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.

  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
Dismiss Notice

The Daily Dose

Get the last 24hrs of new topics delivered to your inbox.

Click Here to Subscribe

Should My Hubby Have A 'girl' Friend????

Discussion in 'Supporter Relationships' started by Sunshine71, May 10, 2011.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Sunshine71

    Sunshine71 Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Well it doesnt rain it pours eh.....

    My husband is suffering badly with his PTSD - he has a new found hobby that he aims will turn into a business as he is not able to return to his previous career.

    He has met a younger woman on the course and swears that there is nothing in it - she is a good friend and she is helping him feel better in himself. She doesnt know of the events and PTSD.

    I have found emails that I find un acceptable & flirty - she has even said that her partner doesnt know about their friendship and she is texting him in secret. His reply was "naughty you."

    I have not got sucker written all over my forehead. I am not accpeting this while I stand by and do all what I can to support him in getting better.

    Am I over re acting?

    Is it fine that he is looking up for pubs to meet her at (she has something of his that he left behind during the course they attend yesterday - he rushed out as he was having flashbacks in the class)

    Should I 'let' them have a friendship - although I know it develop into more.

    Should I put my foot down and say no more - you should be looking at places to taake me your wife of 18 years!!! I know that the stress will be horrendous for us both with me doing this and could lead to more lies.

    Thanks for reading and I welcome any advice - maybe you too have sadly gone through this?

    Its a horrible situation - We are so close (I thought) - I never thought he would get involved with another woman.

    Thanks for being there - Sunshine x
  2. Register to participate in live chat, PTSD discussion and more.
  3. Toria

    Toria Sitting duck!
    Premium Member

    Hello Sunshine - I'm not sure I'm the best person to be dishing out relationship advice... but something that first hit me when I read your post was the thought that your husband might be looking for something (or someone) in his life that doesn't know about his PTSD and therefore someone that he can be "normal" (sorry - hate that word in that sentence but can't think of a better one) with - with no PTSD history, PTSD baggage etc.

    However... that said... I personally don't think that his behaviour is acceptable. Again it comes back to shades of normality - I don't know how his mind is working right now and it could all be inoccent in his mind (if not necessarily in hers) and I would agree that you question his morals would or certainly could cause a big emotional mess.

    Does he talk to you about her? If he does is he quite open about her? If so, perhaps you could suggest meeting up with her and her husband as a two couples. This would show whether she is prepared to bring her husband in to the equation and whether he is being open with her about you.

    I don't suppose that helped in the slightest but perhaps this will (((((big hug))))
    Zef, kapalago, Pale Warrior and 3 others like this.
  4. PerfectEmpire

    PerfectEmpire Well-Known Member

    This is complicated and I urge you to see a counselor or therapist for yourself. I'm assuming your spouse is already in therapy. I do not think you are overreacting which is why I think it's so important that you seek outside help before things escalate any further.

    Something to consider:

    If you were to permit this sort of behavior what message would that send? "I don't care about you enough to help set clear boundaries for you at this time." Remember, he is suffering/struggling with PTSD and might not be able to see things clearly right now. He needs your help to set clear boundaries, and guidance to behave constructively rather than destructively. This is [probably] a very sensitive time in his life and he [likely] needs you more than ever.

    If you decide that you will not tolerate this behavior and behave in a volatile manner and threaten to leave, what message would THAT send? "I simply want to control you and do not want to have to put any actual work into salvaging our relationship."


    If you decide that you will not tolerate this behavior and behave in a mature, constructive manner and ask if he'd be willing to attend a few therapy/counseling sessions as a couple so you both could gain validation and clarity, what message would that send? "I love you and care about you and we will work on this issue together." Bonus: If you seek additional individual therapy/counseling for yourself regarding this issue, you will be conveying that you are not flawless and are willing to put in the effort to work out not just your marital problems but your ability to take care of yourself and/or him.

    I wish you all the best. I hope it passes over with minimal destruction.
  5. complexmind

    complexmind Active Member

    Hi Sunshine....

    From a guy's point of view, it's not acceptable. I have dealt with the same stuff and the same excuses. I agree with Toria. I guess there IS a 'need' to be/appear 'normal' to someone but that in reality is denial/numbing.

