Relationship First post - need advice

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Hi everyone,

This is my first post, I’ve read through these forums off and on for months now but never posted until now. I’ll try to make this concise.
I need some advice...
My husband was diagnosed with PTSD a little over a year ago, but looking back I’d say it developed 2-3 years ago. He was off work for a while and did some counseling, but’s stopped once he returned to work, as he said it didn’t help him. Unfortunately, the work environment he walked back into was very stressful and dysfunctional (personel issues, management issues, not specifically linked to him but he did get put in the middle a lot). This summer things blew up again in terms of his stress levels with work, it caused 2 of the nastiest fights we have ever had, both resulted in him telling me he couldn’t do this anymore and that he wanted a divorce. I should note the issues that triggered out fights were over minor misunderstandings (but when the PTSD cup is full it doesn’t take much to overflow). We rarely ever fight, so for these fights to go from 0 to 100(suggesting divorce) I was caught off guard to say the least. If I’m being perfectly honest, even though things have been great with us since, even better than before, I am still edgy when I see his frustrations with anything build.
I absolutely hate conflict, and it often causes me to shut down and be unable to fully explain my feelings in the moment (so frustrating).
Anyways, my reason for today’s post, we were having a good day, I brought my hubby lunch out to his station at work, unfortunately he had to go on a call. I dropped it off and went home. He texted a little while later and said they were cancelled, so I offered to pop back out for our visit. They were flying back so I asked when I should head back out, he said 12min, so about 15-16min later I headed out (a couple min shouldn’t have been an issue...) he called just as I was hoping in the car and asked where abouts I was, when I said just leaving now, he gave me a slightly annoyed tone, so I joked I’m only leaving like 5 min later than suggested. While my car was switching over to bluetooth he hung up, I called back... no answer... texted said I was on the way, he replied its fine just stay home. I apologized as I assumed he took my joke wrong ( which he did) and said I’m still coming by, got another text telling me to go home.
This is getting long so ill try to wrap this up, I stopped by the station briefly but he was pretty icy. I left after a few minutes and he texted to stay he was staying late ( he never does), I apologized again for upsetting him with my snarky comment earlier, and he decides he’s going to stay at the station overnight (maybe I’m wrong but this seems like and over reaction). I’m a logical person, and I understand something else must be adding to this situation, but he wont talk to me. He even texted that he isn’t going to bother going for an interview for a new position he’s been really wanting (we both want it - would be such a good change for him and managing his PTSD). I replied back to that text telling him how much I loved him ( as I didn’t many times earlier today) and that he should still do the interview, as he and we need the change, and that I fully support him. The last text he sent just said “ yeah...somethings just aren’t meant to be” I have no idea if he meant the job or us. I waited a bit and replied back with and I love you and left it at that. I’m not willing to fight over text....I’m honestly not sure why were fighting...

I guess I’m not sure how to approach him, as I said I hate conflict, I’m not willing to be a yoyo with threats of him leaving just because he’s mad, I am by no means perfect but I know I am not horrible. Ive tried to be a loving, understanding and supportive wife. During fights I usually end up begging for forgiveness...not because I think I’m totally at fault but because I’m trying to de-escalate the situation. I feel like telling him how I feel when in the heat of it wont help as he likely wont hear what I am saying, but it’s so hard to bring it up after.
He’s an amazing, loving, supportive husband 98% of the time, I don’t want to give up on us, but I just don’t know what to do.


Can you not let this one slide and just put it past you?
Bringing it up again may be counterproductive and if it's such a rare thing, personally, I'd just leave it and support him with what he feels is right for him at the moment.
Pressuring him in any way could cause the stress cup to overflow, if I'm reading things right.
My guy is a sufferer and so am I.
It sounds to me like work pressure is almost more than he can handle at the moment and any more from you might be a last straw situation. That might sound extreme but this illness is a very, very hard thing to live with and he is in the same line of work that got him ill in the first place (I'm presuming?) and that's gotta be a while lotta tough just that right there.

