August 29, 2010

When PTSD Leads Them Astray

I often search out other spouses who are suffering like I am.....perhaps to fulfill my own needs as far as acknowledgment of my own feelings and suffering. Most of them blogging about their days, their struggles and everyday lives living with Combat PTSD. While I like what I read and is somewhat comforting, I am seeking the unspoken subjects that I have endured and struggled with. Surely, I am not the ONLY spouse who is dealing with the taboo subjects which derive from PTSD and all the hell it leaves in its wake! Is there some unwritten code we as spouses are supposed to follow and not talk about? Are we not allowed to address these issues with the comforting knowledge that it's ok to talk about it? I thought long and hard about all these "hush hush" topics, but am going to grab the reins and run with them anyway!

Such a a simple word that can bring a whole hell of a lot of problems upon a family and a marriage. One of those subjects no one wants to talk about in the open and one that I gather should not be blogged about. My story started once my husband came home from Iraq. As you know from my previous blogs, my husband was not acting remotely normal and our marriage basically dissolved into thin air because of his issues. Coupled with not getting help, let's just say our house was not a happy home. When I found out I was pregnant with our third child, the whole world turned upside down and he lost whatever sanity he did come home with. The paranoia and disillusions really screwed his head up into believing that I somehow had an affair and must have been at the same time he was home for me to be pregnant. There were a lot of hurtful comments, lot of hatred and resentment from both of us. There were so many times in my head that I had wished I had cheated because it would have made his anger, resentment and the trouble he was giving me, worth it. Strongly a firm believer in marriage vows and coming from a family whose parents had issues such as these, I could not believe he would ever think or accuse me of doing such a thing.
However, he went back to work, I did my own thing at home with our other children and somehow things just rocked along albeit badly. During this time, a friend we will call E, was calling or texting which wasn't out of the ordinary. I have some male acquaintances, he has some female ones. Never been an issue with us, and never had any reason not to trust him prior to war. He worked part-time with a buddy of his on his off days, so it wasn't out of the ordinary that he wasn't home. He was always available by phone should I need him and home when he was supposed to be.

The texting every once in a blue moon began to become an every day thing. That daily thing turned into almost what I would say as an obsession. Constantly, he was on his phone texting and if not, then he was on the phone with her. Now I know her, she seems nice, married as well....and her husband is not one of our favorite people. Often, it was questions in regards to fixing something and he would walk her through it with me on the phone. Then the phone calls became more and more often with her just needing a friend to talk to or the fact she was depressed. Me, being the naive and big hearted person, told my husband that he needed to make sure she had a friendly ear to listen to her. Little did I know that this friendly ear was becoming more of an issue than what I thought.

It must have been probably six months of a rocky marriage and arguments over seeking help, that a knock on my door came one day. It was E's husband. I was kind of shocked to see him there and knew they were having marital problems of their own, but over what, not sure. He asked if he could speak to me for a few minutes and I let him in. He then proceeded to tell me that for over six months, his wife and my husband were having an affair. I pretty much felt the whole world get knocked out from underneath me. I didn't understand at first and was really angry with this man for playing such a cruel joke. However, he proceeded to tell me that he felt I needed to know and gave me many details on days where my husband was supposedly working. He said he knew I was expecting again and felt that I needed to know what was going on. They had separated and he felt that I needed to know the whole story and save me the heartache he was going through.

I was shocked but things began falling in place. There was one phone call which came during supper time. He spoke softly and soothingly to this unknown person. Little did he know that his volume was up so high on his phone (due to hearing loss) that I could hear every word and know that it was a woman. When he got off the phone, I asked him who it was and he said "Oh it was a guy from work wanting to know if I could swap days with him". I think at that moment I knew, but when I confronted him with his lies he swore up and down they were just friends and that he would never ever cheat on me.

The days he was supposedly working, I never saw any extra on the checks but he always had bills paid on time or came up with extra money. I learned later he was tapping into our savings account to cover his ass on his lies. That evening of the visit from the bearer of information, I threw my husband out of the house. When he came home that day he was so cold, so indifferent and when I confronted him about E's husband, he said "Ok, so I had an affair so what!". That's it? That's all you have to give me?

He then began to tell me it wasn't about sex, it was just needing someone to listen to him. LISTEN to him? I felt like I wanted to smack him upside the head because all I have done is been there for him, talking to him and trying to get him help. Then, I felt resentment and pure hatred for this man because here I am at seven months pregnant and he was accusing me of cheating on him!

I really can't tell you how things went from there but on the verge of divorce and the baby, we somehow managed to find marriage counseling. We salvaged much of our relationship what was left of it, and after counseling, it seemed to help him and me coping with this "interference". My husband was a trust worthy man, and we don't lie to each other. I could not grasp the whole concept of what or who this person was after he came home from war. In counseling, he told me that he knew he could talk to me but could not tell me everything because he was afraid of what I would think of him. It wasn't that he was attracted to her or remotely had any feelings for her, it was just a punishment to himself and the high of "not getting caught". Was it all bullshit? An excuse or an easy way out? I don't know. Maybe its true, that it had nothing to do with me and was all about him.....perhaps it was just him playing the Iraqi/PTSD card.

He wanted to be with me, and I wanted my husband back....looking back over the last three years since this has happened...I wondered where I would be now had I just simply closed that door in my life. The sex part doesn't bother me as much as the personal closeness he shared with her. I feel as if I was robbed. I was robbed of a memorable pregnancy, robbed of a memorable happy time of the birth of our son, and robbed because he could not talk to me. The one person who would never judge, always listen and who, used to think, we were best of friends.

I don't think in my heart and mind, I have ever truly forgiven him. Although he has never spoken to her since that time, I still see her from time to time out in town. The humiliation becomes unbearable and always re-opens old wounds. When he opens his phone to text his buddies, or he receives one...I can't help but wonder if that's who he is talking to. If he leaves the house, then I often wonder if he is seeing someone. Let's face it, being married to a Combat PTSD veteran is hard enough and sometimes that trust is broken in other areas....adding this type of break makes one almost distrusting of them. He thinks I should just drop it, leave it in the past and keep moving forward. I try. That's what you do in marriages right? Keep moving forward and let the forgiveness come later. I can't even describe to him how much damage he has done to my self-esteem or how broken I really feel.