    There is NEVER an okay reason for a spouse to seek fulfillment from the opposite sex outside marriage. We all (sufferers/carers) are built with a need to be attractive to, wanted by and respected by the opposite sex and because of that we are all vulnerable to an extent. But there are boundaries. You are not overreacting. This issue seems to be a common thread in every marriage I know of where PTSD has come to the surface. I think at the root of it the sufferers can't bear the thought of being to burdensome or hurtful to someone they have pledged their life to so they would rather detach and re-attach somewhere else.

    I know in my own marriage we have the 'dance' where I say something like 'I am craving intimacy (not sex) with you' but instead of hearing me say you fulfill me like no one else can my bride hears 'you are not working hard enough to fix our marriage' or 'look at all that you have done wrong that has broken our marriage' and then feels the need to punish herself and believes I feel the same way. She will relay that broken thinking (her point of view only) to someone she trusts, who simply believes what they hear from her because they have no reason to doubt it. The friend is disgusted by what they hear her saying I am doing to her and begins to reinforce the broken thinking in an effort to encourage/protect my wife and then before long it is TOTALLY out of control and I am unfit to live with....all because I said I love you and I want you. If the friend happens to be can imagine how that would go.

    I don't doubt you have experienced something similar as have most if not all people that are in marriages where PTSD has been revealed. Understand that the sufferer is not the real problem. They are a victim of broken thinking brought on by the PTSD. It's like being a marionette with strings that no one can see....not even the sufferer. The unfortunate truth though is until the sufferer and the carer are able to get to the point where they completely understand that the PTSD (the puppeteer) is victimizing them both through no fault of their own, the tendancy is to play the blame game.
  6. Sunshine71

    Sunshine71 Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Thank you so much for your amazing replies. I feel very lucky to have found this group.
    As you can tell this has all flared up today.

    I talked with my husband and said that I do not feel that the situation is acceptable - flirty emails, going out - the meet ups were innocent and I believe this - However we are not going out!! I said that I will stand by him and help him with the PTSD - be his friend, wife and lover. However I am not sitting back as a friendship with another woman grows and so the decision is his to the path he wishes to take.

    If it was the other way around I would have no respect for someone who sat back and allowed me to continue in this way with another man.

    I did suggest we all meet - he says that she is scared. I know relaised that it is him who was scared.

    He met with the woman today and told her that he doesn't not want to email her anymore and they are not going to meet up for their course work anymore. He likes her and they will talk in class.
    You are quite right - This is someone who he felt he wasn't a burden too and doesn't know about the PTSD - and he admitted that he did start to have feelings for her.

    So we will see what happens next......

    I am more sad that he had to take a lorazapan though to get through.

    Thanks again for your amazing support and kind words.

    I welcome any other feedback.

    All the best xx
  7. Tosh

    Tosh Active Member

    I am probably not the best person to be giving relationship advice, but here I go. When there was this girl trying to make a play for my boyfriend a couselor told me to "drop in" unexpectedly and often and watch their reactions. If they become hostile towards me, the girl makes snide remarks, the girl dresses up when seeing him, they stop their conversation when you walk in, heavy flirting, you know the drill, etc. Then she needs to go because she is in it for more than just friendship.
    Pale Warrior, Sunshine71 and May1321 like this.
  8. BigBear

    BigBear I'm a VIP
    Premium Member

    He is playing a risky game. I've done it before. Fortunately, my wife talked me out of it.

    I now have a very firm rule! If my wife doesn't hear it (or plenty of people that she knows) I won't say it to a woman. If I email a woman, then she's copied in. [meaning of course anything not business]

  9. Simply Simon

    Simply Simon Fathom the Power

    I'm so sorry to hear you're dealing with this.

    The fact of the matter is for me, I have often played this lady's role. I was told from a young age that I was destined for home wrecking, and when I went through some angry phases of my life, this is what I did. I was usually in a place where I hated romance and found no value in relationships, so I couldn't even feel sympathy for the women I could have hurt. I've broken up two engagements without so much as kissing the man, just because I was stirring trouble and offering an attractive alternative to relationships that were clearly under pressure. I am not proud.

    I can tell you that this behavior sounds like it's straight out of my book, so I am glad that you put down your foot. It is entirely possible that she too was scared to meet you. I know that the only reason I got away with what I did was because the girls weren't people to me. They were the idea that created the forbidden fruit attraction. If they became real, I would probably stop out of Shame. I don't know her, but I (sadly! Again, NOT proud) sympathize with her reaction to that suggestion as well as her inappropriate behavior.

