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This moves me to another point: My vet reminds me there is no tragedy that can befall me that cannot be overcome. He reminds me that there is no one or thing that I should fear as long as he is in my life. Both his physical strength and emotional strength have all but totally abolished fear from my life. Many people are ignorant of what being a combat vet even really entails or means.

It is an honor to be among those who respect, admire, and appreciate their sacrifices, both great and small. Dating a combat vet is hard, but please do not mistake me: The most rewarding thing I have done in my short 22 years of existence is give myself completely to a man I had to learn to understand. The challenges of our relationship are unique to us because of his experiences, and they have shaped me into a more mature and empathetic individual. My vet has told me that my empathic nature is partly what drew him to me; my ability to truly listen where most people just wait for their turn to speak.

And there, after midnight, under the harsh fluorescent lights, he told me things about his time spent overseas he had never shared with anyone before.

A ‘contagious disease’

It was in that moment I knew that I had been chosen specifically for it. For some reason, he thought I deserved to see the darkest corners of him.

It was a risky move on his part. No one had so freely shared their demons with me, yet it was the most special anyone had ever made me feel. That feeling has been at the foundation of everything else. He designated me to help be the keeper of his darkness. So I chose him to be the first man I would ever seek to truly understand. And in doing so, be the first man I would ever cherish. To be the only man I hoped I ever would.

This is the greatest part of dating a vet that many women will never get to experience: A person with that additional life acumen is a rare and beautiful soul. If you find them, hold on to them. And no matter what, under any circumstances, never, ever give up on them. They need someone to pull them out of the emotional regressions they sometimes slink into.

What It’s Like To Love A Combat Veteran

They need someone to soothe their quaking bodies in the wake of the next night terror. They need someone to see the light inside them when they no longer can see it themselves. I thrive in this relationship because I choose to.

Being In A Relationship With A Veteran

I have, in most cases, learned to simply let go of my trivial insecurities. In return, he has searched his soul for ways to be more transparent about his feelings. We have made great strides since the early days of our romance. Our relationship has evolved into a fulfilling and abundant love for each other. No dark pasts or embarrassing secrets. Trepanier, a former military intelligence analyst, once made six figures working for a defense contractor, but he can no longer hold down a job.

His life now revolves around completing simple tasks at his home in suburban Baltimore. Trepanier was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in the first Gulf War, in Bosnia and in North Africa.

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When he came home in , he was different as a husband and a father, his wife said. He had flashbacks where he thought he was somewhere else when we were in the front yard. And he'd get like really emotional. Like the Trepaniers, there are an estimated 4 million military-connected children in the United States.

  • PTSD's 'secondary' victims: the children of veterans | Al Jazeera America.
  • Top 10 Things Your Combat Vet Wants You to Know |
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With the longest wars in American history winding down, these kids have been affected by war like no previous generation, especially in families where the veteran has PTSD. The entire Trepanier family is in counseling trying to learn how to deal with a very different dad. Now that these veterans at home, their lives — and the lives of their families — are forever changed as young children face the stress of living with someone who, in many ways, is a new and sometimes unpredictable parent.

That shock of your expectation compared to what comes back is really tough to take. Motta was drafted into the Army during the Vietnam War, serving in the 1st Calvary Division, often working in helicopters as a door gunner or helping deliver medical supplies. That disease that can spread not only to a caring spouse, but to children as well.

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Motta calls this secondary trauma. Multiple studies in different countries have shown that kids are affected by having a parent who is a combat veteran with PTSD. Usually, children are spontaneously happy and enjoy playing and having a good time, but traumatized children show radically different behavior.

What It’s Like To Love A Combat Veteran | Thought Catalog

Their memory is very poor. Caleb Vines did two tours in Iraq, the second in Ramadi where firefights were a daily occurrence. After he returned home to his wife, Brannan, and infant daughter, Laney, their family life started going downhill pretty quickly. Frustrated by the lack of Veterans Administrations support for families, Brannan Vines founded the nonprofit Family of a Vet in , hoping that families could at least help each other. She thought it would be a modest website, but the network of volunteers now reaches 48 states and five countries, filling what she calls a crucial void.

I want to make sure that nothing happens.

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  • What It’s Like To Love A Combat Veteran | Thought Catalog.
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Many kids take on the idea of needing to protect the people around them, her mother said. Brannan Vines has a name for what her daughter is experiencing. Brannan Vines says it is a problem, something she and others like Gayle Trepanier face every day.