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Relationship 7 year relationship with combat vet has broken down and I feel lost

Brokenbeags

New Here
Hello, I’ve been lurking for a while now but I feel like it’s now time to post as I’m starting to really not cope and need to let it out somewhere. Just pre-warning you that this may be a long read…

Me and my combat vet (ex?) partner (both recently turned 30) were together for 7 years. We are UK based. Our life together has mostly been a fairy tale. We have the same birthday, the way we met and the way he first said he loved me were both like something from a movie. We own our home together and have a gorgeous dog who we both adore. We had a wonderful, happy, co-operative and trusting relationship and talks of children and marriage were getting more and more serious recently (even 6 days before the break up he was telling my family members he cannot wait to marry me!!) Our friends and family would have said that we are true soulmates and that he worshiped the ground I walk on, and the world would have sooner ended before our relationship would.

We met in 2016 whilst we were both 22 and he was still in the army, he had been in the army almost 5 years at this point. After a few dates, he was honest with me and said he struggles with some of the things he experienced during his first tour of Afghanistan, and over the years has spoken to me about some of these experiences but not all. I have never pushed him to share as I understand how difficult it must be. He had never told a soul about his mental health until me. He left the army at the end of 2017, we moved in together and everything was great. He did struggle with finding civilian work he enjoyed for the first year or so which really affected him, and he was eventually diagnosed with C-PTSD in 2018. He did not initially seek treatment as his illness at this point did not overly impact his life or our relationship, he was experiencing depression symptoms rather than anything else.

In 2019 as the depression got worse, he was prescribed Sertraline, which unfortunately had quite a negative effect on him and led to the first time he pushed me away. He was like a completely different person. He completely lost all feelings towards me (turns out this is common with SSRIs and PTSD hey) and began to treat me with contempt so I moved back in with my parents. He also began drinking heavily and acting extremely paranoid (i.e slept with a screwdriver by his bed as he thought someone was going to try and kill him while he slept.) Due to this behaviour, I carted him back to the GP who recommended he stop taking the Sertraline so he began weaning off them, instead starting therapy. Following this he went completely back to normal, the person I know was back and his feelings came back with him! I was the most relieved I have ever felt in my life. I eventually moved back into our home and he kept going to therapy once a week for almost two years (which moved online when COVID struck) and our relationship was the best it had ever been.

Flash forward to May 2023, we have recently sold our house and have reserved our dream family home! Exciting times right? However, he hasn’t attended therapy for a while (he said he no longer needed it as he was in a good place - I believed him, now naive was I!) and I started to notice some unusual behaviour from him beginning around March time. Firstly, he randomly cuts his best friend from the age of 12 out of his life with no explanation, resulting in us not attending his wedding. Secondly, in May, someone who he served in Afghan with and whom he was close to had sadly committed suicide. He was becoming increasingly angry and distant, and one night I decided to ask him about it. He told me he doesn’t know how to explain what’s going on in his head and that he never feels happy anymore but doesn’t know why. He said he just needs space right now but he still loves me. His PTSD for some reason didn’t cross my mind at this stage as we had no relationship issues since he stopped taking SSRIs, but my natural reaction was to be super hurt and against my better judgement, automatically assumed I was the issue and packed a bag and went to my parents. He has since admitted he was shocked I did this and didn’t think I would actually leave, but he requested space so I respected this and left our home and took our dog to move back in with my parents yet again. I wonder had I not done this but just kept out of his way and slept in the guest room until he was ready, whether we would have avoided breaking up. I think about this all the time and whether I handled it wrong.

He is now back in therapy and he doesn’t seem to be getting better (I know it tends to get a lot worse before it gets better.) Whilst he initially said that he still loves me, he now says he no longer knows if he does (is this due to numbing?). He also said he doesn’t want to be in a relationship right now and that he might feel like this for a few more weeks, months, years or even forever… Last week though he referred to our relationship status as ‘“broke up” or whatever’ (he did the quotation mark gesture with his hands as well) which has lead to further confusion as we either are or we aren’t. It’s absolutely killing me as this is the man who would constantly talk about our future, how much he loves me, and how much we have to look forward to together. He’s like a different person yet again, similar to his behaviour back in 2019. He also believes I don’t really love him and I’m ‘in love with the idea of being in love with him’ which is so painful to hear as I adore him. He’s said a lot of hurtful comments to me over the last couple of months also, for example saying he just “leeches” off me.

This has been going on for 3.5 months now and the end doesn’t seem to be in sight. The contact is very up and down, some days he wants to call and talk for hours, and there are other times I don’t hear from him for weeks. He also can’t bear to see our dog who has always been the light of his life, citing that it’s ‘stress’ and ‘too upsetting’ as it ‘reminds him of everything before.’ He’s also started drinking regularly again when before he was aware this causes him to feel down and would very rarely drink or only drink alcohol free beer at social gatherings to avoid any depression symptoms he feels after drinking.

