the compulsive need to fix us.

It is essential for any future relationships to work through these issues so that we do not carry our baggage with us into a new relationship. It isn't fair to ourselves or the other person to be struggling with past issues and expecting someone new to pay the price of these wounds.

If you were in a relationship where someone was abusive and/or cheated on you deal with your inability to trust again. Realize that the next person who comes along does not have to pay the price for what you allowed yourself to experience in the last relationship. And yes we do make the conscious choice for these experiences. I have yet to meet the person who doesn't say I thought.....or I felt....but I thought I needed to.....

This bargaining away our sense of self trust, self respect and self love is ours and ours alone to deal with and heal. See the post on forgiveness.