Ever since this happened, things have been very tense between my girlfriend and me.

I spend every night at our apartment now, however I don't believe she trusts me at all anymore, and our relationship has lost all intimacy (this is probably more than fair).

I'm ready to admit my mistakes and move on from the relationship, and was planning on breaking up this weekend (I'm still trying to sublease the other apartment so I could just move there).

Unfortunately her father has suddenly passed away, and she has been leaning on me for support. I am more than happy to be there for her, as she has also been there for me in the past.

However, I don't know how to approach the break up in light of the recent passing of her father?

  • 9
    I don't think there's a set etiquette for this, so how long you should wait is probably off-topic and too opinion based. But, this is a tough situation. We might be able to help you with the breaking up, but we can't tell you how long you should wait...
    – Tinkeringbell
    Jan 29, 2018 at 19:27
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    Have you completely given up on the relationship, or do you want to end it because it seems to be what she's leaning toward? This makes a big difference in the way the question might be answered.
    – AndreiROM
    Jan 29, 2018 at 19:31
  • 16
    @Steve Do you feel the trust issues are the majority of what's caused the schism in your relationship? That is, were things as they'd been before the apartment issue, would you still be thinking of breaking up? Leaning on someone necessitates trusting them. Helping her through a situation like this will go a long way in repairing the damage done. Jan 29, 2018 at 21:13
  • 14
    Taking AndreiROM's question one step further, have you merely given up, or do you actively desire to end it? If you've merely given up, you may find the seeds of a fresh relationship sprouting up amidst the ashes, and you can choose whether you want to cultivate them or not. If you are actively desiring to end it, you'll likely stomp those seeds out (perhaps even subconsciously), so the answers will have to take that into account.
    – Cort Ammon
    Jan 29, 2018 at 23:27
  • 5
    @Steve would you consider it bad if this episode with her father passing led to you two being close again?
    – corsiKa
    Jan 30, 2018 at 20:15

7 Answers 7


Let me offer my perspective as someone who was in a similar(ish) situation to your girlfriend.

My father passed away when I was in a new relationship. This loss was life changing for me, and my girlfriend had a hard time finding her role in helping me with my grief. I had heard that you aren't supposed to make big life decisions after this kind of event, so when I thought about breaking up with her, I decided to would wait a year and see how I felt. I did, and we eventually got married. Dealing with my grief turned me into a new person, and my girlfriend was there to help shape me into who I am today. Having her there was incredibly important to me, even if I wasn't sure at the time how I felt about her.

Since your girlfriend is so vulnerable right now, I would advise you to table your own feelings and continue to support her. You are still in a committed relationship, even though you have broken things off in your mind already (though it sounds like your doubts are more related to how you perceive she feels about you than how you actually feel about her). You shouldn't abandon someone who depends on you in such a critical moment, and the loss of a parent can take months/years to restore the person to any degree of normalcy.

My advice is to stick with her for a while and be as supportive as you can. When you feel she is ready for a conversation, tell her that you feel like you have lost her trust. Tell her that you want to continue supporting her through her hard time, but that it is difficult for you to operate in a relationship without trust. Then listen to her side of things and decide together whether or not to continue your relationship.

Note: It is true that it is inconvenient to you that her father passed away, but it is life changing for her. Sometimes we must deal with inconveniences in order to help people that need us.


I'm not suggesting that you shoulder the burden of emotional care for her at this time - rather, I'm saying that you already shouldered it when you entered a serious relationship with her. The time for giving up on your relationship and shrugging your responsibility to this girl is over, at least until she has healed some. The length of time to wait for any conversation about break-ups should be decided carefully and is certainly much longer than 2 weeks as some have suggested.

  • 8
    I think this is the correct approach. I would like to add that choosing to break up with her NOW would additionally validate any thoughts/feelings she may have about if the OP ever really cared for her at all. Events like this CAN be be the spark for reparation, as well. It really depends on the OPs actual feelings for her (which we haven't been given much information about - as stated in this answer, the OP gives more information about his perceptions of how she is feeling instead of his own toward her) Jan 29, 2018 at 20:59
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    @AndreiROM Yes, our situations are different, though similar in flavor. However, I disagree that I am asking him to shoulder a great responsibility. He shouldered it when he entered the relationship, and now that the crisis has happened, his moment for giving up has passed until she has healed some.
    – BlackThorn
    Jan 29, 2018 at 21:04
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    @blackthorn - I believe that what you're saying is that due to their being in a relationship, he already has a responsibility for her well-being. Fair enough. However, at what point is it no longer his responsibility to safeguard the other person's feelings, seeing how he's unhappy and wants to move on. It seems that by your approach he should never break up, and simply support her until things either improve (which is not what the OP seems to want), or she kicks him out at a time of her choosing.
    – AndreiROM
    Jan 29, 2018 at 21:16
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    @blackthorn - I understand what you mean. I did not give that advice lightly. I did, however, take the view that the OP can't do very much to help his girlfriend feel better since things between them have deteriorated to such an extent. I guess it will be up to the OP to judge the nuances of his own situation.
    – AndreiROM
    Jan 29, 2018 at 21:24
  • 6
    you aren't supposed to make big life decisions after this kind of event My version is even stronger: don't make big life decisions when you are upset.
    – user10085
    Jan 30, 2018 at 12:06

My answer assumes that you're looking to end the relationship no matter what. If you think you may want to salvage it, or you have second thoughts, this may not be the best approach to take.

