Ex BF back from overseas. Mixed signals.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-01-2009
Ex BF back from overseas. Mixed signals.
Mon, 11-02-2009 - 12:30pm

I dated a great military man for 3 years, the last 6 months of the relationship he was overseas. I'm sure he was under tons of stress, but I can't help but feel him pulling away from me emotionally as the months went on during his tour. I tried to be there for him as much as I could: talking to him everyday, sending him packages, letters and being very supportive. We started fighting near the end about our plans to live together when he returns home. I didn't want to move in as soon as he came home because of his behavior changes, he felt we were ready to take the next step right away.

I feel that because I wasn't committing to an apartment with him, he started letting another woman flirt with him. She lives in my town and I was getting very upset over it, and ultimately she also became part of the reason for our fights. His refusal to completely get rid of her because they work together upset me, she started sending him packages as well.

Anyways, we broke up the last month he was overseas and didn't talk to each other for his remaining tour. When he returned home, I called him and talked to him about giving it another try. So we started dating again and I felt like he was changed, not the man I knew before. I didn't feel like his heart was in it, he moved into an apartment without me and had changed his mind about me moving in with him. He didn't seem to be romantic with me anymore and he started gambling and drinking heavy. I broke up with him a month later and said it was final. He suffers from PTSD and he still wanted me to be friends with him. He kept calling me, emailing me. He was saying strange things like he "should have died fighting for his country overseas" or he "always wants me to be in his life". In terms of our relationship he tells me "I know we shouldn't get back together I just miss being close with you and being intimate" or "I know we're friends but I think of you often". This really hurt me, and my friends told me the break up was too messy to even remain in contact.

So I started blocking him from social networking sites and emails. He would call me from different phone numbers, and I tried for a while to block every single one. I texted him and told him that I was changing my number, that I can't do this anymore. He got really angry, saying that I'm abandoning him and "Have a nice Effing life". I changed my number anyway and I haven't heard from him up until 2 weeks ago. It's been 2 months since I talked to him last and he is still emailing one of my old email accounts, asking me if I'm okay, saying he's sorry for how he's acted and acknowledging in his email he was at fault for our break up. I don't get it. Does he still love me? Is he feeling regrets and wants to make it work? I'm so confused because I want to be with him, but I'm wondering if this will hurt me in the end. I don't know what his intentions are or if I should leave it in the past. I also want to add that I don't know if his PTSD has gotten worse...

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-18-2006
Tue, 11-03-2009 - 10:30am

The irratic behavior all has to do with the untreated PTSD he's got going on. It's hard to say what he means and wants at this point, because he doesn't know what end is up. Right now, I think you are doing the right thing, because it's not what you want and deserve. He clearly can't give you what you want right now either, and messed things up with his behavior while he was gone.

It will not be healthy for you however to be friends or have any contact with him, mainly because it won't help you to move on with life. I would not have any more words with him, but I would also block or delete that old e-mail address from his e-mail since you don't use it. Eventually, he will get the point, but for now you need to show him a clear message stated you don't want to be bothered anymore. If he continues his efforts, then you may need to take it a step or two further, but give it at least a good few months.

It will probably hurt you if you get back with him. I know you feel sorry for him and feel like you are abandoning him, but the fact remains that you aren't, and you have show that you aren't tolerating his behavior. You weren't ready to move in together yet, and he clearly made a quick decision to flirt with someone else, so remember it's not your fault...he messed up.

Please remind yourself that as much as you to rationalize everything at this point, you need to understand and accept that he's not in the right frame of mind, no matter what he has said to you it's not going to matter till he gets his head on straight, which could be months, years, or never. But you don't wanna wait to find that out anyways, right?! This is not a "normal" break up situation, so the normal rules and way of thinking does not apply here.

So for right now, cut ALL communication with him, including the old e-mail address. I would not bother to send anything via e-mail or phone, as you have already stated your feelings. He may try other ways of getting a hold of you, but after this point if he hasn't respected your wishes then you may need to file some legal action against him. Good Luck!

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-01-2009
Tue, 11-03-2009 - 3:20pm

I've never been exposed to PTSD, but I've read about it so I could better understand what happens. From what I've seen, this isn't the same guy I've dated, and he has refused treatment in hopes he can return overseas. It hurts because I really want my old boyfriend back, but I don't know if that will ever happen.

I am still madly in love with him, it's been very hard. I've gone on dates and have met some very sweet guys, but it feels empty. I'm not sure how to completely let go. He's had a string of flings, but I'm guessing it's not satisfying him, or that it feels empty as well. I've done everything to get over him... Moved to a new city, removed photos, deleted him, gone out with friends, and started dating again. It's a constant war between my heart and my head, I know the situation isn't healthy, but somehow it's just not fully registering.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2006
Thu, 11-05-2009 - 3:35pm


Welcome to the board. I am sorry that this has happened to your Ex-bf. I have seen people deal with PTSD and it isn't a pretty sight. Perhaps since you seem to be such a driving force in his life, rather than focus on getting back together, ask him to get treatment for his condition?

While you can't guarantee him that you will be back with him, maybe you being in his corner will give him the incentive to get help for himself first and foremost. It would also be good for you to learn how to deal and handle situations as they arise.

It sounds like you both love each other but things were not handled well on both ends. Would he be willing to give counseling a shot? For himself but for both of you as well?