Press rewind or fast forward?

Hi Brooke,
I would appreciate your perspective please. I am six months on from the end of a turbulent relationship. I used to blame my partner but following all the guidance in your podcasts now realise that I could have made life so much easier for both of us if I had just loved him unconditionally. My partner is an army veteran and has PTSD. Two years ago he had treatment following which life was much smoother but I guess I had PTSD of my own from experiences during our relationship and I would overreact if I saw or heard anything that might remind me of how life was before his treatment and I would then emotionally withdraw in order to protect myself. During our six year relationship, we had a cycle whereby he would leave following huge rows but then contact me after a period of time and persuade me to take him back. Because I am a people pleaser/liar, rather than do what was best for me, because he has nothing in terms of property, money or friends and because of his tears and professions of love and adoration, and the guilt that I would feel because of things he would say, we would start over. Things would be wonderful and then it would happen again.

To cut a long story short, our relationship was deteriorating again and I attempted to end our time together. He lost his temper, shouted and swore at me and called me names and I allowed myself to be worn down. Two days later I suggested we get counselling (we had tried briefly before and it had really helped) but he didn’t want to know. I told him that if he left again, he could not come back. I did not hear from him for six weeks and when I did, it was to the effect that I threw him out and that he had no choice but to leave. His emails are heartbreaking but it is all self centred. In order to break the cycle, I have tried to not respond to any contact because on past occasions, he has managed to twist what is being said and I gradually get worn down through guilt. However, this has not sat well with me and I feel that to ignore a fellow human being who is in so much despair is wicked. He is alone in a hostel for army veterans and I am in my warm home with my sons and dogs. He has 4 daughters from his long marriage before we met but he professes to love only me. I often felt his feelings for me were obsessive rather than loving and he would often avoid eye contact. I think of him as two different people – Jekyll and Hyde. Just recently I broke the no contact thing and replied to a text where he was asking to meet so that we could “sort it out” – I asked for his address so that I could write to him but he asked me not to and that I would not hear from him again.

I have done so much soul searching since he left six months ago and your words of guidance have helped so much. My question is how do I come to terms with the fact that I know – for certain – that I could turn this situation around and make things work – and thus far, I have chosen not to. The guilt of knowing that I could make such a difference and choose to leave him in a hostel even though I still care for and miss him is hard. This life is a journey for us all, I know and he is on his journey just as much as I am on mine.

My apologies for the length of blurb – I guess it all boils down to the content of the last paragraph!

Many thanks x