With PTSD isn't an excuse it can be a physical impossibility. You have a physical reaction in the form of a panic attack that can literally freeze you in place no matter how desperately you try to get your limbs to move, or as someone else said, fall asleep. We don get a choice when we go into isolation mode. It is hard to explain to someone who doesn't have PTSD, but isolation is a symptom just like someone with the flu can run a fever. We can't everything is louder, more intense. so we have to get away from it. I have used this analogy before, I don't know if it helps, but it is the best way I can explain it. A loving relationship is like the sun. We need it we thrive on it, but to much and we get burned. Some people are more sensitive to the sun than others and burn easier, so they have to limit their time in the sun. Many people with PTSD can only handle so much, even when it is a huge positive in their life, without becoming overstimulated, so we have to take a break or we get the mental and emotional equivalent of a sun burn. Unfortunately, it leaves our supporters wondering what the hell happened because everything was great up until the moment we disappeared. Do we know how much havoc it causes for our supporters. Absolutely, and the guilt and shame it part of what make sit so hard to come back. We actually obsessively ruminate about it in a fit of self loathing, which leads to thoughts like, "I can't go back now, what I did to the other person was so awful and I am just going to end up causing them more pain and I hate myself for it so I deserve pain and to suffer alone because I don't deserve my supporter, I don't deserve happiness..." Sounds like his work is the distraction, not his reason for living. Otherwise his work life would be suffering as well. The first year in a relationship it is pretty easy deal with this stuff because you have the falling in love high, but when those chemicals die down and settle into a more mature love? That is when the problems start occurring. Being a supporter can't be easy and I can only imagine how confusing it must be. I know I do things that will never make sense to my spouse because they aren't logical reactions for someone without PTSD, but our trauma damaged brains don't give a shit that it isn't logical.