Personally I'd try and put his mood down to work stress and PTSD suffering and just be loving, supportive, forgiving and kind, if you can. Unless he brings it up, I wouldnt go there. Disregard any or all of this if it isn't applicable.
Can you not let this one slide and just put it past you?
Bringing it up again may be counterproduct...

Sorry I wasn’t as clear as I had thought! I’m not worried about the particulars of this fight, though they are frustrating. I was fearing this fight was going to turn into one like those in the summer, based a couple things he had said. How do you handle someone who is suffering, telling you they want to leave, when you know that isn’t really what they want? The threat of it is damaging to the relationship, but I’m not sure how to explain that without triggering another fight or making one worse?
Don't beg for forgiveness if you didn't do anything wrong. Just because it's going on in his head do...

I agree, I and get angry at mytself when I let it happen. I’m getting better at standing my ground but its not easy (my instinct is to avoid conflict -at least relationship conflict).


Do you really think the threats are serious?
When I'm feeling triggered I bring up breaking up just about every time; it's just said in the heat of the moment.
I think my guy gets this because he doesn't pay it any mind beyond the heat of the moment.

It only happens when we fight bad, which isn't very often and I usually calm down pretty quickly and correct myself and apologize.

Running is a prime drive for a PTSD sufferer, it's said in fight or flight mode and that's exactly what it is, the PTSD talking.

Giving it more weight is going to put more pressure on someone who's internal.pressure system is already on hyperdrive.

If you are really concerned, genuinely worried that he really means it, can you gently ask him if there something deeper going on and If he's serious?

He might want some reassurance that you can hack it, when things get tough, because sometime the rug is going to be pulled out from underneath him and he's going to need space and support and a solid friend who just respects that he's going through a really tough time.

Silent hugs and hand squeezes and time to let him grab hold of something to keep from drowning will help him more than you know.

If you lack the staying power, because he's wobbly on and off, maybe it's you who is really in danger of running? Your commitment is something he's likely to be very grateful for but maybe not always something he feels worthy of or up to reciprocating.
It sounds to me like it's more about whether you can be solid when he can't always be. But I could be way off the mark, apologies if that is so.
PTSD is a terrible living hell that is often periodic. PTSD sufferers need to know that the people in their lives forgive us for wanting to run away and hide sometimes because it's not always something we can help wanting to do.
I appreciate the feedback. I'm definitely not planning on running, i have no issue being his rock and have done my best to do so. We've been together for 8 years and this past summer was the first time he has ever threatened leaving, which is why it caught me so off guard. I'm just trying to understand him and support him the best I can.
We resolved our issue from yesterday, which is great. He still struggling but realizes I'm on his side, and always will be.
We're not a couple that fights a whole lot, so this is new territory for me and complicated with the PTSD. I'm just trying to find the best way to help him and manage the situations when they arise, but with setting boundaries (within reason), there is no reason for me to be trampled when he's triggered. It's a learning process, I completely understand that it's hell to go through, but that doesn't diminish the fact this affects me as well. I just want to find the best way to support him through this, that is healthy for both of us.


The best and worst advice I ever got on here in the beginning of my relationship with a PTSD sufferer was "try not to take it personally". It was the best advice because that really is ideal, especially when they can lash out when triggered. It was the worst advice because I just couldn't do it in the long run. Now, that's not saying that you need to let him walk all over you or that he gets to say whatever he wants -- but you might just have to come to terms with that a divorce is his new "go to" when mad.

I was dating someone with PTSD whose "go to" for a long time was breaking up. Not just breaking up, but things like, "it's been over for a while", "I can't do this anymore", "it's over", "you're not what I want long term anyway", etc. Over time, I started noticing the pattern of him wanting to break up, even so much so that he would use the exact same wording each time. I had every reaction in the book during that year of breaking up being his "go to" -- from apologizing, to begging and pleading, to anger -- when in reality, he just needed someone that was able to disengage until he was regulated again.
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