The situation you're in is quite sensitive. On one hand you feel as if the relationship is essentially dead and wish to move on. On the other you don't want to pile additional stress on your girlfriend in light of her father's recent passing.

It seems clear that following the events detailed in your previous post, the relationship is on its last legs. Furthermore, it also seems like there were elements to it that were not sitting well with you in the first place (which influenced your previous decisions). You've made up your mind regarding wanting to move on, and at this point you're only still there because you want to be considerate toward her.

My personal opinion is that although she's still leaning on you (perhaps due to familiarity, or perhaps due to proximity), the outcome of the situation is not really in doubt. Once a couple of weeks have passed since the funeral, and the initial shock of the situation has worn off, I'd make my move.

The most important part here is not necessarily your timing (2 vs 3 weeks doesn't really matter IMO), but more the content of your message, and the way you deliver it. She will still be missing her father regardless of whether you're around or not. The point here is that you probably can't lessen the pain of the passing in any way. You can only be considerate in how you part ways.

Sit her down for a private talk, and be honest with her. Say that you feel that the relationship is irreparably broken, and that you think it would be best to part ways. If you think you'd be open to trying to rekindle things, mention that you're open to trying to rebuild trust, but that in the mean time you will be moving out, and leaving her the apartment. Make sure to underline that you'll be there if she wants to talk, or needs any help, but that you will be out of the apartment by [deadline here].

I would keep the initial message short, and base any follow ups on her reaction. She may simply nod, and say she agrees. Or she may ask you why you're giving up on her, etc. Be prepared to elaborate.

Try to remain calm and collected at all times. Don't raise your voice, and don't change your mind. It's worse to say you're moving out and not follow through, than it is to move out, then move back in if things improve. Remember that you're moving out because the current situation is making both of you (and especially you) miserable.


Can I suggest a different approach? Imagine for a moment that you and your girlfriend were absolutely committed to each other and, therefore, were prepared to do whatever it takes to make your relationship work.

If you were that committed, what kinds of things could you do, both as an individual and as a couple, to repair the relationship?

How would you address the difference in your introversion and extroversion (which you described in your other question)?

How would you overcome the lack of trust which has crept into your relationship?

What truths have you withheld because they were embarrasing or telling a lie was more convenient?

How could you think of yourself less as an individual and more as part of a couple?

What would you do to support your girlfiend as she grieves the loss of her father?

Now considering your answers to the above questions, which of those things could you do right now to make your relationship better (even though you currently don't have that level of commitment to each other)?

In your other question you said that you love your girlfriend, so why assume that the relationhip can't be fixed and leave (when it might be fixable and great for both of you if you were more committed to each other and to working things out)?

This, FWIW, is the purpose of marriage - to commit to each other so deeply that you have to work together as a couple (rather than individuals who happen to share a bed and living space) and work things out (rather than leaving when things get hard).

  • 1
    This is an excellent answer, and one that applies to a much wider variety of relationship issues.
    – Tom Church
    Feb 3, 2018 at 21:51

You should break up with them soon and in a clear and unambiguous manner. Sticking with someone out of a feeling of obligation is a breeding ground for resentment. The longer you're with your girlfriend the worse it's going to get. It's better to end it now than to reveal later that you've only been staying with them because you didn't they were emotionally stable enough to handle it.

Don't make the break up about them. You should explain that you have come to the conclusion that this relationship isn't working for you. If you are asked for an explanation don't put the blame on them. Use feeling words and I statements. Acknowledge that how soon it's been makes the situation more complicated.

Remember that the goal of the conversation is to end your relationship cleanly, with minimal pain. This isn't the time for airing grievances or coming out on top. Try not to engage or debate points. This is why statements about your feelings are so important they make it hard for people to argue against. Have a plan for if things don't go well and it turns into an argument or a shouting match. If possible try to have an alternate place to sleep while you work on disentangling your live.

Have empathy for her position and her feelings. This isn't a good time to break up with her but there is never a good time for a breakup.

  • 13
    I think there are some really valid points here about waiting too long, but I'd still argue that staying around until the funeral is over (not adding even more sadness on top of her grief) is a considerate thing to do, and can be executed without adding the extra resentment that comes from an overstayed dying relationship. Unless she's been seeing this coming and is prepared for it as well, she is probably not emotionally equipped to deal with a break up and a parent death within a few days of each other.
    – Jess K.
    Jan 29, 2018 at 20:17
  • @JessK. If I knew when the funeral was I would comment on that. Best I can say without more information is "do it soon".
    – sphennings
    Jan 29, 2018 at 20:19
  • Very fair and valid reason for saying such. I forget how common it's becoming to postpone events like that beyond just "within the following week"
    – Jess K.
    Jan 29, 2018 at 20:20
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    The most important thing here is to NOT break up with her at the funeral. That's just a jerk move, devoid of any sense of compassion. Do it before, if it needs to be done, and do it with sensitivity. Or do it after. But, for the love of all that's holy, don't do it there. Jan 29, 2018 at 20:43

From your description, it isn't clear at all whether or not the feelings are still there. Strangely enough, all the other answers so far don't address this question, either.

