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Understanding How Grief Affects Your Relationships

Category: 

Bereavement Relief

Posted On: Jan 10, 2017

Understanding How Grief Affects Your Relationships

Grief affects every aspect of your life. Those who remain behind go through their own form of suffering after someone passes away, and that suffering is generous—it spreads itself around. It's also a somewhat singular, individual experience—we tend to experience grief alone, even when we want to reach out. Ideally, a loss brings everyone closer together, but the reality is that it doesn't always happen that way. Grief can affect your relationships both positively and negatively, sometimes even both at the same time.

It's Possible to Grow Closer

Some people—friends, family members, spouses—become closer throughout the grieving process. As you grieve, you'll likely find that certain people provide more comfort than others and that you're able to offer more comfort to certain people than others. There's no telling what might make two people bond after the death of someone important—a shared relationship or experience, the depth of the grief, or similar grieving styles. Regardless of the reason, it's entirely possible for grief to have a positive effect on some of your relationships.

But Grief Can Also Create Distance

It's unfortunate that grief can push apart two people, but it happens. Your partner may not understand your pain, your friends may become impatient with your sadness, or you might simply need to take some time and space for yourself following a loss. Grief is a personal journey, and it affects everyone differently. While it's important to reach out when you are bereaved and depressed, it's not always possible. Sometimes, you can't bring yourself to ask for help or support, or perhaps you don't even want it.

Sadness and Depression Cause Strain

It's not all a case of extremes. However, even in cases where your relationships stay more or less the same, grief can and often does cause strain or tension. It typically happens for no other reason than the fact that sadness is heavy. Not everyone knows how to handle it. They don't know how to behave when they're around someone who just lost someone. In these cases, the other person is not trying to come off as cold or insensitive, but it's probably better to seek solace elsewhere.

When you're grieving, do you look for support or do you prefer to mourn on your own?