I try not to think about any of this....leave it in the past and hope that with time, I heal and trust again. The other night he made a comment that bothered me and guess it rehashed the old hurt that was buried deep. He was outside and I called him in for supper. He was texting back and forth and like a parent, made him put down the phone to eat. We always used to joke about me or him having a monday night or friday night man or gal pre-war. It's been a long time since we have done that, and not thinking I said "tell your friday night gal you have to eat and you will get back to her" and I chuckled along with my kids. He jumped up from his seat and said "Well I have been there and done that, now haven't I?" I don't know if what he said was hurtful or the cold mean way he said it. Either way, it was a reminder I didn't need. I don't even know why he said it. I mean, if I was some callous cold hearted bitch who loved to rub it in his face all the time, or constantly nagged about his would be totally different. Unfortunately, I think the PTSD has taken all his good sense of humor and our playfulness with each other to whatever depths that it lives in.

So that's so my story. Of course, wrapped up short and sweet without a bow on top but nevertheless written on my blog out in the open. I guess when it's days like this one where he is in a foul mood and hard to makes me wonder if he truly appreciates all that I do for him and still loves me as much as I do him. I wouldn't put my life on hold and spend each day in hell, if my heart still didn't feel something for him as strong as it was the day we met. It would just be nice to know something at least. I do know this was the first time and the only time this will happen. There are no more second chances left in me. Hopefully, this will reach another spouse and they will say "holy hell, I went through this too"! If I can accomplish that, then I am ok with bearing it all out here.

Not ashamed to write it all,


  1. I was married to and cheated on by a Veteran that did not have PTSD but being cheated on creates most of the same feelings so.... I am sending you a big hug! He has been history for a long time.

    I have now fallen in love with a Vet who does have PTSD. We communicated long distance for over a year and he was forthcoming about it. It was not until we ended up living in the same area and had a day to day relationship that I realized I needed to find out everything I could about PTSD to try to understand who this man was that I had fallen in love with. That is how you help me. I not only learn what it is like to live with someone who has PTSD, thanks to you, I do not feel alone and I gain knowledge of the PTSD monster. You are definitely helping me cope by sharing. Thank you. My children see the stress and pain I go through and tell me to walk away before it is too late. My heart screams back..IT IS ALREADY TOO LATE because it doesn't belong to me anymore. It was too late a long time ago when I decided to trust him with it. And I am not sure he even knows he received that gift. Sometimes our relationship almost seems normal. Those times do not last too long as the Monster's characteristics take over: everything being about him, his anger, his frustration, no patience with what he feels is unnecessary. He is pretty good about wanting alone time when he gets like this but... I also know that he would protect me with his life if the situation called for it. Will I walk away? NO! Had I known about PTSD and what it was pre-relationship, would I have walked away? NO! The hardest part for me is Not Taking It Personally! So please, please, believe that you are helping me. I am just sorry you have to go through so much to help...but thank you for sharing your experiences. Strength and hugs to you!

  2. it happend to me to...but instead of working it thru, he cut me out of his life. I still have trouble functioning on a daily basis. I have no self esteem and I pray constantly. I am happy with my life now, but I still struggle. I also think he is worth it all and would still give just about anything to try and work thru this together and would be happy to be with him forever. what is wrong with me?

    1. I am going thru this now!

    2. Going through this now in June 2016. It's so painful to love my husband right now. I thank the author of this article for sharing her story.

  3. Thank you both for your comments. Anon, thank you for your words of encouragement. I am glad you find my blogging helpful and useful. Makes it worth while to spill my beans constantly!

    Rebekah, I know exactly how you feel. Even, almost four years later, I still have that "slump" I feel about myself and my life. There is nothing wrong with you at all and I think when you love someone that much, it knocks out all the crap they have done and forgiveness comes easily. Keep praying and keep going. I think that if its meant to be, then it will work out. If not, there is a higher plan for you and when the time is right, then it will smack you upside the head!!!

  4. I have read over this a couple of times....WOW! My husband has severe PTSD and a TBI! I have battled this monster on a daily basis for 3 years now. Had I known he had PTSD before we were dating would I have dated him...I would like to think so...because he is truly an amazing man. We have been on a roller coaster ride that has never seemingly slowed down over the last 3 years. I have often found myself wondering why I loved someone so much and gave them so much power to hurt me. and hurt me he did....We have been told that he has the text book case of PTSD.,....It sucks. But I know that he didnt ask for what he went thru in Iraq...not once. NOr did he say hey I want this to change my life for the worst forever. In the past year things have definitely been worsening...some parts of our life are amazing...we run 2 home based businesses, we have a great relationship, we are together 24/7.....but how we got here was not an easy journey. My husband that I love so very much,...started losing his thought process. He was a great vetrinary technician and loved what he did...but it was to the point that he wouldnt be able to remember what he was doing from the time he walked out of the exam room to when he got to the back...maybe 20 ft.... (MAYBE) At first it was every now and then and then it got to be a couple times a week....and then it was a few times a DAY. We struggled hard with understanding why this was happening to us. It is somewhat comforting to know that we are not alone in this monsterous battle. I will be following your blogs.....thanks so much for putting them out there.!

  5. Thank you for your blog, sadly I've recently discovered that I'm in a similar situation. My husband also returned home from Iraq a different person, but it took almost 5 years and the disclosure of an affair for us to recognize the signs of PTSD. About two years ago, my husband started withdrawing from the family, watching tv constantly, drinking excessively, neglecting household projects, etc. I knew nothing about PTSD other than the obvious violence or abuse, so never thought that PTSD was an issue for him.

    For the past two years, his behavior has gradually escalated. He's been spending money outrageously, not paying bills, doing impulsive things like buying a new car without talking to me about it first...and then he started with the women. At first it was just texting random women he'd meet in bars, and I recently found out that he's been physical with at least one other woman.

