Relationship PTSD Relationship Breakdown

B

Blue89

Good morning,
I've just been through an incredibly challenging breakup. Me and my partner were together for 8 months. 7 of those months were incredible. We were long distance. Roughly 4 weeks ago, I noticed his texting declined and all form of effort was slowly dwindling. It was discussed several times but nothing improved. At this point I wasn't aware he has PTSD. As time slowly moved forward things got worse. I noticed he'd messaged an ex but avoided talking to me (probably to try and have normal conversation) as ours was getting heated frequently. I went down for his birthday, bought presents and surprised him with a cake. He told me I shouldn't have bothered and didn't really acknowledge me for the day. It killed me.
He told me he didn't want to hurt and bring me down but that it would be best to just move on whilst he sorts himself out. Trying to be the loving partner, I hung in there texting and calling to let him know I was by his side.
Then one day... Saturday just gone. He totally stop replying to me. He hasn't blocked me or deleted my number but he's just totally ignoring my messages. Feeling upset and frustrated I didn't know what to do. The whole thing has brought me down and I was questioning where I went wrong... maybe I triggered something? Maybe I pushed him away? It literally went from being so loving and happy to being told I have no feelings and don't know what I want. His words were 'I'm an empty shell'. Yet he never failed to make me believe how much he loved me before this started. Naturally I got frustrated at parts but I was fighting for him.
Fast forward a couple of days and decided I couldn't go on like this. I sent a lovely video message saying how much I loved him and that I didn't hate or blame him for his actions and that if he ever needed me I'd be there. It broke my heart but I tried to do it with a smile. Unfortunately I'm not sure if I'll ever hear again but regardless of how I'm feeling sending that video will hopefully pick him up and allow him to believe in himself. I would never block him but for my sanity I've deleted his number and have to try and move on. It's painful because it's the first time I've felt proper love. Although I maybe didn't always do the right thing and pushed, my intentions were always good. I really hope it is THE PTSD and not him. Any comments would really help. Best wishes.
 

Friday

Moderator
I really hope it is THE PTSD and not him.
The straight up bad news is that it’s him, whether PTSD is weighing in, or not. There’s no way to seperate out the “real” person from their disorder, the same way you can’t seperate out the autistic/ADHD/bipolar/BPD/et cetera from the “real” person. Whether their disorder is static (symptoms always present), or has episodes of increased/decreased symptoms? It’s still them.

While I get you’re probably just trying to describe the (maybe) episode itself? It is a super common trap people fall into, attempting to lump all the stuff they don’t like/doesn’t work over here so they can ignore it, and focus on how wonder it would be IF they were the “real” them. Putting on blinders like that? Simply doesn’t work, long term. Although it often keeps people in bad relationships for years, until they finally realize that -actually- this IS them. This is how they choose to deal. (It’s often only meeting people with the same disorder, who handle those same symptoms completely differently, that lets the penny drop.) Just word to the wise.
 

