Peer support subsequent to trauma contributes to full recovery

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) -- including complex trauma (cPTSD) -- is debilitating, breaking down the body through anxiety and stress, and it poses a significant suicide risk in sufferers. MyPTSD seeks to help and inform those who are directly or indirectly affected by these conditions through peer-to-peer support and educational resources.

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Dating Someone With Ptsd

Discussion in 'Supporter Relationships' started by christine12, Oct 11, 2012.

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  1. christine12

    christine12 Member

    Hello, I have just recently started dating someone with PTSD, but I have some questions for anyone who has dated, is dating, or married to someone suffering from PTSD. The guy that i am dating wants me to do research and sit in on groups with other people who are supporters care givers or what not to people wit PTSD.... he says he wants me to know completley what i am getting into relationship wise so I can make informed descions for myself. I would like to hear from other people and what they think? how they have dealt with it? any suggestions?

    Thank you for any help
    BloomInWinter, Abstract and p-no like this.
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  3. Trembling

    Trembling Falling in a deep hole.....


    Christine12, I am very surprised about the honesty the new man in your life has towards you. Is he in treatment?

    He is right, if you are interested in a serious relationship, the best you can do is to learn all you can, to get information, to ask for things you do not understand, and believe me - this will happen.

    You made the first big step in coming here.

    You will find many people who can tell you lots of their experience and who will be there for you when needed.

    Good luck!
    Abstract, christine12 and Junebug like this.
  4. here4him

    here4him Member

    I started dating a guy early in the summer who was very much like what you have described. He told me everything the went through in Iraq in great detail and swore he had told me more than his dad (who he is very close to) and his therapist. There was a huge level of trust between us. He sent me articles he felt were good about dealing with PTSD and TBI and wanted to do everything possible to help me understand.

    Unfortunately, the relationship ended about a month ago anyway. The added stress of just daily relationship expectations was more than he could handle (his words, not mine). I'm devastated. He told me he still wanted to be friends, that he didn't want to cut me out of his life, and he wanted to still talk and hang out. He now won't speak to me. I've texted him a couple of times very simple things like, "Hey, how was your week?" and I get no response at all. The only way I know he's still alive is that we're still friends on Facebook.

    So, my advice would be to learn all you can about PTSD, but understand that that may still not save your relationship.
    bibi, Abstract and HelloMo80 like this.
  5. Nicolette

    Nicolette ♡ Supporter Admin ♡
    Supporter Admin

    5.5 years down the track and married.

    Wow what a ride! I would learn as much as you can however translating what is read or said is nothing compared to the reality of the journey. For me life has got better but I've earned my stripes!

    Good luck.
    Abstract, Junebug, p-no and 1 other person like this.
  6. amethist

    amethist The Mystic Duck

    I have to agree with Nicolette here, as for me also 5 years down the line and being married for 4 years before PTSD invaded our lives.

    This is something you have to go into with your eyes wide open and to expect the unexpected. Nothing can prepare you for the realities of how it really is day to day.
    Abstract, Nicolette and p-no like this.
  7. Springer80

    Springer80 I'm a VIP

    Having ptsd has felt like trying to box with a ghost on a ship deck covered in ball bearings. It is absolutely exhausting at times and very distressing when you can't control your own body and responses. Sometimes it just consumes you. Trying to explain this to others is tricky. Trying to maintain a normal balance on the outside when inside is a hurricane is difficult. The tragic part is that the sufferer is aware but often incapable of influencing the path of their condition and its effects. To often be blamed, misunderstood or pushed in unhelpful directions by others good but ill informed intentions can inflame the situation and the medical profession is normally a hindrance in the process unless you can find a specialist.

    I started to try and get help in 1999, I'm just getting to the point where I can build a modified life that won't do me further damage and then hopefully I can look for serious relationships again.

    Good luck.
    Abstract, p-no and Junebug like this.
  8. Junebug

    Junebug I'm a VIP
    Premium Member

    Christine12, I think he has been (incredibly) forthcoming with you.

    Here4him, it's usually what 'isn't' said that's part of the key to the problem. Internal Shame, Guilt, beliefs, horrors. As Springer said, that don't go away. And that perhaps he can't even identify (or identify yet).

    But I don't think anyone wants to feel like a liability to their partner. It really requires lots of (continual) work on the sufferer's part and very unique SO's for it to be worth it and possible in a healthy way.