    I think you took a big step in setting boundaries. I am concerned about you being possibly demonized, and if you see this affectation, I think you should address it with your husband. It is NOT OKAY for you to be the bad guy. You gave him the choice, so don't let him blame you in any way. If my SO was doing this, out of my great fear of abandonment, I probably would have been out the door without a note after catching the first offense. I admire you greatly for your strength, maturity, and commitment. Applause and hugs.
    Pale Warrior and Sunshine71 like this.
  10. NIKI

    NIKI I want to be the person my dog thinks I am.
    Premium Member

    I'm so glad you didn't let that behavior continue for one more minute. No good could have come from it for you. Good for you, for standing up for yourself and letting it be known that you will NOT be treated like that. EVER!
    Sunshine71 and valdoodle like this.
  11. Nicolette

    Nicolette ♡ Supporter Admin ♡
    Supporter Admin

    My only comment is to trust you gut.........

    “If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, it must be a duck”
  12. valdoodle

    valdoodle Active Member

    I empathise with you Sunshine 71. Good on you for standing up for yourself! It is awful to be in such a position and I totally agree with Nicolette, trust your gut. Your feelings were right, he was starting to get attached (or manipulated?). Bravo for dealing with it so quickly and definitely. I hope you can both keep the stress this must have brought to your household to a minimum to keep down the PTSD. I wish you both good luck and understanding.
    Sunshine71 likes this.
  13. Sunshine71

    Sunshine71 Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Thanks again for all of your honesty and feedback.

    Well sadly I have seen that he has marked her details on his mobile phone as 'Hidden'. So we will have to see. It is a new phone and while looking at it I accidently called her twice.

    I REALLY did not mean to - I didnt talk as I panicked and its gone 11pm. I just cant sleep.

    The Lorazapan has wiped him out and made him odd and forgetful.

    A new councillor tomoroow who wants him to re live the accident and has warned that he will find this tough.

    I know he is truly sorry - I now have to see that he keeps his word and he keeps to not seeing her calling emails etc.

    In over 20 years (and we just 40!) I would never have dreamed that I would have to check up on him like this. I am not liking this, however I am not going to sit back and have the p*** taken out of me.

    Lets hope that this is a bump that will make us stronger.

    I will let you know and continue to welcome your feedback.

    Thanks again to everyone. And I hope that can help others too xx
  14. Simply Simon

    Simply Simon Fathom the Power

    'Hidden'? So, like, you can't see her number or her messages or something?

    When I ask myself if what I'm doing is wrong, I wonder what others would think if they were observing my behavior transparently. When I feel compelled to hide something, something is rotten in Denmark.

    Watch out for yourself and sending warm thoughts to help your husband through his struggle.
    Pale Warrior and Sunshine71 like this.
  15. Sunshine71

    Sunshine71 Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Just another thought.

    The past month or so has been a real rollercoaster. We have got on like a house on fire when he was feeling good. Better than we have in a long while. And then the mood swings and such lows. Suicide was talked about and he cant go on.

    I do feel that this extra Guilt has been pushing him and made the PTSD symptons even worse - he is suffering from guilt over an accident that happened a long time ago - that wasnt his fault. And now this with a woman he was starting to have feelings for was more icing on the already iced cake.

    Creating a superficial quick bit of a breather from the challanges we are dealing with has created more guilt leading to more stress - then more nightmares and flashbacks etc - when I am here trying to help him get through these challanges - he is creating more :O(

    I know he cant help it as such - although he had the know how to set up her details on his phone as hidden !!! :O(
  16. PerfectEmpire

    PerfectEmpire Well-Known Member

    You mention that he was feeling suicidal during the weeks leading up to this. Feelings of isolation and suicide go hand in hand. PTSD can feel very isolating, even when you're married, even when you're doing well in your career and have a robust social life. This is referred to as Loneliness of Emotional Isolation or Emotional Loneliness (vs Social Loneliness). Everything can be going well and the person will still feel heavily isolated.

    Loneliness makes people do crazy things, especially this sort of loneliness! Don't expect this to blow over easily. He might do all kinds of crazy things to make the feeling of emotional isolation go away. Remember, new romance (even if it's unrequited) is like a drug. He will do anything to maintain the flood of neurotransmitters because of the relief they provide him. The thought of not talking to her anymore, of ending the possibility of further romance/fantasy/sexuality will be unbearable at first. There will likely be anger, sadness, guilt, grief and anything else you can imagine. Incredibly hurtful things might be said. Be prepared for this and remember not to take it personally. Give each other lots of space during this time, but maintain clear and consistent communication.

