Boyfriend back from Afghan suffering PTSD

My boyfriend has just returned from Afghanistan only 2 weeks ago and things are not going well. Since he's been back he's got more and more distant with me and is not sleeping well. He wont see his family and can't show any remote affection towards me. He is just full of anger. He broke down and cried a few days ago but couldn't tell me why, so I just cuddled him, but I don't think it made him feel any better.

We had a loving relationship before but now I can't do anything to help him. Everything I say or do seems to annoy him, and I just feel totally uncomfortable with him now. I have distanced myself for a few days because I am getting upset by the way he is treating me and I sense he doesn't want me around. I expected things to be different when he got back but I wasn't prepared for this. He told me he can't switch off from what he's seen and has flashbacks constantly. I understand a bit better now why he is behaving this way after talking last night and he told me a few things that have happened, but I just feel so helpless. What can I do to help him?

He has had a referral for counselling. I really hope it helps because I just don't know what to do to help him through it. I would really appreciate any advice from servicemen who have been though similar. Many thanks for any replies.

M x
Mary. Tell him to man up and go sick. I went through two years of hell until my Other Half made it clear that I was going to screw the pooch for both of us.

Go Sick. The Army Medical Services are gleaming when it comes to Mental Health, and he will never receive better treatment than when he is in.

Get him in front of a Military Doctor soonest. They will get him in touch with a Military MHU and he will be off and running.

You are never cured but they do teach you how to cope.
I'm scared the same will happen when mine comes home. I could be wrong but the signs are already there when we talk on the phone.
He says it'll be better when he's back in the UK but I just don't know.
Hey. Thank you for your replies. He has been to see a military doctor and is going for counselling.

Holly, how are things on the phone? I had this also. He would still call me but by the end of the tour showed no emotion, to the point of not caring that he'd get to see me when he found out he was coming home, which really got to me. On his way back home he called me and he sounded really happy then for the first time in weeks, but it didn't last over the first few days of him being back - he got more distant and angry.

We will never understand what they've been through, we just need to be really patient. Mine and my boyfriend's biggest mistake was we were trying to pick up where we left off as soon as he got back. After a few days he changed and couldn't do it any more and just didn't want me around, which really hurt because he didn't talk to me and tell me why. I didn't have a clue what I'd done wrong. If your boyfriend is anything like mine has been he won't be able to deal with being loving and close in the romantic sense. He will be full of anger and his mind will still be over there. I've learned I can't help so I've stopped trying, only give him space and no pressure on doing the intense relationship stuff - I know that seems like a joke after having 3 months away from eachother, you wan't them to really want you, but you have just got to be patient. Hopefully they will come around.

Good luck and if you want to talk again just drop me a message.

M x
Hi Mary and Holly

All good advice so far. I was just wondering whether you might also find a good source of support at Rear Party, where there's a forum for partners and families of members of the Armed Forces.

This is actually a topic they've talked about recently on the forum.

Do give it a try.

Here's the link:

Best wishes to both of you
Hiya and thanks for that - helps to know I'm not alone.
He's very distant on the phone. We actually just this minute spoke (speak about once a week) and tonight I heard the real him. Hadn't heard it for so long, and it made me cry to hear it. Was lovely.
We've fallen out recently - hasn't been so nice. But tonight he made me realise it'll be ok. I think, as you so rightly said, patience is the way foward.
I won't give up on him either.
Not long now until the end of the tour for him. Guess I'll know more when he's home.
I hope that it all works out with you and your boyfriend. You must be really strong to be so level headed about it all - take my hat off to you.


Book Reviewer
What he's going through right now is no reflection on you at all. Whatever his moods are, and whatever is behaviour is towards you, it's truly nothing personal, and it's truly not how he feels about you!

If your relationship and your love for him strong enough, you WILL get through this. Right now, he's in a difficult place and he needs all the support, love and patience you can give him.

I really feel for you, and also for him. It's not going to be easy getting through this for either of you, but if you've got the patience, strength and love, you WILL get through it and your relationship will be rock solid when he comes out the other side.

He's been through an experience that is completely abnormal to his expectations of life and that is a shock. He's having to re-evaluate everything he understands about humanity and society, and he's going to have to get support to try and put things back in perspective. With the right counselling and someone who loves him patiently by his side, come thick or thin, he will get through this a little easier.

My thoughts are with both of you. All the best.

Hi. You are both amazing. Don't ever forget that. No matter how tough it gets. And as you are discovering it does get very, very tough. I went through the same thing as you in 1991 and suspect I may go through it again fairly soon. Sometimes reading stuff helps and so I recommend "On Killing by Lt Dave Grossman. It is the most helpful book I have ever read in describing and explaining some of what the boys (and girls) go through, and most unusually, giving some advice as to how we can deal with this. Most particularly read Section 6 (it is easy enough to skip the rest and still understand what he is talking about). Rear Party are very good at support if you haven't already visited the site. And please do PM me if you need. Can't promise I can do anything but listen and handhold, but will be there if you need.

Keep strong and keep the faith.

B x
Hi and I'm sorry for your troubles.
Nothing you say or do will be the "right" thing at the moment. Try not to take it personally - that is very difficult after the weeks and weeks of waiting for him to come home. Then he does come home and he's not the man who went away. You know that but so does he.

