My boyfriend is suffering from PTSD and pushing me away what do I do?

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I'm hoping someone can give me some advise.

Me and my boyfriend have been together nearly 6 years everything was perfect we bought our dream home and we planned our future for when he came out the army. March last year he left the army and to start with everything was good then last June he decided out of no where things weren't working and he wanted space so I moved back to my mums. After a couple of weeks he told me it was over and he didn't want to be with me anymore. I was destroyed heartbroken to me it came out of no where and he destroyed all our dreams and plans. Then after about of month of being nasty to each other and arguing he admitted to me he had been to the doctors and had been diagnosed with PTSD he had been put on tablets and put in touch with a counsellor. He told me he felt he needed me around but couldn't make any promises about out relationship and if I couldn't cope to walk away. I still loved him unconditionally so I stood by him and was there when he needed me and gave him space when he needed it. It was heartbreaking to watch the man I fell in love with who had always been so strong falling apart and I couldn't do anything to make it all better. He started to get better and as he did our relationship started to mend and by Christmas we were back living together and rebuilding our relationship. It was hard he went through phases of being really loving to being distant but I started to learn to give him space I even stayed at my mums once a week to give him some time on his own. Then a few weeks ago it happened again exactly the same time as last year he said he needed some space he still loved me but asked me to go to my mums for a while. This time it was slightly different cuz he phoned me regularly text me all the time and we saw each other and when we did it was like normal. Then the last week he distant himself from me and then at the weekend said it wanted to end it. I know this is his PTSD but I don't know what I can do to help him and make him see the answer isn't giving up on us. I love him unconditionally and would do anything for him but I feel so helpless and lost. Hope someone can help. X

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  • Posted

    I don't want to disregard everything you said..charlotte...but I also have PTSD...and sometimes the complications from it are not fair to our loved ones.

    I do not feel he can have a healthy relationship and I do not feel it is fair to you at all.....Its horrible that all of your dreams have stopped...but don't let them be "gone"......you really should make new dreams.....

    And those dreams should not include him...I'm sorry....this is just for me...but when I am suffering from any emotional uproar....I want those I love NEAR me and not away from me.

    Yes, sometimes I can push them away...but if I am constantly pushing someone away...that means that I don't have the guts to tell them...I'm just not WILLING to do the work it takes for THAT relationship.

    Have some compassion for YOURSELF now...you have spent almost a year trying to comfort HIM...this is out of your payscale...and this is not your fault...and you should no longer have to suffer consequences of being sent to your mums...whenever he is in a MOOD.

    PTSD..is flashbacks...bad memories...acting in situations the same you would in the triggering traumatic situation...or something similar to the traumatic situation.

    For example: My PTSD is from a long time of domestic violence (22 years)...if my current boyfriend and I get into a fight....and he raises his voice or steps close to me....I TAKE OFF in my car.....my current B/F would not harm me...but my memories and someone using the same tone of voice...makes my body think danger is near...so I run....

    Another example:  My X used to be very invasive to me when I was in the shower....so now, if my new b/f (of 4 years) enters the bathroom when I am showering...I CRINGE...but this new b/f has never bothered and will never bother me in the shower....

    Those are examples of PTSD....you said his are from the army.....I feel like he is using his bad experiences in the army as an excuse to push you away...but you don't (I'm sure) in anyway bring up traumatic events or memories for him in the army...he's using this tactic....and you don't deserve this.

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  • Posted

    Hello Charlotte80188 my name is Matt. I am a US army ranger combat veteran of 9 yrs , including being in the initial invasion into Iraq (15month deployment ) and 6 months later a 14 month redeployment back to Iraq . I was involved in alot of direct combat, as a sniper, and indirect combat , calling in air strikes, and suffer from PTSD , depression and anxiety. What your BF is going through sounds like what me and my wife , gf at time of diagnoses,and we made it through it

    DO NOT GIVE UP ON HIM , it will only make things worse. If you live him always ask ' what can I do to help .' Now he needs to put in effort also , seeking treatment, not allowing his condition to be a ' excuse for mistreating you , and learning triggers that will make his ptsd worse . I was diagnosed in 2006 and me and my wife were married in 2010 and still together now. There are many support groups for spouses and family members of ptsd and would encourage you to reach out to them for help you will need . I hope things get better and your BF gets help . IT'S THE ONLY WAY TO OVERCOME PTSD.

