Relationship Sufferer broke up with me, but leaves door open?

Johnelin

New Here
Hello,
This is my first post here. Dated for three months with a very close colleague from work, we have been in a committed, incredibly fun, loving, intellectually and physically stimulating relationship. She had an episode of extreme domestic violence 14 months ago, emotional abuse by her former husband and by parents and she is diagnosed with PTSD. She never never spoke in detail about her mental health and I haven't pressured her to do so, but she told me she had been doing therapy for more than half a year and that she made real progress. We had some disagreements around the same date each month. Last time she cancelled plans, isolated for half of day, told me she needed time to process some issues. Later that same day she reached out via text messages and questioned my interactions with a former partner. She ended the text conversation in a cold tone and the next day she came to my house to further discuss, asking me to change my interactions with that third person (stop speaking about my current relationship with my ex). As I had a different impression about what her isolation means, I raised this issue before committing to changing my interactions with that third person. I told her that the way she was isolating is strange, that I have feelings too and maybe she can learn something from this and improve our interactions. She yelled and stormed out of the house. Later, in an emotionally draining written conversation, she apologized via text messages, explained her need for isolation and we reached an agreement that she would clearly mark when these periods of isolation begin and end. I also agreed to change my interactions with my ex. The next day she told me she is angry and doesn't feel comfortable in the relationship anymore because I questioned the way she processes emotions and handles her mental health. I told her that I am sorry for her anger, but that I am not responsible for it. Next day she sent a cold message letting me know that the relationship is over. I gave her space and reached back after a couple of weeks. We clarified some of our behaviors, stated that we still love each other, but she concluded that we are incompatible. After a week she reached out sending a picture. We started discussing again and realized how wrong our perceptions of what happened was. She said she doesn't feel comfortable anymore in the relationship because what I said to her during our last disagreement made her feel that I turned my back on her and broke up with her. She said she loves me and suggested we be friends and do what we feel like as if it were a relationship as a way to have fun and become closer together. She presented this as a possible solution for us to be in a real relationship again. She initiated some physical intimacy, I followed along, spent some time together for a few days. After a few days, on the same date as in previous months, she said that the intimacy makes her be more withdrawn and wants to be just friends. When I asked her if she needs anything from me and whether this is the end, she said she doesn't know what she needs and that she can't be categorical about this being the end. We continued working together and having fun written conversations at work after this last conversation. I've been sending her a couple of neutral texts per day(pictures, songs, articles) on her private phone as a way to show her that I am not upset, I am not turning my back on her, and I am thinking of her. I really love her and haven't understood what she is going through until the last major disagreement that we had. I think I would be able to handle all this in a more constructive way that makes her feel comfortable if we just communicated more and agreed on some principles. Any advice? Any chances to rebuild this relationship? Thank you!
 

Johnelin

New Here
This is only three months in? I’d seriously rethink the effort you are putting in. There is a lot of relationship drama for what is essentially a honeymoon phase.
Thank you for the answer. We worked together for six months before we started dating and we got closer, there was great chemistry between us. We have similar values and a lot of other things in common. She is kind, supportive, wise, inspiring. Sometimes just looking at her makes me happier...I am in love.
 

Sweetpea76

Moderator
I think I would be able to handle all this in a more constructive way that makes her feel comfortable if we just communicated more and agreed on some principles.
That’s the thing when your partner has a mental illness. She may not be able to communicate more or tell you why she feels or acts certain ways. This isn’t a regular relationship. The regular relationship rules don’t apply.

I am in love.

Love isn’t enough to make it work if she isn’t capable of being functional in a relationship.

PTSD relationships aren’t flowers and romance. They’re hard work, and both partners have to be able and willing to put in the work. New supporters who come here with questions often think we’re cruel or we don’t understand their love. That’s not at all the case. We love our sufferers very much too, but we know that at any time they may be too ill to function in a relationship anymore. This is after years in. Reality trumps love with mental illness.

If a sufferer is having issues in the honeymoon period it’s probably a good indication that she cannot manage a relationship, which is what you want.
 

StillWurdy

New Here
I told her that I am sorry for her anger, but that I am not responsible for it. Next day she sent a cold message letting me know that the relationship is over. I gave her space and reached back after a couple of weeks. We clarified some of our behaviors, stated that we still love each other, but she concluded that we are incompatible. After a week she reached out sending a picture. We started discussing again and realized how wrong our perceptions of what happened was. She said she doesn't feel comfortable anymore in the relationship because what I said to her during our last disagreement made her feel that I turned my back on her and broke up with her.

When I asked her if she needs anything from me and whether this is the end, she said she doesn't know what she needs and that she can't be categorical about this being the end.

Honestly, I’ve been on here since January and I haven’t really found any answers as to what to do. I have found answers to what this illness actually is. What I have found is the same stories over and over again, it’s comforting in the sense that there was a tremendous amount of self doubt and guilt that I no longer feel because I now know it isn’t me. I, like you, tried to have open honest communication and made efforts to do all the things that people in healthy relationships do. What I didn’t know is that love isn’t enough, and common knowledge about relationships don’t apply. I know now I was way over my head. My sufferer was also fairly new to her diagnosis. I can’t be sure, but a lot of the information I received is that it’s going to get worse before it gets better. Also, the path to her recovery to be in a healthy relationship may take years, if ever. Unfortunately that’s the reality of it assuming your sufferer has a formal diagnosis.
 

OliveJewel

MyPTSD Pro
This isn’t a regular relationship. The regular relationship rules don’t apply.
I want to know what a regular relationship is like so badly. Maybe I’ll start a thread.
They’re hard work,
Funny how being in a codependent relationship can feel so “easy” to a sufferer. I am still so unsure how to even *start* a regular relationship—narcissists can sniff me out from miles away and there are so many different kinds 😨

To the OP, I agree with what everyone else said, doesn’t seem like she’s ready or able to have a relationship with you and you forcing it will likely send both of you into a miserable place.
 
Top