Stress can have detrimental effects on different aspects of life, including relationships. For the most part, military personnel are capable of maintaining successful relationships. This article examines the effect of stress in the military on family and social relationships.
However, the stress associated with serving in the military can lead to post-traumatic stress. More than half a million veterans are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disease (PTSD). PTSD can change how a person relates to family members and specifically their partner.
The main effects of PTSD that may interfere with relationships include:
- Trust issues and paranoia
- Trouble opening up to others
- Difficulty establishing an emotional link
- Challenges in communicating with loved ones
- Loss of interest in social activities
- The decreased threshold for irritability
- Trouble sleeping
- Constant reminders or flashbacks of the war
All these symptoms lead to a constant sense of terror and vulnerability, which may ultimately affect relationships with others.
What is the effect of stress on successful dating in the military?
People experiencing PTSD are not so keen on socializing. They may withdraw from others in a bid to protect themselves from talking about their military experience. Others withdraw because of fear of rejection.
Also, because some avoid closeness and hurt others not, focusing on work or other tasks may keep a veteran busy leaving less time to interact with others. Because of this, people with PTSD may have trouble starting a relationship. The effect of military stress during dating is also traced by this site’s experts in their research. Also, trouble trusting others and opening up make dating all the more difficult.
How does military-related stress affect the couple in the relationship?
Usually, failure to communicate causes a drift between a couple. A partner may feel isolated and neglected. Stress can reduce both the emotional and physical connection between a couple.
Because of stress, some veterans experience a reduced desire for intimacy. Others may experience heightened sexual drive without offering any emotional connection. Bursts of anger over small things can happen. It could ultimately lead to domestic abuse in the relationship.
Family problems caused by PTSD
Because most veterans may become detached or reduce communication with their families, it often strains relationships. Children may feel confused when a parent stops spending the desired amount of time with them. Sometimes family members of the person with PTSD may blame themselves for the change.
In people who take alcohol to deal with stress, children may assume a caretaking role which ultimately affects their growth. Substance abuse in veterans may lead to domestic violence, thus creating an unsafe environment at home. A parent may become too controlling.
How to cope with the stress of war and retrieve a healthy relationship?
The key to having a healthy relationship even after war stress lies in proper communication. That is usually not something that can be achieved within a day. It requires sufferers of war stress to continue working towards improving how they communicate with partners daily.
Being surrounded by family and friends when dealing with stress always helps. Hard work and dedication will produce results. It is important to remember that getting back to a sense of normalcy may take months. So anyone experiencing PTSD should be patient and get support from loved ones. Both partners in a relationship should be open to sharing their experiences without passing judgment.
Ultimately, the best way of dealing with stress is by talking to a professional. Mental health specialists are trained to assist people with PTSD to improve social interactions. Therapy can be for the individual, a couple, or even for families. The therapy improves coping skills, anger management, and communication. Another option is to join PTSD support groups. Connecting with others dealing with the same problem can be very therapeutic.
Serving in the military can cause PTSD. PTSD can have a lot of effects on relationships. Trouble sleeping, trusting others, and communicating may strain relationships. People with PTSD become detached and withdrawn, offering little emotional support to family and spouses.
To cope with symptoms, some may turn to alcohol or become controlling, which may lead to abuse and worsening of relationships. Seeking individual, couple, or group therapy can help sufferers to deal with stress. PTSD support groups for military personnel are also beneficial.