    Best wishes to all.
    bibi, Abstract, Trembling and 2 others like this.
  9. Enigma66

    Enigma66 Member

    Hi, I think it's a very good thing that he wants you to be informed and included. Its great that he is aware of the dynamics and wants you to go in with some knowing and understanding for yourself. However you have to be careful that you keep a balance for yourself.
    Abstract, christine12 and Springer80 like this.
  10. christine12

    christine12 Member

    Thank you to everyone with your replies it has helped me a lot... He is very well informed about his PTSD and he does attend a support group for veterans.. and he has health issues that are from being in Combat. He has been very open and honest about his PTSD and how it effects him and what it has done to him , he isn't a emotional person his level on things are so completely different to just a regular person.

    He wanted me to seek guidance because he said he wouldnt be only in my life but if we are in a serious relationship than he would be around my daughters as well. And I very much respect that about him, you dont meet many people who are like that or even think about those things. I admire that about him. But here is one thing, I am a very nuturing person I am expressive and I care probably way to much about people..... I can tell this is diffrent for him because he seems to not know what to do with me when I am that way.... my question what should I do ? How should I be? What things should I look for or certain things I shouldnt do?? Just want us to make our way the right way
    Abstract, Trembling and Springer80 like this.
  11. Springer80

    Springer80 I'm a VIP

    Have you read the book or watched the film The Horsewhisperer? I think it's kind of like that.
    Abstract likes this.
  12. christine12

    christine12 Member

    I would like to thank you for your comments on my post i truly appreciate them
    Springer80 and Trembling like this.
  13. christine12

    christine12 Member


    I truly appreciate the advice and espically from a person who has ptsd and knows what it feels like inside. I hope that I can be someone in his life that helps him
    Springer80 likes this.
  14. Trembling

    Trembling Falling in a deep hole.....

    Christine12, I am amazed of your man and the way you approach the situation.

    But, as the others said, it is not easy and you will see it. Your question on how to react or how to change yourself is from my point of view not so simple to reply to - they all react differently, or dislike different comments, reactions or behaviors.

    Some things are just similar, but I guess at the end it is complicated and everyone of us has to find out ourselves.

    Love, understanding and stepping back or out, can help a lot.

    All the best!
  15. celia

    celia Active Member

    I can hear your excitement and fresh attitude about your new relationship. You're innocent right now and feel up to the challenge. Just looking back at when I was new with my exboyfriend....I was not informed of what was to come. Once the boom lowered on me...I went into shock like...who is this person? Why would he say such hurtful things? I was constantly thinking he really doesn't love me...what did I do wrong? I kept blaming myself and a lot of times they will blame you. Remember to always tell yourself , its not your fault.

    The positive side is that he is upfront with you...that way you may be able to ride the wave when it comes a little better than I did. He must be in treatment and therapy and that is a huge plus! He is aware of his PTSD.
    Take heed to his advice and read everything, Once a Warrior always a Warrior, When you Love Someone from Post Traumatic Stress, The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Relationship and this forum for sure will allow you to ask questions and express your frustration.

    Peace and love,
  16. Marcey

    Marcey New Member

    I've been dating a combat TBI/PTSD vet for 2 months...until last night.

    My heart is broken, and I don't know what to do. Our first date was simple and beautiful, and he said "this was the best 'first date' I have ever had!". I was devastated by divorce 4 years ago and was leary about the whole dating thing already, and that statement scared me to death because I felt the same way!

    I almost didn't accept a second date with him because he was coming on too strong for me, not in a disrespectful way, he has ALWAYS been respectful of me as a woman. But I told him his persistence scared me, that I have baggage, that I had serious trust issues, that I was afraid. But he assured me that he was the right man for me. "I can help you carry your baggage", "I can help you repackage it, making it easier to carry. Just give me a chance, please".

    He gave me hope that I could trust him, that he was different, that he was the man who could see past some of my "issues", could appreciate me, love me, see the good I could bring to a relationship. So I let my guard down and accepted a second date. It was on that second date (a walk along the beach), that I realized that he was right...he was the man for me.

    I saw the kind, strong, loving, gentle, patient, wonderful and loyal, man...warrior...that he is. He told me when we first met that he had PTSD but that he had a "handle on it". So, not really understanding what it meant to have TBI or PTSD, I thought, "ok, he sees a therapist, he has this under control. After all, he's been through so much!".

    In hindsight, I could not have been more wrong. He has been in the Army, and the Army Nat'l Guard for 37 years. He is still active duty until 12/2012, when he will retire and/or be out on disability. Currently, he is active, but disabled. He has done 7 missions - 2 stateside, 4 in Iraq and the last in Afghanistan. He has only been home since Feb/2012 and in treatment for 2-3 months.

    I have not been in a committed relationship since my divorce. I dated a man sporadically over a couple months but nothing serious. When I met my vet, it wasn't long before we knew we were in love. After a month of "heaven" he suddenly changed and became someone I didn't recognize. And my world turned upside down.