    I am beyond devastated. I've known and loved this man for over 20 years, and this is not the man I married. Friends of mine used to ask me if I was worried about my husband being away from home all the time (at training, etc.) and I would tell me that other women were the one thing I never worried about. My husband himself told me that he's not the same man he used to be, that the man I loved died in Iraq.

    I just wanted to let you know you're not alone, and I appreciate you writing about a subject that I'm afraid many of us are also dealing with. I'm at a place now where I can't even feel anger, it's more unfathomable grief over what has been stolen from us due to this horrible disorder, and terrible fear for what the future holds for us.

    1. I read your post and it is exactly what I am going through now. My husband separated a year ago fun the military after 10 years of being in and doing 6 deployments one being a year. He has PTSD and it has caused him to move out after being married fur 11 yrs we are not divorced and he gave no time before he hit the bars for woman and using and Ashley Madison website. He has pushed our 16 yr old daughter away even slamming the door in her face he just took they car seat from me because he said he wasn't being respected he also w one pay or rent which he agreed. It's sad because I live in lad Vegas and their seems to be no groups for woman dealing with this. Sorry to rant.

  6. I recently read a great article about PTSD affect on the family. I work with Veterans and see the effects of War everyday. I want to echo what everyone else has said and offer my thanks to those that serve and want them to know that my Prayers are with you.

  7. I just discovered that my husband-an Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran with suspected PTSD (he's still active duty)-has been calling escort services and putting ads on sites such as Craigslist, looking for anonymous sex with strangers. I am gutted. We have 2 kids, a new house and several pets...I have no idea what to do or think now about him and our marriage.

    Thank you for sharing your story-though I hate that anyone has had to go through this, it is comforting to feel that I am not alone.

  8. I'm in a similar situation except even after ive forgiven him for being physical with me after he sought help, we got back together made promises and a week later he met a girl at a club and had a 3 week fling with her while he was on orders. Im devestated how many chances do i give even though my love for him in still unimaginable. Im starting to feel like i owe myself more respect but cant bare the thought of walking away for good.

  9. I am seperated fro my wife now. She does not beleive any of the PTSD realted issues as it pertains to relationships. I wish I could help her understand before we divorce.

  10. I found out 3 months ago that my husband began a online "relationship" with a woman. I woke up one morning while he was taking a shower and something told me to check his phone.
    There was a message telling her that he was going to send her a picture of him in PJ pants as she requested, but was going to work out more first. He must have known I knew something because he had a really bad episode around lunch. When I got back home later that day, I checked his phone again. And again there were more messages.
    I sat and tried to figure out what the hell I was going to do. At 2am I woke him up. He told me that it was a friendship that crossed the line. I flipped. 5 days of crying, asking questions and yelling, He finally agreed to try counseling again for his PTSD.
    He texted her later that same day and told her what was going on. She told him that I was just trying save my marriage because I did not want to lose him. His reply...."she already lost me, I am just trying to see how long I can keep on pretending" - I collapsed and could not breath.
    He told me that all the signs were there, showing that our marriage was falling apart but, I just refused to see them until I found the messages.
    Looking back, yes they were there. But, to me there is NO excuse to cheat.
    As of right now, I am still here. He is in counseling, and I am still paranoid.
    Every day I struggle with myself. Do I stay, or do I leave...

  11. My husband of almost 23 years of marriage was diagnosed 3 years ago with PTSD related to his 14 year military service. Unknown to me he began emotional online affairs around that same time. Gradually I could see he was distancing himself from me and our family. As time went on I had hopes with meds and counseling he would get better but 6 months ago he had an 11 week affair with a woman he met online. She tried to convince him she was all he needed. (She was a single mother without child support and having to live with a friend because she couldn't afford living on her own.) My husband was a "sugar daddy" in the making for her. Or so she thought! His dr had changed his meds a few months prior to the affair and caused him to have severe depression. Serzone almost destroyed him and our marriage! He was mentally and emotionally so messed up. Once I could see something more than PTSD was the problem and I found phone records I confronted him and kicked him out. He stayed with her that night and she thought she won but the next day we talked for 4 hours and we were able to come to an agreement to seek help from our pastor and counseling. He had a med change a week prior to this and he was beginning to make sense of the reality of things he had done. Once he came home and severed ties with the beached whale from hell we were able to heal together and restore our marriage. It took lots of time, crying, talking, praying, and then he revealed a trauma he had blocked out of his mind for 30 years. He had been sexually abused at 14. We are going through the process of healing and learning more and more about ourselves and understanding each other in a way I never dreamed would be possible. God brought my husband back to me! He died to sin but God brought him back to life and cleansed him of all unrighteousness. Our faith and trust in each other and The Lord is stronger than ever! Through research, lots of research, I have found that many times a person with PTSD has actually suffered from a childhood trauma. (Physical, emotional or sexual.) And many times the root cause of an affair is childhood trauma. It doesn't excuse their choices or behavior but it helps to understand the thought process behind their poor decisions. Read more at You will be amazed by the insight and available help for recovery and repairing your relationship. Even with PTSD, there is hope and healing. We are living proof of that! We stand amazed by the power of God and grateful for His love, grace and mercy in our lives. My husband says now that looking back, the only way he can describe that bizarre nightmare is that it felt like an out of body experience. He was in constant turmoil and confusion. We had a great marriage and he knew that but he couldn't break free from the depression and his chatting was his way of escaping but he knows that was a tragic choice that almost cost him me, our family and all that he holds dear. My advice is to take a step back and look at your life around you and keep a journal of behavior and conversations. Be on the alert for anything unusual and get them to the dr. Don't delay and don't think they'll get better like I did. Be the stronger one and be brave enough to do things you wouldn't think of to save your spouse from themselves. There is HOPE! And if you don't have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, I highly recommend you meet Him. You will never live in fear or doubt again. :-) We are living proof!

