This community is for discussions relating to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Please note, this community is not monitored by professionals, rather questions will be answered by other members of the community.
Heartbroken. Boyfriend has Ptsd. He just broke up with me. What should I do?
I'm 29 yr/ F. I have been dating someone with PTSD for about one year. The relationship began casual, as most do. But after awhile I started developing feelings for him to the point of now being in love with him.
Initially he wasn't taking any medication for his PTSD and it really affected his social life. He would go through spells where he wouldn't want to see me or anybody for weeks at a time. It hurt me but I kept telling him that I would wait for him and that I was here for him and I always tried to give him his space as he needed it.
Eventually he got some help and was prescribed some medication for the PTSD. It was amazing how much of a difference it made. He started to want to include me more in his life. It seemed like he started to connect with me more and he was spending a lot more time with me. We had a lot of fun together and I really felt like he was starting to open up to me.
However, he never told me how he felt about me. He never expressed any type of feelings for me. I just felt like he was starting to care for me because it seemed like he was making an effort to get closer to me by spending more time with me and inviting me to do more things with him. He just never expressed his feelings for me verbally and that was difficult for me. He also never wanted to put a "title" to our relationship, i.e., become "official" boyfriend/girlfriend. I was okay with this just because I loved him and wanted him in my life.
But then just a few days ago he texted me out of the blue and told me that he couldn't keep dragging me along. He said he doesn't feel love the way he's supposed to and it wasn't fair to me to stay in a relationship with me. He said I didn't do anything wrong, he just didn't feel right about it.
I am completely crushed. I have had the absolute WORST few days of my life. I am so heartbroken. I want him to know that I can be supportive of him like I've always tried to be. I want to be there for him. I want to care for him and love him. I want him in my life!
How do I know if he is just going through one of his "bad spells" from his PTSD where he wants to shut me out, or if he really just doesn't want to be with me anymore?? Do people with PTSD typically shut people out and then end up contacting them later, trying to salvage the relationship?
Should I just leave him alone and risk never talking to him again? I hate that feeling. We were like best friends and now nothing! Its the worst feeling in the world.
Is it likely that he will want to get back together after awhile? Or should I just forget all hope of getting him back in my life and move on?
The exact same thing happened to me many, many years ago. Back then though, there weren't meds to help - or at least, not effective ones. In my case, he did string me along for four years, and I was stupid enough to have hope. What a waste.
There is no way to predict what will happen in the future. You know that. For now, I'm afraid you'll have to take him at his word and let him go. He's just now beginning a long journey of dealing with PTSD and hopefully someday putting it behind him. Meds alone are not the answer, and I suspect he has only recently realized that fact. If he is unwilling to take you along with him on this journey, you can't change his mind.
I think you're better off going your separate ways, but you know the situation better than some stranger on the internet. It's up to you whether to try to initiate one last face-to-face conversation, but I doubt you'll change his mind. Even if you do, something tells me this sort of thing will only happen many more times.
If nothing else, I respect his honesty. He really does have so much going on in his head that there isn't room for an honest, intimate relationship right now. I feel for you and well remember the pain and confusion when I was in your shoes. Do what you think you must, but be prepared for disappointment.
Keep in mind that he necessarily needs to be focusing on himself. Until he is in a situation where he is healthy, he cannot give you what you need/deserve from a partner. It is very tempting to want to "fix" or nurture someone who is emotionally suffering, but with a condition that PTSD that is usually not something that can be done by a loved one. Take care of yourself, hope that he will do the same, and when both of you are in a healthy place perhaps the relationship can continue on a much more solid foundation.
I don't have the right answer, I can only share about my experience. I've been suffering from PTSD for several years, due to years of incest and I know that when I'm in a relationship where someone's too close, I tend to push 'em away to protect myself because i'm scared and worried and hurtin'.
I actually cannot offer any advice, I just had this happen myself and reading Jaybay's situation has helped me a bit. I know nothing can take the pain away, this past week I have been living in my own personal hell. I can not imagine what he his going through in his head. He was crying and had literal hurt all over his face when he walked away from him. Keeping you in my prayers keep us posted. I am hoping for a return in my relationship as well.
im dealing with a very similar situation. my boyfriend broke up with me after 3 and a half years out of nowhere - he has ptsd from an 15 month tour in afghanistan. hes shut down a few times before - a few days or weeks at most, but this time, its been 6 weeks and im losing it. he tells me he needs to figure stuff out, he doesnt know if hes capable of loving another person, and that he has a black heart, and i should run far away and save myself. thats the last thing i want to do. i told him im here and im not going anywhere, but he doesnt seem to care. hes barely spoken to me and only does so when i push, and its filled with anger and hostility. i dont know whats happening or where the guy i fell in love with went. i want him back but i dont know what to do and friends and family arent much support. does anyone have any advice?
