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Be there for my ex who just lost his mom


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Old 5th November 2017, 12:22 PM   #1
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Be there for my ex who just lost his mom

Hi everybody!

I need advice about how to behave with my grieving "ex". I say "ex" because it was never formal, it was really an informal LDR, and we went on an off fore months, and I thought we had ended, amicably, last week. A decent farewell, no more emails after some days, which really meant something huge in our crazy "epistolary" relationship. So ok, we're broken up for good... I really want us to remain apart.

Until yesterday when he reached out to let me know his mother had just passed away and they had just had her funeral. They've been taking care of her for more than a year, she had already reached a level of dementia, and now she's passed.

He wrote me to let me know and to sort of ask for my support. I was constantly asking about his mom and would always listen to him, so I guess that's what he wanted. He even said that quite poetically. I felt terribly sorry.

Of course I offered my condolences and told him I would love to talk if he wanted to. I know you should reach out for people in grief, not otherwise, but I was blocked on his whatsapp, and I didn't want to put much pressure either.

So this morning he calls me and we talk, felt good to be able to really listen and help in some way. Nothing but the mom topic. No "romanticalities" of sorts.

I later texted him saying that, although things might still be weird between us (the phone call was not weird at all, though), I'm totally open to him and he can contact me anytime he feels in need of a friend. I used the word friend.

So, here's the thing. I know he doesn't get along super well with his family and he doesn't open up with many people, but he does with me. I really want to be there for him if needs me, truly as a friend, but I'm afraid this could be bad for him, mixing feelings given the moment he's living. But I really feel like helping. Given our distance, sending stuff is not quite practical, we're in different countries, and I truly believe being "there" for the person is what counts the most. I'm just not sure what the boundaries are for me in this case.

I won't reach out for the next couple of days. But I'm thinking of checking in every couple of days, at least for the first month. He is the kind of guy who doesn't like to talk when he doesn't want to. So I want to show I'm there for him but want to let him come to me if he wants to. Don't want to be all over him and then having us "breaking up" again.

He even mentioned on his first email yesterday "things are different between us now, but still...". I'm hoping this is true, because the last thing I want now is to hurt him even more, and to get hurt myself as well.

Thanks in advance for any insightful words you might have for me
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Old 5th November 2017, 12:28 PM   #2
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Just to clarify: we met in person first and then I moved countries. We're not just "online friends". I was even with him in person at the moment he received the news his mom was not going to live longer than 6 months, according to the doctor. We were friends at this time.

Anyway, I'm not trying to say how important in his life I am. It's just that I don't feel good at all about leaving all this "history" behind because of a relationship that didn't work.
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Old 5th November 2017, 1:01 PM   #3
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Since you were friendly and supportive while she was alive, and presuming you're still friendly with him regardless of intimate relationship status, IMO continue as you feel appropriate.

OTOH, when I was caregiving, a marked reason for our divorce was a lack of support I received from my exW so I didn't contact her once my mother was terminal or when she died. However, I did send the message when, after picking her up to go to the courthouse to file our final dissolution papers, took her by the crematory to pick up my mother's ashes. She didn't even know she had died. I then took her to lunch and paid for it. I'm that way about things when people fck with me. The steely eyed stare of death.

You aren't in that position so do what your heart tells you is your truth. It'll work out.
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Old 5th November 2017, 1:14 PM   #4
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Haha, the steely eyed stare...

Thanks a lot, carhill

And I'm sorry about your mother.

This friend of mine (I think we can call ourselves friends now) is a little like you in the way you described yourself. He's loyal with the ones that are loyal with him, the other can *&%&%&&(&(*#

And he was the one who reached out about his mother passing, so how could I not be supportive? I think it's a matter of being human, in the first place.

And he always talks of how he hates people just saying "count on me" and doing nothing about it.

I'll be wary not to hurt his feelings. But really... it isn't about me this time. At this point of a man's life, all he can think of now is his loss, and I think it would be petty of me to be all like "but we were on a break".

Do you think texting every couple of days and encouraging him to call me if he wants is what I should be going for?
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Old 5th November 2017, 1:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Do you think texting every couple of days and encouraging him to call me if he wants is what I should be going for?
If you feel like checking in on him, do that. IMO, the key is being authentic. If you do it, do it because it's what you want to do and not for any other reason.

Regarding countries and sending stuff, back when I was married a lady I had dated in Ukraine prior to that time had stayed in touch with myself and my exW and she'd visited us on occasion over the years or we'd visited her. When her father died, I sent her and the family flowers and a note of condolence. That reflected how I felt about our friendship which had developed out of our brief dating experience a decade prior. She offered similar condolences when my mother died and those condolences were well received.

IMO, do what you do. This time of grief will pass. What remains between the two of you is what it will be.
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Old 5th November 2017, 1:43 PM   #6
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Thanks!

I really want him to open up if he feels like (the things he said to me today on the phone... I could feel him wanting to vent). I think that's the best I can offer him and I want to do that.

I appreciate your insight
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Old 6th November 2017, 2:45 PM   #7
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Has anyone else been on a similar situation?
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