    1. I am dealing with such a similar situation. I've been with my husband for 21 years (married 18). He has been communicating and has crossed the line with his old high school girlfriend. She is miserable in her marriage as well. Both marriages have 3 kids. My husband has PTSD, clinical depression, anxiety disorder and ADD. He is on meds and in trauma therapy, which brought out a bad trauma from when he was 11. I want the security of my marriage back and to continue to work side by sid e with him. But he needs to realize this other women is not foe him and doing more damage for his healing. He can lose his family over this. It's a constant struggle and hard to not be consumed by am of this. Thanks for sharing, even if it was years ago.

  12. Thank you all for sharing, it helps make me feel like I'm not alone. After 3 deployments, my husband is suffering from PTSD. I'm pregnant and dealing with all of these issues above. I'm soldier myself, and even knowing the signs and knowing about the "help", it's taken 5 years to get my husband to seek counselling. For all the spouses out there, stay strong. ~ Soldier and Wife

  13. I'm nine months pregnant with a child both my husband and I wanted. We have a one year old.

    Three weeks ago he stepped off the airplane from Afghanistan and immediately asked for a divorce saying he met someone over there and was in love.

    While he was over there, however, he seemed depressed, sleepless and talked often about how he wished he had died already. He also said he didn't know if he could make it home.

    I don't know this man that came home. An alien took my doting, loving and faithful husband, who said, a few days before leaving that I was the woman of his life.

    Six months have passed and now he is enraged at me and blaming me for everything that is wrong in his life. He wants to divorce and be with the other woman, wants to quit the usmc, wants to sell his properties, etc.

    Meanwhile, while we have several comfy pillows around the house, he chooses to sleep on his flat, camouflaged, pathetic little pillow he used there and to sleep on an uncomfortable couch. Also, he only wears shirts that say Afghanistan in them. It's like he is not home yet.

    He agreed to go to counseling, but all he does while there is to rewrite our entire marriage as if it was just horrible and that he wants out.

    Our baby is due in less than a month.

    I want my husband to come back home already.

  14. Thank you everyone for your stories, sad, but comforting. My fiancé of 6 years (together for 8) has been in the military for 25 years and served in 3 tours, we had 6 kids between the two of us and had a wonderful relationship. I am not naïve, ignorant or blind, we truly had a happy life. He kept saying that his service would secure our retirement future and that he would be retiring soon. He went to Afghanistan in July, took scheduled leave in January and was due to come home in July. In May (on Mother's Day) I received an email from him stating that when he came home in July he would be moving into a house he bought. I was shocked- we had a home, a happy home. I completely died inside. He told me there was no one else and he just needed time and space. I was so confused and hurt, there were no signs leading up to this. However a soldier had committed suicide while they were in Afghanistan and he had to clean the scene. He told me he still has nightmares about that day. I believe because of this incident and being in for such a long time he has ptsd, he even admitted he thought so too, but refused any type of treatment. I later found out he had an emotional relationship with one of his soldier's over there and that is why he did not fess up to anything, he is high ranking, she is not. He is 44, she was 21. I felt so betrayed and sickened. When he came home they moved into the house he bought, she got out of the army and he completely gave up on all 6 of his kids (4 biological, 2 step). This month he and his girlfriend moved 1000 miles away. I am dumbfounded, how does a man who appears happy and says he's happy give up and run away from responsibilities. I am still numb at times but coping. The thing that hurts most is when I see the kids hurt because their father gave up on them, it's hard for me to justify his actions, because he won't get the help he needs. I have them in counseling, but he just doesn't see how his actions have afflicted so much pain, nor does he care to fix it. He wants the least amount of responsibility as possible, what happened to the person I fell in love with?

  15. Thank you, Uncle Sam's Mistress, for sharing your story. I'm so sorry you've been through that hell, but I'm amazed at how much it is so similar to my own story.

    First there was a hurtful accusation a few years back that I was having an affair - I was actually ordering a gift online that had his division insignia on it, so I WAS hiding some of my internet activity from him, as I was researching where to buy it, then ordered it, then tracked the package; around the same time, coincidentally, I was having to work late, so he combined and interpreted these things in the worst way possible.

    Then about a year ago he had a female friend from a town he used to live in who had relocated to within an hour of our home, and she was having some "problems" in an area that he knew something about, and the texting started to become REALLY frequent. I too had a big heart (and a naive mind) about this, and thought it was good of him to be helping her. Until I found out that the "helping" included getting together to have sex.

    When I found out, that feeling was just like having my whole world shattered, the solid ground beneath my feet no longer solid anymore. I was in shock. My best friend, someone who said he hated liars, had been lying to me and deceiving me. And, as it turned out, had been having unprotected sex with her and with me during the same period of time (I insisted on STD testing, which fortunately turned out OK).

    He too claimed I wasn't paying enough attention to him. Which is bull. Or, as the infidelity books call it, "rewriting marital history." He had withdrawn so much, to his own mostly solitary activities and hobbies - but when the mood struck HIM, he would sometimes decide he wanted my company. If I was in the middle of something, he expected me to drop whatever I was doing, and if I didn't, he would feel that I had given these other things higher priority. If I even took a phone call from a friend on one of the relatively rare occasions when he would be around me in the evening, he considered that evidence that I didn't pay attention to him (even if we were only watching TV at the time; I wouldn't take a phone call if he and I were talking).

    Now we are in marriage counseling. Things are starting to get better. We made sure the counselor had a solid background in PTSD because while the affair is the biggest marital issue, even my husband recognized that a counselor wouldn't be able to help us unless it was someone who understood this very big part of HIM.

    I too feel that the sex part isn't the hardest thing to get over. (Maybe the fact that it was a short term thing helps in that regard.) The betrayal of trust is the big deal for me. All the lies, when I thought he was someone who placed a high value on integrity. That was one of the main reasons I was drawn to him. I thought he was a cut above. I thought he'd be someone who "always had my back." But he hurt me more than anyone has ever hurt me.

    He's apologized many times, and he's opening up a lot in counseling. I trust him more than I did when I first found out, and hope to trust him more than I do now, but I know I will never trust him as much as I did before the affair. As for forgiveness, I think that's a process, and as our marriage counseling goes on, I may get to a place where I can work on that. We are working on making it "safe" to discuss difficult things, and making baby steps - so the affair hasn't even been fully dealt with yet. We're working up to that. It's HARD WORK. If I didn't love him and didn't think he truly loves me, there'd be no way I could do this.