Hello, I do feel for you both and especially for the individuals going through PTSD. I was in a long distance relationship with someone in the US airforce, our relationship was long distance, very close to getting married...his first deployment was in Iraq, he came back six to seven months after...seemed the same but wasn't, told me he loved me then never heard from him again...during his return, he was moody, having nightmares, couldn't sleep, very angry and was slowly withdrawing and just didn't care...shortly after his return from Iraq, before he could even deal with being back to civilian life, he was deployed again to Afghanistan and again tried contacting me again..I had moved on but my heart was still with him...when he came back from this deployment...after almost three years of not seeing him...he came back to me wanting things to work, flew down to see me, asking for another chance from my family and I...spent the holidays with him and he confided in me about what he was going through and wanted me to be there for him, wanted to move forward with me and that he needed me....two months later, he started withdrawing again so I flew down to make sure he was okay....he wasn't...mentally he was all over the place, angry...moody....cold...emotional....numb and he admitted to seeing a doctor every now and then. He felt like **** and that he was no good...said he still had feelings for me but constantly questioning himself.and couldn't reach those feelings..when I finally said...let go...he didn't want to but wasn't sure about anything...
All I can tell you both is that the best thing for individuals with PTSD is time to themselves...space....the realization that they need help on their own...when I saw my boyfriend for the very last time, I was very loving to him no matter how destroyed my heart had been from him after the last three years of depression, no closure, no answers...I was not angry and reminded him how much of an amazing man, a wonderful human being that he is and not to let those deployments define who he is...I told him that I love him very much, how valuable of a person he is to me, how I wanted the both of us to be there for each other... but that he needed to heal...his response was...tears...emotion...I broke through a little bit but it wasn't enough. He may have been cold to me, unsure..but I responded to him in the most loving way consistently and then the next day I had to fly home. I don't hear from him anymore, when I checked in to the airport, I broke down into tears b/c I had been in depression over him over the last three years and after thinking that I had accepted everything, he came back only to leave me in pain again...but it's not his fault... but I hope he's okay b/c now it's my turn to heal again...even after three years...another year to heal my own heart and to pray for him. Half the time, they don't know that they have PTSD but they will remember your loving ways in their process of healing and hopefully that will give your men strength...I still love him very much and it hurts to think about him but....you have to take things one day at a time and accept that at the end of all your pain...something has to give whether it be a life with or without them...From what I know...PTSD is like a bug that they can't get rid of in their heads but if they know deep down during those down times where they are able to escape from the numbness, that they are loved or remember those loving times with their loved ones...it hopefully helps them heal...instead of hoping and wondering when they will come back to you...it's more peaceful to hope that they heal first. All the best to everyone here dealing with a loved one who has this and especially to the individuals who are going through it first hand...my heart goes to you especially....it's not your fault...blame it on the PTSD...not on your heart.
I can relate to everyone on this. My concern for us in these situations it can/will emotionally hurt us. I found it important to myself, once I decided I was in it for the long haul, was seeking out consoling for myself so I could respond in a positive, helpful way. Please take care of yourselves as your happiness is the key to being helpful to that loved one with PTSD. Best of wishes, Anna
I have been going through the same thing, last month, my veteran out of the blue told me he doesn't know if he loves me anymore. Then he disappeared, became cold, constantly putting me down, finding fault with everything, started having nightmares and wetting the bed. I'm a nurturer by heart and and dying bc all i want to do is help him and be there for him, but he has cut me out of his life. He won't talk to me, email, or text. I have decided to let him be bc he asked me for his space. I don't know what else to do. It has been 5 weeks, and I still cry like the day it happened. I feel a little better when i realize that it wasn't me, that it is his brain, but still i still kind of take it personal. It just hurts so bad, and question how can this be happening if he is 'the one'. it took me 20 years to find him (i am 37 and never married) and I like to fight for things. By just letting go, i feel like I am giving up, but what else can I do? I do find some comfort in knowing that I am not the only one this is happening to.
I am in a similar situation, and wanted to share what I've learned. If someone asks you to walk away, then I think that's the best possible thing to do. It's great if (as alynn77 recommends) you can end it with respect and affection, rather than anger. Makes it easier for both people. The person with PTSD is full of unpredictible pain, and the person loving them has been along for the ride - trying to be a buffer, and getting damaged in the process. I think both partners need counselling - on their own. If each is able to heal, then it may be possible to be friends again in future. Worst case scenario after good counselling is that each person starts to feel more whole : )
I'd really recommend looking for a counsellor who does Somatic Experiencing - it focuses on healing from the body, rather than talking over problems and solutions. I've had a couple of sessions so far, and it has really helped.
