How to be a grief ally in a relationship

No items found.

Grief can bring up a whole variety of challenges when it comes to supporting someone you care for. Often, you will be the first person your partner goes to for help and comfort. If your partner is suffering a loss you may feel unsure about how to support them. It’s normal to worry you will say the wrong thing. Supporting someone through difficult moments can be a lot to manage, but it’s also a beautiful aspect of a partnership. We’ve shared some tips on how you can help your partner as they navigate their grief.

Tip 1

Let them cry

We look at the person we love, we see them in pain and we want to take the pain away. It hurts watching someone we love cry, but it’s something they need to do. You don’t need to make it better, just reassure them that it’s safe to express their emotions with you.

Tip 2

Be their comfort

Sometimes a good laugh or a long hug is enough. Cuddle, hold hands, and give hugs more than usual, affection can be more comforting than words.

Tip 3

Remember key dates

Seriously, put them in your calendar. Anniversaries, birthdays and holidays can be heartbreaking, acknowledge that.

Tip 4

Remember there is no ‘right way’ to grieve

Allow your partner to grieve in his, her or their way without judgement. People can feel self conscious about the ways in which they express their grief, this can be further exacerbated by gender norms.

Tip 5

Let them talk about it over and over

Grief has no end date. It can seem easy to observe and assume how your partner is feeling, however it is the internal struggles like guilt, emptiness, anger that often remain hidden. All you can do, as they navigate their own journey, is continue to support them.

Tip 6

Have their back

Following a loss, many people may contact your partner in mourning. This can be incredibly overwhelming. There may be people that your partner can’t face yet, if this is the case take on the role of their spokesperson.

Tip 7

Offer practical help

If you know what needs to be done take care of it, washing, cleaning, taking care of pets - whatever you can take off their plate will be a welcome relief. There will likely be much to organise following the loss of their loved one, offer to help as this can be very painful.

Tip 8

You might need help too

If time goes on and you feel worried about your partner you can gently bring up the benefit of seeking outside help. This can take the form of professional help, peer support or involving more of your friends and family. If you think they may be falling into depression, for instance, it could be time for them to find support to help them cope.

Our meetings: Find out more

We understand that grief and mental health are complicated and often isolating, which is why we have a range of meetings for all people. Search through our meetings to find one that you feel you would be most comfortable in.

Our meetings