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Thread: On-Again, Off-Again Military Relationship. I Need Help!

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    Confused On-Again, Off-Again Military Relationship. I Need Help!

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    Hi there, fellow MSOSers. I'm in quite a pickle and definitely need some advice.

    I met my SO (if you can even call him that right now) a year and a half ago. It was a great relationship until he deployed. It was his first deployment and therefore he didn't expect any of the changes he was going to have to go through in order to survive. After eight months of dating, he called it quits very suddenly one morning. Naturally I was devastated, and thankfully in the upcoming weeks we spoke about him having serious difficulty adjusting and decided to try things again. I resumed my typical supportive efforts, e.g: sending letters, care packages, etc. Things were great for the first month, and then his buddy had passed away in his place; he understandably lost it. We mutually ended things, citing that he was not in a healthy place to maintain a relationship. He returned home for R&R in December a month later. The second he hit American soil, he was back to who he was before he deployed. Before he even went home, he took a connecting flight to my local airport and showed up at my doorstep--flowers in hand and tears in his eyes. Naturally I was floored, and once again, we started dating. Things were better than they ever were. He wouldn't let a day go by without trying to prove his love for me. We were both elated. After his R&R ended, things were all right until his friends were killed by an IED, and he turned into a recluse. I was heartbroken, but I knew separation was the best decision.

    I ended communication with him for 5 months, and enjoyed the single life. I met wonderful people and experienced great things. While I missed him dearly, I knew being together was impossible. Then one morning I got a bill in the mail from a medical clinic we went to during his R&R in December. I sat on it for a few weeks, knowing I had to contact him about it (I was sure he had paid it already), but was weary about opening the lines of communication between us. I eventually sent him a quick message on FB and before he even responded, he had transferred a very large amount of money to my checking account to take care of the bill. I thanked him profusely and we caught up. It was very obvious that he was suffering without me. We both eventually noticed that the day I got the bill in the mail was the same day he came home for his 2nd R&R. Talk about a coincidence!

    Anyway, things have progressed. We love each other and always have. I don't doubt his love and I never will. I do, however, doubt his ability to maintain a relationship during a deployment. I know if he never deployed again, we would be OK, but he admittedly has PTSD that slams into full-gear when he's over there. We're vacationing in Panama together this Wednesday for a few weeks, but I will *not* commit to him until he's out of the service later this year. It kills him that I refuse to make things official between us, but based on his history of tucking tail and running, I don't have a choice. It's not easy, because I do love him with all of my heart and I know he does as well, but I have to protect myself first.

    I suppose I'm looking for some advice...some answers. Am I crazy? Should I forget about the relationship? Am I making the right decision by not committing until after he's out of the service? Sigh. I do thank all of you for answering this, by the way. The people in my life do not understand how war affects our loved ones, and how PTSD can have a serious effect on relationships back home.

    I'm very sorry for the length.

    Thank you for reading,
    Allison
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    I don't know what to tell you, although, unless he's been diagnosed with PTSD, I would avoid throwing around that diagnosis. PTSD is about having stress reactions and responses when the threat no longer exists. If he's in a dangerous area, his coping skills might be in need of an upgrade, but his responses may be quite reasonable. It sounds more like Acute Stress Disorder, but again, he'd have to be seen by a diagnostic professional.

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    My now husband and I had a very off & on relationship for a few years before we got married. Honestly, I'm not sure anyone can give advice - it's something you'll have to decide on your own. I'd be hesitant since he is very aware of how he acts while deployed but yet continues to act that way. Of course, I'm not all downplaying the things he has/does go through overseas, but if he knows how he handles things isn't okay then he needs to change the way he handles things.

    IMO, he seems to know it's okay to act that way because, thus far, he's been able to pick up where he's left off with you each time. Believe me, I know how that goes - my DH and I were like that for over 3 years - so I hope you know I'm not being rude or mean or condescending. That's just how it reads to me.

    But to you. I hope you guys can get it figured out before your heart gets broken again. Please feel free to PM me if you ever need to.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sweetvanity View Post
    I don't know what to tell you, although, unless he's been diagnosed with PTSD, I would avoid throwing around that diagnosis. PTSD is about having stress reactions and responses when the threat no longer exists. If he's in a dangerous area, his coping skills might be in need of an upgrade, but his responses may be quite reasonable. It sounds more like Acute Stress Disorder, but again, he'd have to be seen by a diagnostic professional.
    Diagnosed with PTSD. I should add that while he has emotional reactions back here on American soil, he is a completely devoted significant other. He is not when he's deployed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by OMG it's Andrea! View Post


    My now husband and I had a very off & on relationship for a few years before we got married. Honestly, I'm not sure anyone can give advice - it's something you'll have to decide on your own. I'd be hesitant since he is very aware of how he acts while deployed but yet continues to act that way. Of course, I'm not all downplaying the things he has/does go through overseas, but if he knows how he handles things isn't okay then he needs to change the way he handles things.

