Relationship Why do PTSD relationships most often fail?

TruthSeeker

MyPTSD Pro
I think not being willing to take the time and figure out a different way by doing the trauma processing, and evaluating one's value system will look like for the long run. If you are looking for sex.....then say, you are looking for sex. If you are just looking for a friend to hang out with....then be honest and know what you want. If you've been raped know that sex will be an issue and if you haven't done that trauma processing, you best do it before saying yes. Know what is fair to expect out of a partnership, end like in boundaries, expectations, and your own level of independence vs level of need (being needy for a relationship often fails because the other guy gets tired of picking up your slack.....been there, done that). I think for success in relationships, one must be able to walk their talk (follow through), not play games, have a good handle on one's feelings both good and negative, set clear boundaries with yourself and hold to them...keeping your own needs in mind first. Also, not falling into addictive behaviors which is a relationship destroyer, and not falling into the same old dysfunctional behavioral patterns you learned as a child....again.......
 

Sweetpea76

Moderator
Some of the most common issues supporters have here? A partner with untreated PTSD and/or a partner not well enough to function in a relationship, partners “ghosting” when they get overwhelmed, lashing out/aggression, and honestly, supporters letting their own relationship anxiety get the better of them when their partners are symptomatic.
 

nursenurse

MyPTSD Pro
Ahh, the heady throes of romance! If you read through many of the first time posters, the one word that pops up in my mind that is used quite often to describe the relationship in its early stages is “amazing”. Whether an amazing time was had, the person is amazing, sex is amazing, the relationship is amazing. Then the body of the post contains all the red flags of a relationship doomed to fail, PTSD or not. Blaming PTSD for all things wrong in the relationship, when that prospect would not make a suitable partner regardless of PTSD. I would say one of the biggest problems is not taking the time to really let the relationship develop before making declarations of love and commitment.
 

ruborcoraxxx

MyPTSD Pro
I think here you also have the deformation of reading cases where partners are struggling a lot as they reach the point they're looking for support on the internet.

And what @nursenurse is saying is so right too. The patterns described above can be found in people that don't have PTSD. And for those who have, it's not an excuse to carry on.

Nevertheless it's a difficult diagnosis and it's challenging for both partners. As with any chronic mental health issue. The dynamics might be more unpredictable than with other disorders, but it really depends on the magnitude and comorbidities. There are many people with PTSD that have really good relationships with their partners. Even "PTSD with PTSD".

Relationships also do "fail" because of chronic physical illness. Living with someone who's got Crohn's disease, or diabetes, or any form of invalidity big or small, has its own challenges and what makes us human (or just sentient) is that we find ways to work around things.
 

Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
I think things are easily amazing (with the right partner, at least according to them) when the symptoms go on the back burner, as does fear and re-living or fear of retraumatization. i think authenticity is easy because it's too exhausting not to be, but it has bad pitfalls too, and can feel unsafe or too much, or too fast, or fear it will be regretted. I don't think authenticity is bad, but people aren't unidimensional and stuff is complicated, as @ruborcoraxxx said, and bound to surface or need communication and conflict resolution, preferably without blaming or shaming. With work it might not last; without work it very likely definitely won't. And lots of patience and forgiveness is needed. And work on one's self, more so than the other person, and work to stay stable or progress (2 steps forward, 1 back).. Just my thoughts though. That, and all things considered, most things that would/ should be a selling feature for others aren't for me, such as security but without love. JMHO though. I think I heard something once that all people are a lot of work, but certain pblms are exchanged for others. It would be very difficult for most people to understand, or forgive, which is not a fault on their part.
 
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Friday

Moderator
Most relationships fail, full stop. Or nearly everyone would be married to the first person they ever dated.

Instead? Most people date at least a few people, and many date dozens, scores, or even hundreds of people over their lifetimes. Of those who DO “succeed” in getting married & attempting to build a life together? HALF end in divorce.

There are watershed points
- Most “relationships” never get out the gate. Within only a few dates it’s clear to one or both that they don’t want to keep dating, even casually, much less enter into a committed relationship with someone. Whether it’s a ‘cheque please!’ bad few dates, or a delightful little fling.
- Most relationships that do make it out the gate? Fail right around the 6mo mark. Honeymoon has worn off, people stop being on their best behavior, and real life starts to intrude.
- Most relationships that make it past 6mo? Fail right around the 2 year mark. Survived the honeymoon. Survived the intro to real life. But 2 years is just about the amount of time it seems to take the majority of the human species to get a fairly decent idea about any other member of the human species, and/or come to a decision.

So there ^^^ are most relationships. Failing. 3 times over. For every possible reason in the book. Flings, 6mo, & 2years = How much time it takes most people to realize the relationship isn’t going to work long term, or isn’t what they want, long term.

Not as much of a watershed, it’s not even half much less most, but there are still significant percentages dropping off at the following waypoints.

- At 3 years the “falling in love” chemicals burn out. If there isn’t anything more substantial to the relationship than chemical romance -OR- someone has a core belief about being IN love at all times? Byes.

- The 7 Year Itch is notorious trade-in time. A newer model, a wealthier model, a fitter model, a funnier model, a better parent model, a more ambitious model, etc. Some people are serial about this, but a lot of people have just spent the better part of a decade learning that the life they wanted to have, just isn’t going to happen. Not with this person.