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    • Posted

      Hi. I too have experienced some of the same lines as Charlotte's experience. I've been dating my boyfriend for almost 5 years. My boyfriend is retired army; has been diagnosed with PTSD has never seemed to a knowledge it. When I have brought it up he gets really defensive about it. He tends to shut down and withdrawal himself for everyone. He also pushes me away telling me were not good for each other. But as son as we split it, we get back together. How can I talk to him about getting help when he thinks nothing is wrong? I love him very much but how can I get to him stop pushing me away? And he believe that I'm not going anywhere.

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    • Posted

      I do not know if taking care of herself first [which might seem like giving up on him at start] will *only* make it worse because some people have to hit their own version of bottom to find the will to get out. I say this as someone with PTSD. I am glad that you and your wife made it through and you found the will to get help and continue but you must have sensed the bottom?

      still i say support group might be helpful especially for those times when he is needing space

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    • Posted

      Hi Matt

      i want to know what would you recommend on my situation. I figure you and my bf have gone thru same issues, he is 36, he left the Army 2-3 years ago; he was on the artillery in Afghanistan where probably as you has to see things that can break the toughest mind.

      I've been with my bf since summer 2015 and things were off and on with him on the way that he sometimes will just withdraw from everybody for couple days and no return phone calls or even talk to anyone on his days off. Well now we are at a stage where he is totally withdrawal from me; last time I talked to him which is a month ago, he said he loved me but there is this overwhelming feeling to be left alone. All this bad PTSD stage came after a lot of stress at work and lack of sleep. He started to get flashbacks and bad dreams. Always alert and moody. He has never been aggressive with me or even raise his voice.

      His brothers even once complained to me that he was not answering calls and that he didn't care much about his new niece which I know he adores.

      So in a way I thought it was only me, but now for Xmas he didn't even contact me at all but I know he spend it with his family, which I was happy he did, at least he was not alone, but it hurts the fact that he couldn't even say hi.

      Is it easier to deal with a brother or relatives that with your significant other?

      He said he has gone thru therapy but still has not found one in which he feels comfortable with. He is not

      Consistent and I know that he needs to in order to overcome falls backs.

      I know you precipisly said to not give up on them, but how to reach them when they don't reach back to you and you just feel being ignored or like you don't exist?

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    • Posted

      Mine does the same we been together 13 months and last night he's told me he loved me for the first time and he's told me over n over them words would never come out of his mouth. The only thing u can do is to be patient with him. It's not you it's him and he needs to deal what's ever his going on in his head. Trust me it's hard, try not to over think things when he goes through pulling away and ignoring you. Let him have his space he'll be back. The best thing for you to do is research and read everything u can about ptsd, your not alone. I've learned a lot and it's helped me cope with him ignoring me. It gets better in time your more likely gonna go through this for a while. Things will be great then the next day he won't talk to you for days, weeks even months. Believe it or not this is when he needs you the most. Mine can treat me like complete trash yet can be so amazing. Their is a side of him he don't want me to see but I'm not going any where. They usually don't feel deserving of our love and need to be re assured a lot that we're not going any where. Keep yourself busy friends, work, school maybe find a support group in your area? I'm thinking I may go see a therapist so I can better understand him. I don't have many friends and the ones I do, do not understand and tell me I'm crazy for staying in which I'm not. A vet with ptsd is rare and unique I honestly wouldn't change mine for the world he's different then others. These men are very much deserving of our love and so much more. Just make sure if your gonna stay, know that it's going to be a rollercoaster and you'll have good days and bad. It takes a strong person to love someone with ptsd. I'm not sure if you can PM in here but if you need someone to talk to I'm here.

