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Long Distance Army Boyfriend Recently Back From Afghanistan.

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Rebecca M, Sep 3, 2011.

  1. Rebecca M

    Rebecca M New Member

    I could really use some advice on my situation. My boyfriend is in the Army, we dated for a year back in 2007 and things didn't work out. We rekindled our friendship while he was in Afghanistan in 2010 and I visited him over his leave and we decided to get back together.

    While he was in Afghanistan he would always send me very sweet emails, he would send flowers/gifts to me regularly, and he would call me every chance he could. We skype called several times a week and he was so loving, everything was perfect.

    He is currently stationed in Germany (I live in the US) and ever since he has been back from Afghanistan things have been so different. The sweet messages and frequent phone calls have stopped. When we do talk he is very quiet and seems distracted. He is drinking almost every day, sometimes he calls me and doesn't even remember it. He won't call when he says he will, doesn't really respond to my messages. He recognizes that he is feeling depressed and he tells me that his problems have nothing to do with me and that his feelings for me haven't changed. He has said that he wishes he could go back to Afghanistan because he felt like he was doing something there and now he hates his job.

    He is planning on moving to Maryland be with me in February and I keep hoping that once he gets here things would be the way they used to be. I keep having the feeling that his love for me has lessened because he isn't expressing it in the ways he used to. It's almost like he doesn't care at all. When I try to talk about it he becomes frustrated and won't really talk to me about it. I want to be supportive of him but I don't want to become overbearing. Since he is in Germany I now send him care packages, write him emails, send pictures, call him, and I try to be there for him in any way that I can, but it seems very unappreciated.

    I am wondering if I should be doing something differently? Should I not call him or write to him or send packages if it seems to go unappreciated? I want to help him, and I worry that I am doing something wrong when he acts so distant. It's very hard when you are physically 4000 miles apart and then feeling like you are not emotionally connected.

    If anyone has any advice for me I would really appreciate it.
  2. anthony

    anthony MyPTSD Admin Staff Member Premium Member

    Things will not be the way they 'used' to be Rebecca... and you're putting yourself in a position immediately if you think that way. Keep realistic, not in fantasy, very important. This is not against him, or you... but you must remain in reality with your thinking and not fall into this 'maybe he will change' or 'maybe he will get better' type approach, if you aren't 100% committed to helping him through it... and even then, it may be too much for you if he has PTSD. Nothing you do will change him, only he will change him, and that is something you are going to have to decide for yourself upon him returning home.

    If you don't believe he is his normal self as you know him, that you fell in love with him, and you aren't ready to experience WWIII, then maybe the best approach is a gradual reunion, he lives by himself, you live by yourself, and then you rekindle the relationship first, getting to know one another again, and if all is well beyond any honeymoon period, then continue and move in together.

    Love is difficult, there is no one answer and its very emotionally painful. Only you will be able to gauge this upon his return. You are already recognising issues, don't ignore them, as they won't get better through ignorance. Keep your eyes wide open, if he has PTSD and you are willing to commit to the relationship with PTSD, then go for it... but accept your decision, keep eyes open, and if things don't change, get out and save yourself, because regardless how much you may want, or think, you can save him, you can't. Only he will be able to get himself better, and the best way for anyone with PTSD to prove that, is to help themselves because they do want something more than what the illness causes them, so they will work hard to change... and if that target is you, then he will do the work to change himself to be an effective part of a relationship with you, not just an abusive part of your life, or hoping to have you hold him up at every cornerstone, blaming you, etc.

    Keep your eyes open is my advice, keep your heart in check with your head, and don't do things based on guilt or other negative emotions.
  3. Army_Brat_88

    Army_Brat_88 New Member

    Rebecca -

    Everything Anthony wrote is right on. I should print it out and read it hourly for myself. I know what you are going through, and what you are feeling, and I can only say for my situation that nothing worked out how I had planned or romantisized it to happen. Everything fell through, and my world just tore apart...and I doubt my ex guy even understands at all what it's done to me because of his combat ptsd, which is the worst part.

    Perhaps you should wait to see if the Feb thing will work out first, then go from there. But be cautious on that being set in stone. And nothing will be the way it once was. Learn everything you can now, and keep a support system on this site, you'll need it - and you'll get it. :)

    AB

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