Trying to Hold On

 I am not married to someone with PTSD, although I am in a serious relationship with someone with PTSD.  My boyfriend of almost two years has PTSD from serving in Iraq nearly four years ago.  Most of the time our relationship is fine, and while he will have issues dealing with his ptsd, he does not take it out on me.  However, sometimes he does take it out on me and that's where my struggle comes in.

Currently we are in a long distance relationship, but I was planning to move up there in a few months when I graduate from college.  He was all gung-ho about this and excited.  However, suddenly he told me that he is scared for me to move up there and that things won't work out between us and that I'll have moved and he will have ruined my life.  I can understand the fear associated with me moving because that's a big change, but then it became more than that.  He went on to say that he didn't feel like we had a relationship, but only a friendship.  This really hurt me because I know we have a relationship.  I asked him how he could say that, and he said that he's never had a good relationship and doesn't know what that is, but that we just have a friendship, and he cares about me more than anyone, and we have a good sex life, but its just a friendship.  I tried to explain that what he was describing is not a friendship, but that is what a good relationship is.  He went on to say he just wasn't sure, and I asked him why then he told me he loves me and puts so much effort into me if he thinks we're just friends.  He told me his feelings he thought were those of love but that he doesn't know what love is really.  He continued to say that he doesn't have emotions and doesn't have an emotional connection to me or even to his son, and that he wanted to be single and find an emotional connection with someone so he could come back to me.  I told him that if I really do not make him happy and he really wants to find emotions with someone else that while it pains me to go ahead, but that I am not going to stick around while he dates other people and builds a bond with them because that makes no sense.

He then said that no that's not what he meant, he doesn't want me to leave and he doesn't want to date other people.  But he went on to say that he does want a relationship with me and that he wants to build things with me and grow in a relationship with me.  I told him that if that's true then what he was saying before wasn't logical.  It was a very circular argument and he continued just going round and round first saying he wanted to be with me, then saying he didn't, then saying he did, saying he didn't want me to move there, then saying he does want me to move there.  I told him I felt like he was pushing me away and he said that he was pushing me away because that he doesn't know if I am strong enough to handle him long term, and that if I knew the thoughts he really had in his head everyday that as soon as I knew them I would leave and push him away.


This really hurt me because I have always been there for him, and I have never once wanted to leave or run away, I was so hurt that he doesn't believe I would stay with him.  I know I will never understand what thoughts are in his head, but that doesn't mean I don't want to try and I don't want to be there for him and I don't want to support him.  Our conversation just kind of ended there, he wanted to go to bed, and said he'd talk to me at some point later.  So I have no idea what happened, I don't know if we broke up, I don't have any idea what happened.


i want to give him his space but I am scared to lose him.  I am scared he is going to throw everything away just because he can't handle his emotions.  I have started to research and I think all of this is related to his ptsd.  I have seen him have emotions with me, and I believe that he does have a connection to me, I would know if he didn't I feel like.  But he doesn't see that, or is scared to see that, or something.  I no longer feel like I can do this on my own, I don't feel like I know what to do about him on my own, but I don't want to lose him, and I want to show him I am here for him no matter what, but I don't know how to and I don't know what to do anymore.  I am looking for some advice or some something to help me with this relationship.  This isn't the first time this has happened, there's been other times he tries to push me away, but then will come back and act like nothing happened and when questioned really has no recollection of teling me those things or trying to push me away.  It is just really hard and I need some advice.

mla479 mla479
22-25, F
6 Responses Mar 14, 2009

This is very similar to what I am trying to deal with at the moment. My partner was diagnosed 12 months ago after coming back from afghan and is heavily medicated. We got engaged around 3 months ago and happily planned our wedding and around the world honeymoon for April next year. A week ago he cancelled the honey moon which devastated me but I understood his reasons and moved on, knowing that I still had a beautiful wedding and future to look forward to with my husband to be. At this time he was still eagerly making decisions on wedding plans. Then suddenly he tells me we wants to postpone the wedding cause he doesn't want to make a mistake. He can not explain why he wants to postpone the wedding and no matter how much he explains he ends up in the cycle of conversation where no questions are answered.

I fear that if the wedding is postponed that it will never happen because he will always find a reason for it not to go ahead. I don't know weather to to just give in again and postpone the wedding or push him into it and make him face the future.

Despite the amount of medication he's on I feel that in the last couple of weeks he has gotten worse. I understand this is for life and I support him in everyday possible but I don't want to play into the hands of the PTSD.