    He goes back and forth between pulling me close and pushing me away or detaching from me and I'm left feeling unwanted, unloved, he becomes withdrawn and distant, I feel unimportant in his life, that I'm an inconvenience (keep in mind, I have my own issues and this probably has more to do with my insecurities). This is how I felt not understanding the magnitude of what was happening in his world, the world he would not, could not, fully disclose to me.

    Intellectually, I knew that this had nothing to at all to do with me and everything to do with him...respectfully. He did try to explain it to me once, and then he shut right down. Last night he told me that he "loves me and cares for me very deeply". That I am "everything he has ever wanted, and more" but that right now he has far to much on his plate and although he thought he could handle a relationship, he realizes now that he is not in a good place to have a girlfriend, to be a partner.

    When I heard this, my heart broke for him, imagining the terrible pain he must be in...for me, at the thought of losing this wonderful man...and for us, as a couple, and the life we'd hoped to share together. He told me that if he was able to be what he wanted to be for me, he would prove it by putting a ring on my finger but right now, he can't be that man.

    I said I would wait for him, wait for him to do the work (he's in a Prolonged exposure program), and I would work on me and when we come out on the other side we'll be better for ourselves and for each other. He said "I'm NOT abandoning you. This sucks, but I am going to ask that we back this off to being extra good friends, at least until I can rid myself of some of the stuff I have to deal with right now".

    I'm a hospice RN and I see pain and suffering every single day, but I can help, I can ease my patients pain and suffering. But I have never felt so helpless to doing something to help someone in my whole life, especially the man I love.

    What can I do for him? Will he come back to me? Is there a website that can guide me in what I can do. I'll do whatever it takes, whatever will help him, ease his pain.

    He has no close family connections, and even those he has are 3000 miles away. Myself, and my daughter (16yo), are the closest to family that he has...or has let into his life. He and my daughter have developed a real connection too. She's a high honors student in high school who can talk to him about her school subjects, her aspirations and hopes for her future...he takes an interest in her her life and future (her own father is not in her life at all - by his choice) and he was adamant that I let her know that he is not abandoning us...that he loves her too.

    Is there anyone out there that can shed some light on this for us...can help me understand him. I love him very much, and he deserves whatever I can do. Thank you for all your stories.
    WVgirldiane and Abstract like this.
  17. christine12

    christine12 Member

    @ Marcey Welcome; I know this has to be hard and probulaly something you didn't want to be discussing on a forum. However I can tell you that since I have been on here it has helped me tremdeously and in lightened me on views and opinions I hadn't thought of.

    I can tell by your heart warming story that you lovee this man very much and I know its very hard to have opened up your heart and put your guard down espically with baggage. I commend you for even trying most people don't once they have been hurt. I think that the good part of it is at least he gave you a explanation for not being able to be with you right now, and he gave you some hope with telling you that he Loves you and that he wants to hopefully reconnect when he gets more assistance and learns how to be in a relationship.

    I can say that from any advice I have received is just let him know you are there for him and your not leaving him , and that regardless of this time apart you will be there working on yourself , and its a good thing to work on you seek assistance go to some PTSD meeting and speak with some of the people there weither there supporters or suffers they know things first hand and can in lighten you on what to expect or what to focus on and what not to take literally to heart .... I wish you the best of luck with this well as keeping yourself leveled and Sain take your time and be easy hearted

    Sinverly, Chrissy
    Abstract and Marcey like this.
  18. itsKismet

    itsKismet I'm a VIP
    Premium Member

    What can you do? Tell him you're there for him, and back off. If you push, he may run.

    Read anything and everything here on the forum. Many of us sufferers do the yo-yo thing, wanting to be close to someone but pushing them away when things get to be too much. There are a lot of supporters who have written very similar stories to yours.

    Will he come back? Nobody can answer this question.
    Justmehere, bibi, SonyPR and 3 others like this.
  19. Dallas

    Dallas Well-Known Member

    Wow...way too fast there...for ANYONE...PTSD-related or not. I think it takes at LEAST 9 months to a year to get to know someone, especially if you are thinking of a future together.

