Amy asks “I fell in love with a wonderful, a younger man (yea for me) and then, he was called to active duty. Sad, sad day that was. He was in the Reserves, here in the U.S. at the time.

So our relationship became long distance as he was in another state preparing to go to war. I’ve never known or been in relationship with a military guy, so this was all new. The thought of also knowing someone not only military but going to war was beyond my comprehension.

Nonetheless, it happened. He went to war and I stayed by his side. I endured much of his stress during this time, they actually have a name for it ‘vicarious trauma’ and found it to have effected me greatly about the time he was ready to come home. it’s tough to wait for someone for 15 months, and to hear of bombs, friends dying etc in his letters. hard times, for sure.

At this point, when he came home last December, he was not a well puppy, though he would like us to think different. Who would be, after being in battle? He came home – both of us anticipating seeing each other – but then completely let down by experience. I may as well have been a wet towel or his mother, the way he treated me.

I was so sad to wait 15 months for this. I was told later that this is ‘normal’ for soldiers, and because reintegrating is hard. We all should know this, but of course we knew and planned for this about as much as we did about invading Iraq. long story not as long… we broke up on New Years. I was devastated.

Now, we talk still on and off… for awhile there I thought maybe it would patch up. but I couldn’t find a balance between what was love and what was him needing someone there.. just knowing I’m there as I was throughout the war.

Nonetheless, he’s also showing signs of emotional unavailability, and has been for awhile now. I can’t take it. He can barely talk to me much anymore about anything deep. Can’t ask me how I’m doing on any great level other than a brief “how are you”… (And I was gravely ill, but who’s asking anymore? Who never asked in the first place? you guessed it).

I want to be there for him.. I know he feels a bond with me as many war vets do with those who helped them stay alive, and that I did, I know I did. $1,000 of care packages and plane tickets and prayers later, I KNOW I did, and he will tell you that too. He called me his angel. And that I was.

But my needs are not getting met and I hate how he treats me now. I don’t know what I am in his life and he in mine. And talking about it isn’t happening.

I want to cut it off but feel guilty because he’s a vet.. and I know he has a forever bond with me. I swore I was going to cut it off yesterday.. if he called I wouldn’t answer. Then the phone rang … and i couldn’t take it. I picked it up but he wasn’t here, he’d already hung up. I text him but he just said “sorry to bother you, good night”. what? This kind of communication happens every now and then, these days. His moods are very up and very down, now.

I’m so confused half the time… what am I to him? I can’t even suggest for him to get counseling… he would be off the phone in 2 seconds.

I’m not sure whether to cut him off or not.. but he does fit your EUM definitions to a tee. And I do still obsess over him at times, not all the time, but some days I will wonder what’s he doing, and if he’s thinking of me etc. Not sure if you’ve dealt with this situation, but would be curious to hear what you have to say. any help?

NML says: I think that you should cut him off because you’re enabling a dysfunctional, malfunctioning relationship. He is occupied elsewhere and to be quite frank, he wouldn’t want you to stay with him out of guilt or pity, something you have both of.

All of the signals this guy is sending say that you are invested, he is not. He is not emotionally available and he doesn’t want a relationship. His mind is preoccupied with his life, and in some respects, I can understand this. He needs to switch off to do what he has to do. This relationship doesn’t have strong enough foundations to survive what he is doing and it certainly had no basis for long distance. You say that you fell in love, not we and that’s quite telling. You fell in love, he didn’t and unfortunately you are the patient Fallback Girl who is co-dependent, waiting at home for him to return to a relationship that has sort of built up solely on your side.

Your needs aren’t getting met and you hate how he treats you. You’re trying to create not only a relationship out of not much, but he has shown you what he is prepared to give you and you’re asking for more from the man that doesn’t want to give. You are trying to fix, heal, buy, help…so many things with this guy. Only a woman who believes that a guy won’t appreciate what she is, will focus her efforts elsewhere.

Stop buying him things, stop trying to be his solution, and stop behaving like a vet wife or widow because right now, you are throwing everything but the kitchen sink at him and he is not responding.

He gives 5%, you give 150%. It’s a disproportionate response and you keep making excuses for him to keep being invested and you need to seriously slow your roll. This is the core behaviour of the co-dependent Over-Giver Fallback Girl.

And let’s be fair to this guy, he didn’t force you to do these things and I think that you have spent a bit too much time reading about being one half of a war couple that you’ve got carried away with your role.

If you don’t know what you are to him, it’s unlikely that you are anything much.

This may seem harsh but I think that you need to make the cut. This is like trying to heal the Walking Wounded, and you can’t fix him and if he doesn’t value you as it is, why do you think that you can help?

You have to let go, cut contact, which to be fair should be easy because there is not much going on. Let go of the idea of him, the vision, and focus on building your own sense of worth.

You’re either trying to avoid something or trying to avoid something…

Basically, you are pursuing a relationship that is doomed because you’re afraid of pursuing a relationship with a decent man that will work. Get to the why’s and get to the stage of putting yourself first, and then you can think about a relationship.

NML’s new eBook Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl is now available to download. It will be available in print very soon!

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