My boyfriend and I have been together for three years. However, he’s spent the better part of two of those years in Iraq and Afghanistan. We met at college and I finished school while he was deployed. I have a great job and started my life without him while he was away, all the while we planned on building a life together when he got home.
He’s been home for six months now. I was thrilled to have him move in with me. At first, I felt like we were finally getting our dream come true. As the weeks and months have gone by it hasn’t actually been that way. He’s had a very difficult time finding a job. So he’s home all day and seems to be getting more and more depressed. The “newness” of him being back, wore off very quickly and his moods have become very unpredictable.
He hasn’t been violent with me but he has broken furniture and punched holes in walls during fights. Last week he was arrested for a bar brawl, but the charges were dropped. There are days at a time when he seems like himself and then it just seems like something snaps. I’m not afraid of him, but I am afraid for our future.
The reason I’m writing to you is he proposed to me over the weekend. This was a moment I’ve waited for, for three years, and when it came, I felt sick. I said yes, but in my heart, something is screaming no. I know I want to be with this man. I love him so much. I just don’t know how to help him get back to normal so we can have a normal life.
Thanks for your help,
The biggest mistake you can ever make is ignoring your heart when it’s screaming at you. Period. That kind of knowing is absolute and your words gave me chills, “in my heart, something is screaming no.”.
Please don’t ignore that.
I’m sure you are aware this man is probably suffering from PTSD and his behaviors are escalating. You say you aren’t afraid of him, but I want you to understand one thing. You should be afraid. My guess is you are afraid and aren’t admitting it. Ptsd is very serious and left untreated can have deadly consequences. The statistics from the veterans administration and many other organizations paint a very clear picture of the kind of peril both of you are in.
So the question you’re asking is a very important one. How can you help him get back to normal? The answer, unfortunately, is you can’t. Even if you were clinically qualified to manage his treatment, as his significant other, you are not able. Trust me on this one, I am speaking from personal experience.
The one and only thing you can do is: take a stand for yourself and your future and hope he’s able to rise to the occasion and join you there. It goes like this:
I love you very much. I love you enough to have waited for you for three years. However, I don’t love you enough to put myself and my future at the kind of risk we’re in here. Although I’m not a professional, it seems very clear you are suffering from trauma related to things you experienced during your deployments. If we are going to continue our relationship you must get treatment. It’s not optional. I will support you through that to the best of my ability. I want us to have a future. However, should you chose not to do this, immediately, you will have to move out.
I know that sounds harsh and might feel impossible to do. However, it’s the most loving thing you can possibly do for him. Leaving this unaddressed, unchecked, and untreated will not play out well for him having any kind of real future. Chances are very high he will ultimately take your deal. This is a man who doesn’t want to lose you. The proposal on the heels of an arrest clearly illustrates that. Do this for yourself and do this because you love him.
To be clear. I’m not talking about making an idle threat. I’m talking about setting a real boundary you will keep. If he doesn’t take action, you will need to. He must seek treatment and stay in treatment.
Sara, more than anything, again, I want to encourage you to listen to your intuition. Your guidance system is intended to support you. Don’t ignore that voice that’s saying something is wrong. The biggest mistake you can every make is ignoring your intuition. there is a lot of support for both of you. Get some.
I want to express my gratitude for his service and your devotion. It’s a high calling and the sacrifices are too many to count. Please understand though, just because he’s home doesn’t mean the battle is over for him.
Big love for both of you,
Lisa Hayes, The Love Whisperer, is an LOA Relationship Coach. She helps clients leverage Law of Attraction to get the relationships they dream about and build the lives they want. Lisa is the author of the newly released hit book, Score Your Soulmate and How to Escape from Relationship Hell and The Passion Plan.
Posted on 05/13/2013 at 12:00:00 AM