Relationship Why do sufferers pull away after sexual and emotional intimacy?

G

Ger

My partner has PTSD. I believe it is all related to his careers paths but can’t be certain it goes back further. I’m not sure as he doesn’t discuss his trauma.

I have noticed that when we have particularly intense moments of emotional or sexual intimacy he will pull away from me. Most certainly the day after but it could last several days.

I have asked him about it but he disregards it or doesn’t see it himself. Why would he be doing that? It’s very hard not to take to heart.
 

joeylittle

Administrator
Hi - your question was moved here, to the Supporters area. The reason you're not getting many replies is (probably) because this question gets asked here a lot. Search for things like push/pull, pushing away, etc. You'll find many threads. After you read those, you may have a more specific question.

Or - I can ask you: How do you experience this 'pulling away'? What are some examples of what he does, and how to they make you feel?
 
G

Get

Ok, I’ll try that. Thanks

After we have times of great intimacy whether it’s in conversation or sexual the next day he is a bit more detached that usual. His communication will drop off and the conversation will be very surface and it’s almost like he’s avoiding contact. It may take a day or several abd then he’s back and things are seemingly fine.
 

lostforgottensoul

MyPTSD Pro
Why would he be doing that?
Because, for whatever reason, he is likely triggered and his symptoms are likely out of control. Just guessing though. And when your PTSD symptoms are out of control you tend to isolate as if we don't then we hurt people and we tend to isolate from those we care about most first and we tend to keep that isolation from those we care about most the longest. Friends are easier to talk to before we do those we care about most like an SO. Why? Because, if we don't, we will end up hurting the SO and likely the relationship. It's not about you at all. It's about us, our symptoms, and not wanting to hurt those we care about the most.

Assuming it has something to do with PTSD that is.
 
G

Ger

Because, for whatever reason, he is likely triggered and his symptoms are likely out of control. Just guessing though. And when your PTSD symptoms are out of control you tend to isolate as if we don't then we hurt people and we tend to isolate from those we care about most first and we tend to keep that isolation from those we care about most the longest. Friends are easier to talk to before we do those we care about most like an SO. Why? Because, if we don't, we will end up hurting the SO and likely the relationship. It's not about you at all. It's about us, our symptoms, and not wanting to hurt those we care about the most.

Assuming it has something to do with PTSD that is.
It’s definitely PTSD. The part that hurts as a supporter is being told you’re the problem or you trying to help is making it worse. It’s gotten to the point where I can even text him without him swearing, telling me to leave him alone, he needs space. As a support, it’s hard to take the anger. He is isolating huge and it worries me, I can’t help but not reach out and it makes it worse.
 

scout86

MyPTSD Pro
He is isolating huge and it worries me,
This is probably going to seem like a stupid question, but why does that worry you? What, exactly, are you worrying about?

Has he actually been diagnoses with PTSD? Had any treatment for it? That matters because it might suggest how aware he is of the processes going on in his own head. PTSD really IS a "disorder". Your brain doesn't work the same, but internally it makes complete sense to YOU and it's honestly sometimes hard to believe that the rest of the world sees things differently.
 
G

Ger

This is probably going to seem like a stupid question, but why does that worry you? What, exactly, are you worrying about?

Has he actually been diagnoses with PTSD? Had any treatment for it? That matters because it might suggest how aware he is of the processes going on in his own head. PTSD really IS a "disorder". Your brain doesn't work the same, but internally it makes complete sense to YOU and it's honestly sometimes hard to believe that the rest of the world sees things differently.
He has been. Just recently. The only thing he is doing right now is therapy. He has been sick for a long time and only recently came to terms with it, knowing he needs help.
I’m worried about him, his emotions, frame of mind and what seems is the dissolve of our relationship.
 

lostforgottensoul

MyPTSD Pro
It’s definitely PTSD. The part that hurts as a supporter is being told you’re the problem or you trying to help is making it worse. It’s gotten to the point where I can even text him without him swearing, telling me to leave him alone, he needs space. As a support, it’s hard to take the anger. He is isolating huge and it worries me, I can’t help but not reach out and it makes it worse.
What about giving him space until he surfaces again and is ok with contact again? Waiting and letting him contact you again?
 

Mach123

MyPTSD Pro
Yes it hurts. What can be done is nothing beyond telling him imho . Why is he doing that it’s probably a trigger and so irrational. I had lots of behavior like that. Even if I’d tried I couldn’t have told you why
I was like that. I’m still like that meaning I feel that in my feelings but I try and watch and not allow myself to act on it.

Anyway it’s a long journey in therapy and I wish you guys the best.
 

joeylittle

Administrator
It’s gotten to the point where I can even text him without him swearing, telling me to leave him alone, he needs space. As a support, it’s hard to take the anger. He is isolating huge and it worries me, I can’t help but not reach out and it makes it worse.
You don't need to tolerate this behavior. PTSD isn't an excuse, and sometimes sufferers will try and explain where the behavior comes from, but the truth is - it's just the disorder. Your husband is capable of becoming more self-aware and taking responsibility for his reactivity. It doesn't mean the reactivity will go away - but the problem isn't you reaching out, the problem is his inability or unwillingness to face his behavior and how it affects you.

Have you looked into couples counseling, even short-term, to build some communication skills around this, together?
 
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