Scottbraveheart

Not Active
Good morning,
I've just been through an incredibly challenging breakup. Me and my partner were together for 8 months. 7 of those months were incredible. We were long distance. Roughly 4 weeks ago, I noticed his texting declined and all form of effort was slowly dwindling. It was discussed several times but nothing improved. At this point I wasn't aware he has PTSD. As time slowly moved forward things got worse. I noticed he'd messaged an ex but avoided talking to me (probably to try and have normal conversation) as ours was getting heated frequently. I went down for his birthday, bought presents and surprised him with a cake. He told me I shouldn't have bothered and didn't really acknowledge me for the day. It killed me.
He told me he didn't want to hurt and bring me down but that it would be best to just move on whilst he sorts himself out. Trying to be the loving partner, I hung in there texting and calling to let him know I was by his side.
Then one day... Saturday just gone. He totally stop replying to me. He hasn't blocked me or deleted my number but he's just totally ignoring my messages. Feeling upset and frustrated I didn't know what to do. The whole thing has brought me down and I was questioning where I went wrong... maybe I triggered something? Maybe I pushed him away? It literally went from being so loving and happy to being told I have no feelings and don't know what I want. His words were 'I'm an empty shell'. Yet he never failed to make me believe how much he loved me before this started. Naturally I got frustrated at parts but I was fighting for him.
Fast forward a couple of days and decided I couldn't go on like this. I sent a lovely video message saying how much I loved him and that I didn't hate or blame him for his actions and that if he ever needed me I'd be there. It broke my heart but I tried to do it with a smile. Unfortunately I'm not sure if I'll ever hear again but regardless of how I'm feeling sending that video will hopefully pick him up and allow him to believe in himself. I would never block him but for my sanity I've deleted his number and have to try and move on. It's painful because it's the first time I've felt proper love. Although I maybe didn't always do the right thing and pushed, my intentions were always good. I really hope it is THE PTSD and not him. Any comments would really help. Best wishes.
I can relate to some of this from his perspective. First of all he never should have treated you that way he did however PTSD can cause a great deal of anxiety and stress when it comes to relationships. I was in a long distance relationship for more than a year with someone in the Philippines and even though we never actually met in person ( I was saving money to go there) the relationship was very real and emotional, I really was in love with her and I do believe it was the same for her too. We would talk 8 hours or more on video every night and I would go out of my way to do romantic things for her almost daily, like poems or gifs. I also sent her a number of gifts and flowers. Even though I was very tired and having lots of anxiety I was trying my best to maintain this relationship. She told me once that she hopes I'll never change. We were planning on getting married.

As time went on the stress really got to me, plus my mother was very sick and I'm having some financial issues. Another thing that was bothering me is that it was becoming more apparent that she simply didn't have any understanding of PTSD, depression or anxiety. In the Philippines mental health issues are still very much stigmatized. I felt horrible but I began to ghost her and than would come back when the guilt would consume me. Even though I was still in love I couldn't bring myself to be honest how I was feeling. I do want to point out that there many times I didn't feel appreciated for everything I was doing and I was worried about being stigmatized. I do want to commend you for loving him even when you new he had PTSD.

My relationship is over now, I'm devastated and I feel terrible for not being stronger for her.

I don't know him but he may feeling something similar. It might too painful for you but maybe keep reaching out to show him your love is real.
 

HisWife22

Sponsor
I am so sorry. Peruse this forum, and you will find hauntingly similar stories. Yours actually came on quickly - 8 months versus after years of a relationship.

My sufferer doesn't disappear quite like that. He DOES disappear, but for hours at a time rather than days. And only into our bedroom. But it's still weirdly hurtful no matter how much I understand it

I've read some really insightful posts here about why they do it and what they're feeling when they do.

But the REALLY insightful posts by sufferers about this topic are the ones that show that..... it doesn't matter why. It doesn't matter if it's "the ptsd". It still hurts like hell.

You've made your decision, and I think it's a brave one. A post above is correct..... "the ptsd" is actually just.... them. It's a part of them. And every supporter needs to decide if they can remain so or not.

I love my sufferer desperately. We've been together for 20+ years now? Something like that. He's recently dx. I'm not going to leave him (I don't think.... never say never tho I suppose). And I find myself, as weird as this sounds, somewhat jealous of you? Crazy, since you clearly came here in pain and looking for support. But I'm jealous that, if this had to happen, it happened near the beginning of your time together. So that you could make this decision without all the history weighing you down.

Eh, I don't know if I've expressed myself well here. If I've minimized your experience at all, I'm sorry.
 

