Relationship My fiancee Of 11 Years told me she had PTSD and left (I don't understand.)

BlueCurve

New Here
The Setup
My girlfriend of 11 years, who for the last 3 years has been my fiancee, finally made the jump and moved in together at the end of 2021. Unfortunately, due to outside stressors, what was meant to be the most fun and free time of our lives became a living nightmare quite quickly. I can remember the last time I was truly happy was when we caught the new Spider-Man movie together, and it's been hell ever since then. To make a long story short had some career complications due to a person I was doing business with not being very well-liked, and it led to my team and I getting cancelled on social media for petty things like who we voted for or making edgy jokes in old novels we'd written. So I have OCD, and I've been able to control it my whole life; while it's never been pleasant, it was never anything I couldn't handle.

Turns out that getting cancelled can make you paranoid, and seeing horrible things people are typing about you can give your OCD some serious ammo to cook up stories in your head to make you feel like shit with. So someone who has never had a major problem with this before suffers a nervous breakdown and becomes a mess who is unable to work, function or go long periods without crying. To keep it simple, if you're wondering why the intrusive thoughts were very unpleasant and seemed to be getting louder every day until around the middle of the year, when things started to calm down.

So at first, she seemed very confident to help me beat this as I've told her this has happened on a much smaller scale before and all I needed to do was figure it out and eventually, it would pass. We both had the same goal of getting me back to normal, becoming happy and starting our lives properly. The first two months go by, and she's supportive, sweet and doing her very best, letting me know when she needs a break or if things are upsetting her. We study the condition and manage to find a video that explains exactly what is wrong with me, so we have a plan of attack and know this has happened to other people.


Things Get Worse
The weeks roll on, and my breakdowns get worse and worse, and our talks get longer and longer until one night, I break down, balling my eyes out, and she just sits there watching me telling me she "Feels numb to me, crying and doesn't like the way it feels but that's how she feels." At first, I figured, well, this is normal; this has been going on for a while; maybe this is just a side effect, but this is VERY unlike her; she's normally so caring and kind. I find as the days roll on, her kindness is replaced by what can only be described as frustration and apathy, and my OCD gets worse because it's almost like she's demanding I magically get better because she's getting fed up with it. Then our talks about my OCD thoughts start getting very intense and uncharacteristic reactions like her yelling at me to get to the point and skip out on the details, which at times I needed to explain in order to prove my OCD wrong.

So the weeks go on, and eventually, this overwhelming sadness hits her, and no matter what I do, it's like I can't restore her spirits. Wanting to help her out, we set some ground rules about when we can and can't talk about this stuff so it won't affect her work or upset her, and the list we came up with was pretty stacked in her favour like I almost wasn't allowed to talk about my problems anymore, but I was determined to try and keep her happy because I was getting a little better and I could feel it wouldn't be much longer until I was back to normal.

Things start getting better, and she's still sad. I try telling her we are so close to fixing this, take her hand and ask her if she can commit and stick with it because I feel it's going to be done soon. She can't commit and just cries, saying she feels different, and that's why she's sad but won't really tell me exactly why she feels like that. I'm already seeing the writing on the wall she's probably going to break up with me, and naturally, I start getting worse because I focus less on healing myself and trying to scramble to save our relationship or force my recovery to go faster (something that often makes things worse) so I got three things to worry about now, and while I am slowly getting better it's not exactly in a healthy way.

Then out of the blue, one day, she tells me she feels different because she's been suppressing her emotions to support me and while she feels like something inside of her has changed, what hasn't changed is that she still loves me and wants to be with me. She then goes on to say she doesn't want to spend any more of our time together talking about OCD or being sad and really wants me better ASAP so I can get back to work. I'm really happy to hear her reaffirm her commitment, and a few days later, she even hits me with an "I think we can do this. I love you." Two weeks go by, and I slay another segment of my OCD, and I'm feeling pretty good about it because with the most troubling one out of the way, there was only one small connecting detail left until I was 100% back to normal; I was hoping I'd get that before my birthday rolled around at the end of the month as almost the perfect present.

The Aha Moment
My birthday rolls around, and she's cold as ice; she can't smile, ignores most of what I say and doesn't seem excited by the new things we got for the apartment. Family and friends leave, and I press her as to why she's being like this, and she just breaks down crying, telling me she didn't mean to come across like that. With my birthday over, I ask her why she's upset and again it's the vague "I feel different." and that's why she's sad. She tries to make it out to be about money, but I told her we planned a solution for that, so that can't be why she's sad; then she finally breaks down and says it's been about the intrusive thoughts we've been talking about. I seem confused and say while yeah, they are hard to talk about, they are not real and shouldn't bother her as much as they bother me because they are in my head, and then I finally get to the bedrock of the problem "Talking about that brought back bad memories." Then it hit me. I remember things she's told me about her past that I'm not going to get into here, but some of them did involve an abusive Ex and other things. Then suddenly, a lot of her behaviour after our talks made sense.

- Watching happy animal videos for a long time.
- Screaming at me, she doesn't like the images our talks put in her head.
- Getting very annoyed about the talks that help me to an unreasonable degree and breaking down crying after trying to get her to help me.
- The nightmares.
- Shutting me out.
- Not wanting to talk about it until I pried it out of her at the very end.
- Hair loss & skin flaking.
- Not to mention the unshakable sadness she seemed to have.
- Unable to focus or sleep well.