  16. Hi spouses, Im the mom and certified caregiver of a combat veteran with SEVERE PTSD, and multiple TBI's. He attempted suicide after his fiancée cheated on him and sent pictures. Many other men took their own lives after coming home to a cheating woman.
    I have long believed the additional stresses over unsupportive and needy women have led to serious outcomes. I think if you women can not stand by your man- then don't cheat,
    I understand fully now that My son who went to war is long gone, the gaunt shell only looks like him. He is now childlike, but mention the war 0H boy it takes him days to calm down or eat again after any mention of it
    . You want a few taboo things?
    don't mention the war. Don't put him into situations where he is identified as a combat veteran, don't ever mess with the day plans, don't gripe or water board him with YOUR problems he has had enough of his own.
    Don't let them smell diesel, or bathroom smells, keep them away from death (animals etc)
    don't stress him out. Keep the peace even if you have to stay silent.
    let him do what he can do and not expect things that he can not do. Allow him to decide what he is able to do. Don't over book, he needs time and rest. If at anytime he becomes stressed have a safety plan where he can come down with out a scene.
    These are the small price we women pay for the honor of our beloved coming home at all. So make a list of what they still are now dwell on what they were.
    mil mom

    1. Hang on here, ..So basically just suck it up and be emotionally abused, walk on eggshells and keep him happy???? Don't let him encounter ANY stress?
      What kind of a life is that for the spouse?
      How many men would put their lives and happiness aside to care for their wife like this?
      I'm sorry, I too have been living it for years.
      There's only so much on wife and mother can give before she will have a nervous breakdown. Just sayin

  17. milmom/ Anonymous,

    With due respect, there is a difference between being a mother/ caregiver and being a wife. These spouses are struggling, they know their own spouses and themselves, and their children. You do not. While PTSD is the same for everyone diagnostically, it is very different for each, depending on a number of factors. Also, you may want to review your approach to living with PTSD. It sounds as if you may be enabling your child to prolong his symptoms, by organizing your live around avoiding his triggers. Very few therapists would agree with your advice. Some understanding and empathy is good, even admirable, and families do need to change to accomodate the new, wounded warrior. However, abandoning one's own needs entirely doesn't work in a marriage, for either one.

  18. My long time boyfriend was in Afganistan, he was shot twice and when he came home he was different. He's been home less than a year and the infidelity issue has nearly ruined us. If it wasn't for my researching PTSD I would have left him already. Now everytime I find another woman I call her, and I end it for him. It was pretty bad at first, but latley he has stopped all of it and has focused more on our family. I believe that my loyalty has played a huge factor in his attempt to stop. He has other issues of coarse, the night terrors, the sleep walking, the tossing and turning, the self esteem issues, the fear of dying too soon... but for now I seem to have him pretty well focused on us. You have 2 choices when you have a partner who goes to comabt and comes home with PTSD, stand by them or walk away. I chose to stay, I may not be married to him but I did commit to him and the relationship and I'm no quitter.

  19. Hello. I am so glad I stumbled across this page. I too was in the same position 5 years ago. My husband is a combat veteran, now retired. He has severe PTSD, anxiety disorder, Traumatic brain injury and some physical issues. I have put my story out in the open for a local veterans newsletter and I spoke at a ptsd conference. Sometimes people think I'm crazy when they hear me speaking so openly about what happened to us. We had infidelity issues, he was an alcoholic, self destructive and very angry. I am now 40 and over the past five years, he has been very proactive with his recovery and that has made a huge difference. We could not have made it without the counseling available through our local vet center. It took a long time for me to not personalize the entire affair. I had to understand that when he told me she meant nothing, he was telling the truth. He tried everything to push me away so he could just drill his life into the ground. He has been sober for several years now and I think our marriage is better than it was before all of this some strange way. Recovery and healing are two different things. I would love to have a peachy happy ending to the story but there really is no ending. The affair will still pop in my mind. The mistress was also in the military and she was very proud to taunt me with photos and phone calls. The photos are engraved in my mind and its hard to get past it sometimes. I went through my own hell because I became depressed, lost confidence, felt bitter mean and angry. What I do know is this is a process. My husband still has nightmares, sleeps on the couch, has mood swings and really has good days and bad days. The difference is the help that we went after helped us understand his illness and gave us coping mechanisms. He has learned how to channel his anger and his feelings. It is alot of work. Seeing so many other similar stories on here made me feel "not as alone." Friend and family who don't understand are quick to tell you that you must divorce and throw him out. My husband has said on many occasions, that he is able to go through the recovery process because of my love, understanding and loyalty. I had to learn how to take care of myself and love myself through all of this too. Don't feel guilty when you take time for yourselves and try not to take it as a personal hit. I know that is so hard to do but now I look back at the time I wasted out of my own life feeling unwanted, unloved; thinking the affair was all about what I wasn't and what she was. The affair had nothing to do with that at all but those negative thoughts sucked the life out of me before I was able to work through alot of it in marriage counseling. Hang in there. There should be no judgement on whether a spouse stays or sticks around. Each relationship is different and everyone is different. I chose to love my husband through it. You definitely mortgage bits and pieces of yourself though and have to be willing to work hard.

  20. Wow, Thank you for sharing your story! My husband and I are separated at the stages of divorce. He was a navy diver/EOD. He was dignosed with 70% PTSD. We were married in march of last year. He too refused to get help. We were the best of friends, encouraged each other, confided in each other, helped each other, laughed all the time, did things together. Then we moved to another city where he would start school and that's where EVERYTHING changed!! He started lying, started manipulating me, got into my facebook account, took money from my account, and was hanging around other women alone! Then got onto e-harmoney! When I saw him kissing another women outside of our house, we got into a big fight and I left for the night. the next day, he announced he wanted a divorce. I gave it to him, he went all kinds of crazy and went off the deep end spending money like he was rich, dating 3 women at once flying to see them and almost killing himself. he asked for a second chance. I gave it to him. it didn't last long. we went to ONE counseling session. He disapered for A WEEK! With no contact, the VA suggested me report him as a missing person. Other vets advised me to just leave him alone, he'll turn up. so that's what I did. Going through an emotional HELL! He turned up, in counseling the next week to give me the saddest excuse I have heard to date. Then I find out the whole time he was gone, he was in n.y. with the woman he had cheated on me with!!! And we were suposed to be working things out!! I don't understand how PTSD is related to these men cheating????

