How do I support my recent ex after severe trauma?
For some context, I'm 21 and she's 20. After dating a year and a half; we broke up 1 month ago but long story short the main cause was a poor living situation; us both living in a single room in my suicidal father's house (he's getting help) far away from civilzation. A lot of little arguments happened that built up over time from the stress of our environment and my solution was us living separately like we were towards the beginning of our relationship because I thought it would be healthier but she said she was unhappy and didn't want to do it anymore.
Sure I still love her, sure I miss the hell out of her and would take her back so we can try again in a healthy environment (us moved away from this depressing island)... But she had something happen to her that's a lot more important than my feelings for her and our past that we had created together.
Two weeks ago, she was spending time with an old friend she trusted and had no suspicion of, and while she was simply trying to sleep she was raped. I cannot fathom the pain she is going through and her lack of trust for everybody around her; I just want to support the girl I love through this hard time without her thinking "Oh you're only trying to offer your hand because you want to get back together". If she asks for some space, how long do I go without checking on her or asking her if she would like to grab a bite or go for a walk in the park? Ultimately, I care more about her happiness, safety, and well being than my romantic feelings for her.
I think the best thing to do is to just be there for her. If you were in a relationship before and it didn't work out due to living arrangements and you argued a lot,breaking up was for the best. She needs a friend more than ever after this harrowing experience. I would say "If you ever need to chat or just want to hang out and watch t.v and get a takeaway,I'm here for you." "You are a good friend and if you need my support,i'll be there."The fact that you care for her is lovely. It shows how decent you are. A person who cares and wants to look out for you can really help.
Thanks for caring. Regardless of what comes from this, what is said by her in response, and her resulting behaviors, she will appreciate your sensitivity and gentle, genuine, concern.
There is not much I can add here, but I will try. Let’s begin with your previous living conditions. Living together outside of the commitment of marriage may be very high risk for a healthy, long term, relationship. The reason should be obvious. Marriage is a promise. Compound that with an environment that is unsympathetic to either of you, and you may be in for a challenge.
More importantly, as you have already recognized, is her recent trauma. Unless you have experienced this type of pain, you cannot relate. As with grief, it is different for everyone and should be approached with an “I can’t cure this, but I can care for you unconditionally”, attitude. Continue to use your compassion, love, and instincts, to provide this care. As mentioned earlier, she may not respond as you expect, in the manner that you expect, and when you expect, but she will always recognize the value of your love.