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Posted By: ohst Help understanding how PTSD can affect marriage - 04/16/15 06:44 PM
My husband recently opened up to me about a year ago that he thinks he might have PTSD. He just started seeing a therapist. My question is, how do I know what how PTSD relates to his actions in our marriage or if it is just a problem with our incompatibility?
Background: We dated for 7 years before we got married and went through 3 deployments together during that time. Immediately after we married he started getting ready to leave the military and we would move so he could go to business school. He's now finishing business school and we're talking about getting a divorce because I don't make him happy and I feel like he's changed a lot since we married and moved and changed from military to civilian life. In the past year he's opened up to me a lot more about the terrible things he saw during deployments and I hurt for him when I hear the stories. He said he wants to live his life to the fullest now which I respect and understand tremendously. The issues have come because he often lives his life to the fullest without me. Not contacting me or getting back to me when I've needed him (I've had a series of medical scares and surgeries over the past year), drinking heavily while out with his friends, coming home late, going out 3-4 nights a week (I try to go with him, I'm usually invited but I'm not living a student lifestyle like that. We're both in our 30's) focusing all attention on friends from school and events with them. We've basically grown apart tremendously and although we're still living together cordially, we're planning to get a divorce.
We've both read a lot on MB. I've also read the His Needs Her Needs book. We both filled out the Emotional Needs Questionnaire. We tried discussing it together but started arguing 15min into it. He's always defending his views on living life that seem to me to be conflicting with being a husband and eventually a father.
Sounds an awful lot like an affair.
I agree with Indie. Your description sounds like an affair. Affairs and PTSD are not mutually exclusive. My husband had both.

Please snoop to see who your husband is seeing/talking to when he is not with you.

AM
Thank you both for responding. I've never snooped before. We've always been very open with our lives. We leave our phones around, know each others passwords, use each others computers to check email. So it wasn't hard to snoop.
His emails were empty. Oddly so. Whereas mine has thousands of emails in the Inbox and thousands more in the "trash" (accumulated over time), he only had a few emails and his "trash" was empty. As for his phone, I briefly looked through text messages and found nothing.
We've spent a couple of years trying to make things work. Marriage counselors, we've both read books, in fact he found this website without me and told me about it.
I've asked him before if he was seeing someone else or if we maybe interested in someone else and he said no. Not that I think he would admit it. When he asked me why I would ask that I told him that it just surprises me that quickly he turned off his emotions about this. I feel like I would have an easy time figuring out if he's been cheating. I know his friends, they know me. If he's having an affair, it's an affair with being the life of the party and working really hard. But maybe I'm naive.
You need to put spyware on his devices. He can easily delete his trash and delete any suspicious texts.
I guess I just don't know why I'd go to all of the trouble of finding out if he's having an affair. If he is, then he is. If he isn't, well then he's still showing me enough disrespect and carelessness that it's warranted a lot of my friends and family asking me if he is cheating on me. Either way, the actions that he's showing towards me have left me feeling hurt and defeated in a similar way an affair might.
Is there a reason to find out for sure?
Originally Posted By: Frdmgal
I guess I just don't know why I'd go to all of the trouble of finding out if he's having an affair. If he is, then he is. If he isn't, well then he's still showing me enough disrespect and carelessness that it's warranted a lot of my friends and family asking me if he is cheating on me. Either way, the actions that he's showing towards me have left me feeling hurt and defeated in a similar way an affair might.
Is there a reason to find out for sure?


There is a very good reason to find out why. You can't solve your problems if you don't have the facts. If he is having an affair, there is very specific advice we would give you. If he is not, we would advise you very differently. You have to know the facts in order to solve your problem.
Originally Posted By: Frdmgal
I guess I just don't know why I'd go to all of the trouble of finding out if he's having an affair. If he is, then he is. If he isn't, well then he's still showing me enough disrespect and carelessness that it's warranted a lot of my friends and family asking me if he is cheating on me. Either way, the actions that he's showing towards me have left me feeling hurt and defeated in a similar way an affair might.
Is there a reason to find out for sure?


Without knowing the facts he can spin you any old sob story and you won't know what to believe.

I know that finding out that about my ex husbands affair was the best thing that had happened to me in ages, even though I decided not to recover.

For the first time lots of puzzling things about my life made sense, I had a plan, I could tell people and get support. I could lock my husband out of the house without feeling even slightly responsible for his welfare. I could call a divorce lawyer and tell them I had genuine grounds for divorce. I could change my number and ignore him. I learned how relationships can be happier and marriage affair proofed.

I'm in love and happier than ever now, but if I'd never found out I'd still be listening to my exes made up problems

If you want to recover your marriage you will need to expose the A and and ensure there is NC between them.

It's definitely an affair. Deleted emails huh.
Thanks Indiegirl. Your reasoning makes a lot of sense.
I absolutely believe that his emotional needs are being met by various friendships (with women) right now. Especially because he spends much more time with that group of friends than with me. Often drinking, having fun and even going on group vacations.
I have no idea how to find out if this a physical affair without making this a super involved project. The only thing I know to do is start contacting his friends and asking. And that just feels like a crazy thing to do.
Originally Posted By: Frdmgal
The only thing I know to do is start contacting his friends and asking. And that just feels like a crazy thing to do.


