I once read a quote by B.J. Neblett that applies absolutely perfectly to dating ….
“We are the sum total of our experiences. Those experiences – be they positive or negative – make us the person we are, at any given point in our lives.”
This concept is something that I have always called “Relationship PTSD” when talking with my friends.
You know what I’m talking about. It’s the aftermath of learning experiences with a partner. The negative ones. The red flags that you may have ignored a little too easily the first time. The things that you glossed over, or put up with for way too long, just to find out that they were exactly as bad as you thought (or your friends thought) in the first place.
The things that cause you PTSD can range from a cheating partner, to a partner with addiction issues, to a partner that doesn’t have their own ambitions, to a partner that just plain didn’t care enough about you. Anything that caused you distress can leave its mark, making you ultra sensitive.. sometimes verging on paranoid as you move forward in your next relationship.
If you follow us or me on Instagram then you know that I am in a relatively new relationship that is making me insanely happy. I have gotten to spend time traveling with my partner, I have seen him around his family, I know and love his best friends and have loved the other friends I have met, I have spent long lazy weekends in bed with him, I have introduced him to my important people, I even gave him a key to my apartment.
All of that and it still doesn’t save me from my own relationship PTSD.
I spent the better part of last year in a relationship that ruined my ability to feel safe. Every time I thought I was on stable footing it turned into a landslide. Moral of the story? I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop. When my PTSD shows its face I can convince myself that things are falling apart – even when they are perfectly fine. It isn’t rational, but it is oh so real.
So, what can we all do to combat our relationship PTSD?
Things I recommend:
- Seeing a therapist: I’m going to repeat that, GO SEE A THERAPIST.
- Practicing self care: When you feel it coming on go outside (at least this helps me). Feel the sunshine, or wind… rain… anything. Nature. Do it. If you’re a fitness person, a run does wonders. Need to meditate, go for it. You know yourself, practice what makes you feel safe.
- Calling on your best friends when you feel unstable: Instead of freaking out on a partner, call your best friend. They will always have your back and will talk you down every time.
- Talking with your partner: You may be surprised about what PTSD they have. You my be surprised at their ability to understand yours. You may just feel better having told your partner what is on your mind. Communication is essential.
These may not be an instant fix, but they are at the very least a start. Need an ear? Shoot me a note – firstname.lastname@example.org.