Hi everyone, thanks for sharing all your thoughts.. it has helped me. I have just been diagnosed with PTSD and at a loss and thus ended my relationship last week. It's just too hard watching him suffer as well as trying to be well when around him. Pressure is too much and I need way too much space. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to have a relationship again, I feel too damaged and wouldn't wish the impact of that on anyone else. Hopefully I will get better but if I never have a relationship again, I think I'll be ok with that, I've been lucky enough to have been loved deeply. I have amazing friends who support me so I'm so grateful for that as well.
Through this site and your comments I went seraching some more and I found this site https://www.ptsdforum.org which I think was a bit of a revelation to me! I wish I'd seen it earlier as I thought I was going a mad! Hope it helps someone else too.
Wishing you all the very best with your lives and health. : )
it is a terrible situation to be in ~~ I've been in and out of this for 5 yrs...this time we bought a house together--he then announced that I wasn't welcome there and changed the locks ~~ I have an an appointment with attorney ...
he has always come around---but this time I am not so sure I want to stick it out...good grief--enough is enough...............
Hello, I have been diagnosed as a Veteran with PTSD, I went to the VA with anger managment type problems. was given Prozac. my wife almost divorced me as a result to how more mean, angry, violent, and confentational I became while on Prozac. I stopped taking it and have now went back to my "normal" ******* self. I cant find anywhere where professionals talk about anger as a side effect from prozac. but from personal expirience, and if you simply google does prozac make you mean and read the hundreds of posts from other people that have expirienced the same reaction. I dont believe Prozac should be given to anyone that already has anger or violent tendencies. Drs will say that Prozac dont do this, but I say bullcrap. too many people are saying they have expirienced the same reaction. Im telling you for a fact, I should be dead on the account of trying to pick a fight with every ugly sucker that looked at me wrong while I was using this medicine. I couldnt help it. I would go 0 to 90 in nothing but a split second. I dont like anything about Prozac for a guy like me. maybe it works for others with different Issues. but I say anything related to anger or PTSD, my opinion is Prozac isnt the answer.
Yes and I hate to sound like a horrible person, but as someone with PTSD and a friend to plenty of people with PTSD (because I spent some time in sand too) he has changed. You need to give him room to breathe. If you want me to tell you about all the things he has seen and done that he won't tell you, that he is trying to forget which is why he is so quiet I can. You won't be happy. You just need to give him space. He will start o remember what life is like without the weight of body armor and without a weapon and he will come back to you.
It's unfortunate but PTSD has the capability to destroy relationships. It is very common for someone with PTSD to feel detached from his/her emotions. It *****, because you can build up to the emotions and never be able to feel them. It's like a firework that you light up but it never goes off. For someone with PTSD it's very frustrating to not be able to connect. It feels almost like you are the walking dead. Everything is a chore from the simplest to the most complex...you get lost in the peripheral details. The best thing to do is educate yourself on how you can support your boyfriend with PTSD if he does come back. The real work however will have to come from him and depending on how severe his PTSD is, the recovery may be a long, frustrating, and emotional roller-coaster. If he does seek help; know that typically it gets worse before it gets better. This will be emotionally taxing for anyone in his life but just let him know how bizarre he may act that you will accept him unconditionally. There will be times that he goes away and needs to be alone...isolation is very common. Having your consistency of you being there when he comes back will be very important, if you so choose to do so, but until your boyfriend seeks the help he needs and establishes coping skills to manage his PTS then i'm afraid a stable relationship between the two of you will probably be unreachable. Encourage him in any way you can to seek counsel, medication can only do so much...The VA has great programs and in group, among family, and friends he may find the acceptance he needs to reconnect to the world and more importantly those he loves or at least would like to love. Good luck and God Bless!
The most wonderful man I ever met just did this to me a week ago as well. I hate PTSD and what it has done. My heart aches and I'm tired of missing this man I fell in love with. My heart breakes that I'm unable to help him in any way and he won't even speak to me. All I can do is pray
I am sorry to hear about your boyfriend and you breaking up...Yes PTSD is a horrible affliction and I would never ever wish it on my own worst enemy.
You seem pretty savvy about knowing you cannot help in any way, but prayer of any kind has its own healing powers....