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    • Posted

      I agree on that people don't get it. They think the same that I'm crazy for staying with him. But they don't get it that it's a man trapped on the man they don't like. He has told me that he doesn't deserve me and that I deserve better. I had told him I deserve the man I love and that I won't leave him. Last time I saw him was a day before my bday and that's because I hasn't hear from him for 3 months and I went to his place and waited for him to get home after work.

      He saw me and he didn't know what to say. I asked him if he has seen my txt and he said yes. I asked him why he hasn't reply to anyone, he just said he didn't know.

      I have never yelled at him, I just softly talk to him.

      We were going to spend thanksgiving together because after I left that day that I saw him he said he was going to try. He stayed in touch for 4 days and then when we couldn't spend thanksgiving together because he has to stay at work he got mad at work and he told me: I'll see you tomorrow hun after work. That was nov 24, and it's still the time I haven't heard from him.

      These holidays, my bday, his bday and tomorrow New Years has been very hard. I miss him so much and yes I do educate myself on PTSD but I'm also human and it hurts the feeling of missing him so much and that feeling that maybe he doesn't miss me at all.

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    • Posted

      My boyfriend told me pretty much the same...that I deserve better. He said he has nothing to offer. He ignored Valentines Day. I'm grieving the man I fell in love with. And I'm taking care of myself by working out, taking classes, keeping busy.

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    • Posted

      OMG, reading your story, I thought you were talking about my lfe. I have been seeing an retired Army man with PTSD for about a year. In that year he has broken things off at leat 20 times. The first months every time we got any where near being close...it was "I think we should stop seeing each other." Then it was " I think we should stop sleepting together.' Just this morning he sent me a message saying "I do not want you anymore." I have learned just to let him have his space but it is so hard because each time I think he is not coming back. I ask him " why he keeps coming back and he tells me he really never left. This is so hard and I want to walk away all the time but I can't. I keep hanging on. Like, I said he just told me that he did not want me anymore but now he told me to come over but I cannot talk about this. He does not want to deal with what makes him like this. I have read everything I can on PTSD but you post was like reading my own life.

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    • Posted

      Hi Matt - 

      First, thank you for your service. You’ve done the kind of work most people could not, or would not, do. I’m sure your wife feels very lucky to have you. And I know she’s proud of you. I am sure you feel the same about her. That’s wonderful. 

      Secondly,  thank you for your perspective. I’ve been searching for a combat vet w PTSD to talk with. The closest I’ve gotten is a chance run in with an Uber driver (former combat vet w PTSD) who drives at night because he can’t sleep. The second closest is the PTSD therapist I go to. He sees veterans exclusively at the VA. He agreed to take me (because I wouldn’t go away) and because I’m determined to know what my Army Ranger combat vet is going through. Education is the only thing keeping me positive and steady in my relationship. 

      My boyfriend’s military experience is similar to yours - 9 years as an Army Ranger and two back to back tours in Afghanistan. I wish I could take this pain from him and ease his suffering. I stay with him for three reasons:  I love him,  PTSD is not his fault, and I’m just not willing to give up on us. 

      He gets really mad at me and calls me names. I hate to admit the verbal abuse, but that’s what it is. I put up a shield when he’s angry at me so that I don’t take the critisisms personally, and that usually works. He says I’m manipulative and selfish. That’s fine. I can understand that PTSD makes him think that my helping him is manipulative - and that I’m only trying to help him because it benefits me. Also I am apparently ruining his life. 

      I don’t fight back because it only escalates the situation, and gets worse for me. I don’t react to the yelling and name-calling - and that makes him mad too. It’s had to be tough and resilient all the time. 

      He’s being treated w meds and going to therapy - and doing EMDR. I’m proud of him for that.

      He compares PTSD to having a bad dog. Sometimes that bad dog is mean and it’s loud and it’s embarrassing - but he’s got some loyalties to that bad dog because it’s got him out of some pretty ugly situations. I get that. I just wish I could take it away from him. 

      It’s not his fault that he has PTSD. (But it is his fault when he’s a jackass.) I’m trying to differentiate the two. 

