How do you make a relationship work with someone who has a LOT going on? Well if we could sell this in a bottle we would all be millionaires, is the cynical answer. But the truth is, the answer is easier than you think. Remember that relationships boil down to the keyword “relate.” When you master this concept in a relationship that has a LOT going on, you win in love. You BOTH do. We have a reader seeking relationship advice for someone that she is currently living with. She’s not looking for ways to make him miss her. So the No Contact Rule is out of the question here. But she needs our help and support. Here’s Cassandra’s story.
My story is kinda like faiths. My ex boyfriend has combat PTSD. We have broke up once before. I moved to Florida to try and start a life with him twice now. I left everything in Alaska. This time we broke up because @ first it was he needed to focus on himself and getting his girls back. This was just after he refilled his claims with the VA and had to relive all the horrors again. He has been put on a generic for Zoloft. His little girl’s mother is the reason we broke up the first time. She wanted him back and he felt that was the only way to guarantee he would be in his little girls life. It didn’t work and he wanted to give us a try again. It lasted 2 months and I know I had help in it. I kept asking him to label us a couple. Well that push the 3rd time lead to our breakup. I have since been thru his oldest daughter kimmy running away twice. His doctor appointments pretty much thru the thick and thin with him. His family has told me once he pushes a girl away they leave and he’s been thru being cheated on, and a domestic violence charge that an ex out on him that got dropped due to no evidence. I know heart wise he’s been hurt badly. We still cuddle at night and still live together. He’s kissed me 3 times recently. He doesn’t always text me, but when I text him hope ur having a good day @ class. He usually replied back. For some odd reason he invited me and his mom not once but twice the first time was to go visit his daughter in Colorado and the second was to move there with him. I was taken back and being I am kinda really guarded due to child abuse for one and trying to keep my heart from getting terribly hurt, I didn’t know how to reply or take it. He is a great guy he makes me laugh and helps me not to be so serious. The thing that worries me is like faiths story. Except he’s online on dating sites and transgender dating sites. Looking and actually texting these people. I want him back just like she did hers. Can you give me some pointers. His sister inlaw said to hang in there he’s never had a girl stick it out with him. Cassandra
Before we get to the relationship advice component of my response, let’s sum up what is going on in this relationship. We can look at this from a pros and cons perspective, with the pros indicating the things you have going for you both, and the cons indicating your challenges.
PROS: What is going right in this relationship?
My answer to this one is, everything. Everything is going right…within the relationship. And that is the kicker. Unfortunately, this relationship has a lot of external variables, life stuff, that can make or break relationships. Clearly this relationship is on the brink of the make or break it point. So let’s make a list of all that is going well.
You both have history. And I’m not just talking about years and time. You’ve been through a LOT together. Most people don’t give up on someone that goes through something intense with them, something that could be life changing. And my bet is your man won’t either. He obviously needs you, and he knows he needs you.
So you have history, and you have many experiences that have bonded you to him, that nobody else has. Going through PTSD with a man is a life changing experience. For both of you. You may want to review our previous stories on that, When Your Man Has PTSD, or, my response to a reader when there’s a Mental Health Diagnosis in play. The number one thing that anyone suffering from a mental health diagnosis is a support team. You are already part of that team whether he has acknowledged you or not. Never giving up on them is your task number one. You’ve done a great job with that!
The other thing going well here is this unique family perspective. You’ve obviously bonded with him enough to develop family bonds. His own family has even given you relationship advice! Listen to them. They know him better than anyone.
I understand you have been through a life that has destroyed your ability to trust in some ways. But you have made it this far, baby! I’m so sorry that you have experienced pain that has crushed your childhood heart. But you, and this man, have made it together in one piece. Keep on keeping on with him, and he will remember you and love you for years to come.
CONS: What is going wrong in this relationship?
What is going wrong with this relationship are events beyond your control. So you can’t try and fix them. He’s got medical concerns, insurance concerns, ex concerns, a LOT of ex concerns, children, custody matters, and you’ve hinted at some transgender issues. You can’t control or change any of those matters. And you don’t want to, unless you want him to turf you for good. No man wants to be changed. EVERY man just wants to be accepted, and to realize and know that they are enough for their person.
Don’t we all?
What can you do about it?
So that’s really the only thing you can do right now. Just keep being there for him, learning more about his issues, and supporting him unconditionally no matter what. His sister-in-law has given you some great relationship advice. I’m intrigued by this, and this gives me hope for you. He has learned the hard way, that women do not love him and accept him unconditionally. If you are different than the rest, he will fall head over heels into the commitment zone with you, even deeper than he already has. When you do that, I truly believe you will find some amazing miracles.
The other thing you want to do is to let go of fears in talking to him. If you feel comfortable, ask him about the transgender thing and the online texts in a kind and loving way. “I just want to know what’s up with that. Can you help me to understand and support you in that?” That may well open him up and encourage him to enlighten you on this part of his life. You DO deserve answers here, so don’t be afraid to ask. Just remember to accept him as he is no matter what. And then the two of you can decide what happens with your relationship from here. We wish you all the best. And please do let us know if this relationship advice works! What do you think, readers? What would you do?