Livinginhope

Confident
Good morning,
I've just been through an incredibly challenging breakup. Me and my partner were together for 8 months. 7 of those months were incredible. We were long distance. Roughly 4 weeks ago, I noticed his texting declined and all form of effort was slowly dwindling. It was discussed several times but nothing improved. At this point I wasn't aware he has PTSD. As time slowly moved forward things got worse. I noticed he'd messaged an ex but avoided talking to me (probably to try and have normal conversation) as ours was getting heated frequently. I went down for his birthday, bought presents and surprised him with a cake. He told me I shouldn't have bothered and didn't really acknowledge me for the day. It killed me.
He told me he didn't want to hurt and bring me down but that it would be best to just move on whilst he sorts himself out. Trying to be the loving partner, I hung in there texting and calling to let him know I was by his side.
Then one day... Saturday just gone. He totally stop replying to me. He hasn't blocked me or deleted my number but he's just totally ignoring my messages. Feeling upset and frustrated I didn't know what to do. The whole thing has brought me down and I was questioning where I went wrong... maybe I triggered something? Maybe I pushed him away? It literally went from being so loving and happy to being told I have no feelings and don't know what I want. His words were 'I'm an empty shell'. Yet he never failed to make me believe how much he loved me before this started. Naturally I got frustrated at parts but I was fighting for him.
Fast forward a couple of days and decided I couldn't go on like this. I sent a lovely video message saying how much I loved him and that I didn't hate or blame him for his actions and that if he ever needed me I'd be there. It broke my heart but I tried to do it with a smile. Unfortunately I'm not sure if I'll ever hear again but regardless of how I'm feeling sending that video will hopefully pick him up and allow him to believe in himself. I would never block him but for my sanity I've deleted his number and have to try and move on. It's painful because it's the first time I've felt proper love. Although I maybe didn't always do the right thing and pushed, my intentions were always good. I really hope it is THE PTSD and not him. Any comments would really help. Best wishes.
I'm sorry you're going through this. It hurts, I know (firsthand). You've had some spot on replies so far, even though I know they won't be making things any clearer or easier for you. The trouble is, how you react to this (much like how he reacts) is different for you than it might be for someone else.

Don't be too hard on yourself. If I read your post correctly, you've only known he has PTSD for a month. That's not long. There's SO MUCH to learn, and his withdrawal has come quickly on the heels of you finding out he has it.

You really only have two options at this point. You either do what he has said, and slowly move on with your life without him. Or you keep a small piece of hope alive and send him the occasional supportive, non-questioning message from time to time. Both options will be painful. With my sufferer, I opted for the second, but like @FFwife said in her response, years down the line you will probably still be in the same boat and still being rocked by his reactions but with so much more history behind you. I'm 2.5 years in and now seriously (finally) wondering if I can live like this for ever. If I WANT to. But only you can decide what you do next.

Your comment about deleting his number to save your sanity totally resonated with me. I can't tell you how many times over the past 2.5 years I've temporarily deleted his number from my phone. It's a safety mechanism and it partially helps in the short term. But do I want to continue having to do this for the rest of my life? Not so sure I do. As much as I care for, and about, him. These men are grown ups, with a serious mental health issue that won't improve until they make enormous efforts to find help. It's excruciatingly painful for them, but so is going along for the ride with them.

I hope you find some peace for yourself. Whichever option you take, there's a massive amount of useful info on this wonderful site to help you learn more about PTSD if you want to. And there's honest advice and support here for you too. Don't be hard on yourself. This is an ugly, hurtful curved ball that has landed in your lap. No-one could deal with that happening to them. Be kind to yourself x
 

Blue89

New Here
The straight up bad news is that it’s him, whether PTSD is weighing in, or not. There’s no way to seperate out the “real” person from their disorder, the same way you can’t seperate out the autistic/ADHD/bipolar/BPD/et cetera from the “real” person. Whether their disorder is static (symptoms always present), or has episodes of increased/decreased symptoms? It’s still them.

While I get you’re probably just trying to describe the (maybe) episode itself? It is a super common trap people fall into, attempting to lump all the stuff they don’t like/doesn’t work over here so they can ignore it, and focus on how wonder it would be IF they were the “real” them. Putting on blinders like that? Simply doesn’t work, long term. Although it often keeps people in bad relationships for years, until they finally realize that -actually- this IS them. This is how they choose to deal. (It’s often only meeting people with the same disorder, who handle those same symptoms completely differently, that lets the penny drop.) Just word to the wise.
Thank you for your reply. Chances are I will never hear again but I can't understand why he doesn't just block and delete me if that's the case. It's heartbreaking but I guess I need to get on with life.