      My prayers for him are constant and unwavering. 

      I have no question for you. I just wanted to thank you for weighing in on this site. I’ve been searching for a combat vet to chat with - I was excited to read what you had to say. 

      You should consider a business model. Judging from this site, you’d have a remarkable amount of business.

      Sometimes, when my vet shoves me away, I need to regain strength - and education is the best way to focus on how to make a negative situation into a positive one. 

      We are grateful for your service and your participation on this site. 

      Blessings to you and your wife. 

      Best, 

      Thank you 

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    • Posted

      I sent it to Gail in a private message but I’ll post it so all can read🙂

      Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. I haven’t wanted to log on to this site because as of April he called it quits for good. After replying back to Angelica’s post a year ago my Vet decided he wanted a relationship even bought me flowers and spoiled me rotten. I the side he never allowed anyone to see. Met his ex wife and kids for the first time and even his family that lives outta state. The 4 months we shared together was AMAZING! He ended it April 8 on Easter when I had met his parents. I honesty had no idea what had happen. It was like a switch flipped and all that hard work and he’ll i went through was thrown out the window. He treated me like I was worthless that day. I pulled him aside to ask what was wrong and how could I make it better and he wasn’t happy when I tried to talk to him about it. He said he wasn’t treating me like crap and just walked outta the bedroom. Every time I went to go sit with him or talk to him while his family was around he would just get up and move to another seat and look at me like I was dumb with this awful look. This was a side that I also never saw. Yes he could be a jerk but only thing he really done was pull away and go days weeks months with out contact. Leading up to the breakup we were in the room again and I tried to talk to him to tell him how I had felt and that was a trigger that night I guess Bc he lost his crap on me and through me around the bedroom then told me it was over for good and to get in his truck he was taking me home. I figured he’d be back and after about 3 weeks he was but he wasn’t him. He would tx and at 1-2 am saying “ come cuddle with me, not sex just cuddle. I again ran right to him. We’d of course have sex I couldn’t keep my hands off him ever. The amount of sex we had in that 18 months was insane lol. I’d also try talking to him and cry in his arms and begging him to come back. The next day when I’d get up to leave and try to tx him the night he would block me. I downloaded a txn app to tx him and he threaten to put a no contact order on me and to never contact him again. This went on from May to the beginning of July this year. I went over there one day and he said I can’t do this to you anymore it isn’t fun anymore, your going to end up killing yourself Bc of me. I’m no good for you I can never love you I can see how much control I have over you I can minipulate you this has to end. I was beyond devastated at that point I finally believed that this wasn’t going to work. I had to let go of the one thing I loved more then life. ( other then my kids) it’s almost been 6 months since I’ve seen him. I have talked to him through tx 2 maybe 3 times. Last time I tx him was November 10 and wished him happy Veterans Day and happy Marine Corps Birthday. It’s been a struggle that’s for sure but with each passing day I’m getting better. His contact stuff is deleted. All the stuff we shared together, pictures bday cards his shirts his wedding ring ( I asked him to marry me March 14) all that is in a box. I how ever still keep some of the pics on fb. I’ve begain working on myself. Healing process isn’t easy I still have weak moments but I haven’t had that desire to text him. If I could go back to the beginning I would in a heart beat just to get back them 4 amazing months with him. I have also became best friends with Angelica the girl that started this thread/post. We haven’t met in person but we talk Almost everyday and through out the year she’s been my rock and I’ve been hers as well. She isn’t with her Vet any longer as well. So that’s why I’ve struggled with coming back to this thread. Didn’t wanna read what I’d write but I’m stronger now then back then. I’m sorry your or or were going through this. It’s probably the hardest thing you’ll ever do. 

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    • Posted

      Hi my name is Megan and I'm recently starting to date a guy with PTSD and starting to have feelings for him and need someone to talk to. We were together all day this past Saturday. On Sunday and some of Monday he spent time with his two teenage daughters and then called me in the evening and when I called him back he didnt pick up his phone but he texted me back saying he just got home from working out and was tored and already took his sleeping meds. When I asked him if I could come be with him he got mad. He has ignored my text messages all day today. I want to knock on his door but at the same time I want to keep this going and don't want to bother him so he can get in a better mood and we can see each other tomorrow. HELP.