    I would back way off...let him go through his treatment and allow him to concentrate on healing and getting well. In the meantime, I would concentrate and focus on developing your own life, making it the best it can be. Don't waste any of your gifts and talents God gave you. And I wouldn't depend on a guy you just met to fulfill something missing in your own life. That's not fair to him, and gives you the opportunity to explore the endless blessings and opportunities available in your own life.

    p-no and Marcey like this.
  20. Marcey

    Marcey New Member

    I'm doing something wrong when trying to post so I apologize for the "extra", blank, posts. Thank you all, for your responses. I so appreciate your thoughts and advice. I have let him know that I am here...that I'm not going anywhere. He knows me, and I know he appreciates my telling him that. Do I really need to totally back off? No texting, no nothing? Dallas, I know it all seems to have moved so fast...I agree...but sometimes love just happens that way. We hadn't made any "plans" for the future but talked about the fact that we might have something developing that just might lead to a future together. Neither of us had been seriously involved with anyone in the last 4-5 years. How can I locate a PTSD support group? Are there books I can get? Can anyone speak to the Prolonged Exposure Program? Again, thank you all for your words of encouragement and hope...for your help. I too am seeing a therapist and am working on my "stuff" as I wait, I will continue my work.

  21. Dallas

    Dallas Well-Known Member

    I would wait for him to make ALL the moves.

    1) I am old fashioned and think the guys should be the ones to pursue.

    2) It lets you gauge their interest level in you.

    3) I think it demeans men when women take over the relationship. Especially if they are insecure about issues about Military trauma.

    4) I think all these rules apply in any relationship, whether or not PTSD is involved.

    5) Just because they have PTSD does not mean they are retarded or incapacitated about what they are feeling. In fact I am finding it is quite the opposite. My guy is very vocal and opinionated about what he is thinking and feeling. More than any other man I've known.

    6) Let the man be the man and the woman be the woman in the relationship. Things work much better that way. Let things progress naturally. Let the man lead.

    7) If you don't hear from him, so what. Just concentrate on your own life.

    ScaredOfLonely likes this.
  22. amethist

    amethist The Mystic Duck

    2 months is such a short time Marcey, and I have to agree with Dallas.

    Let him be the man, let him do the running after you, let him initiate contact. If he doesn't, then he is not the man you thought he was.

    PTSD may be too high up in his mind to concentrate on anything else, so letting him have his space without bombarding him with texts and trying to get in contact with him is what you will have to do.

    Make sure you have a good fun filled life whether he is around or not, it is the best advice anyone could give you.
    Dallas, p-no and Ayesha like this.
  23. here4him

    here4him Member

    Oh Marcey, I'm so sorry. I could have written your post two months ago. I heard the exact same thing as in your quote. It was almost word for word. Then, within days, he did exactly what he said he wouldn't do and abandoned me. He had told me to call or text anytimg and that we'd still talk and hang out. Then, he quit returning calls and texts and blocked me on Facebook. I hadn't heard a word out of him in about a month and a half until this morning. I sent him a birthday card last week (against my better judgement) and he texted to tell me thank you. I was shocked. I never expected any acknowledgement, but it was nice to know he got it and wasn't angry that I sent it. But, that was all it was. Four quick texts between us. He's not coming back, but at least I assume he doesn't hate me, which is what I thought before.

    But, anyway, I just wanted to say I'm sorry for what you're going through. It hurts so bad to find the man of your dreams and have PTSD take him away.
  24. p-no

    p-no Guest

    here4him, and Marcey,

    I am sorry if this hurts you, but "the man of your dreams" and "PTSD" are not separate in this. They are both part of the man you fell in love with, "the man with PTSD". You can not separate him from his PTSD. I know from experience.
    Dallas and Nicolette like this.
  25. HopeForever

    HopeForever New Member

    I'm in love with the same type of man. He is currently in the deepest " funk" as he calls them, and it is so hard for me to sit back and see someone that I love so much be in so much pain. He is the man of my dreams as well when he's not in these funks.

    I've known him for 14 years, but we've only been dating 2 I do know his true character. But I can say, just hang in there. Its so important not to push, because it only makes it worse. The last time we went without talking it was for a month..and after 2 weeks I read enough on here to know that I just needed to step back and do my thing. So I focused on going to the gym and things like that.

    Just know that its NOT you and that this is truly a test of patience. I truly hope it all works out for you..I completely understand what its like to be in your shoes!
  26. christine12

    christine12 Member

    @sarah2012 thank you for your comment I truly needed to read this , this morning going thru some confusion and battles in my own mind about all of this . Not really what way to turn or should I just give up. Feel like I am doing all the compromising and adjusting but when is he going to do it for me ? I can see the care I. His face and in his eyes when I hurt by things and I know he cares but is that enough to sustain a person. I asked him did he want me to give up his response while he was wiping my tears was I want you to be happy... I just wish he knew he made me happy. Maybe I need to take a kick boxing class to level out my frustration level and confusion.. I don't know.
    But I wish u the best of luck on ur situation as well
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