I'm sorry you're going through this. It hurts, I know (firsthand). You've had some spot on replies so far, even though I know they won't be making things any clearer or easier for you. The trouble is, how you react to this (much like how he reacts) is different for you than it might be for someone else.

Don't be too hard on yourself. If I read your post correctly, you've only known he has PTSD for a month. That's not long. There's SO MUCH to learn, and his withdrawal has come quickly on the heels of you finding out he has it.

You really only have two options at this point. You either do what he has said, and slowly move on with your life without him. Or you keep a small piece of hope alive and send him the occasional supportive, non-questioning message from time to time. Both options will be painful. With my sufferer, I opted for the second, but like @FFwife said in her response, years down the line you will probably still be in the same boat and still being rocked by his reactions but with so much more history behind you. I'm 2.5 years in and now seriously (finally) wondering if I can live like this for ever. If I WANT to. But only you can decide what you do next.

Your comment about deleting his number to save your sanity totally resonated with me. I can't tell you how many times over the past 2.5 years I've temporarily deleted his number from my phone. It's a safety mechanism and it partially helps in the short term. But do I want to continue having to do this for the rest of my life? Not so sure I do. As much as I care for, and about, him. These men are grown ups, with a serious mental health issue that won't improve until they make enormous efforts to find help. It's excruciatingly painful for them, but so is going along for the ride with them.

I hope you find some peace for yourself. Whichever option you take, there's a massive amount of useful info on this wonderful site to help you learn more about PTSD if you want to. And there's honest advice and support here for you too. Don't be hard on yourself. This is an ugly, hurtful curved ball that has landed in your lap. No-one could deal with that happening to them. Be kind to yourself x
Thank you for your reply. It's heartbreaking but I guess the person I fell for is going to come and go. He really made me believe he loved me and maybe he did but I just can't understand how he can cut the contact. He's not mentioned that he's done anything like this to anyone before and all previous exes have been horrible. I just hope he will reach out even as a friend. I don't think I should contact him again as he requested space.

I'm sorry you're going through this. It hurts, I know (firsthand). You've had some spot on replies so far, even though I know they won't be making things any clearer or easier for you. The trouble is, how you react to this (much like how he reacts) is different for you than it might be for someone else.

Don't be too hard on yourself. If I read your post correctly, you've only known he has PTSD for a month. That's not long. There's SO MUCH to learn, and his withdrawal has come quickly on the heels of you finding out he has it.

You really only have two options at this point. You either do what he has said, and slowly move on with your life without him. Or you keep a small piece of hope alive and send him the occasional supportive, non-questioning message from time to time. Both options will be painful. With my sufferer, I opted for the second, but like @FFwife said in her response, years down the line you will probably still be in the same boat and still being rocked by his reactions but with so much more history behind you. I'm 2.5 years in and now seriously (finally) wondering if I can live like this for ever. If I WANT to. But only you can decide what you do next.

Your comment about deleting his number to save your sanity totally resonated with me. I can't tell you how many times over the past 2.5 years I've temporarily deleted his number from my phone. It's a safety mechanism and it partially helps in the short term. But do I want to continue having to do this for the rest of my life? Not so sure I do. As much as I care for, and about, him. These men are grown ups, with a serious mental health issue that won't improve until they make enormous efforts to find help. It's excruciatingly painful for them, but so is going along for the ride with them.

I hope you find some peace for yourself. Whichever option you take, there's a massive amount of useful info on this wonderful site to help you learn more about PTSD if you want to. And there's honest advice and support here for you too. Don't be hard on yourself. This is an ugly, hurtful curved ball that has landed in your lap. No-one could deal with that happening to them. Be kind to yourself x
Thank you for yoir reply. Being honest, I think it will kill me to keep in touch because I'll be holding on. I genuinely love him but he won't allow me to be by his side and support. I've waited 3 days for a response not long I know... but it really is when your heart is breaking. I really do appreciate the depth of your response. Thank you. I just hope he will reach out.
 

