I truly believe that we all have times in our life where we wonder if things were different, if our marriages would still be standing. I know that it’s not popular to discuss troubled marriages, or even the times when we look at our partner and think, “What the heck? How did we end up here?” Living with someone who has PTSD means that you probably ask yourself that question more than most. It’s the nature of what we cope with.
It’s a constant state of wondering. If things were different would we still be married? There is never an easy answer. And sometimes, the easy answer is more painful to admit than the reality.
Yes, if my husband had never come home with PTSD, we would still be married. We’d be laughing and happy and content. But he didn’t come home like that and what I have instead is a man who sometimes makes me question why I stay. Everyone has different reasons. We all have little things that make us wake up everyday and live this life. And sometimes the reasons we stay are just as shameful as the reasons we want to, or in some cases have to leave.
I stay because my heart has to believe we can get through this. Through the silent tears and the calm control over every fight I have to take with myself, I have to believe that we will come out the other side. Maybe not whole, maybe not the same, but we can do it.
Others stay because they feel honor bound to. I’ll admit that I do too. I feel a sense of duty to my husband. It’s not shameful in my opinion. Wanting to honor your marriage vows and honor a man who gave up everything for an honorable reason is never shameful. But it often feels like is it. It feels like my dirty little secret that I feel like I owe it to him. But he deserves a woman who will be here day in and day out. Even when things are the way they are currently.
I have thought about leaving. I have stayed in hotels. I have even met with a divorce lawyer. But I stay.
Through the months of yelling and months of silence I stay. After so many years, I am beginning to feel defeated. I’m exhausted and just worn down. But I stay. But when I’m so tired from holding our world together alone, those little thoughts trickle in. Would we still be together? What will be our breaking point? Who would we be? Who are we now? When does it end?