He keeps saying he can only deal with ‘surface level’ stuff right now, which is why I can only assume he’s cut me, the dog and his best friend loose as he actually cares about us? I am doing my utmost to respect his request for space. He has also asked a few times if we will still be friends whatever happens, which leads me to think he still needs me in his life in some capacity?

This whole thing has torn me apart, I just want to scream into a black hole. I don’t know how I’m still functioning, I’m keeping my feelings and heartbreak buried and not telling him anything about how much I’m struggling in order to avoid further triggering or upsetting him. My friends and family are so angry at him over how’s he’s treated and spoken to me but they just don’t understand that he’s dealing with a serious mental health condition (not that it’s an excuse.) It’s particularly hurting my mum too as she has always referred to him as her son (he is/was extremely close to my immediate family) but he has also behaved aggressively towards her and has spoken down to her recently.

There’s so much stuff I’ve left out of this post as I didn’t want it to be too long, so if anyone needs any more context or has any questions I’m more than happy to provide answers.

Thank you for reading and I’m just terrified I’ve lost the most kind, loving man to his illness forever.
 
I’m so sorry to read your story. I am in a similarish situation and some of the things you are going through echo my own experiences. Whilst I don’t have all the answers - it’s taken me a long time to realise that it’s not my fault. By that I mean…I’ve tried every way possible to deal with each and very situation that arises - and trust me, there’s never a right or wrong answer. Sometimes you do the ‘wrong thing’ and appear to make things worse, sometimes you do the ‘right thing’ and keep him happy. But…if you aren’t careful, you will lose yourself. You’ll lose your energy, you’ll drain your emotions, you will start reacting crazy yourself and you’ll sacrifice work, friendships, family etc. So long as you know he is safe, put yourself first. Tell him you love him, reassure you aren’t leaving him, but if you need space, if you need to get away, you have to do that for you. It’s truly impossible to rationalise with someone who is irrational - and the more you try the more irrational you become. For now, you can’t rely on him emotionally, and that is f*cking hard to deal with - so you have to accept that (for now) look after yourself and don’t let his emotions dictate yours. Easier said than done - trust me!
 
Hello, I’ve been lurking for a while now but I feel like it’s now time to post as I’m starting to really not cope and need to let it out somewhere. Just pre-warning you that this may be a long read…

Me and my combat vet (ex?) partner (both recently turned 30) were together for 7 years. We are UK based. Our life together has mostly been a fairy tale. We have the same birthday, the way we met and the way he first said he loved me were both like something from a movie. We own our home together and have a gorgeous dog who we both adore. We had a wonderful, happy, co-operative and trusting relationship and talks of children and marriage were getting more and more serious recently (even 6 days before the break up he was telling my family members he cannot wait to marry me!!) Our friends and family would have said that we are true soulmates and that he worshiped the ground I walk on, and the world would have sooner ended before our relationship would.

We met in 2016 whilst we were both 22 and he was still in the army, he had been in the army almost 5 years at this point. After a few dates, he was honest with me and said he struggles with some of the things he experienced during his first tour of Afghanistan, and over the years has spoken to me about some of these experiences but not all. I have never pushed him to share as I understand how difficult it must be. He had never told a soul about his mental health until me. He left the army at the end of 2017, we moved in together and everything was great. He did struggle with finding civilian work he enjoyed for the first year or so which really affected him, and he was eventually diagnosed with C-PTSD in 2018. He did not initially seek treatment as his illness at this point did not overly impact his life or our relationship, he was experiencing depression symptoms rather than anything else.

In 2019 as the depression got worse, he was prescribed Sertraline, which unfortunately had quite a negative effect on him and led to the first time he pushed me away. He was like a completely different person. He completely lost all feelings towards me (turns out this is common with SSRIs and PTSD hey) and began to treat me with contempt so I moved back in with my parents. He also began drinking heavily and acting extremely paranoid (i.e slept with a screwdriver by his bed as he thought someone was going to try and kill him while he slept.) Due to this behaviour, I carted him back to the GP who recommended he stop taking the Sertraline so he began weaning off them, instead starting therapy. Following this he went completely back to normal, the person I know was back and his feelings came back with him! I was the most relieved I have ever felt in my life. I eventually moved back into our home and he kept going to therapy once a week for almost two years (which moved online when COVID struck) and our relationship was the best it had ever been.

