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Being what he needs with a kid sister with Cancer


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I feel so sorry to post under these circumstances, but my boyfriend has had one hell of a year, and I am struggling to be what he needs.

 

The year started last November, when I was involved in a drug-and-rape situation, and in leaving the "scene of the crime," I received a DUI. I was so emotional dealing with the rape and subsequent court drama--and then getting over the emotions of it all, which still hasn't completely happened--that I didn't think to/want to prosecute or take drug test to prove it, so the perp never received justice for the offence. I met my current boyfriend at the end of January, and was charged with a restricted license in February, so I can't drive myself but to and from work until this coming Feb. Through all of this, my bf has been incredibly supportive, taking me wherever I needed to go, even after having dated only a few weeks at the time. I couldn't have asked for anything better of him, and he told me that he knew he wanted to marry me from about a week into our relationship. It took me until just recently to feel as deeply in love with him as he has been with me this whole time, and he has waited for me with all the patience and resilience of a saint.

 

A few months after we started dating, his birth father was diagnosed with brain cancer that stemmed from his lungs and is currently undergoing treatment. He was understandably extremely upset, and although he has a very hard time opening up, he opened up to me about his fears and worries, etc. We got through the pain of that and were stronger for it.

 

A few months thereafter, my bf became violently physically ill, and was in constant abdominal pain and diarrhea. He missed around two months of work, and just stayed in the house all the time. He has seen so many specialists and taken so many tests that I lose track and count, and nobody seems to know what is wrong with him. The whole ordeal caused a huge shift in the relationship, with me becoming the proactive one keeping it going, and trying so hard to make life just a little better for him. I've massaged his temples for hours on end, sat with him, and been a huge support. As selfish as this sounds, it was hard not having my needs met, and since he doesn't really say "thank you" or express his emotions (and I express mine a little TOO well), I'll admit, I have felt neglected at times. My reaction is always to do more, love harder, give everything he needs regardless, but sometimes it selfishly gets to me. It is hard and confusing sometimes, too, when I see him able to go out more now (he is on hardcore pain killers) and do lots of physically demanding stuff when we haven't made love in months. He says it's too painful, but he still watches porn and I feel confused sometimes, but again, this is all me being selfish/not knowing how to deal with someone I love so ill for so long and the doctors not knowing what's wrong, while I am helpless to make him feel better.

 

Cut to now: He is forced (financial reasons) to resume working despite being on codeine and all sorts of pain meds and not feeling up for working, and he is a retail manager, so black friday and thanksgiving is huge, so they need him. His sister visits the hospital for a collapsed lung, and they find out after testing that she has cancer.

 

The poor guy, his whole world is falling apart!!!

 

He came to me at work to tell me the news, and he broke down crying on my shoulder. I immediately left to go with him to the hospital and support him and his family (they love me like they're my own, and I love his sister so much, so in a way, I needed it too). He told me that he's "numb" and doesn't know what he wants anymore, and when I ask if he needs space or to be with me, he just says that he doesn't have any desires or wants anymore.

 

My question is this: I sense he is pulling away, and I completely understand that. How do I be there for him without pushing him away? I want to be supportive, and I feel a lot of pressure from his family to visit her, but since I can't drive there, I'm dependent on him for a ride, and he has made it very clear that he doesn't want me to come any more. I don't want his family or sister to feel abandoned or like I don't care, either. It really isn't my place to just go and invade his privacy, despite the pressure his parents always put on me to visit more and see them more (they really love me, and I love them). I see a real future with this guy, and I'm just trying so hard not to screw it up by being either too clingy and not letting him grieve, or too absent and leaving him feeling abandoned. When I was going through stuff, he was there more, hugged me extra tight, and stayed up late with me, and I want to do the same, but I sense that he just wants me to leave him alone. Should I wait for him to come to me? I know he loves me so much, and I am sure that he doesn't have the energy for me right now, but I just really don't want to lose him. The poor guy, all I want to do is to help him and make things better, but I am helpless and I can't do anything!! I just want to give more, but don't know what to give, and he is unable to tell me. What should I do?

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If you're close with the family, you may want to contact one of them and ask them if you can get a ride with them to see the sister in the hospital. You can catch a cab or the bus to the hospital and see her provided the family allows you permission to go see her. You don't need your boyfriend to take you.

 

I would just tell him basically what you said in your last couple of sentences in your last paragraph. Let him know that all he needs to do is tell you what he needs from you, but that you cannot read his mind and to not judge you on your inability to read his mind.

 

In the meantime, I would carry on with my life and waiting for February to arrive... it's now just about 2 months away. I'm glad to see you're pulling through your ordeal, too.

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Awww (Schmen) Hugs.. so sorry to hear of all of these heartbreaks for everyone there. This is so difficult on everyone.. for sure. *sigh*.

 

I think... you hsld just gently remind him that you are there for him. Send text every day saying hi and a hug etc.

Dont be in his face, as he's dealing with a **** of a lot right now.

So, just stay close and maybe even pop by to check on him..unless you are still seeing him regularly?

 

Just remain at his grasp... show him the support you are doing...

Maybe he can look into some sort of help.. therapy, as this is al going to take it's toll on him..in a few ways. Loss is very painful.

 

I say just keep doing what you are. You sound very caring & supportive.

 

good luck.. tc

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My heart goes out to you both. I would allow BF to set the pace, not his family. You may all love one another, but I'd respect BF's choices and understand that I am tangental to everyone else there--and this is no time to insinuate myself. I may satisfy his family at the expense of my primary relationship that way.