This sounds so familiar. I am getting ready to marry a man w/ PTSD. We've dated for 2 years and I met him after he returned from Iraq. It takes the patience of a saint dealing with these men. I can’t tell you how many times my fiancé has said things like that and hurt me deeply. I try to understand that it is a part of PTSD. They cannot help it that they do not feel emotion, but from what I understand with therapy and medication they can regain their ability to have an emotional connection. My fiancé has sought a lot of help and is on a lot of medication. I have seen a dramatic difference in him with the medication. However, he still goes through rough times. <br />
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Keep in mind that when your boyfriend is trying to explain these things to you that is him trying to let you into his world. It is still hurtful and confusing (believe me, I know), but if you want to stay with him be patient with him and do your best to not take it too personally. I have been very honest with my fiancé that I want to understand him, but it’s hard for me not to take it person when he says these kinds of things. Sometimes you feel like he doesn’t care or doesn’t love you like you love him. Once he even told me that “he could never love him like I love him” but later told me that “he never said that.” It messes with your mind and your heart. Now, that my fiancé has been through some therapy and is on the right medications he is able to be more reasonable. He understand that even if he doesn’t “feel for me” certain times (days, weeks, whatever) he still needs to be considerate of my feelings. We’ve been able to work through this together. It’s been a rough road and I know there are plenty of hard times ahead, but I made a decision that I love this man and I will stand by him in sickness and in health. Each person has to make their own decisions about if they want to live with a man who has PSTD, because yes PTSD has certain characteristics, but each man is a unique individual.<br />
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A lesson that I’ve learned through all of this is that I will be supportive of him, but I will not enable him to stay the same. I want to help him work through this and grow as a person. It’s hard and I know he will probably never fully get over what he’s been through, but I admire him, because most of the time I know he is trying really hard to work on his issues and be a good man for me. I would not tolerate alcoholism or abuse and he knows and respects that. I don’t know if my story helps you at all, but I thought I’d share my experiences. Please feel free to contact me anytime to talk.

Wow. Reading your stories are hitting home for me as well. All you ladies are amazingly strong. My bf of 2yrs has Ptsd. Not from military but from witnessing a bad accident involving his dad he was caring for. It is a tough story. <br />
I have a huge crush on my bf. i love him very much. but god damn when he snaps i do not want to get in his way. <br />
Here's a good incident. Friday night, the night before Holloween.. I see him out at the club then we meet each other at my place later after we both seperatly hang out with our friends. We have a fun crazy night.<br />
The next night we had talked about coming out together. I was to tried and stayed in. But i never got an invite out any ways. i here from him at 6pm and nothing about going out. But i still assumed he was going and i was ok to stay home.. I trust him when he goes out with out me. it's fine. 12:45. Was chillin' falling asleep. I heard a scratching in the corner of my room. I look to find it was a potatoe bug a pretty big one. So i go through a bit of shuffling around trying to trap this bug. Meanwhile my celli was on silent and was dying as well. I caught the bug and when i opened my front door to throw it out bf was standing there in a "Dead Presidents" outfit standing there with black and white make-up on his face and pissed off and drunk. He asked me what my problem was. So insted of letting him in, which i have done before and turned out horrible. i said "Now is not a good time to talk you are drunk" So he turned around and left. I heard the car door slam. had locked my doors and checked the windows then tucked myself back in to bed. I had checked my phone to see he has been calling and texting numerous of times after i had told him i was not wanting to hang out because i was to tired. Anyways he had come back and pounded at my door and yelling. Then called his friend complaining about me. I just sat there and didnt move. He eventually left and the next day i heard messages from him say i was with someone else and he never wants to talk to me again and he hates me. i was extremly hurt and frustrated that he would disrespect me like that. When i talked to him about it a few days later.. He didnt remember a thing..

Im so In the same situation, my BF of 2 years just cameback from his 3rd tour in Iraq, And was mr. Amazing and perfect before he left, even on leave, but now that he is back its the same thing, and we live together and he completely freaks out and tells me to leave and I cant move with him when we PCS in April, because its unfair and too much for me to deal with. <br />
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He was just diganosed with PTSD last friday... So maybe the meds and dr.s help I hope so anyways. Although I am learning more about it, and that he doesnt always mean what he says when he freaks out like this, most the time he doesnt even recall saying the things he does.

I can relate to you 100%. My ex-boyfriend is just like this...and I call him ex because that's my label for him, even though, he too pushed me away and we never had a discussion about breaking up. Just one day he got upset while he was drunk. He is in the military and has been on 3 deployments. Your story really hit home because I can relate so well to it. We had a long distance relationship and he moved down here for me. I've gotten a couple of texts from him that he misses me and we had something really amazing...yet, he won't talk to me and he's told mutual friends he's going to call me to talk, and he never broke my heart and mostly because I have no idea what happened. The day before he got upset he told me he was going to marry me someday, he was full of I love you's and very attentive and passionate and boom, the next day he shut down. I hope you and your boyfriend can work on the issues, but realize the issues are his. The pushing away and bringing you back isn't healthy for you. I feel for you.

Wow I connect to this so much although I just met bf 6 months ago -- it has been an emotional rollercoaster for the last 3 months or so and I couldn't understand why until reading your post. I can't even explain this to my friends and least I know I'm not alone.<br />
I hope it has worked out for the two of you.