• Michelle Partington

Relationship……not just now eh!

I am finally slumped on the sofa after a crazy couple of days and I’m in a place to sit and write.

Following on with the symptoms of PTSD I want to discuss how the following have affected my personal relationships with another. This post is even more personal than anything I’ve shared before and some of my family and friends will be new to some of this information. I do feel it’s important to share everything though so that you can perhaps learn more about the person I have become.

The symptoms which broke off my marraige and stopped me from wanting to get involved again are: irritability, rage, frustration, communication problems, negative self image, poor self esteem, anxiety & unfortunately lack of feelings.

Now I’m about to share my full experience with relationships in order to give you some background. However, my past experiences had no bearing on my fiance and I breaking up. I had been confused about my sexuality for many years. Initially I thought it was due to all the negative experiences with men but it was much deeper than that. I eventually sought counscelling for past experiences and I have now accepted where I am today.

It was sadly PTSD which came between me and my fiancè. My past experience did come in to play when he wanted us to try again though but I could not forgive what he said. I will cover this later. First, my past history and I will warn you now this is deep….

During the age of 9-11 I was sadly sexual abused by a man and I could do nothing about it. He used to say awful things about how no one would believe me and that I should be thankful someone was paying me attention!! I won’t go into any further details but his name was Derrick Carter!! I never really trusted men after this. Men have made a bad impression on me from an early age. My grandad was the only man throughout my life who never hurt me in any way.

Around the age of 21 I was invited to a party. I had not been a real drinker back then and people used to take the mickey because of this. So I went to this party and thought I would be ok. What I didn’t know but my friend told me afterwards was that my drinks were being spiked with vodka. I last remember sitting on the floor chatting then around 6 in the morning I woke up sat on a chair and projectile vomited across the room. I was taken back to the barrack block by my mate and a fella I didn’t know. The following morning I woke up with that fella still in my room. I had no idea what happened but I was sore ‘down below’. I was so very ill and ended up in the med centre and on a drip to be re – hydrated. I never saw this chap again but a rumour went around that he’d been the one to ‘break me’! As you can imagine by this point any faith I had in men had completely gone!! I was too drunk to even know what had gone on that night but didn’t know I’d been drunk until the following day. This is the reason I don’t really drink to excess.

Unfortunately any relationship I embarked on (which was not many) turned to disaster because I couldn’t get close to anyone physically and connecting emotionally was pretty difficult to. I found, and still find it difficult to relax sexually and do not find this the main element to a relationship where perhaps others would. I do not see myself as good looking and to be honest one comment made by someone to me has always stuck with me: “You have amazing eyes, shame they are in that face”….

I had shut myself off pretty much and any ‘relationship’ I ventured into was pretty doomed. That is until I met a wonderful lady…yes I said lady….who opened my eyes and my heart. We built up a fantastic friendship from the day we met. We clicked immediately and became inseparable. One day our friendship grew into something truly amazing. I experienced real love for the very first time and actually made real beautiful love. Unfortunately I freezed up and broke it off. I regretted it and after a while I plucked up the courage to ask if we can try again. This happened twice and on the third time I had cold feet about my sexuality. I had hurt this lady twice already and I couldn’t put her through anything further pain. I truly loved her but because of my past I was so very confused. I will always regret letting her go but I’m thankful she is so very happy.

I dithered in and out of a couple of relationships but I could never settle. I then met a guy who I got on really well with and we were together for some time before it went wrong. I then met my ‘fiancè’ whilst on tour. With hindsight I guess meeting on an intense tour, in a false environment was not necessarily the best idea! However that’s what happened. He made me laugh so much and was indeed the highlight of my tour. I thought I had met a great friend but then as I left Afghanistan I was deeply upset at leaving him out there. My feelings for him changed and the more we emailed the more I missed him. Needless to say we decided to get together once he returned to the UK. We worked and lived in different locations but only 40-50 mins drive away. We saw each other most nights and we had a laugh. I was a little unsure and uneasy but I wanted to stick with it to see if it all settled down. Sexually it wasn’t really there for me. Without being too vivid things would be ok but then it was like a switch was clicked off in my head and that was it. I spoke to him about the past and we tried to work through. We agreed that we had enough in our relationship to manage without the sexual element. Eventually though I had to break it off because it just wasn’t right…

We tried again for the second time after a real heart to heart. It was all great but then I went back to Afghan. He was due to follow me out but unfortunately this didn’t happen. Sadly this tour was the worst I had EVER experienced. So much going on, too many casualties and with that, far too many children. There was also too much ‘contact’ for my liking and I never expected in a million years that I would end up on my belly looking through the susat on my weapon!!!! We now know that this messed with my head…..

Walking through the gates at Brize I was met by my man and my lovely pooch! I know I was distant and way too emotional for days. I was really upset and angry in work but then this was the same in the evenings, and getting worse. One minute I couldn’t be bothered to talk, then I would snap at any comment regardless of the nature of the conversation. I remember whilst driving somewhere he wanted to stop for a wee and I kicked off, banging my fists on the steering wheel just because we had to pull off the motorway. He had to cope with these moods yet despite this he proposed to me and I said yes. We bought our lovely home which had so much lovely history in it for me it became my sanctuary.

I stated treatment eventually after finally admitting I had a problem. I was going for counscelling twice a week and was in and out of work because I just wasn’t being productive at all. I would talk about my sessions with my fiancè but on one occasion when he had asked about the session it all went horribly wrong. I started to tell him about the session but instead of waiting and listening to it all he massively kicked off!!! He just went crazy venting, fists clenched and so angry the vein on his forehead was extremely prominent. He really scared me and he just carried on and on. The words I could not get passed though were: “your fucked up in the head and no one will ever go near you! No one will give you a mortgage to buy this place…” and other things. Sorry for swearing by the way but that’s how he said it. I just regressed back to my youth and that is the worst thing he could have done. I opened up and told him things because I trusted him but he threw it all back in my face in the worst way. As you can imagine we broke up at this point and there was no going back.

He had spent months coping with what I was throwing at him; anger, frustration, on the floor in tears and then emotionally completely shut off. For that reason I can completely accept he had a lot of pent up anger because he knew I was receiving treatment for PTSD. No one can understand until you are going through this so please don’t judge him. There is little support for the sufferer but even less for those who have to live with the person sufferring the aftermath of a traumatic operational tour.

Due to how I treated him and what resulted from that I decided to have a real think about my life. I had so many things going on in my head but one of them I could settle; my sexuality. I finally admitted that I was indeed a lesbian and should go with what feels right for me. Despite my insecurities ending the relationship, I had the most fulfilling relationship in every way with a lovely lady and should not have to deny myself something that is true and real.

Easier said than done. I’m worried about getting close to someone and hurting them like I did with my fiancè. I can control my triggers most of the time but it catches me off guard frequently. I don’t want to subject anyone else to that it’s just not fair. I know 2 people are interested in me and the want is there for me but I’m stuck on this terrible journey. The other thing is how long will they stick around when the only date I can take them on is the local bingo hall!! Or they want us to go shopping and I have to be wearing my headphones – great conversation we will be having…not!!

Stuck and hanging on by a thread…


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