Flash forward to May 2023, we have recently sold our house and have reserved our dream family home! Exciting times right? However, he hasn’t attended therapy for a while (he said he no longer needed it as he was in a good place - I believed him, now naive was I!) and I started to notice some unusual behaviour from him beginning around March time. Firstly, he randomly cuts his best friend from the age of 12 out of his life with no explanation, resulting in us not attending his wedding. Secondly, in May, someone who he served in Afghan with and whom he was close to had sadly committed suicide. He was becoming increasingly angry and distant, and one night I decided to ask him about it. He told me he doesn’t know how to explain what’s going on in his head and that he never feels happy anymore but doesn’t know why. He said he just needs space right now but he still loves me. His PTSD for some reason didn’t cross my mind at this stage as we had no relationship issues since he stopped taking SSRIs, but my natural reaction was to be super hurt and against my better judgement, automatically assumed I was the issue and packed a bag and went to my parents. He has since admitted he was shocked I did this and didn’t think I would actually leave, but he requested space so I respected this and left our home and took our dog to move back in with my parents yet again. I wonder had I not done this but just kept out of his way and slept in the guest room until he was ready, whether we would have avoided breaking up. I think about this all the time and whether I handled it wrong.

He is now back in therapy and he doesn’t seem to be getting better (I know it tends to get a lot worse before it gets better.) Whilst he initially said that he still loves me, he now says he no longer knows if he does (is this due to numbing?). He also said he doesn’t want to be in a relationship right now and that he might feel like this for a few more weeks, months, years or even forever… Last week though he referred to our relationship status as ‘“broke up” or whatever’ (he did the quotation mark gesture with his hands as well) which has lead to further confusion as we either are or we aren’t. It’s absolutely killing me as this is the man who would constantly talk about our future, how much he loves me, and how much we have to look forward to together. He’s like a different person yet again, similar to his behaviour back in 2019. He also believes I don’t really love him and I’m ‘in love with the idea of being in love with him’ which is so painful to hear as I adore him. He’s said a lot of hurtful comments to me over the last couple of months also, for example saying he just “leeches” off me.

This has been going on for 3.5 months now and the end doesn’t seem to be in sight. The contact is very up and down, some days he wants to call and talk for hours, and there are other times I don’t hear from him for weeks. He also can’t bear to see our dog who has always been the light of his life, citing that it’s ‘stress’ and ‘too upsetting’ as it ‘reminds him of everything before.’ He’s also started drinking regularly again when before he was aware this causes him to feel down and would very rarely drink or only drink alcohol free beer at social gatherings to avoid any depression symptoms he feels after drinking.

He keeps saying he can only deal with ‘surface level’ stuff right now, which is why I can only assume he’s cut me, the dog and his best friend loose as he actually cares about us? I am doing my utmost to respect his request for space. He has also asked a few times if we will still be friends whatever happens, which leads me to think he still needs me in his life in some capacity?

This whole thing has torn me apart, I just want to scream into a black hole. I don’t know how I’m still functioning, I’m keeping my feelings and heartbreak buried and not telling him anything about how much I’m struggling in order to avoid further triggering or upsetting him. My friends and family are so angry at him over how’s he’s treated and spoken to me but they just don’t understand that he’s dealing with a serious mental health condition (not that it’s an excuse.) It’s particularly hurting my mum too as she has always referred to him as her son (he is/was extremely close to my immediate family) but he has also behaved aggressively towards her and has spoken down to her recently.

There’s so much stuff I’ve left out of this post as I didn’t want it to be too long, so if anyone needs any more context or has any questions I’m more than happy to provide answers.

Thank you for reading and I’m just terrified I’ve lost the most kind, loving man to his illness forever.
Any update to this? I’m looking for any kind of hope as my husband is going thru this exact same thing! Our marriage was perfect and he is the sweetest most loving man and now he has pushed me away and moved out and telling me he doesn’t even know if he wants to be married anymore. We are best friends. It happened to me what felt like over night and he tells me he was feeling like that for a while and I had no idea. Says he has to work on himself and he wants to get better for me.
 
Hello, I’ve been lurking for a while now but I feel like it’s now time to post as I’m starting to really not cope and need to let it out somewhere. Just pre-warning you that this may be a long read…
OMG- your last sentence ! Echoes.
Yes- It feels like the most kind , loving man (to me mine was kind, sweet, thoughtful,endearing,respectful, considerate and more- we laughed so much and just being together was enough)
suddenly vanishes without a trace. Almost as though the PULL into the abyss of PTSD is more powerful than the POWER of love. I am so deeply sorry about what you are going through. I can relate.
There is a saying or quote -" Love conquers". When I experienced my shock of being cut off , I began to question this quote. Stay strong.
 
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Similar feeling and issues. My husband is a vet. He never had weapons till covid appeared early 2020 . Then we met. He is a good man. Love him more than anyone else past or present. He says he wants to protect me. I got into similar beliefs like him. Doomsday. Now I am seeing this differently. He is focused on getting more weapons. Says he needs it for his mental health. I am back in therapy. He has denied from day 1 he has problem his parents and others have said he needs help. I suspect a woman he had a relationship with living together working contributing financially who left him no warning had a similar issue with him. He was left homeless. Locked out of the apt served with eviction. This was 2007 2008 ?- financial crash. Lehman Bros etc
 
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