    While he goes through all this, you will have to grieve and work on rebuilding trust. Your trust is probably already damaged. You can drive yourself crazy dealing with this issue on your own. There are many great books about this on the market and even more therapists who would be willing to help you.
  17. Innordinate

    Innordinate Sarcasm is a way of life

    I'm married.
    I have a "girl" friend.
    One really close one and I have met with other women 'secretly' and with the intentions probably of cheating on my wife. Never have though. Sometimes I just want something without the expected intimacy and a lot of it is maybe she'll finally leave me if I do actually cheat on her. Maybe your husband is like me and is trying to get you to leave so you don't have to suffer because of him...?
    The close friend, funny enough, wouldn't let me do that to my wife so she's 'safe' even though my wife thinks she's not.
  18. Nicolette

    Nicolette ♡ Supporter Admin ♡
    Supporter Admin

    IMHO Innordinate that is actually quite cruel to your wife. If you want to leave then tell her but making her leave you buy doing the wrong thing - that's just sad. Letting your wife think she has a threat but hasn't is also unnecessarily stressing her - that's not how I would treat someone I love.

    I get the "wanting something without intimacy" but if you don't want your wife to suffer because of you I would actually suggest you re-think your strategy as by my thinking you are making her suffer even without cheating.
  19. Innordinate

    Innordinate Sarcasm is a way of life

    She thinks she has a threat because she actually did cheat on me, so she's got her own paranoia issues there.
    My close friend has helped me through a lot and it's not my fault if my wife can't get over her jealousy issues but she's supposed to be working on it and I think she's getting better. We also have certain rules that I follow in communicating with my one friend.
    As for leaving. I've tried. I can't. I'm not strong enough to do what's right. Never have been. Still not.

    Probably also a possibility. I don't love her and thrive on her suffering? Just a thought.

    Sorry Sun, for getting off topic.
  20. valdoodle

    valdoodle Active Member

    Sunshine 71, my heart goes out to you. I was in a very similar position which unnecessarily spiralled out of control. The stress of PTSD accumulates. It was my tiredness from having to work to keep the show on the road. His daughter from another relationship not contacting him for 7 months including over Christmas. Flashbacks at the beginning of a 3 week holiday in Ireland which never left him etc. etc. Stress!!!!! My own feelings on how to help your situation is to STOP the spiral now. You have already put boundaries up. They have got to be right. I did the same but too late. Out of it all, they were and still are the only right thing. Stress makes PTSD worse so its fight or flight I guess.

    A bit about why I understand. My partner had been acting strange too, txts which got deleted (he saved the ones from family) Yes, I shamefully checked his phone :-( I knew something was not right. We had been together 14 years and had no secrets from the past. Sometimes I wish we had because a woman who came on to him offering him sex before we met and he told me was 'gorgeous' called for him 3 times at our home. There were also phone calls from an unknown woman which said 'wrong number'. The final time she called was one of my normal work days but I was on holiday. He answered the door like a frightened rabbit. There was whispering and when I went to see if he needed help with the caller I saw her and him telling her it was "not cool" to visit. I have since got into a lot of trouble from him for telling her to "PISS OFF" but that was my gut reaction. The jigsaw fell into place in a heartbeat. I told him to leave. I deeply regret this now because it hurt him too much and it broke me. I wish I had reacted with love not hate.

    This was too late in the situation. You are at the beginning of this. There is hope for your relationship if you stop the situation, he stops being so selfish and takes responsibility for his life with you. You need to talk with love. Anger, jealousy, resentment will not help. Whatever happens, I suggest you do it with love because you will both need to support each other.

    We both regret not having stopped the spiral. We both still love each other but he has told me he does not want a relationship, with her, me or anyone. He just captures hearts, possibly women sense his vulnerability with PTSD, I did. We are 6 weeks into a separation. We talk with love now. I hope you can do this sooner and better than I did. I found the 'sticky' posts on relationships and PTSD really helpful in keeping me sane!!!! :alien:

    I am thinking of you both. with love.

