A Shared Trauma
Life is full of traumas, and the nightly news programs are filled with them. These reports seem horrible, but the people caught up in them are often living in a nightmare. The event may affect them for a few weeks, or it can change their entire life. Keeping a relationship alive and well when a trauma is shared by a couple may draw them closer than ever, or it may push them away from each other. What happens will depend on the strength of their relationship and its ability to overcome the event.
Losing a loved one, especially a child, is a life trauma that is shared by couples. They dated, made a commitment and began building a family. Their relationship has proceeded along normal lines, but they never planned to experience this type of catastrophic event. The damage it does to each individual is worse because they are sharing the same event and cannot necessarily count on their partner to be a rock during this time.
Turning to a partner for support is a natural part of being in a relationship, and traumas are often a time when a partner can hold up their significant other in the face of great odds. When the pair share a trauma, neither of them may be able to hold up themselves or their partner. Sometimes a person will be able to sublimate their feelings, and they are supportive of their partner. They then turn to their partner at a later time because the stress takes a toll.
There is little good to be said about traumatic situations, and sharing them with a partner is not the best way to hold a relationship together. People who can turn to each other in these times of need have a strong relationship, and chances are the relationship will survive.