My boyfriend has post traumatic stress disorder...

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    Oct 13, 2012 7:52 AM GMT
    I'm not really one to request advice, especially online, but I really really like this guy and I'm not sure there's any fixing this problem so what harm can it do.

    Been dating this guy for a little over a month, maybe 2 months now, and things are really good. Except our sex life. I'm really freaky and just about into any kinky scene and in fact, I actually get bored when I don't get that. I love some light s&m and roleplay and bondage and all that. Two of my ex's were Marines and the hottest sex I've ever had was with them because they could handle my energy. We would choke each other, beat each other up a little, tie each other up - it was wild. That's what I like.

    So I'm dating this AWESOME and gorgeous guy now but as you can probably imagine, he's not into the same excitement I crave. And when you like the things I do, there's obviously a high level of trust that has to be there so you kind of work up to it. I kissed him one time by putting my hand around his neck LIGHTLY and pulling him in to kiss me, and he started exhibiting symptoms of PTSD. I studied medicine, I had a psych rotation, and I recognized it. He told me how he was abused as a kid (actually very badly) but that I could be rough with him and he likes it a little rough. But every time I do, he freaks out and I have to back off (4x now).

    I'm not upset with him. I'm not upset that I can't do all the freaky things I want. I'm scared I'm hurting him. PTSD is something you learn to live with but there's no living with this. He exhibits symptoms when he walks by the collars in the pet section of a store. I pretty much know the answer, but is this relationship doomed to failure? He's an amazing guy and I love him so if anyone has constructive advice I'm open to it. I don't know that therapy would help much because he IS over it, but certain things will trigger reactions. I just seem to trigger those reactions.
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    Oct 13, 2012 12:20 PM GMT
    No experience with this condition but my Feeling is to be open and patient with him and build trust. If it's going to work it will take time.
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    Oct 13, 2012 1:36 PM GMT
    Just accept him, Love him and do what you are doing. You may not get to have the freaky sex you like with him. Can you live with that. There are compromises in every relationship, would that be something you can let go?
  • swimbikerun

    Posts: 2835

    Oct 13, 2012 2:22 PM GMT
    Errr... Is he cool with you posting information like this?
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    Oct 13, 2012 2:52 PM GMT
    Velociraptor saidI'm not really one to request advice, especially online, but I really really like this guy and I'm not sure there's any fixing this problem so what harm can it do.

    Been dating this guy for a little over a month, maybe 2 months now, and things are really good. Except our sex life. I'm really freaky and just about into any kinky scene and in fact, I actually get bored when I don't get that. I love some light s&m and roleplay and bondage and all that. Two of my ex's were Marines and the hottest sex I've ever had was with them because they could handle my energy. We would choke each other, beat each other up a little, tie each other up - it was wild. That's what I like.

    So I'm dating this AWESOME and gorgeous guy now but as you can probably imagine, he's not into the same excitement I crave. And when you like the things I do, there's obviously a high level of trust that has to be there so you kind of work up to it. I kissed him one time by putting my hand around his neck LIGHTLY and pulling him in to kiss me, and he started exhibiting symptoms of PTSD. I studied medicine, I had a psych rotation, and I recognized it. He told me how he was abused as a kid (actually very badly) but that I could be rough with him and he likes it a little rough. But every time I do, he freaks out and I have to back off (4x now).

    I'm not upset with him. I'm not upset that I can't do all the freaky things I want. I'm scared I'm hurting him. PTSD is something you learn to live with but there's no living with this. He exhibits symptoms when he walks by the collars in the pet section of a store. I pretty much know the answer, but is this relationship doomed to failure? He's an amazing guy and I love him so if anyone has constructive advice I'm open to it. I don't know that therapy would help much because he IS over it, but certain things will trigger reactions. I just seem to trigger those reactions.


    Dude I totally feel for you man. This great guy was abused as a child, and because of it you cant have this wild and kinky sex you want. Oh man, the suffering you go through, its too much even for me to handle!

    Seriously, break up with him, you clearly dont care about his feelings or what he wants. All you talk about is how he has PTSD and you cant have the wild and crazy sex you want. You know the answer, you said it multiple times, just pull the trigger already.
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    Oct 13, 2012 3:40 PM GMT
    Someone said, People Don't Change. I think that's not true: people do change, but you may not want to live with the time frame it takes.

    Childhood abuse is some of the hardest to deprogram, but it can be done. The original trauma cannot be removed, of course, but the triggers can be defused. In essence, he has to replace the association of (light choking|tying up|beating|whatever) to the childhood abuse with something else.

    If he's willing to put in the effort (which is a severe emotional burden) and you are willing to put in the time (potentially years), you could both end up happy as clams.

