How to treat your boyfriend or girlfriend who’s losing trust in you out of grief

admo1900 asks: There is a girl I am in love with. We have been in a relationship for two and half years. Some problems arose in our relationship when her parents pressured her to get married. Then a tragedy happened in her life – she lost her father. Now she thinks I never supported her through it, although I did what I could at that time. There is another friend she is getting close to, but I know the guy, and what he is showing her is not good. I want to marry her and I don’t know whether she’ll choose me or not. I love her the most, more than her own family, but she never understands this. What should I do to make our bond stronger than it was before?

Hi admo1900 –



Wow, this is a really sad, terrible situation. And it certainly makes sense to me, I think. Let me try:


You and this girl have been involved for a while, and her parents had some concerns about the relationship. Then her father, who I’m sure she loved dearly, died. She felt awful, and I’m sure all sorts of mixed feelings came in – including guilt about her relationship with you. (Even though you were supportive, and even if you never did anything wrong, it’s normal for a girl to feel like having a boyfriend is kind of like cheating on her father, the first man in her life). So now she’s pulling away from you, maybe even to the point of getting involved with a not-good guy.


I wish I had an easy answer for you, but there isn’t one. The only thing you can do is just what people have been asking us pups to do over and over again for all time: sit, stay, and heel.


First, Sit: You want to do all sorts of things. You want to prove that she’s wrong about your non-support, you want to prove to her that you love her, you want… and none of these will work. Not right now. You just need to stop trying, sit down, breathe, and take care of yourself. She won’t be able to hear any of the arguments you’re making right now.


Second, Stay: If you love her the way you’re saying, don’t try for “revenge” by dating other girls, or saying mean things about her and that guy on social media. Just be yourself, your best self.


And third, Heel: While I’m saying to give her space, also don’t pull too far away; always let her know you’re there for her. If you’re right about this guy, he’s going to pull something lousy, and she’ll want the shoulder of the guy who has always been there for her. Her emotions are likely to be constantly changing for a while – she’ll pull away from you, come closer, be all about family, get angry at them… Can you just keep yourself available through all that?


My friend, I wish I could guarantee that this would work, and that she’d soon come back to you, realizing your love is everything she needs. I can’t, any more than I can guarantee to a dog in a pound that being sweet will get someone to take them home.


But I do know that what I’m suggesting will give you the best chance of her coming back to you, just as I know that growling and snarling are bad ideas for pound puppies to do to visitors.


Your love is exactly what she’ll need to get through this awful experience. I hope she figures that out soon.


All my best,


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