    Innordinate, please don't do this to yourself or your wife. You both deserve better.
    Pale Warrior likes this.
  21. Innordinate

    Innordinate Sarcasm is a way of life

    Or maybe the guy just wants a friend and feels he HAS to hide it from his wife because she's easily jealous for no good reason?
    I don't know Sun if thats you or not but really....... how fair is it to tell someone they can / can not have a friend because of your own insecurities? It's not.
    Set ground rules for what you think is tolerable.
    It's hard enough to find a friend when you have PTSD, let alone a good one, let alone one you can open up with.
    I think this must be easier for women to do as well from everything I read on here. Even I think just having PTSD is easier for women.
  22. Brontie

    Brontie Well-Known Member

    Sunshine 71,

    People should be able to have friends of either sex.

    One good test of it being a genuine friendship and mutual respect thing is for all involved parties to get together to get to know each other. I think someone above mentioned that already.

    A simple invite to the new friend and her partner could tell us all we need to know about the new relationship.
    valdoodle likes this.
  23. Tosh

    Tosh Active Member

    I really think it's odd that he put her details under "hidden". That's secretive to me.

    I wish you strength going through this situation, my heart really does go out to you. At this point I would say to try and keep the focus on you. It's out of your hands, he is his own person and will do what he wants right or wrong. Don't jump to conclusions, but keep your eyes open. In the meantime, why not keep working on you? Maybe find some things to do to take your mind off the situation. Go for a nice walk at sunset, make yourself a gormet lunch, find an inspiring book to read, maybe buy a new outfit, go out with some friends, start a new hobby, keep enjoying life. :)

    You did a wonderful thing by standing up for yourself and setting some boundaries. If he's not will to respect the boundaries and think about YOUR feelings, well then I guess you'll have to decide whether it's worth it or not.

    Couple's counseling is another suggestion, it helped me in my relationship. Sometimes having an outside perspective can work wonders. If he won't go, then you can always go without him.

    Good Luck to you
  24. Cthulhu

    Cthulhu Active Member

    I as a female have male friends. Well, in fact I have only male friends (and some female acquaintances), it's been like that since I was about 19 or so. Just because I never really fit to females on a communicative level, I'm more like an 80% inner man regarding thinking styles etc..
    Yes it's true such a friendship CAN go way to far if one (oneself) doesn't set the right boundaries from the start on. I always do, everything else would be totally unfair- either towards my partner or my friend.
    Yes this needs a huge amount of a partner's trust but I think- trust is what a relationship is all about. I have to trust him, too, and yes it isn't always easy. But a healthy relationship can withstand and tolerate that and in the end make it much stronger than it ever was. Always keeping in mind that the 'befriended' partner doesn't start a sexual relationship with his 'friend'.

    But well, I've been cheated on in the past, too. Lost my ex to someone in exactly this way. You have to be watch- and careful, true.
    In a way I can relate to innordinate- testing a relationship like that to get rid of a partner. Yes it's totally unfair, bad, cowardly to do something like that. I never did it conciously but I may have done it nevertheless. I cannot end a relationship without basing on something extreme that happened.
  25. PerfectEmpire

    PerfectEmpire Well-Known Member

    All of the love in the world is meaningless without respect. If your spouse does not trust you, you need to be giving him/her ample attention and going to couple's therapy, NOT sneaking around behind his/her back. That is a recipe for disaster, sex or no sex. It is also terribly disrespectful.

    Remember, an affair does not have to be physical and many physical affairs begin as "friendships" that are actually emotional affairs.

    It's more than a friendship if:
    -The person you look forward to seeing most is not your spouse but the "friend"
    -The first one you think about when you wake up and the last one you think about when you go to bed is not your spouse but your "friend"
    -If you have a nightmare or emotional happening, the first person you run to for support is your "friend" and not your spouse
    -You constantly go around saying "We're just friends".
    -You don't want to talk to your "friend" in front of your spouse; you prefer to communicate with them privately and will go to great lengths to preserve that privacy
    -You put more time and effort and energy into your "friendship" than into your marriage
    -You constantly fantasize about your friend and can't get them out of your head

    It doesn't have to be sexual to be pervasive and catastrophic.

    If you and your partner cannot agree on boundaries even after counseling and education, then have some decency and respect and end things so that they can move on and find somebody who shares their vision, for love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward in the same direction. The former (gazing at each other) is not love, but infatuation.
  26. complexmind

    complexmind Active Member

    Well said PerfectEmpire. Maybe the most wisdom I have seen here yet.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

User search cloud:

  1. if you think your hubby should be your best friend