Thank you so much for posting, am praying for your healing and happiness...
i did this to my husband when we were younger. we dated on and off for 6 and a half years and then i moved in and realized that this was the best person for me that i loved this person and this person loved me healing takes time and we can be very distant just let him know that you are there for him and be there for him when he dose try to talk to you. you don't have to wait and be faithful just to him my husband has had manny other relationships while we weren't together during the 6 years and i don't blame him. as long as he knows you are there to be a shoulder to lean on and cry on he will come back weather it takes months or years. sure he might not be exactly like me but this had worked for my current husband. i hope things work out for you
I am in the same situation as everyone else is, my boyfriend an i been on and off since 2007 before his deployment, he broke it off with me and had no explanation and it hurted so bad but I let him be free, I started a new relationship but all I could do was think of him, so finnaly in 2012 we reunited and it was so different we talked more, spent allot of time together and what not, but then it took a turn, he has been diagnosed with PTSD and High blood pressure, he had a few bad episodes were i had to call his mother and he went to the V.A for a week, but he doesnt hold anything against me, he got to the point were he always wanted me by his side never out of his sight, His family plays a big role in it to, they dont want him to be happy, but they finaly relized that I am here for him no matter what, I got a apology from his mother and i was so flabergasted like what was the apology for, and then she wanted to start taking us out to eat and his sisters wanted to get to no me more, but i took rain checks, I had to fall back from his family becasue I seen what they were doing to are relationship, Mind you my man has served 7 yrs in the service and signed up for another 3 I tried talking him out of it, but as well as I told him I support whatever he does, yes it hurts so much when he needs his space he wont tell me but i no when he leaves and wont text back or call, last time it was years before we talked and i dont want that to happen again, I really Love this man and he no's it, when we first met we couldnt believe we had the same tattoos, were like omg really we did have are fun times together, late night conversations in bed, but I feel this is the end again, and his family has a big impact on it, it has broke me down were i dont want to be around anyone, and I no thats not healthy and not me at all, I am so sad confused and hurt but I leave everything in gods hands, I pray he would just get the help he needs and take his meds, but I have to care for myself and think about me as he heals hisself, I will always be here for him no matter what and he no's that but i cant keep putting my life on hold, I am only getting older not younger
I'm in the same boat. 2+ year on and off relationship with an OIF vet who I know loves me but who keeps breaking up with me! The last time he broke up with me by email (!) so believe me, the whole breakup/shut down/no communication/no explanation/no negotiation/no warning thing is OLD news to me and I finally decided that as much as I love him, if I continue to let him abuse me this way, then there must be something missing in my life, too. So, I have been focusing on ME - exercising, time with friends, hobbies, volunteering, reading, etc. Yes, I am still open to him and try to touch in with him occasionally but will I put myself in a place where he can do this again? Nope. If he wants to be with me, he needs to step up to the plate and get over his fears. Otherwise, all we will ever be is just friends and I know I will eventually fall in love with someone else.
The LoVe of my life left me. This is the second time. We found each other in Sept/2010. In LoVe by Aug/2011. I fell in LoVe like I have never fallen befor, but soon realized that my man I LoVe was broken. His ugly childhood would turn his blue eyes black. I had no clue how to go about LoVing someone who was in so much pain. Confusing times; he always thout I was going to hurt him. People wer going to hurt him. We would fight & it was rocky, but after every fight we would hold each other & forgive. May/2012 everyone realized there's something wrong & his family took him to the hospital. His family has never liked me because they wer confused like me. They blamed me for everything either though he was sick way befor I came into the picture. They told me it was over. Leave him alone. I should for get about him. No contact for 1 month & 6 days. I have never cried like that befor & my heart was so dedicated to him; that I held hope inside me. My hope & faith came threw because he texted me out of the blue & we met & started over. Words were said that this would never end. If we can find each other again; that we can do this. For ever kind of LoVe. He got healthy with meds & was diagnosed with PDSD. Things wer beautiful. He came to my mothers for Christmas & It was the happiest time of my life. He then told me, his family & his Doc that he was better & that it was a faze. We wer foolish & let him go off his meds. He moved in with me at the same time. We wer both even more happier then we have ever been because now we could go to sleep holding each other & wake up holding each other. We would never have to be apart again, but that was just a Beautiul Fantcy. It was not a faze, but a life long battle that has just started. He got sick & fell to the bottom again just 4 months later in June/2013. His family hated me even more because he moved in with me. They diden't like that I had him & that he LoVed me. I knew if he ever moved back in with them I would never,ever see him again! They would take