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Tamara, Counselor & Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1073
Experience:  20+ yrs Private Practice; Cert. Master Therapist; National Board Certified; APA Board Certified
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Ive been with my boyfriend for 2 and 1/2 years. He did two

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I've been with my boyfriend for 2 and 1/2 years. He did two tours in Iraq before he met me. He is experiencing overwelming stress over work and issues with family making him feel hopeless and guilt, which i asume triggered his PTSD symtoms to increase. He is emotionally numb and never feels like doing anything anymore. He says he loves me more than anything and still wants forever with me, yet he says he needs to just be alone and detach from me for a while. I guess I have been overwelming him by trying to "fix" it, which i believe giving him time is a good thing, but what if he doesn't realize that this has to do with PTSD and decide instead "gee, maybe im just not in love with her anymore bc Im depressed i cant feel anything, and if i were "in love" shouldn't i "know". We spent a couple of days apart and cried to me saying these past days has been so hard on him away from and said please dont leave me i AM "in love" with you, but yet he still needs time alone.What to do?trust him?
Hi. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm pleased to try to help you today.

I'm sorry that you are having these problems with your boyfriend and your relationship. It can certainly be confusing to try to understand what is going on with someone else, esp. when they are saying they want some time alone.

I would suggest that you bring up the issue of PTSD with your boyfriend. I can't see any reason why it wouldn't be OK to do that. If you really think that he is experiencing depression and other symptoms of PTSD, then you owe it to him to tell him, and encourage him to seek help for that. Not talking about it isn't going to help anything.

It does sound like your boyfriend is depressed, and under those conditions, he is likely to feel like being alone and not having to interact with anyone. You can't control that. And if he ends up deciding that he doesn't want a relationship with you, you can't control that either. But you can tell him that you are concerned, and share with him what you are thinking, and encourage him to get treatment for his PTSD/depression. Only then will your relationship have a fair chance of succeeding in the long-run.

Best wishes, and please let me know if I can answer any further questions. Tamara
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Ok, one thing i failed to mention is that his "time alone" means no contact whatsoever. He broke up with me!! My question is, why break up with me at all if you say you're in love with me and still want forever with me...?? makes no sense. but he says he needs this break UP because he feels like he needs to detach from me for a while so he could focus on himself and his health. He says he doesn't want to drag me down with him because he says i deserve better than that. He says he's doing this in order to save our relationship because he feels like if this keeps going on and we stay together it's just going to get worse(this was before i thought of PTSD...i don't even think PTSD came across his mind as a possibility), which i agree with him on that. I encouraged a break to give him time to himself because a break, youre not necessarily broken up you're just taking time alone for a while,so he could "get hisself together", but instead what i got was a break UP which was very unexpected. So if he has every intention on getting back together, then why even break up with me in the first place? I don't know..this is all confusing. He says i'm not going to understand, to just trust him, that everything is going to be ok. But it's not fair for me to be put on hold and just wait around... Should i call him up and tell him what's on my mind or leave him alone until he calls me, because after all, thats what he wants. The more i call him and try to "talk" aggervates him and the last thing i want to do is push him away. I'll ask my family and his family, who knows him of course, and they say baby he needs time everything is going to be ok, he loves you more than anything he just need to get himself together dont take it personal he'll get his head clear and come back to you...and i ask some friends who do NOT know him, and of course an outsider would say Oh he feel out of love with you and doesn't want to hurt your feelings or there's another girl and blah blah, and in most cases yes but they don't know him and when i tell you he's being honest with me, he is. I don't think i know him, i KNOW i know him. He has always being blunt and honest with me regardless whether it would hurt me or not. I never need to be reassured that he loves me because he shows me each and everyday. We have that love everyone is looking for, i guess I got lucky in that sense, but even lucky ones deal with problems, but lucky ones don't break UP! Wouldn't even need a break! He just has no clue what's wrong with him and i want to pick up the phone and say PTSD!! Let's work it out together now that we know! Of course I wouldn't approach it like that haha, I'm just venting to you. When i went to his house a few days ago to get some things i left over there, as i was leaving, and he cried to me saying "please don't leave me please try to understand I'm doing this for us. I don't wanna be broken up i want you so bad but nothing else has worked. Hopfully me being alone will fix me". Look i can talk for hours and really don't wanna drag this conversation out or put you to sleep haha, just please email me whenever you have time. Thanks so much!

Hi again. I'm sure you are very confused about the whole situation. I have to say, however, that my initital reaction is the same as the other people who don't know him. It sounds like he doesn't want to be in a relationship with you anymore, and he's just trying to end it in a way that isn't as dramatic. But you say you know him and that you trust him and you don't think this is what is going on. I hope you're right. But honestly, I don't think you are. Men are pretty simple - if they want to be with you, they are. If they don't, they aren't. You can listen to words all day long, but if the behavior doesn't match, I think you have to go with the behavior. In my opinion, there's no need to break up with you in order to work on himself. That just doesn't make sense. To me, that clearly means he doesn't want you in his life (or he wouldn't have broken up) and he's trying to figure out what to do about that. That's why you feel confused - his words aren't matching with his actions, which leads to confusion, which usually means the words aren't true. I know that isn't what you want to hear, but that's my professional take on it. You're right - you shouldn't be left hanging around while he figures himself out. You should move on. If he gets it together and decides he wants to be with you, then you can figure it out from there. Good luck. Tamara
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