Make it clear that you will support him unconditionally. Stay calm and keep repeating it, be patient - it's not going to be easy and it's going to take as long as it's going to take - if you know what I mean. Everyone is different. If he won't go for help make that YOU do. You're going to need a lot of support at the moment because you will have to be strong for both of you. You're not the only woman who has gone through this and you're not on your own. Get support for yourself as well as looking for help for him.

You have a loving relationship and it's still there under all the trauma. Be patient and calm and you will have to put with a lot for a while but it won't last forever. He will come through this. It's as if he's lost in a fog but you have to be the one thing that he can hold onto to find his way out of it. He probably feels a failure for letting his mates down for coming home early - wounded or not. He probably feels he's let you down for not being the man you fell in love with.

Things will never be the same again but when you both come through this your relationship will be stronger and closer. Again, please be patient and don't lose your temper with him; don't walk away - just be there.

Try not to worry, take each day as it comes. You're not alone - remember that. With every best wish to you both for your future.

Combatstress and/or his doctor. If you need immediate help and advice, then look up your local SSAFA advisor in the directory.

Don't prevaricate, get help now.

Good luck.

Some good advice on here, I am sure it isn't easy but stick with it and good luck. It has taken me anything up to 6 months to get back to normal with my wife after an Op Tour. I find as the tours go on we get back to normal quicker than we used to the next one is number 8!


Thing is, I can see why he's in a mind-f*ck. The CO is making promises that can't be kept. Now don't get me wrong, I am fully aware that 'this IS the army' and we don't whinge about things like that. BUT I doubt it will do much for his mental state.

I went to the library yesterday and got a few books out on the subject of PTSD. Plus some books on the history of his regiment, and land mines. I have no idea what good it'll do but I'm trying!

my husband has been so grumpy and miserable since he went bk out there frm finishing his r n r, hes so arguementative, and keeps snapping and having a go at me all time and he says he will be happy when he comes home, but i dont no he really upsets me sometimes and says alot of nasty things but i just dont no wat 2 do .

With respect, of course, don't overlook yourselves in all this. You may find you need help in order come to terms with the changes in your lives and to meet your own needs. There are support networks and groups out there and these might be able to help you to support your other-halves not to mention the rest of your family. make full use of them

There's advice and support available through SSAFA, AWS and your GP, etc.

Good Luck.


Book Reviewer
Hello Ladies and Gents,
I seem to be going through this as well. My OH came back from a tour last year and started to go off the rails after a few months and is now away again and is getting worse.
I am actually training as a counsellor so have some understanding of his behaviour but he won't talk to me and our relationship is at meltdown.
I did read a book that really helped me to understand whats going on in his head:

Half the book is a fictional transcript of a session between a counsellor and a bloke who's ex army, he talks about his experiences and how it has affected him since his return.

I'm going to try and get him to read it when he comes home in the hope that by seeing other people feel the same, it might help him feel a bit more "normal" if that makes sense.


khughe said:
my husband has been so grumpy and miserable since he went bk out there frm finishing his r n r, hes so arguementative, and keeps snapping and having a go at me all time and he says he will be happy when he comes home, but i dont no he really upsets me sometimes and says alot of nasty things but i just dont no wat 2 do .
Are you in a barracks area? There may be other wives having the same problems.
If you are living away from barracks there may be others in the same position as yourself, not necessarily from the same unit, who are in the same position.
The big thing to remember is you are not alone.
PM me if you wish & I can pass you the local SSAFA details.
You have had some good advice here and there are many people who can help you out so you are not alone.
The important thing is to be patient and not give up on him. Don't ask him how he is, be be there for him and by all means lead him to do things and to have treatment.

My dad was a doctor and my mother worked in natural medicine, I have seen the both sides of the medical world.
One help is via Bach Remedies which work with the emotional side of the person helping them come to terms with the situation they are facing.
This should be used as a support along with all the other treatments that he is undergoing.
I use these remedies in my personal life and to help others and can testify to their effeciency, as did my late father.
There is a great deal of information on the net but you should consult an experienced practicioner, though be aware that there are many charlatans, or people who know less than they think they do, in this field.
If you wish to know a bit more please PM me.

I post this as I know that it can be a very effective aid to recovery should you wish to explore it.

Well done for caring enough to post here in order to help him, and good luck to the both of you, you deserve it.
My first and foremost important advice, from personal experience, as my OH has, and is still suffering from, PTSD, is get him to stop drinking completely. Alcohol is a natural despressant. I cannot emphasise it enough.

SSAFA are great at talking to you both, they will see you separately and together. I can't tell you how much you need it for yourself as their other half. Sometimes you will feel like you are to blame, and yes your OH will blame you because there is no one else around to blame. You will also feel despair and that there is nothing you can do. Ask for the help. It is out there.

If you can get him to the The Med Centre they will refer him to the Psychiatric Nurse for counselling, where they will see him weekly, then every other week and so it will go on. I finally got my OH to go, but he was really bad by then. I had to literally support him physically to get him in to our car (no mean feat as he is 6'2") and drive him myself.

I hate to be pessimistic, but take it from my personal experience - the hardest thing is to get them to carry on going to their appointments. There is some initial relief when they first seek help. Followed by a dip. Often a sufferer will refuse to speak about their appointment, other times he/she will want to talk. I found my OH did not wish to discuss anything at all. I still know very little about what really happened in Kosovo, but I no longer pursue the matter any more. It takes professional help to sort his problem out now.

I'm sorry if this sounds so miserable. But it is. He stopped going.

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