I am in a relationship with a lovely man who separated from his wife three years ago. He struggled letting go for a long time and there was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing with her in the beginning. He did not want to be her, did not love her but there was an unhealthy codependency and so their connection felt like a safety net that he believed he needed. He had experienced neglect as a child and basically reproduced the same kind of relationship in his marriage. His wife was an alcoholic who did not treat him well at all. She is very manipulative and unkind.
We were on and off a lot because of his struggles to let go. For a year now, we have made it without any breakups. He just finally got the chance to finalise the legal separation from her (she was in a mental hospital for a long time and has been living in another state), sold his house and this week, moved out of the house that they had lived in. This has brought up a lot of incomplete grief because he regularly distracted himself from grieving the loss of the marriage and subsequently got stuck in pining, wondering what if, etc. Today, his psychologist gave him some firmer guidelines and the task to begin the grieving process. My partner said he got strategies to do that and to see the current lockdown as an opportunity to embrace his painful emotions fully by himself, in all new surroundings with no safe place and no more familiar belongings. I think this is very necessary although it hurts because this means that we are on a time-out indefinitely. I support him in this journey and want him to do it, for his own sake and so that he can actually fully commit to us. That has not been possible so far.
I would like to understand more about the strategies he may be applying and what to look out for when we reconnect in the a while. I want him to stay focused on this task but I will not have any contact with him and I would, for my own peace of mind, like to understand what it takes to deal and release incomplete grief. Would any of you know how this works?
He said his psychologist told him it will not be pleasant, that he will need to face his emotions, cry if need be, write down all his thoughts and have different notebooks around the house so he can write whenever a new memory or thought comes to mind. What I am wondering is, how do you conjure up those feelings and thoughts? It's not like you can easily force it, or can you, considering you constantly carry the grief with you deep down?