A relationship is not a project to manage, it is first and foremost and emotional thing.

Assuming that your emotional state is not so clear, you feel the relationship is over but you are not posting "omg I need to get out of this, help me".

Set aside your desire to end this relationship for the moment. Your GF needs you right now, and as of now she is still your GF. Be the boyfriend she needs right now, at least for a few weeks. Unless the situation is unbearable to you, that is simply the adult thing to do.

Once the initial shock has passed, figure out a good moment, when you are both relaxed and talking, and ask what all of the recent events mean for your relationship. Discuss this with her.

Your current relationship troubles are the result of lost trust. Being there for her could regain that trust. No guarantees though. One way or the other this is something the two of you need to figure out together. Once she is emotionally more or less stable again, it is time to ask and answer hard questions. Be ready that one of them might be coming from her and be along the lines of "so you only stayed with me because my father died?" The only right answer to this question is: "No, I didn't. I simply delayed this conversation so we can deal with it when it is the right time."

The fact that she is still with you despite the 2nd appartment situation is a sign that she believes the relationship can be saved. Unless you have absolutely zero interest in that, give it the chance and put in on place two in your priority list for the moment.

  • 4
    Please avoid using profanity when it's not necessary.
    – Em C
    Jan 30, 2018 at 15:46
  • I considered it necessary in this case, but fine with me this way as well.
    – Tom
    Jan 30, 2018 at 16:36

I don't know if I understand the backstory right but it seems to me that you screwed up and you are ready to move on from the relationship you screwed up. Actually your significant other was the one to break up with you in the first place but didn't. Don't forget that.

The distrust in you is the result of your lying to her about your hidden appartment, no matter who is the owner. The tension from them is caused by wanting to trust you but doubting you are worth it. It is hard to convince yourself to trust someone who betrayed you and even harder when they were betraying you. The longer the betrayal was the longer the healing wounds will take. It won't be a matter of days for sure.

If you feel uncomfortable, I think, you deserve it. It is not a punnishment, it is how people deal with such a shock from losing trust in someone dear to them.

Now, ask yourself whether you want to terminate the relationship (dumping 10 months living together with them and another time living apart) or you want to recover it. The first is easy and cheap.

If the second is true, be there for them when they need you because they need you. Be empathetic and supportive to them. It may regain you the trust you have lost.

If you did not falsely get rid of the appartment you can invite them to come there with you. Let them see what you were doing there instead of being with them. Answer honestly any question asked. Tell them honestly that you want to regain their trust and that you want to set relationship comfortable for both them and you.

Avoid "I cannot live in relationship without trust" - because you were the one responsible for opposite and you are demanding them to change. And it clearly shows more disrecpect to them.


I think you can decouple the need from being her boyfriend to help her go through this difficult loss as one doesn't imply the other. You can be a tremendous help in her life to get through that period without being her boyfriend.

I think an important part of maintaining your own mental sanity if you are in a relationship that doesn't leave you enough personal space to fit your own unique needs is to set healthy boundaries.

It's ok if you need your own time to honor yourself, to do things that you don't want and honestly don't need to do in front of her. You don't even need to give justification for your needs if you don't want to, you need your peaceful relaxed time alone.

But sometimes lack of assertiveness may cause you to be manipulated non-maliciously and perhaps inadvertently by her, her being a very clingy person to you. But this leads on the long term to an accumulation of emotions on your side of self-neglect, and ultimately it's like you're cheating on yourself.

Setting healthy boundaries is the first step of maintaining your sanity and hers.

Regarding the breakup, I don't think you need to jump to conclusions. You did what you did for a genuine personal reason and you don't need to be sorry about that or apologize to anyone. You know why you wanted that 2nd appartment, and it was because you didn't have enough space to breathe that you needed, and you judged this space was very important for your own mental sanity.

So first try to have this discussion with her on setting healthy boundaries so you can have that time with yourself. If she understands you and adapts to your healthy boundaries, then you won't need to break up with her.

But if she doesn't, being with her against your will will end up causing her harm rather than help. You'll be occupying that place without being fully committed in your mind. And because you emotionally want to flee, your involvement will be undermined.

There's nothing wrong acknowledging that the relationship isn't working, that "love isn't working for us" but "friendship does". And as friend, you can be here for her during her loss, spend time with her on a weekly basis for a year, ask her about her best memories with her dad, she can cry on your shoulder while she reminisce and share those moments with you, and that will help her tremendously to get over that difficult period as a friend, and you don't need to be her boyfriend at all to do that. She will forever respect you for doing that, regardless if you are together or not.

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