So I would expect that most PTSD relationships fail for the exact same reasons the vast majority of all relationships fail; The 2 people, or their lives, just don’t work well together.
 
Most relationships fail, full stop. Or nearly everyone would be married to the first person they ever dated.

Instead? Most people date at least a few people, and many date dozens, scores, or even hundreds of people over their lifetimes. Of those who DO “succeed” in getting married & attempting to build a life together? HALF end in divorce.

There are watershed points
- Most “relationships” never get out the gate. Within only a few dates it’s clear to one or both that they don’t want to keep dating, even casually, much less enter into a committed relationship with someone. Whether it’s a ‘cheque please!’ bad few dates, or a delightful little fling.
- Most relationships that do make it out the gate? Fail right around the 6mo mark. Honeymoon has worn off, people stop being on their best behavior, and real life starts to intrude.
- Most relationships that make it past 6mo? Fail right around the 2 year mark. Survived the honeymoon. Survived the intro to real life. But 2 years is just about the amount of time it seems to take the majority of the human species to get a fairly decent idea about any other member of the human species, and/or come to a decision.

So there ^^^ are most relationships. Failing. 3 times over. For every possible reason in the book. Flings, 6mo, & 2years = How much time it takes most people to realize the relationship isn’t going to work long term, or isn’t what they want, long term.

Not as much of a watershed, it’s not even half much less most, but there are still significant percentages dropping off at the following waypoints.

- At 3 years the “falling in love” chemicals burn out. If there isn’t anything more substantial to the relationship than chemical romance -OR- someone has a core belief about being IN love at all times? Byes.

- The 7 Year Itch is notorious trade-in time. A newer model, a wealthier model, a fitter model, a funnier model, a better parent model, a more ambitious model, etc. Some people are serial about this, but a lot of people have just spent the better part of a decade learning that the life they wanted to have, just isn’t going to happen. Not with this person.

So I would expect that most PTSD relationships fail for the exact same reasons the vast majority of all relationships fail; The 2 people, or their lives, just don’t work well together.
You’re so right!! My intent of asking specifically involving PTSD is because I’ve never experienced it….. until I did. Personally as a sufferer and as a supporter…. not really knowing until it was too far gone. It’s hard to distinguish where it all went wrong because we were both impacted by the other and our own issues. Paradise and Hell……
 

Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
Oh @Friday , that's funny, I don't think I ever even thought of something even remotely as a 'relationship' before at least 2 years lol. Never was good judging time. 🙄

@DentedCan 2.0 , I only came back to ask, what data is there to presume ptsd- relationships most often fail? My parents stayed together, as did my dad's father and mother.

Maybe it has to do also with your attachment style? Also, if you are a sufferer, maybe you need more self-care (for yourself)?

I am old now, it's more a hassle for me, but the only 1 or 2 regrets I have still came back to who were (I believe) good men. You know your issues together, how you argued, if he went for the low ball, if he was critical, demeaning, abusive, stone-walling, or not responsible. Or if he was honest. Idk how long it was, maybe the honeymoon stage, like others have said? Even losing interest, apparently that is due to who loses it (and that is pretty easy to do with overwhelm and stressors), not the other person. There should be some equality, and you can date so, so many people if you want.

Sorry it didn't work out, but maybe in the process you can learn what makes you tick and what you need. 🤗

Sorry to add one thing, because also I didn't notice this was in the supporters section: well, if I am honest I too would have to say, there was/ were so many other things to worry about that people without ptsd maybe wouldn't need to think of, including history, or triggers. For a simple silly example, I thought of nightsweats and nightmares- like how does a person explain that? (Especially who doesn't want to explain it). Worse yet, insomnia and/or perimeter/ window checking? And other ridiculous things. I slept in jeans and runners for 2 or 3 years, at one point. I distinctly remember feeling (fearing) like a 'dumb bomb' that somehow would be more harmful than good. The upshot was, avoidance of a lot didn't help face it but certainly accomplished being able to deny it at some level and avoid a lot of triggers.

So I guess the degree of self-awareness, less denial, and management would affect the success/ failure a lot. I thought it's only fair to say that, avoidance and denial are funny things.
 
Oh @Friday , that's funny, I don't think I ever even thought of something even remotely as a 'relationship' before at least 2 years lol. Never was good judging time. 🙄

@DentedCan 2.0 , I only came back to ask, what data is there to presume ptsd- relationships most often fail? My parents stayed together, as did my dad's father and mother.

Maybe it has to do also with your attachment style? Also, if you are a sufferer, maybe you need more self-care (for yourself)?

I am old now, it's more a hassle for me, but the only 1 or 2 regrets I have still came back to who were (I believe) good men. You know your issues together, how you argued, if he went for the low ball, if he was critical, demeaning, abusive, stone-walling, or not responsible. Or if he was honest. Idk how long it was, maybe the honeymoon stage, like others have said? Even losing interest, apparently that is due to who loses it (and that is pretty easy to do with overwhelm and stressors), not the other person. There should be some equality, and you can date so, so many people if you want.

Sorry it didn't work out, but maybe in the process you can learn what makes you tick and what you
Have you been diagnosed?
Yes…. just recently.
To be honest I was shocked, I don’t really understand what I’m experiencing. It was him that’s sick, not me.
 
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