Pretty much all of this could tie into her bad memories that I wasn't aware she had PTSD from. She more or less tells me I'll always be her best friend, and I comfort her reassuring her nothing will happen to her and she's safe. The next day after my birthday, she asks me to leave the house so she could make some calls because she was thinking about breaking up; I'm not shocked I sort of saw this coming, but I assumed we'd at least talk about it out once she was done getting advice.
Once I got back, she was balling, unwilling to talk about it and told me it was the hardest thing she'd ever have to do and not to make it harder for her. She drove out of my life, and I'm left here wondering just what the f*ck was happening when we were so close to getting our lives back; I was going to therapy, taking what I needed to, trying my best to give her good days and keep my problems to myself and just as it seemed things were getting better, she bailed.


Where It's At For The Moment.
After she leaves, we text back and forth a little, and she lets me know she just couldn't handle the situation, but she still thinks I'm a good man and hopes I recover fully soon and that maybe in time, we can be friends. I'm over here wondering what the hell happened when just a few weeks prior, she told me, "I think we can do this. I love you and want to be with you." So I can relate to you big time; I'm left confused at just what the f*ck happened. Because I feel like all I need to do is fix the problem and we can make this work, I give her some space, and as luck would have it, I actually conquer my OCD and fix the problem; I'm back to how I used to be so there's good news there.

The moment I bring up what drove us apart is a thing of the past, she gets very cold and starts saying things like there's no going back, there have been many chances, and her feelings have changed. Still perplexed by this point, I figure, okay, maybe her feelings did take a dashing, so okay, let's just be friends; she keeps offering that, but only after enough time has passed, and I couldn't get a solid date out of her. So I keep pushing to meet and talk or to just play new games over the internet I know we'd both enjoy, and I just keep getting the I need space until I show up at her house and text her can she come out and talk to me and she just shuts me out after that point. I end up getting one warning that if I keep pushing, she was going to block me. I return home and keep trying to talk it out before she's ready, and now I'm blocked on everything and haven't heard from her in months.

I've heard through friends she hasn't said anything bad about me but is extremely annoyed. I tried pushing to fix this before she was ready. Before I had my nervous breakdown, we had a pretty much perfect relationship, and she loved her ring more than anything else in the world and offered it back so seemingly casually during our last phone call; I think that's what broke my heart more than anything else. Part of me is just wondering if we had 11 wonderful years and we were just victims of a string of bad mental health for the last year, then why can't we end it nicely or just be open and chill with one another and where this need to avoid me so harshly is coming from. I'm currently planning on giving her six months before I try to reach out through a friend because I care about her more than anything in this world; her sudden heel turn is confusing the hell outta me. There was a lot of "I wish things could have been different." Or "I'm sorry it turned out this way." and I don't know what the hell to think, please, if anybody could help me understand.
 

Sweetpea76

Moderator
@BlueCurve you know how you couldn’t help how you felt when your OCD was bad? PTSD causes emotional numbing. It’s a symptom.

PTSD is a broken stress response, and as the supporting partner of somebody with a mental illness, I can’t think of many things more stressful than dealing with a highly symptomatic partner for a long period of time.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
, please, if anybody could help me understand.
Sounds the sad truth that the relationship changed for her and it ended.
I'm sorry that has happened. .you went through a very hard time with you mental health challenges and being out of work. That sounds super stressful for you. And that does put stress on a couple.
For her, exactly what @Sweetpea76 said.

Though also, relationships sometimes do end. It's incredibly hard because it feels a total rejection of the self. But it isn't. An ending doesn't negate the years together and the happiness shared there. It also doesn't mean there is something wrong with either person. Things just sadly sometimes change.

I would focus on you and your healing rather than waiting six months before contacting her again. She's blocked you so she's been quite clear she wants no contact . people get over relationships in different ways , for her clearly she wants to do that without you.

Maybe work on accepting it is over. And healing from the heartache. And seeing what life you carve out for yourself now.
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
hello bluecurve. welcome to the forum. sorry for what brings you here, but glad you are here.

wow! ! ! that's allot to sort, both individually and together. when i have to sort that much, i resist the urge to do it all in one chunk. when attempting to digest a proverbial elephant, it is best to break it down into bite-sized chunks. small bytes and long chews. attempting to swallow an elephant whole is guaranteed indigestion, at best.

as for the relationship, i've lost track of how many times i've needed to take space from my own partner of 42 years in order for one or both of us to work through mental health drama. we figure that family is bigger than a shared address and a safe social distance helps us both. it's allot to sort. hold the love sacred and take care of yourself while you allow her the trust and confidence to do the same.
 

Cheri

New Here
You have gotten some insightful responses. I just wanted to add…my husband and I have learned that we can’t be each other’s therapist. So while we do talk about his ptsd and my anxiety, we both do the heavy lifting and super difficult emotional work in therapy in order not to burn each other out. Being the support person can be very difficult and a balance has to be found, in my opinion, between being there for someone emotionally and stepping back when we need to focus on ourselves for a bit.
 

scout86

MyPTSD Pro
my husband and I have learned that we can’t be each other’s therapist.
This ^^^^^ Expecting a partner to be your therapist puts a lot of extra stress on the relationship. And, it's hard to be objective when you're IN the relationship. A professional therapist usually knows all kinds of useful stuff that the average civilian doesn't. I'd say that's true for both PTSD and OCD.
 
R

Rockguy

hello bluecurve. welcome to the forum. sorry for what brings you here, but glad you are here.

wow! ! ! that's allot to sort, both individually and together. when i have to sort that much, i resist the urge to do it all in one chunk. when attempting to digest a proverbial elephant, it is best to break it down into bite-sized chunks. small bytes and long chews. attempting to swallow an elephant whole is guaranteed indigestion, at best.

as for the relationship, i've lost track of how many times i've needed to take space from my own partner of 42 years in order for one or both of us to work through mental health drama. we figure that family is bigger than a shared address and a safe social distance helps us both. it's allot to sort. hold the love sacred and take care of yourself while you allow her the trust and confidence to do the same.
How long have some of these moments of space been?
 
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