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young woman feeling depressed and stressed sitting head in hands in a dark bedroom

I Have PTSD and It’s Not All Bad

3 min read

By Paige Gorman
Apr 13, 2021

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I dated a guy for nine blissful months. But he ultimately decided he didn't want a life with me and my daughters. As sure as I was that he loved me, he could never say it. He ended the relationship to pursue another course, and I was wrecked.

I resumed behaviors that were foreign to me my whole life—except for when my first husband had left me. I stopped eating, stopped studying, couldn't stop crying. My heart was crushed, and I could barely keep it together at work. I cried in front of my children while my three-year-old pleaded with me to be happy. It took me a few weeks to realize that this was more than just heartbreak. This was PTSD exploding from my insides, screaming at me to take notice and get help.

I'd seen signs of it earlier in our relationship, but hoped that as time went on and trust grew, the triggers would go away. I'm not so sure of that now.

Even before meeting this guy, I started following him on Instagram. I always paid attention to the images and accounts he "liked," looking for patterns of girl chasing or liking dirty images or offensive things. I never saw it. That made me really like him. But I became obsessive. Any time I checked my IG feed, I'd take a peek at his and see what he'd been up to. One day, a few weeks after we'd finally met and had been talking daily to each other, he commented on a post by GoPro. It was a picture of a professional female surfer and he commented: "I have a crush on that girl."

Let's look at some obvious facts: This guy did not, nor will ever, know this girl. She's famous, and has thousands of men ogling her surfer goodies online. Also, this is something cute and silly that I, myself, would do was it a hunky dude. But, in the middle of Best Buy, while I was waiting for my stereo installation to be completed, I saw this comment. A heat wave washed over my body, my stomach flipped inside out, and I couldn't move a muscle. I completely panicked. I felt every feeling I'd felt over a year earlier when I found out my husband had been cheating on me.

This is not a reasonable response to that sort of occurrence. I knew that. After a while, I was able to regain my composure and talk myself down. But that moment stuck with me. Those feelings stained my relationship with this guy. He never deserved that stain. He never earned an ounce of distrust, but there it was. Our whole nine months together, I had to learn to trust him; and when triggers popped up, I'd have to tell him so I could hear from him the reassurance that I needed to push away my anxiety. He was so kind and understanding. He'd always put me at ease. He was so good at loving me.

But here I am. Single again. And very aware that I've got some deep-seated issues that need addressing.

The good that I can take away from this is that I have been shown all of my flaws. {Wait, is that a good thing?} Well, maybe not at first. It was a slightly terrifying and discouraging process. But alongside this self-discovery, I've been reading about how flaws can be turned into strengths. And, you know what!? I've seen it already.

I became pregnant before my daughter's dad and I were married. This was a humiliating and stressful trial for me for a few obvious reasons: A.) The whole world knew I was having sex with my boyfriend. Being Mormon, this is not a good thing. 2.) Even though I was in love with him and wanting to get married previous to this experience, no one saw my marriage to him in that way. Our mistake tainted the legitimacy of my very serious and committed decision to wed. Oh, and 3.) I was 23 and having a baby and had no clue about life. Duh.

Since then, I've been cheated on, lied to, and abandoned. It's easy to say this is my ex-husband's fault. He made these terrible choices that hurt me and our family. But when you take this whole experience back to its beginnings, it was my choice to become involved with him, to sleep with him, to ignore the morals and values I've been taught my whole life—but this isn't the point of my story.

The point is, I made a mistake

I put myself in a trying situation, but I still have a wonderful life.
  • I have really great daughters. I'm never alone, and they give my life deeper meaning.
  • I've felt the healing powers of atonement in a very special way.
  • I've developed relationships with other women who are strong and immovable and who get it because they've been where I've been.
  • I was blessed with a second chance at finding a partner.
  • I have a great job and live somewhere I've always wanted to.
  • In a really unique way, I've been able to develop better relationships with every single one of my immediate family members and some extended family members as I've navigated the last few years.


If you are experiencing marital difficulties, please visit DivorceForcePRO to speak with one of our experts. To learn more about our Community, visit DivorceForce.com.

Written by Paige Gorman

Paige Gorman is a divorced and recently remarried Mormon. Her first husband's adultery and abandonment seemed like something only possible in fiction to her as she became a single mother of two toddlers at only 26 years old. As time passed, she realized the events that took place in her life were common all across her social network. Close friends and casual acquaintances, hurting from similar trials, began reaching out for support as the details of her divorce went public. Paige continues to inspire others through her blog, Blur of Blondes.

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