him away from me again for good the second time. They lied to me when we said our good bys. They said we could talk everyday & that it won't be like when he went to the hospital & we see each other in couple weeks after he gets some rest & back on his meds. They said that so he would let go of me & get in the car. The last thing I said to him was to not let them brake us apart. We can make it threw again. Please don't for get about our LoVe. About our life. About how much I LoVe him & need him. I kissed his lips & hugged him & tried to savor that moment for I knew it was the last. Once again (his family) went on his FB & changed everything. Took his cell away & cut me out. Told him lies about me in his sickness & confusion. I have leanred that you can't take someone away from there family, but they can take away your LoVe. They can take everything away.....I will todally 100% respect his choice on taking space if this is what it is again like last time & he will come back to me...or it could be his family on the other side of his cell & FB & they made the choice & I will never see or hear from him again. That's the one thing that hurts me the most. I Never Got An Answer. Maybe someday I will. These past 2 years just sits in my head. People tell me to have faith because he came back once befor. It hurts to hold hope though because I could be waiting for nothing. Thats a choice init itself to just wait. I am just breathing everyday & trying to keep busy. Every peace of joy I have ever felt is gone. I am num. There is no such thing as happiness anymore. I kiss him & say "if your happy, I'm happy. If your sad, I'm sad. If your broken, I'm broken. You are my merror. I LoVe you. I'm waiting here everyday. Don't forget about me". That's what I am doing. Just waiting. Weather he comes back or not. Weather he was even mine in the first place & this relationship was doomed from the beggining. I will not LoVe another for a long time. He was the one that got away. I will never forget him.
the love of my life just did the same last night. completely pushed himself away and cut me off. i feel at a complete loss and wish i could understand why he is feeling how he is feeling. he refuses to see a therapist and rarely tells me his worries. we have been together for a year and a half, but recently he has been more distant and his normally passive, docile demeanor has turned angry and borderline aggressive. i really dont understand it. he told me he thinks about how much easier life would be if he were dead. now he has ended things with me and i am so heartbroken but also scared for him. he wont talk to his family either. i don't understand what happened to push him over the edge. please help! i feel like i contributed to this, but i didn;t understand what was going on in his head.
Thank you for writing this. You addressed so many of the concerns and fears I have had after being abandoned by my Marine with PTSD. I'd always tried to love him no matter what--sometimes it felt like I was trying to love and hold a tornado, but I always told myself that as long as he knew that I didn't care, that in the end, that would be all that mattered. I'm glad someone understands. Thank you.
I loved reading your response. I have a boyfriend who was an Army Ranger for 12 years and he is suffering from severe PTSD. Your stories and others like it are like reading about myself. I just dont know whether to end it or keep hanging on. He says he doesnt trust me but he loves me and doesnt want to lose me. That is so confusing to me. God I hate this situation. I pray for him every night. Hopefully God is listening.
Wow! I am going thru the same thing! 2 yrs with a Ret. 26 yr Veteran. He got out in 2006. He has shut down on me. I last saw him in May 2013. 5 weeks I was with him in GA. I live in CA. We have been flying back n forth to see each other. Most of our relationship has been pretty good...this is his 2 nd shutdown on me. It's now 2 weeks. Will not get my calls or return texts. He was to move here by Oct 11. Since May, the texting stopped in Aug. then it got to where I was the only one calling...then I had to make a fuss, then he would callback ....to now nothing. No reason or anything...because he has ran before....and I am very educated on this PTSD...I know now what's going on. I'm hurt too. I will fly to GA in Nov....and try and get some answers...see if we can salvage this. We met in 1983. He 18, me 19. We were best friends back then...well he left to Germany, and I did not see him again for 30 yrs! He found me thru Facebook! We got together in 2011, and fell in love. The 1st time he shutdown was in Nov 2011 thru July 2012. In between, he sent me texts...far and in between. Maybe 2 lines worth. So since 2012 till now, it's been pretty good. Now this happens, and I don't know why. I fear he may not be able to leave GA. I can only pray now.
These are all great comments and resonate with my own experiences -- emotional distance, disengagement, etc. A great book to recommend -- "Once a Warrior..." by Charlie Hoge. It gave me some great perspective and the first person stories were tremendously helpful. Praying for all who suffer from PTSD and those who love them, from afar or near.
This happened to me last week when my boyfriend came back from deployment. The first day was amazing and then completely shutdown. He ignored calls and texts for a day or two, until I showed up at his apartment which then he said our relationship was going to workout and have no choice but to move on. Im a fighter, and the gut feeling inside of me is telling me to fight. Should I respect his wishes. I know he loves me, its there under the layers of fear, anxiety, and angered. I was not aware of how ugly the PTSD beast is, and I hurt for him. I want to help him in some way. Im confused and hurt.
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