If anyone can advise me in any way, I would sure appreciate it. My boyfriend of the past 8 months lost his mother to breast cancer 6 years ago (he was 21), and while outwardly he appears to cope very well, I am finding out he has some deep-seated perceptions that I, never having lost a parent, find difficult to understand.
It has taken 8 months for him to really open up to me to a point where I do not constantly feel like he's holding back, but he recently told me that he is uncertain that he will ever allow himself to consider a future together because he is afraid to be as close to someone as his parents were to eachother. He says this is because he saw the pain his father went through when his mother dies, and he still percieves his father as being in pain every day (though this is possibly true, it appears to be mostly a projection of his own inability to cope). He says that he is afraid that if he really loves someone they will leave or die and he will not be able to get past it, so he's not able to risk it, even though he knows this is not the healthiest way to react.
Not being in any rush, I am perfectly willing to be as patient as I need to be, which thus far seems to be the right way to deal with his fears. I simply wondered if this is a common effect of losing a parent to cancer, and if I am doing best by him to just listen, or should I be encouraging him to see a bereavement counselor?