Dear Coleen: Should I end it because he missed my dad’s funeral? - Evewoman
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Dear Coleen: Should I end it because he missed my dad’s funeral?

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Dear Coleen

I’ve been dating my boyfriend for three years now and we’ve been living together for just over a year. Things are fine, but he has a demanding job with long hours which tends to dictate how we live our lives. He’s not at home much and travels abroad a lot with work.

Sadly, my dad died three weeks ago after a long illness. Although heartbroken, I was relieved in a way because he’d suffered too long and I couldn’t bear to see him in pain.

My boyfriend was incredibly supportive during my father’s illness, but he didn’t accompany me to the funeral. At the time, I was so caught up in the arrangements and in my own grief that I let it go.

However, now I can’t stop thinking about it. He said he had important meetings he simply couldn’t get out of, but what could be more important than being with your girlfriend at her dad’s funeral? Surely his bosses and clients would have understood?

It’s making me question whether I should be with him at all. I’m sick of playing second fiddle to his work and this is kind of the final straw.

Am I overreacting? And how can I find out if he’s really committed to me?

Coleen says

The problem with making any decision at the moment is that, although you’re relieved your dad is no longer in pain, you’re still grieving. And making any big decision in the midst of grief is risky.

You will feel every emotion more intensely right now. But, realistically, would it have made any difference if your boyfriend had been at the funeral? Would you have cried less or missed your dad any less? No.

And at the time he thought you were fine with his decision, so it’s a little unfair to bring it up now. If, beforehand, you’d insisted that he be there and he didn’t show up, then that would have been selfish.

I’m not saying you’re being unreasonable, but I think the way you feel about your partner at the moment is mixed up with grief for your dad.

You say your boyfriend was very supportive during your dad’s illness which, in my eyes, is more important than attending the funeral.

My first husband didn’t make it to the funeral of one of my close relatives because he had to fly to the US for work. He offered to try to cancel the trip, but I remember thinking that him being there wouldn’t change how I felt and I never held it against him.

When that person was ill, he couldn’t have been more supportive and that’s what was important to me.

When you’re grieving, everything gets on top of you – you even start to question if you’re living the life you really want.

Perhaps it’s made you realise that your boyfriend is always at work, so focus on trying to manage that situation. But allow yourself time to grieve for your dad first.

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