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    • Posted

      Hello Megan and Welcome!

      From my own experience with my sufferer, please just give him a little time to pull it back together. Sometimes they may get triggered due to something said or done and it doesn’t have to come from you. I’m currently dealing with an isolation/shut-out from my ex who broke up with me for convoluted reasoning. Remember, the ptsd brain doesn’t process things they way a brain without ptsd would. They can totally irrational due to feelings that don’t make sense to us, but it definitely does to them. Good luck with your bf, and please whatever you do, have plenty of patience. You’re gonna need it...

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    • Posted

      If this is something you think you can handle then your in for a long ride. It’s one of the hardest relationships you’ll ever be in. You will have  to learn patience. You will have to understand that he’ll go back and forth, he’ll ignore you days, weeks even months. Your basically dating 2 different ppl. Its all about how you react to his triggers and mood swings. Your more then likely gonna have to change yourself in order to deal with this.  I had to change a lot. How I reacted to him, my tone of voice, I had to re word things so he wouldn’t get angry. I had to learn to be patient when he pulled away. I had to understand that it’s not me it’s the ptsd. I had to control my anger and not get mad or show up at his house or blow his phone up. They require a lot of space. They hate conflict and will do anything to avoid it.  I can’t really give you anymore advise just know that more then likely,  this is how it’s gonna be. I spent countless nights bawling my eyes out. This isn’t gonna be easy at all! You’ll have amazing moments with him and you’ll have a lot of heartache with him. Just keep in mind that when he pulls away  and  ignores you, it’s  not because of anything you did. Don’t be hard on yourself or think you’re not good enough. It takes a very strong person to handle a person with ptsd. I’m here if you need an ear to talk to. Good luck ❤️
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    • Posted

      hi,.my boyfriend and I were only 4months but we are in a long distance rationship.but during our 1st 2months he already told me about his PTSD.but im not sure if he is still under therapy now.he always pushes me away but i always told him im not going anywhere and that im just here for him and to understand him.but i  made sure that i wont hurt him.and he also told me everything about his past relastionship.and he even open up to me how he is very careful bot to be hurtbut on our 4th month.i open up to him about my past eperiences with my x-boyfriends.because he always tells me that he dont want secret and that he dont want anything to be hidden from him especially my about my past.he got mad about it but eventually we were able to talked about it and even started to have a new life and rebuild what has been destroyed.but everytime his PTSD triggers he always go back to the past and tells me every bad words he knows and even insult me.and almost give up.but he will say sorry and he will admit what he had done but evrytime his PTSD triggers we always start to hurt each other.every thing that im telling him.he always took it in a negative way.we love each other but he feels that what has been damaged cant be rebuild anymore.because i just feel that he doesnt what to forget his past and to just move on.he is stuck in his past and and he doesnt want some one to be with him.i even told him to seek counselling.because he really need someone to talk to.HE is just so sensitive and accusing me of things i didnt do.
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    • Posted

      I came here seeking help for my Navy Seal veteran. Your words are very helpful thank you. I will ask “what can I do to help.” I would never leave him but I get very lonely. He doesn’t enjoy things, he is so uncomfortable around people that we rarely go anywhere. When we do he sort of makes me miserable so I quit asking. Any advice is appreciated. Thank you for serving Matt!
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    • Posted

      I am in a new relationship with a Marine Veteran with PTSD. For the first 3 months, it was perfect. Easy and effortless. And suddenly he is pulling back, going back on his word, cancelling plans made far in advanced at the last moment. He won’t talk. I ask him questions and the response I get is, “I don’t know.”  I don’t know what to do. I’ve fallen for him. I am understanding and empathetic because I suffer from non-combat related PTSD.  I possess my own set of triggers. How do I reach him before this relationship begins to unravel?
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