    1. Wow....this story is almost exactly what happened to me and my marriage. Reading all of these is making me second guess what I had concluded which was he was a psychopath/sociopath.

    2. Lol! We married to the same guy??!

  21. My boyfriend of approximately 3 years was an Army Ranger in the late 80's to early 90's. PTSD ruined 2 marriages and a longterm relationship before we got together. I really didn't understand PTSD, just what he explained to me. He is on 4 different meds and early on they seemed to stabilize him. Not so much anymore. We have been living together for 2 years now and I love him so much. But, I am so exhausted. Reading some of these posts has helped me to see that I am not the only one. I cannot say what he was like before he went to war, but he really seems to be doing worse than when we started. It is hard to not take his anger and outbursts and coldness personally. But some of the blogs I have read seem like they were written by me. Thank you

  22. I have just discovered my Army Ranger husband is cheating.....I have just put all the pieces together and haven't even confronted him yet. He has ptsd, I know he does but its not treated and we have a two month old son and I am trying to figure out how to deal with all of this and stumbled across this blog....Thank you for letting me know I am not alone.

  23. thank you for your story and comments. I'm in a little different position, but this helps me a lot. My husband and I have been separated and are working out the details of a divorce. During this time, a man I have known for a while who is a combat vet (Middle East) recently began "courting" me (his words) and I have recently learned that he is just 6 months into his second marriage - I believe his first marriage ended due to infidelity. I'm trying to understand his behavior, but can only get out now, knowing that he is broken and damaged. I feel sorry for wife #2 and hope he finds the help that he needs so desperately.

  24. Ive beem msrried 12 years .my husband jas neen in the military fo 25 years and deployed 4 times since we jave been married. He my world and i love him with all my heart. He has PTSD from his deployments and it seems everytime he returns home he is more damaged than the last. He has never that i know of cheated while deployed but so gar he jas cheated 6 times after returning home. I know he loves me but his drinking has worsened and his afgair have broken so bad. One affair ladyed 2 years before he broke it off. He says he is truly in love with me and does not want to lose me. He constantly says how lucky he is that he has me and that i have not left him yet. He says he is done with the affairs but my trust is no longer. I love him and i feel he needs me and i want to still be with him but im scared ! He is deploying again in August. I am afraid he is going to come back even more screwed up! I jave always been faithful and raised our children on my own. I will be here when he returns. I fair for him. I have always been here for him. Never have i strayed and i am always there when he returns home. He knows i am the one thing in his life that will always be there for him. Ive tried to leave a couple times and he lost it. I dont want to take that away from him. I am afraid what would happen to him. I love him with all my heart but he has broken me with his drinking and affairs. I am lonely and whatever self esteem or spiirit i had he has tamken away from me. Friends i have known all my life jave made many coments abouy how sickly and tired i look and how i am not the fun loving person i once was. Im not asking for pity and i do love my husband and i dont and cant find it in my heart to leave him. Ive lost so much but worst of all myself and my self worth ! People alwaus praise the soldiers tjat fight for our freedom and i am very proud of my husband but what about the wives and children they leave behind ? We have our own battle and it is one we endure everyday ! I am very unhappy i cry all the time and pray but i jave learned to distance myself and i have just about alienated everyone in my life Because of the burden i carry. I dont want people to know. I constantly protect my husband from people around us so tjey dont frown upon him. I did confront him but his PTSD threw him into a rage. The first he ever lsid a hand on me which put me in the ER .He has never tpuched me since and did seek help for that and i javr forgiven him. I do know it was a one time thing and it would never happen again bit om tje off chance i would be forced to leave at that point ! Please pray for the families of miltary and PTSD we all need as much as we can get !

  25. I wish there was an update to this. I am in the trenches and feel as though I am losing myself in the process. The hold of this other woman is physiologically attached to his trauma... and to add insult to injury.. she doesn't get it.. loves the attention and seems to relish in the havoc she is creating. To go so far as to text me directly, hurtful, mean words. I feel so terribly alone and lost. He is going for his 3rd 1 on 1 Monday... I feel like I have lost the man I married. The barriers and walls he has formed around me seem unbreakable. I sit... pouring out my loyalty and heart - while still trying to hold a stance in dignity. I feel humiliated, insignificant and unimportant - unloved. I have read everything I can get my hands on about PTSD and joined support groups myself. Am I going down a road that leads nowhere? I know we have the ability to hang the moon together... I want to try and make it work for sake of our marriage, our family (we have a 3 year old) and so neither one of us has to face the regret I know will come should there be light at the other end of the tunnel. I find myself growing weaker... looking at "other" options ... looking at rental rates in the area. I guess I hang on because the way I am built - when I close that door, it doesn't open again.. and I really do love my husband.. Sometimes I feel like he doesn't even want to make "us" better.

    1. It always hurts when a relationships fall apart but the sooner you realize you can't keep harming yourself,the better. You matter and you can't live the rest of your life like this. If he's not willing to work on it with you,you need to go. It'll be good for both you and your kid in the long term,I wish my parents had separated rather than fighting all the time.

    2. Us wives spend so much time online (as I am at the moment) trying to understand this, trying to help/fix them, when deep in my gut I KNoW that I can't!
      Unless HE sees the problem and fixes it himself, the BS will never end!
      (And frankly I believe most have no desire to change it! They can drink all night, hit the bars, stop helping around the house, lie and cheat and have their golden get outta jail free card- PTSD.
      There's no accountability..just a beautifully packaged label of PTSD that in the world eyes makes them a HERO.


