Gosh – reading this was hard. I had to leave my ex because of his PTSD. He was so isolating and trapped in his mind. Wracked with endless thoughts. Crippling himself with drinking. I hung on for years, sleeping alone in my own room because of his night terrors. In the end I had to admit that this is not a marriage. There was zero intimacy and complete isolation. I finally took the jump and left because I deserve love too – a partner – a family.
I hate to say it so bluntly, but marrying that man was the worst mistake of my adult life. He was so destructive to me and I lost years of myself just mired in his issues and trying to be there and be helpful. He was doing so well for a while too. Making serious headway into transitioning to a new life with a future. I regret marrying him – but without knowing him, I would probably not appreciate the true love and light of a present partner the way I have now.
I still think about my ex often. I wish him the best, but I do feel sorry for whomever he dates or marries next. That person has no idea. He can be very encompassing on the surface socially. But as soon as you are alone, he ices you out. As if the show is over and he can now retreat into his private world ignoring you until the next social event.
I remember early on in our relationship spending so much time with him. He could barely get out of the house without having an anxiety attack and pouring sweat. He was drinking so much Vodka and all I could see was a man who was dying and I didn’t want that to happen. I knew he was a wonderful man. I made the mistake of believing my love was strong enough for the both of us.
We started by just going to the grocery store. He would walk next to me as calm as can be, as I pushed the cart. But I could see his baseball hat starting to soak through with sweat. His hands would often squeeze my arm or touch my back as if he was reassuring himself he is okay. He would tell me all the time that I am so comforting to him. He would say just looking at me and touching me reminds him that there is good in the world. He was in a constant state of hyper vigilance. Over time he eventually relaxed — it was great! We were cooking so many meals together and having fun!
Next we would go out to dinner, go out to see friends and music concerts. -We would bike ride. go to the beach, the movies. We were just peas and carrots. He started university with his GI bill. I was cheering him on every step of the way. He picked out a major and was very happy focusing on that. He wasn’t drinking so much anymore, at least not hard liquor- just beer. He was off of 15 medications. He was losing weight again and getting strong. Everything was about him. Helping him, cheering him, encouraging him, bolstering him. And I was happy to do it. I didn’t even realize how quickly I was lost.
He proposed to me so sweetly, it felt so right. It was on my parents dock right on the bay. A kayaker saw him on his knee and was cheering. It was so happy. We had the best wedding too. Top of the line – best of everything. Mom and Dad threw the party of a lifetime for us. But that day was the last day we were happy. – Because he then slid down into his old place of isolation and vodka.
– Every day felt like a prison to me. None of my friends or family knew, they just saw me living in a beautiful house with my new husband and thinking we were just great. The truth was I was crying in the shower almost daily- in shock over the reality of life with this man.
It was years of lonliness and I can only say I’m so glad its behind me. I’m so glad I am not suffering his pain now too. My soldier did NOT come home- but he was there.
I left for the west coast. I went backpacking for several months and hiking non stop,- day in day out healed me. I was so completely emotionally and spiritually drained. The outdoors revved me back into having a full heart again. Slowly I rebuilt myself -with the help of my friend I’m now back to a really good place. My friend that helped me through my darkness and divorce became my boyfriend and now my husband.
I suppose everything happens as it should – I couldn’t be more happy now.
I don’t think people realize the depth of PTSD on a person – not just the person but their partner too.
I’m not even touching the complete abyss of everything that lead to our divorce – but it was all related to his PTSD. I truly hope he can find peace. He was going to the VA on tuesdays to talk to some people but I don’t think he kept it up after I left. Last I heard he is drinking hard again and has some new girlfriend who is a hard partier. Yikes. well. . . . thats that I guess. There is a lot of relief and sadness involved. There is no hatred. Just sadness.