Livinginhope

Confident
Thank you for yoir reply. Being honest, I think it will kill me to keep in touch because I'll be holding on. I genuinely love him but he won't allow me to be by his side and support. I've waited 3 days for a response not long I know... but it really is when your heart is breaking. I really do appreciate the depth of your response. Thank you. I just hope he will reach out.
3 days is long when your heart is breaking, I get it. It's down to you, and only you, how you move forward. I know the first time it happened to me, I just couldn't let him go. I let him isolate, yes, and I left him alone for a few weeks at a time, but then I sent a funny meme or a quick message, and then backed off again for a few more weeks. It is a killer, emotionally. If I had my time again, I'm not sure I would do it, as it kept me locked in and invested in him, and ultimately, two and half years later, he's still an isolator and I still have to handle periods of intense contact and then periods (sometimes quite long ones) of isolation on his part. I don't know where our relationship will go. I don't know if I can keep doing this. I do know there will likely come a time when I just don't want to anymore. For example, I saw him last Friday and it was amazing. We were the closest we've ever been. I got two quick messages after he left that afternoon, and nothing since, despite my messaging him a few times. The intensity of our closeness has probably overwhelmed him (have you read the post on here re the PTSD stress cup?) This is how it will be for ever more with him. I don't know if I want to be like this for the rest of my life. And only you can know if you are willing to do this too? It isn't much fun, I know that much. Please try to take care of yourself whatever happens. Ultimately, you need yourself to be happy and sane, more than you need him to be x
 

Blue89

New Here
3 days is long when your heart is breaking, I get it. It's down to you, and only you, how you move forward. I know the first time it happened to me, I just couldn't let him go. I let him isolate, yes, and I left him alone for a few weeks at a time, but then I sent a funny meme or a quick message, and then backed off again for a few more weeks. It is a killer, emotionally. If I had my time again, I'm not sure I would do it, as it kept me locked in and invested in him, and ultimately, two and half years later, he's still an isolator and I still have to handle periods of intense contact and then periods (sometimes quite long ones) of isolation on his part. I don't know where our relationship will go. I don't know if I can keep doing this. I do know there will likely come a time when I just don't want to anymore. For example, I saw him last Friday and it was amazing. We were the closest we've ever been. I got two quick messages after he left that afternoon, and nothing since, despite my messaging him a few times. The intensity of our closeness has probably overwhelmed him (have you read the post on here re the PTSD stress cup?) This is how it will be for ever more with him. I don't know if I want to be like this for the rest of my life. And only you can know if you are willing to do this too? It isn't much fun, I know that much. Please try to take care of yourself whatever happens. Ultimately, you need yourself to be happy and sane, more than you need him to be x
Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. It really is heartbreaking. I lie here day in day out thinking about him and going over all the things I've said and done trying to get answers. He honestly doted on me and made me feel so special. He was also there when I lost my father no questions asked. Now he just works all the time and I mean stupid hours. He appears to treat everyone else normally yet has cut me off without a second thought. How could you do that if you loved someone? Surely PTSD wouldn't do that? When he initially asked for time he said he still wanted to text and call. I said just send one text a day and he couldnt even commit to that yet he functions perfectly fine in work. As I said I sent a lovely video message telling him I loved him and that I'd always be there but I can't continue to chase. It's unhealthy. I'm just so scared I'll never hear again. I actually have seperation anxiety too which doesn't help. My whole world has crumbled. He made it clear he doesn't know how to feel or think yet I spend every minute of every day thinking about him and just looking at his social media even though he posts nothing. I've told myself I'll give him a couple of weeks and if I hear nothing I'll have to block or I'll forever be trapped in this cycle. My heart also goes out to you. All credit to you for supporting your partner like you do. I wouldn't be able to do it like you have. He's very lucky to have you. Also, if he wants rid of me that much why doesn't he just block and delete me? I'm sorry to sound so negative and appreciate your reply
 

Livinginhope

Confident
Everything you're saying is exactly what I've said to myself too. The truth is I don't know how they just cut us out, but they do. I spent months wondering if he'd been lying to me all along about how he feels, but when he not symptomatic and we talk about it, I know he really cares and appreciates me.