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  31. Well, sure wish I had you all around 34 years ago +. My husband was a Special Forces captain and did three tours in Vietnam. I met him when I was 13 and we married just after I turned 19. He was 5 years older than me. We were best friends and did everything together. He got out of the military to go to college and eventually law school. I trusted him so much I believed anything he told me, worked at Burger King or where ever to get him through school and I knew he loved me completely....that's why I never suspected he was cheating on me. I even befriended several of the woman he cheated with (not knowing they were having an affair) because he would tell me how terrible their home lives were and make me feel sorry for them. Time and time again I would catch him and he would breakdown and beg me to forgive him, cry and simply be devistated that he hurt me. Eventually, I had him file for a divorce for us because I did not feel I could date or go out with anyone while we were still married. He was my husband in the eyes of the law and God. We divorced but again, stayed together for 6 years after that. His cheating and I admit my bad behavior eventually led us off in different directions but he still telephoned me regularily for 20 years after we parted our ways. I felt we were still soul mates and eventually (if he quit cheating and drinking) we could come back together. About 12 years ago I became so angry with him that I told him never to call me again.
    HERE'S MY PROBLEM; Not to go into great detail but he had been in my constant thought for several months and I felt he needed me. Turned out he had a catostrophic illness that nearly killed him and was in intensive care and then recovery for a few months. Then he had an intense PTSD episode (triggered by the smell of blood) which resulted in three in house psycho hospital stays. When I located him in Aug 2015, he was so grateful I found him and we started communication telling each other we loved each other and thank God we had found each other again. We talked about his PTS and that he always had it but back then we did not have a name or treatment for it. He was still very ill but getting stronger. He would flip back and forth from being very happy and wanted to come see me to not being able to handle leaving the house yet.
    So we had planned for him to come and stay at my house next week. I could tell from his emails he was equovating and flipping from excitment to come and backing off a bit. Now out of the blue he says I am not part of his world and it is best to cut things off entirely. I am beyond devestated! I can't stop crying and feel like my heart has been ripped out. Our relationship has impacted every part of my life. I have had nothing but failed relationships as I can't trust anyone and no one can ever be the man Michael was to me. I still love him and cannot bear the thought of losing him yet coldly and indifferently after being so loving and close. I am so hurt this time it seems worse than before. The last thing he wrote to me today was that " were the closest I have ever come to loving anyone and you and your family were the only family I have ever known". I am in despair and any words of help would be appreciated. Thank you

    1. I am sorry your hurting. Maybe he is trying to protect you - the hell you experienced hasn't left the building the pain your feeling now isn't anything you aren't going to feel if your with him.

    2. I'm a militry spouse and right now life couldn't be any harder. my husband has ptsd. he used to never be a monster. when I was pregnant with my daughter he emptied our bank account and left us homeless. he started gambling and sleeping with multiple women. I moved with family amd during that time he wold tell me things to purposely hurt me. he didnt even attend his daughters birth. it was the hardest moment for me. i knew he was ill and i didnt want to givw up on him.after a yr he came back to us said he never stopped loving us but felt he didn't deserve us. he tried killing himself. I ran back to help him and eventually we gor back together. his positive changes started to vanish. he started physically abusing me throwing me down stairs, choking me, kicking me at one point he held a knife up to my chest. he would leave us to go drink. eventually it got to the point he started hurting my son. I tried talking to his unit but they didn't believe me they said he didn't need help even after his dwi. I didn't want to leave him bit I did. I couldn't risk him hurting our kids. while we were together he cheated on me with about 15 girls.but still I held on begging him to get help. he doesn't believe he has ptsd. when he came to visit it was like one moment he was the man I married the next he was making fists in my face and throwing me into walls. recently I found out he has had 5 girlfriends the past 2 months and that he is dribking. he said he does it to push us away because he says he has done horrible things and doesn't deserve his family. he recently filed for divorce and has cut me out of his life. I don't understand I did everything I could to support him, to encourage him, to make him feel loved but it didn't work. I keep wondering what I did wrong. now I've lost my husband and I will never be a part of his life. he won't allow me to be. this is killing me so much

  32. I married my husband after he had been out for a couple years already, and I never met the man he was prior to his service. His mom said he was kind and gentle. We have been married for 6 years now, although we have been close to separating many times. He just got diagnosed with PTSD. I don't know much about it and was wondering if not wanting sex is a part of PTSD? We will go months before he finally will go for it. It drives me crazy and makes me feel pretty bad about myself. Could it be his illness? Or if he is getting it else where, how would I know? Also is lying something that is common? Or is that just who he is? Any help would be appreciated.

    1. I also met my husband just after he got out of the military, We have been together for five years. The loss in sex drive is normal as far as his doctor says, and medication just makes it worse. He was active for the first couple of years. Then it went to almost none at all. I don't know if it is 100 percent true though.. I will catch him watching porn, talking online with whoever, and happily taking care of himself... He won't tell me anything and refuses to admit that we have been having problems for a couple of years now. He also lies over the most ridiculous things, I have started to wonder if its involuntary almost... I don't know if mines the only one, but he spends a ridiculous amount of money on what he wants, I always make sure the main bills are paid, and our children have what they need, but we are going through a lot of financial difficulties... I have tried to talk to him about everything that is going wrong in our life but the only answer is get is " If it's not broke, why fix it?". He is a good man, and our kids love their father, but they are too young to understand. He has uncontrollable anger outburst, and will scream and yell and start smashing things. These are the times he decides to start drinking heavily, I honeatly don't know what to do anymore. I love him dearly, but he has me as a stay at home mom, and it scares me to know that if he decides he is done, then I have nothing to fall back on... I have felt alone for awhile now, he stays in his man cave 24/7. The only time he talks to me is if he wants me to get something for him. I just dont know what do here... Any advise would be helpful,

    2. Dear stranger,first of all allow me to say how sorry i am. I was in the very position you described until a year ago and im afraid you won't like my advice,but i still have to say it. Try to get him into counseling immediately and if he keeps refusing or if he starts getting more violent,get out of there,immediately. I know you love him but at the moment he needs to fix himself,it doesn't have to be over forever but a break seems needed. Try to get a part time job or one that doesn't require you to leave the house,take care of your kids,go to your parents' place if necessary.You dont deserve that and your kids don't either. Give it some time and if you want,contact him again after some time has passed. If he's willing to work it out,perhabs you can try therapy then and give it another chance.