I wouldn't contact any of them because they will a) not rat him out and b) will just give him a heads up that you are asking. I would start quietly spying on him to find out what he is doing. Put spyware on his phone, put a GPS on his car. Can you afford a PI?
Originally Posted By: Frdmgal

I have no idea how to find out if this a physical affair without making this a super involved project. The only thing I know to do is start contacting his friends and asking. And that just feels like a crazy thing to do.


An affair is an affair whether it is physical or emotional. It is completely out of order for him to date and vacation with other women regardless of whether he takes it as far as nudity! That he is vacationing with them, I would say is pretty damning proof on its own. You should expose ANY type of affair, whether it is sexual or not is completely beside the point.

You will need spyware to get really good proof. I discovered 'I love you texts' on his phone that he was deleting immediately after receipt. Of course I didn't care whether they were having sex after seeing proof as damning as that. If you go to the Operation Investigate forum you will get some good tips.

Asking his friends will do no good. Most affairs are kept so secret that only the two people in them know about it. (Anyone with moral courage who knows anything would come and tell you anyway. Some of my ex husbands friends knew about it - I saw their texts to him - but they still deny knowing anything to this day). His friends will also tip him off and prevent any spying efforts.

I can afford a PI yes. I think that's really the only way I could do this. I suppose I can look into that. We're not living together at the moment so I don't have access to his phone or computer so that won't work.
I don't like that he goes and does so much with girls but I'm also not a jealous person and have always believed in the advice given to couples that you should allow each other to have their own lives and friends. Admittedly reading this website and the book has made me second guess that. . . I just never thought that he could or would have an affair. They're always out as a group of guys and girls. Some of the girls are engaged or married and not with their significant others either. But my H seems to be crossing the line with closeness.
Until posting here, I wasn't as worried about an affair as I am now. I always assumed that was just embracing freedom since leaving the military, acting like an immature college kid while getting a graduate degree. And being in school again started getting him to realize that what he truly wants in life is to not settle down, not be with a wife who doesn't go out overnight, doesn't live for constant excitement and social dates.
Originally Posted By: Frdmgal

I don't like that he goes and does so much with girls but I'm also not a jealous person and have always believed in the advice given to couples that you should allow each other to have their own lives and friends.


Yes me too, even though it didn't make me happy at all and he knew it. These days I'm more inclined to follow my (happily married) mother's rule 'He can go out with whomever he pleases - dozens of women if he wants'. Really mum? 'Yeah, he just can't come home afterwards'.

My mum is a rock star/goddess. Should've listened.
I know for certain now that he's not having an affair. If that helps with any advice. I know also now that he still cares for me, loves me, but believes that we have 2 different sets of values in life and he believes that he can't make me happy without making himself unhappy. I disagree. I've told that I disagree. We're both finally starting to understand how we individually contributed to problems in our marriage but my husband just has tapped out. When we start to talk about it, it's like his brain gets overwhelmed and he stops thinking about us and he very successfully focuses his mind and actions on anything else - reading, walking, calls someone etc. He hates seeing me sad about so I try to stay calm until he leaves. If he sees me cry it really upsets him and makes him want to stay with me. When he stays with me it confuses me and gives me hope that divorce isn't really what he wants. This is all very confusing. And I'm starting to wonder now if I just need to work on letting him go.
Quote:
I know for certain now that he's not having an affair.

How do you know for certain?
Earlier you said his emotional needs were 'absolutely' being met by female friends.
We have spent the last 4 days doing a lot of talking and both seeing independent therapists. We both have opened up about or part in creating difficulties in this marriage. I was able to vulnerable about my insecurities when we moved 2 years ago and I had a hard time making new friends, getting a job and making a new home. He opened up about how much sadness he had during deployments and how he has never been able to cry about it, articulate his feelings and thoughts about what he went through then and how he hasn't been able to do the same with me regarding our relationship. He admitted that he has been bottling up practically everything. Not telling me good, bad or indifferent thoughts he has because he has always felt like talking to me was going to annoy me or set me off. I was in a bad place when we moved and he immediately made friends and had great success in school and job offers. I was jealous, bitter and hurt that he was moving into a new phase of our life with such ease and independence and I was having a very hard time finding my place in this new life. I admitted that and he admitted that he just withdrew completely instead of working to come together with me. When he wanted to share good news, he began sharing it with friends from school because they were able to share enthusiasm back whereas his good news made me feel even more insecure and uncertain about my role in his life.
It's hard to prove someone is not having a physical affair. But I know that he is not. Hopefully this makes sense.
After all of this self discovery and conversation that we had over the past few days, he has confused me a lot by saying that he cares for me still, he slept over at our home a few days, has been very caring and sweet but still says that divorce is his decision because he doesn't think he can make me happy.
Originally Posted By: ohst
I know for certain now that he's not having an affair.
If that helps with any advice.


What is your proof of this? In order for us to give you sound advice, we need to know how you know this.
In other words you've done no snooping whatsoever.
As I said earlier, PTSD and affairs are not mutually exclusive. In fact, it is just the opposite. Those with PTSD are more likely to have an affair, feeling better by getting their needs met by one or more opposite sex friendships. I would bet money there is at least one affair, maybe more, in this case. I can't remember the last time I was wrong and would have lost my bet.

When a BS asks a spouse about an affair (yep, I was dumb enough to ask and actually believe his denial), and gets a negative answer, it means nothing.

AM
You need to put spyware on his devices.
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