In some PTSD sufferers, this is what happens. Not everybody reacts in the same way like @Friday said. I wish I could you answers to help woth the pain but I don't know if he will reach out. My guess is he will. But I don't know how long that will take him, or if he'll have answers for you when he does.

As far as filling his time woth work and being able to deal woth other people goes, yep, that happens to me too. Again, I think it's a way of avoiding the one person who he feels the closest to, and avoiding the emotion of it. Mine tells me that when he's symptomatic, he's just totally overwhelmed and he has to shut down on everything that causes him stress, both good and bad stress.

Just hang in there for yourself at the moment. Eat, walk, cry, work, talk, sleep. The days will pass. And a resolution of sorts will eventually become obvious to you x
 

Blue89

New Here
Everything you're saying is exactly what I've said to myself too. The truth is I don't know how they just cut us out, but they do. I spent months wondering if he'd been lying to me all along about how he feels, but when he not symptomatic and we talk about it, I know he really cares and appreciates me.

In some PTSD sufferers, this is what happens. Not everybody reacts in the same way like @Friday said. I wish I could you answers to help woth the pain but I don't know if he will reach out. My guess is he will. But I don't know how long that will take him, or if he'll have answers for you when he does.

As far as filling his time woth work and being able to deal woth other people goes, yep, that happens to me too. Again, I think it's a way of avoiding the one person who he feels the closest to, and avoiding the emotion of it. Mine tells me that when he's symptomatic, he's just totally overwhelmed and he has to shut down on everything that causes him stress, both good and bad stress.

Just hang in there for yourself at the moment. Eat, walk, cry, work, talk, sleep. The days will pass. And a resolution of sorts will eventually become obvious to you x
Living in hope you have been a breath of fresh air. Thank you for your replies and understanding. I've tried so hard to get my head around it. Thinking is he cheating? Has someone new come along? Have I done something? Just because it makes no sense. I will not contact him as I said what I needed to in my video. Hopefully he will realise just how good I've been but naturally I can't hold my breath. Just hope. Sending lots of best wishes to you and your situation and thank you once again.
 

Friday

Moderator
He appears to treat everyone else normally yet has cut me off without a second thought. How could you do that if you loved someone? Surely PTSD wouldn't do that?
Actually, that’s an incrediably common stress management tool.

You probably do it yourself, whenever you start getting sick or in a rush.

When you’re sick you probably don’t go to work, meet up with friends, cook food for a family party, run errands, clean your house, go shopping, etc... easy as breathing, just a normal day/week. Instead you probably start cancelling more and more stuff in order to drag your exhausted (& increasingly foggy/cranky/groaning/stare blankly) self through the basics. Until even the basics can f*ck right off, dammit, you’re not budging from this couch/bed/chair until? You start feeling better and start adding things back into your life.

When you’re in a rush? You may well duck a call from a friend who wants to talk for hours, and set your bills aside to do later… but? Smile and chat with the mailman/neighbor/guy making your coffee. Because they’re more important than your best friend and bills? Nope! Because they ARE NOT important, or time consuming.

^^^ Those are normal aspects of stress management, totally sensible & in line with the situation at hand.

PTSD? Is a stress related disorder. Which means needing to make those exact same choices… for no sensible reason. Sometimes on a daily basis, sometimes not for months. It’s not a disorder where symptoms are constant, but where they come & go. Sometimes in relation to what’s going on in their life, sometimes out of a clear blue sky, for no rhyme or reason.

Most people don’t like that kind of variability in a partner, some people aren’t bothered by it, others enjoy the hell out of it.

If you’re the kind of person that 3 days has left you heartbroken? You’re definitely bothered by it, and certainly do not enjoy it. Meaning I very much think you should trust your own instincts, and even if he tries to swarm back into your life with rooms of roses and all the happy? Think long and hard about whether you can handle dating someone whose life looks more like a heart beat (up down, up down, steady, up down, up down, steady) rather than steady, constant, reliable.
 
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