    OTOH, considering that the best you can say about him is something as vague as that he's AWESOME and gorgeous, I guess he's probably better off with someone that doesn't constantly want to trip his triggers, and you are probably better off looking for someone that is AWESOME and gorgeous and doesn't come with childhood trauma.

    [Of course, this thread may just be a form of advertising for AWESOME and gorgeous's replacement. It that's the case, best of luck, man! icon_biggrin.gif)
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    Oct 13, 2012 4:05 PM GMT
    I'm with chainers. I think you know the answer and that you're looking for online support for if and when you break up. Otherwise you may want to talk to him and be honest but loving and tell him your end of the situation. I'm not really sure why you haven't tried that yet.
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    Oct 13, 2012 4:05 PM GMT
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    Oct 13, 2012 4:22 PM GMT
    Its a tough situaution. While I sincerely hope that you are there for this guy on an emotional level, sexual compatibility is important in a potential match. It sounds like his PTSD manifests itself (from what little we've been told) when he is placed in a position of submission. Try enocuraging him to be the dominant participant. Keep it light and jovial for the first few sesions and gradually increase it at a pace thats comfortable for him. It sounds like he wants to be into it, he just keeps knee jerking to his past. Oh, and dont treat him like damaged goods. Nothing is more infuriating to most people I know with PTSD, than people who cant possibly understand what happened talking to them with baby gloves on. Hope this helps. Good Luck!
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    Oct 13, 2012 5:36 PM GMT
    Seiden saidIts a tough situaution. While I sincerely hope that you are there for this guy on an emotional level, sexual compatibility is important in a potential match. It sounds like his PTSD manifests itself (from what little we've been told) when he is placed in a position of submission. Try enocuraging him to be the dominant participant. Keep it light and jovial for the first few sesions and gradually increase it at a pace thats comfortable for him. It sounds like he wants to be into it, he just keeps knee jerking to his past. Oh, and dont treat him like damaged goods. Nothing is more infuriating to most people I know with PTSD, than people who cant possibly understand what happened talking to them with baby gloves on. Hope this helps. Good Luck!


    This makes a lot of sense. I AM here for him on an emotional level; if I wasn't, I would have broken up with him or have waited as long as I have to have sex with him. I won't have sex with anyone until I'm in a committed relationship which makes everything that much more amazing but I also realize sexual compatibility is important in a relationship - you are definitely right about that. VERY glad I made this post.

    For everyone else that thinks I'm shallow - I understand the explanation of the situation was very brief but you couldn't be more mistaken. I only just feared the worst.
  • NHLFAN

    Posts: 370

    Oct 14, 2012 4:00 AM GMT
    Only he can work on the things that trigger him. It can take years before he even admits the issue and than several more trying to overcome the triggers. Read up on PTSD and you will find out why he has certain reactions to situations. Any stressful situation is magnified when someone has PTSD. They can only take so much and shut down to reduce the stress or whatever it is they do to cope. How does he cope? He want to be alone? Get angry?

    This is something that you will have to learn to live with as long as you're with him. I have a friend with combat PTSD and it can be very tough on them and people around them. I know his triggers, what to keep him away from or not do or say, and even better how to handle him when he's triggered.

    You have to be willing to work with him and he needs to work on himself too. One thing I learned early on was to lay ground rules, what I'm willing to accept from him and most importantly he take ownership of his actions. He knows I'll hold him accountable and thus can't place blame on others for his actions.

    I would say the relationship isn't doomed, but it's going to take a lot of work and a lot of understanding of what PTSD is.
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    Oct 15, 2012 1:23 PM GMT
    Is this really a bona fide PTSD diagnosis? PTSD can be difficult to establish, since other conditions can mimic it. Perhaps the BF should be encouraged to get a formal PTSD evaluation before going off in all directions with this.

    Maybe the BF simply doesn't like the kind of "really freaky" sex that the OP does, and it has nothing to do with PTSD. There is such a thing as personal preference & taste, which is perfectly benign and does not infer suffering from traumatic stress.

    I had a BF who was very much into role playing, perhaps because he was an actor. He expected me to dress up and learn lines, and improvise the rest, for these sexual fantasies he would devise, usually involving locker room cruising. I just wanted to have the sex, not go through these elaborate preliminaries that I found ridiculously contrived.

    We simply had dissimilar tastes, but my disinterest in his role playing was hardly due to emotional trauma on my part. Unless I'm suppressing the memory of being molested by an actor sometime in my past (which of course I'm not).

    So I think calling this PTSD may be jumping to false conclusions. And as I said, terms like that should only be applied after a competent professional evaluation.