  33. Hi everyone, I'm so excited.
    My ex-boyfriend is back after a breakup,I’m extremely happy that will are living together again.
    My name is Mary Wilkie from England.
    My boyfriend of a 4yr just broke up with me and am 30 weeks pregnant.I have cried my self to sleep most of the nights and don’t seem to concentrate during lectures sometimes I stay awake almost all night thinking about him and start to cry all over again.Because of this I end up not having energy for my next day’s classes ,my attendance has dropped and am always in uni and on time.Generally he is a very nice guy ,he ended it because he said we were arguing a lot and not getting along.He is right we’ve been arguing during the pregnancy a lot .After the break up I kept ringing him and telling him I will change.I am in love with this guy and he is the best guy I have ever been with.I’m still hurt and in disbelief when he said he didn’t have any romantic feelings towards me anymore that hurt me faster than a lethal syringe.He texts me now and then mainly to check up on how am doing with the pregnancy,he is supportive with it but it’s not fair on me, him texting me as I just want to grieve the pain and not have any stress due to the pregnancy.i was really upset and i needed help, so i searched for help online and I came across a website that suggested that Dr Unity can help solve marital problems, restore broken relationships and so on. So, I felt I should give him a try. I contacted him and he told me what to do and i did it then he did a spell for me. 28 hours later, my bf came to me and apologized for the wrongs he did and promise never to do it again. Ever since then, everything has returned back to normal. I and my bf are living together happily again.. All thanks to Dr Unity. If you have any problem contact Dr.Unity now and i guarantee you that he will help you.Email him at: ,you can also call him or add him on Whats-app: +2348071622464 ,His website: .

  34. No matter how you look at PTSD somewhere along the way everybody gets hurt. So at first not only have you lost all self worth because things aren't quite what they should be. Then as you isolate yourself because all your so called friends have abandoned you because you may be to much hard work for them and really they don't have the time in their busy lives to be there for someone with troubles. Once you have come to terms with the now extra dead weight gone and all you have left is family that's when PTSD steps up a gear. While you go about trying to glue back the parts of your life on your own, with doctors, phyc, maybe a drinking/ drug problem that you picked up while self medicating the problems away.
    That's when boom, because of your neglect of others which is not neglect really it's you don't feel worthy of her company , your wife that is, you find out that because her emotional and physical needs haven't been met lately she thought she might just go and have an affair and at the same time tell everybody who will listen about how bad a father, husband, lover and the rest. Not only do you find out about it but the lies about go on and in as if it was your fault because you hadn't been paying attention to her, as for the public humiliation that her stories have caused you now wish you were more dead than the dead you wanted to be before.
    But you are not afforded that luxury because of the kids you have and the responsibility you have to them. I know this because this is my life. I curse every single day the useless insurgents who tried but failed time and again to end my life in Iraq. I I died there at least I would now just be a fond memory instead of this bitter and twisted used up fool of san I have become
    I mean no disrespect to all who have lost someone to this war or the condition but I'm done, I am just waiting in this waiting room they call earth hoping i will be the next name for called by the Reaper. Until then I just smile and pretend everything is fine because otherwise if you ack how you feel then you just invite more pain into your already destroyed life. If there is one thing I could do it would be to belt the living shit out G. BUSH for a start and then destroy the man who thought it would be fun to play with my wife while I was down. End rant.

  35. It happened to me too. My husband mentally crumbled under PTSD, moral injury, emotional numbing and avoidance, alcohol abuse, delusion, porn and fantasy, blame, anger, control and criticism, and so much more. It all came to a head after about a decade post his return from Iraq. After admitting to multiple affairs and seeing the destruction of his family, he got help. Lots of help. I am still recovering from these things and will be recovering for the remainder of the foreseeable future. However, we are lucky. He stopped the destruction. He saved himself and our family. He got professional help and has made amends. While the pain remains and I will carry it so that he doesn't have to any longer, so does love. I don't want PTSD to win. I don't want moral Injury to win. I don't want blame, resentment, addiction, alcohol, emotional abuse, depression and meaningless easy women to win in this scenario. Understanding, forgiveness, healing and love win in this ending. I compassionately choose our healing and recovery. I know not everyone gets to have this. They continue in their suffering and destruction and it's so painful to witness. T There has to better for our military families post war. There has to be better for our soldiers.

  36. My husband is a Dessert Storm Vet and Marine. We met in June 2008. He to a point was distant emotionally and doesn't lots of time playing online games but there was no fighting and we were very much Happy. It was 6 months later when things began to change, There was physical, mental, and emotional abuse, threats,paranoia, spitting, and name calling. In the beginning it was easy to notice when things would begin to occur and take action as cooling down in separate rooms or just we easy as be quiet and ignore and nothing would come of it and things would be okay. As time has passed things began to occur out of the blue without any warnings. One minute have a great conversation and a second later he going off on me with threats and name calling. Thru out these 10 yrs he has seemed out help 6+ times at VA Hospitals and has been denied even with telling them how bad it can get. Also we have now 3 kids and another on the way, plus a dog that has anxiety issues of her own, and an older dog that is starting to show signs of aging and can be stressful. We just may have found a Marriage Counselor that can help us, but depending if what mindset he is in his own or PTSD making an appointment or just he willing to go (being the PTSD) Because he even still wants help when in his normal mindset.

  37. Is the affair thing like an obsession from not feeling anything for so long, like a high, is it reckless behaviour, escapism or risky behaviour from humdrum life? Lots of ptsd sufferers seem to fall down this emotional trap whilst their wives are trying hard to stand by them. If I felt I could understand the reason, I'd know whether to hang on or hang my hat up. I feel like I'm fighting this war by myself. Maybe he doesn't love me anymore, maybe he's just detached due to the struggle, but how do you know whether to fight or flight. I'm losing myself in the process. We've been together 34 years.


Please share your comments, stories and information. Thank you. ~ Scott Lee