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Living with PTRS (Post-Traumatic Relationship Stress)

Living with PTRS (Post-Traumatic Relationship Stress)

Introducing our newest mom blogger Kimberly. Single mom to Eli from Louisiana. (Click her name to read more of her story).

I know you all have heard of PTSD, but have you heard of PTRS (Post-Traumatic Relationship Stress)?

I recently did a poll on social media asking a few questions to see if people understood or have ever heard of this.

92% of people said they are aware of PTRS 8% said no. For those of you who haven’t heard of Post-Traumatic Relationship Stress; this occurs after you have experienced trauma in an intimate relationship.

This is a new discovery and I’ve only just heard of it myself because I have recently experienced it. I wanted to learn more so I’ve been doing some reading and the best explanation I could find came from “PsychCentral” .

They stated that PTRS comes from “the fear, mistrust, and trauma that occurred within a romantic relationship… PTRS can be defined as an anxiety disorder that can occur subsequent to the experience of physical, emotional, or psychological abuse”. I wanted to use their terms and definitions because they helped me to better understand what I was going through and why. I’ll be transparent and tell y’all how I came to terms with realizing I have PTRS.

I was talking to someone for almost two months- it was great. This was everything I was looking for in a relationship, so you’d think it would be easy right? It was, until he couldn’t make it on a date, and my immediate response was, “We never have to speak again”.

Yes, that’s literally what I said. In that moment I just knew I was right, and he was wrong, but after discussing it with others and doing some soul searching, that wasn’t the case. I’ve become a reactor since my last relationship, and I should have taken the time to ask questions THEN form a decision.

It took me a few days to stop being mad at myself first and realize why I had that response. In my last relationship, my ex would cancel dates constantly and if I said my feelings were hurt or asked why, he would say “Because of you”. So, then I would spiral and try to “fix myself” because my boyfriend doesn’t want to be around me. What’s wrong with me? What can I do better? How can I change myself?

But in reality, he canceled because he wanted too, or something better came up. So, when the new guy canceled, I unknowingly went right back to that place of thinking he’s canceling because he doesn’t want to be around me, or something is wrong because of me.

In my mind the only way to fix it was to shut it down myself. It’s that kind of thinking like “I can’t get hurt if I push you away” but really, I may have hurt both of us.

I lost someone, and to him me saying we never have to speak again probably made him think I don’t care. Which I do, but I just didn’t want to get hurt, so I shut everything down.

I’ve learned that PTRS and PTSD have one major thing in common, when an event occurs it brings you right back to your past. You feel those exact feelings again, like you’re reliving it. So how do we move forward? What’s the cure?

In the poll I took, a few people said there is no getting over PTRS. A few people said they wouldn’t even date someone with PTRS. So how do you move forward if you’re now viewed as “undateable”?

A few studies I have read said that therapy, psychotherapy, and support groups can help. Studies have shown that individuals experiencing PTRS need to learn ways of coping and managing their trauma.

If a person can get over PTRS completely, I believe the answer is yes and no. It’s something we will have to live with, but it’s also something that can be managed. I believe with the right help we can take control of our PTRS instead of having it control us.

If you struggle with PTRS and have pushed someone away because of fear, just know that you’re not alone and you are not unloveable. Let us know your story in the comments or email

View Comments (2)
  • Great article and definitely a topic of much needed discussion. I agree that our mentally abusive past will definitely reflect in how we react to current situations. However, from experience I can tell you that with time, if one doesn’t repeat the cycle of entering into toxic relationships that they can recover fully and lead highly productive lives with healthy relationships. The key is self love and knowing your worth. I commend you for sharing.

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