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On-Off Relationship With Iraq Veteran Suffering From PTSD

Discussion in 'Supporter Discussion' started by Umus, Aug 29, 2007.

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  1. Umus

    Umus New Member

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    I have been in an on-off relationship with an Iraq veteran who is suffering from PTSD and only after our last breakup 4 months ago has started to get help.
    When we met 7 years ago everything seemed just perfect. Although we had a long distance relationship most of the time (I live in Europe-he lived in the US but moved to Europe shortly after we met, although not to the same country) we were very close , talked on the phone every day and met at least twice a month, sometimes more often.
    He never talked about what happened in the war but signs of PTSD were very clear. Insomnia, restlessness, depression, impatience,... After about 1 year the first signs of him cheating on me with other women became also quite clear. I stayed with him through a lot of difficult times, supported him financially (lots of money...) and emotionally. Other women were always an issue, during the past 4 years however, things seemd to improve and I was not aware of anything. 4 months ago I found out that he had been leading a double life with another women in another country (with several others on the side at the same time). I broke up for the last time. Now he seems to be getting help for the first time, is taking anti-depressants and is in therapy. He just will not let go and contacts me constantly, explaining all the wrong he did with PTSD.
    This is extremely diffiult for me as I know I can not take all this any more and have to look after myself and at the same time I feel so guilty for not supporting him. At the same time I think that he probably tells the same to all the other women...
    Does anyone understand what I am trying to say, maybe have a similar experience and would be able to tell me how to deal with it?
    Of course I still love him and only want him to get well, I just do not feel strong enough at the moment to help him through all of this. Mainly because I am so afraid of beeing disappointed again.
    Thank you.
     
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  3. Damiea

    Damiea Well-Known Member

    If you don't feel strong enough to support him and go through some very tough times in the near future.. then DON"T! Don't go back to him just becouse you feel you should... if you love him and want to be with him after he has taken steps to get better then great! but if you feel you need the time and space to recover yourself then go with that gut feeling! You can't help him if your not emotionally able to deal with issues that will come up. Just my imput! am sure others will have lots more to say too!! lol
     
  4. Umus

    Umus New Member

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    Thank you for your reply Damiea, I was so much waiting for someone to reply but have to say I feel a bit intimidated now. If I would know what to do I would not have asked for advise. This is my first try with something like this. Many people on this forum seem to be so strong and know exactly what is right or wrong, I wish I would. I am also very inexperienced with dealing with someone with PTSD and in my environment there is also noone who ever dealt with someone who went through a war experience (Thank God!), so I just hoped there might be people out there who would understand. My hope was also to maybe hear from others who have similar experiences and might want to share...
    But of course I understand your point of view, it is just so difficult sometimes...Thank you for your interest and time!
     
  5. She Cat

    She Cat I'm a VIP Premium Member

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    There are a few things that you should probably do...Read, read, read, and then read some more on PTSD...Information is vital for you right now. PTSD is life long. It never goes away. We can cope with symptoms sometimes, and sometimes not. Learning is so important.

    Sexual intimacy with an emotional attachment..... Sometimes NOT possible with us, if we haven't dealt with our issues. Closeness, trust, and emotional intimacy is extremely difficult. This is probably why he has been cheating. No it isn't an excuse, just an explanation.

    This is your decision......If you don't feel comfortable then don't......You need to take care of you too. Boundaries will be needed if you decide to go back with him....Remember this is LIFE long.....You just don't get over PTSD...

    Wendy
     
  6. Sapper

    Sapper Active Member

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    Im not in your situation Umus, but I am married, and Im in the military. This guy takes your money, cheats on you with several women, then gets help and uses PTSD as an excuse for how he acted? Sorry but thats just bullshit IMHO. If you love him, want to be with him eventually, thats cool, but dont cut him any slack. Let him get better on his own. You need a break too and esp. after everything hes done he should accept that and take his lumps.
     
  7. Umus

    Umus New Member

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    Thank you she cat and sapper for your inputs. These are the main issues I am dealing with at the moment. Inability of emotional attachement due to PTSD or just infidelity, plain and simple. I am also not able to talk to him about that as he does not want to confront himself with any wrongdoings. Can this behaviour be due to PTSD? I am reading as much as I can about PTSD and sometimes I think YES, but then at the same time I get so angry. But of course I can not confront him with my anger and pain as he is not able to deal with the feelings of others just himself...
     
