How to support a partner when both of you are grieving

Grief can be a challenging experience, especially if you and your partner are going through it simultaneously. Finding new ways to support each other during this difficult time can help you maintain a solid and healthy relationship.
By illume Editorial Team
Last updated: Jun 19, 2023
3 Minute Read
Advice
How to Support a Partner When Both of You Are Grieving

This blog discusses several methods for supporting your partner through their grief and creating a strong support system for both of you.

Accept the Need for Individual Support Networks

Even when the loss is shared, expecting your partner to be your sole source of support can strain the relationship. Instead, try to recognise and accept the need for separate support networks as one of the first steps in helping your partner.

Contact family, friends and other social groups for support, and encourage your partner to do the same. You can still ask your partner for help, but by building a wider support network, you can rely on others when needed – and this can prevent you from overtaxing your relationship during this trying period.

Plan Structured Conversational Time

Making a place for open conversation is essential to keep your relationship healthy while grieving. Establish a regular time for honest discussions so you can express your emotions without being interrupted or judged.

Try a reflective talking exercise. One partner talks for a predetermined time. The other listens intently and asks questions. Then switch positions and carry out the procedure once again.

Engage in Stabilising Activities Together

Participating in activities encouraging stability and regularity within your relationship is crucial because grief can be chaotic and disorienting.

Consider engaging in a shared activity, such as cooking a meal together, taking an exercise class or going for a regular walk. These activities can give you a sense of normalcy and provide much-needed quality time to nurture your relationship.

Embrace the Power of Listening

It’s simple to feel pressured to “fix” or alleviate your partner’s suffering while you’re grieving.

But it’s important to understand that sometimes, just listening and showing empathy is more effective and beneficial than attempting to fix the issue. When helping a grieving companion, focus on listening with compassion and remember that just being there is enough.

Practice Self-Care

During this period, it’s crucial to prioritise your physical and mental health with self-care. Activities like journaling, exercise, and therapy can help you to refuel and process your feelings.

Remain Patient and Understanding

Each person’s experience of grief is distinct and personal. Understand your partner’s misery as they navigate through it. Avoid pressuring them to process their feelings quickly or in a particular manner while navigating your grief journey.

Seek Professional Help

There may be moments when grief is too much for you and your partner to handle alone. In these situations, we encourage you to get expert assistance from a therapist or counsellor specialising in grieving and loss. They can help the two of you as you work through the difficulties of your individual and joint grief experiences by providing invaluable advice and support.

Offer Practical Support

Even the smallest chores can seem overwhelming when one is grieving. If you have the emotional and practical capacity to do so, you could offer extra help with domestic duties, errands and other responsibilities to give your partner time and space to process their feelings.

Encourage Self-Expression and Emotional Processing

Encourage your partner to find outlets for their feelings through journaling, art, music, or other forms of self-expression they might enjoy. You can help them progress through their grief journey more effectively if you provide a safe and supportive atmosphere for them to explore and process their feelings.

Recognise and Celebrate Progress

Grief is a long and often unpredictable process with ups and downs that make seeing progress challenging. Recognise and celebrate small victories and milestones as you support each other through your grief. This can reinforce the positive steps towards healing and give you a sense of achievement during a trying time.

Conclusion

Grief is a disorientating and complicated process, especially when you must support a grieving partner. You can nurture your relationship by scheduling structured time for conversations, engaging in stabilising activities, embracing the power of listening and remaining patient and understanding.

However, it’s crucial to also prioritise your well-being during this trying time by building separate support networks, practising self-care and reaching out for professional support when needed.

Find Grief Support with Grief Works by Illume

Getting support when grieving is essential, but it can be challenging.

The Grief Works app offers 24/7 support in the palm of your hand. The 28-session therapeutic course will help you process your grief at your own pace, and you’ll gain access to 30+ interactive tools to manage your emotions when you need them.

Connect with a community that cares for you, attend live monthly group sessions with Julia herself and have the option to text-chat to a counsellor when needed.

Reach out for support now to take the first step towards soothing your pain, building your strength and healing from grief.