 

February is only 2 months away. You'll have the ability to relieve any driving pressures on him, and by then he might be in a better frame of mind to consider the degree to which he can handle closeness.

 

I'd pursue counseling for my own head, I'd send plenty of cards and well wishes to the sister, and I'd encourage BF to take comfort in me when he wishes--but to enjoy his solitude and freedom from obligation when he needs that.

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My heart goes out to you both. I would allow BF to set the pace, not his family. You may all love one another, but I'd respect BF's choices and understand that I am tangental to everyone else there--and this is no time to insinuate myself. I may satisfy his family at the expense of my primary relationship that way.

 

February is only 2 months away. You'll have the ability to relieve any driving pressures on him, and by then he might be in a better frame of mind to consider the degree to which he can handle closeness.

 

I'd pursue counseling for my own head, I'd send plenty of cards and well wishes to the sister, and I'd encourage BF to take comfort in me when he wishes--but to enjoy his solitude and freedom from obligation when he needs that.

 

Thank you so much for your kind words and support. It's been hard to let him set the pace, since we've talked every single night on the phone since we started dating, and as of now, we haven't talked for two days. I want him to know I'm there, but I definitely do NOT want him to feel pressured, because I know he doesn't have any time or love left for me right now. It's so hard not to call him or text him, because I'm so worried about him.

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Awww (Schmen) Hugs.. so sorry to hear of all of these heartbreaks for everyone there. This is so difficult on everyone.. for sure. *sigh*.

 

I think... you hsld just gently remind him that you are there for him. Send text every day saying hi and a hug etc.

Dont be in his face, as he's dealing with a **** of a lot right now.

So, just stay close and maybe even pop by to check on him..unless you are still seeing him regularly?

 

Just remain at his grasp... show him the support you are doing...

Maybe he can look into some sort of help.. therapy, as this is al going to take it's toll on him..in a few ways. Loss is very painful.

 

I say just keep doing what you are. You sound very caring & supportive.

 

good luck.. tc

 

Thank you so much for your sympathy and sweet words!! It really means everything to me. I'm so afraid to be alone right now, and this website always reminds me that I'm not, ever. Even if I don't know you guys, you still care, and that is amazing.

 

I haven't been to see him yet, because although he lives within walking distance, I just know in my heart that he doesn't want to see him. The last time we talked was Thanksgiving, and it ended with me telling him tearfully that I didn't want to be with my family for thanksgiving, I just wanted to be with him since he and his family needs me. He said he didn't want me around, wanted to see his sister alone, and that he'd call me... then, he hung up on me. That to me sends me a clear message that he will call me when he's ready, but it's so hard, because before this happened, we talked every night without fail. I am so worried about him!

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  • 2 months later...

Hi schmendrik, how are you doing? I am wondering because I'm in a similar situation with my girlfriend. Her mom is dying, but don't know when. She might make it, but chances are small. We used to talk everyday on the phone too, but I foresee this is not going to be the same anymore as she is inable to talk to me about it or about anything else. I was wondering if you and your bf has talked/seen each other yet?

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Hi schmendrik, how are you doing? I am wondering because I'm in a similar situation with my girlfriend. Her mom is dying, but don't know when. She might make it, but chances are small. We used to talk everyday on the phone too, but I foresee this is not going to be the same anymore as she is inable to talk to me about it or about anything else. I was wondering if you and your bf has talked/seen each other yet?

 

Yes, Future, I finally heard from him!!! It took him about two and a half long, painful weeks. In the meantime, I'd send him the odd text saying I loved him and was thinking about him (like once every three days or so) and I still didn't hear anything back. Which hurt. A LOT. I didn't understand, and I was so, so sad for him...

 

I took that time to really soul-search, and realized how much I had been trying to "help" him by suffering WITH him, rather than allowing him to suffer and being there. It's odd, but in a way, I was making myself feel terrible, so that we could go through things together. Turns out I needed that time apart, too, to realize my mistakes.

 

I finally called him one day when I saw him post online that he was excited for a concert--which, to me, meant he wasn't suffering anymore--and I had him come over. I was still so hurt and upset, and it was hard to talk to him at first. The first thing he said to me, though, was, "Thank you for giving me the time I needed. I am sorry that that hurt you." Turns out he wasn't talking to anyone at all that whole time. He just cried alone for two weeks. Because I understood, though, and gave him his space, our relationship has been SO MUCH BETTER. Like, better than it's ever been. It DID take me a long time to trust him fully again, but he made it easy by always being by my side, and offering extra encouragement. It made the waiting worth it!

 

Good luck with your girlfriend... I'll tell you this, everyone grieves differently, and just because you may want to cling to those you love while things go wrong, your partner may need space to grieve. Give it, even though it is hard and it hurts--but be honest once they come back and don't act like everything is fine and okay if their actions hurt you. I waited a while to really talk to him about how what he did affected me, because it really wasn't about me and he couldn't have handled any more stress at the time. It IS important to stand up for yourself and tell your partner how their actions affected you, so that, if another situation happens in the future, you can give them what they need BUT they know that they should somehow send you a signal or a word from time to time to let YOU know that they're alive and breathing.

 

So sorry to hear about your girlfriend's mother... *HUGS!!* Let me know if there is anything I can say or do to help!! I promise it will all be okay!!!

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