  8. Kathy

    Kathy I'm a VIP

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    Welcome Umus, lovely to have you here on the forum. I must agree with everyone else, please think of yourself first in this equation. As my husband always says, you count too. Although you say you love this man, he has put you through the ringer emotionally and financially. PTSD is not an excuse for philandering and dishonesty. In my opinion he really needs to prove he has changed. That proof requires more than words, he must show you through his actions, and that cannot occur overnight. If you feel you need a break from him, take it! If you love him, let him know you may want to see him again in future, but for now you must have space. You really do deserve that for yourself.

    Now, you enquired if anyone understood. I believe I do, although my experience happened over 30 years ago! At the time, I was a young military wife with 4 children under age 6, and living in Cyprus of all places. Since I am Canadian, I was far from home and did not have the support of my family. My husband had been serving in Golan Heights, and after his return to Cyprus, he was suffering from combat stress (which never became PTSD) and drinking heavily. I put up with the drinking for a time, until I discovered he was cheating on me. We then separated, I went home to Canada with the children and told him to straighten himself out. Because of the combat stress, he was placed on a leave and followed me back to Canada shortly afterwards. However, I refused to see him. I was very upset about him having cheated, along with his drinking, and I required space. We were separated for 7 months, during which time he went to AA and I to Al-Anon. Later on we reconciled and went to marriage counseling for 2 years.

    I believe the break was very good for us, it saved our marriage. We are still together, have been for over 35 years now, and we are very happy. However, aside from that, setting definite boundaries helped me to have self-esteem. If Jim (my husband) had not made the changes I asked of him, we would have divorced, and I was willing to accept that possibility. My personal happiness and the happiness of my children came first. Forunately for us, Jim took responsibility for his actions. So, do please think of yourself first. You deserve the best; do not settle for anything less than happiness for yourself.
     
  9. Umus

    Umus New Member

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    Thank you for the warm welcome Kathy! You and everyone are right with what you are saying. I am trying to look after myself, just have to get over feeling guilty for being a little selfish at the moment and not being there for him at a time when he is for the first time dealing with his PTSD problem. Will have to wait and see what the future brings.
    I have read some of your posts - you are an amazing person! You have so much strength to support others and still so much strenght for your own life! I wish there were more people like you out there...All the best for you and thank you again!
     
  10. Kathy

    Kathy I'm a VIP

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    You are most welcome Umus, and thank you for the compliments. Taking care of yourself is not selfish. Regardless of the circumstances, you do need to care for yourself as well. It would not do for you to become ill, for your own happiness, and also - if you want to be there for him in future, you will need to be well rested. So please don't feel guilty, you are only doing what is necessary and right for yourself. I do hope things continues to improve from this time on. Keep us informed and take care.
     
  11. Jim

    Jim Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the forum Umus. I am Kathy's husband. Yep, in my younger years I was a bastard in life, no doubt about that. Believe you me, you are doing your man a favour by giving it to him straight. If your lucky, it'll be a wake up call and he'll improve on himself. If not, he wasn't worthy of you to begin with.

    Jim.
     
  12. Umus

    Umus New Member

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    Thank you Kathy and Jim!
    I have started a therapy about 3 months ago to better deal with what has happened to me over the last 7 years. And I found out I do have some issues to work on myself also, which I know will be good for me to finally talk about. Have also talked to my therapist about war-related PTSD symptoms to better understand what is going on with him, but she told me she has no experience with that as she never worked with someone with such specific problems and she would not want to make assumptions about someone she does not know. Fair enough. I would have some very specific questions about war-related PTSD. Would this be the right place to adress them or should I move to the private forum? Thank you for your advice!
     
  13. permban0077

    permban0077 Policy Enforcement Banned

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    I notice you keep saying war related PTSD. While our nighmares, flashbacks, and the sort vary due to what ever traumatized us PTSD symptoms are just that. We all get them. If you want specific information about symptoms I would not suggest going private, I would suggest going to those who know it best. Try posting your questions of this nature in PTSD Chat. How to handle and care for yourself the carer section is no doubt the way to go. But us with it know PTSD better than anyone.
     
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