Is trauma affecting my relationship?

PTSD and Relationships

After trauma survivors with PTSD may feel distant from others and often feel numb. They may have less interest in social or sexual activities. Sometimes this might be due to the survivor feeling irritable, on guard, jumpy, worried, or nervous. Hence, they may not be able to relax or be intimate. Sometimes they don’t believe that they are deserving of love and affection. These effects can last a life time.

Trauma can cause the survivor to feel an increased need to protect their loved ones. This can come across as tense, demanding or even controlling behaviours and attitudes.

Trauma survivors often have trauma memories or flashbacks. They might go to great lengths to avoid such memories. Survivors may avoid any activity that could trigger a memory. If the survivor has trouble sleeping or has nightmares, both the survivor and partner may not be able to get enough rest. This may make sleeping together harder.

It may mean that they avoid intimacy, it may even mean that they avoid any emotional conflict.

A trauma survivor can make significant changes in their lives and relationships, and research shows that with the encouragement of a loved one survivor are able to continue with therapy and have positive outcomes.

Therapies like Cognitive Processing Therapy make a difference in the PTSD sufferers life.


Meis, L. A., Noorbaloochi, S., Hagel Campbell, E. M., Erbes, C. R., Polusny, M. A., Velasquez, T. L., Bangerter, A., Cutting, A., Eftekhari, A., Rosen, C. S., Tuerk, P. W., Burmeister, L. B., & Spoont, M. R. (2019). Sticking it out in trauma-focused treatment for PTSD: It takes a village.Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 87(3), 246–256.