    IMO, he seems to know it's okay to act that way because, thus far, he's been able to pick up where he's left off with you each time. Believe me, I know how that goes - my DH and I were like that for over 3 years - so I hope you know I'm not being rude or mean or condescending. That's just how it reads to me.

    But to you. I hope you guys can get it figured out before your heart gets broken again. Please feel free to PM me if you ever need to.
    Yes, that's what's so discouraging! Even while he's breaking up with me, he doesn't want to do it! It's the craziest thing. When/how did your DH finally turn around and stay committed to you?
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    My question or observation is, if you are not willing to commit to him while he is deployed with PTSD, how can you commit to him when he is home with PTSD?
    It doesn't magically go away, any stressful situation could cause his PTSD to flare up, he could react badly and still tuck tail and run.

    My thoughts are, if you truly love him, care for him and want to be with him, a deployment, LDR, military should not and would not matter. Having him on American soil will not fix his condition so I'm not sure how that has anything to do with you committing to the relationship.

    Either you commit to someone with PTSD or you don't.


    ETA...
    By you agreeing to allowing him to break up is encouraging that type of behavior. That tells him that you are no more committed to the relationship than he is. He feels he can do whatever, because you are allowing him to. If you were truly committed to the relationship you would have not allowed him to break up so easily, or not make breaking up as the 'best' course of action. A truly committed person would've remained in the relationship and worked everything out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TrishAFSpouse View Post
    My question or observation is, if you are not willing to commit to him while he is deployed with PTSD, how can you commit to him when he is home with PTSD?
    It doesn't magically go away, any stressful situation could cause his PTSD to flare up, he could react badly and still tuck tail and run.

    My thoughts are, if you truly love him, care for him and want to be with him, a deployment, LDR, military should not and would not matter. Having him on American soil will not fix his condition so I'm not sure how that has anything to do with you committing to the relationship.

    Either you commit to someone with PTSD or you don't.
    I'm afraid people are misunderstanding what I am saying? When he's deployed and away from me, he has difficulty with the relationship and leaves. When he's home and with me, he couldn't possibly be more committed and would never leave. The PTSD is just another cause of his commitment issues during the deployment. It has nothing to do with why I do or do not want to be with him. If anything, I want to be with him more BECAUSE of the PTSD. I seem to excuse a lot more because of it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Love_to_Teach View Post
    I'm afraid people are misunderstanding what I am saying? When he's deployed and away from me, he has difficulty with the relationship and leaves. When he's home and with me, he couldn't possibly be more committed and would never leave. The PTSD is just another cause of his commitment issues during the deployment. It has nothing to do with why I do or do not want to be with him. If anything, I want to be with him more BECAUSE of the PTSD. I seem to excuse a lot more because of it.
    Ok, that happens to almost everyone who gets deployed. They have difficulty, they want to 'end' things because they don't think they (or their SO) can handle it, they are 'normal' when home, etc. A truly committed couple doesn't break up, they work it out however they can.

    I didn't read that you want to be with him more because of PTSD, I read that as long as he deployed and in the military you won't commit to him. I read that the PTSD is the reason why he's breaking up, etc. To me, it doesn't sound like you are truly committed, or want to be truly committed. But, that's how I read it, and I could be way off.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TrishAFSpouse View Post
    Ok, that happens to almost everyone who gets deployed. They have difficulty, they want to 'end' things because they don't think they (or their SO) can handle it, they are 'normal' when home, etc. A truly committed couple doesn't break up, they work it out however they can.

    I didn't read that you want to be with him more because of PTSD, I read that as long as he deployed and in the military you won't commit to him. I read that the PTSD is the reason why he's breaking up, etc. To me, it doesn't sound like you are truly committed, or want to be truly committed. But, that's how I read it, and I could be way off.
    Yep, way off. Thanks anyway, though!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Love_to_Teach View Post
    Yes, that's what's so discouraging! Even while he's breaking up with me, he doesn't want to do it! It's the craziest thing. When/how did your DH finally turn around and stay committed to you?
    Honestly he just kinda grew up - but that's not to say that I didn't grow up too. We took time apart, I saw other people, and when we had both grown up a lot, we realized we were it for each other. We stayed friends while we were apart, and he knew when I was seeing other people - and vice versa - and eventually we just knew we didn't want to be apart anymore.

    I think maybe staying apart for good, but remaining friends if you can/want to, is probably the best thing. From there you guys can figure out if you want to be together for better or for worse, ya know?
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