Why won’t my veteran spouse talk to me about combat experiences?

Some veterans open up once they have adjusted to civilian life, and want to share some of their combat experiences with loved ones. Others may not ever feel comfortable talking about combat, even with the person to whom they are closest. Combat is an intensely personal, sometimes traumatic experience. It does no good to put pressure on a service member to talk about it. They might not necessarily benefit from it, and they may, rightly or wrongly, be trying to protect you from having to hear disturbing or upsetting stories. Following are some suggestions for handling communication with your veteran spouse about their experiences during deployment:
  • Avoid making comments about the war or combat that may sound judgmental
  • Don’t tell the veteran what they should or shouldn’t do to resolve feelings about their    experience
  • Avoid clichés or superficial comments about military service, or how to readjust to civilian life
  • Listen to your service member with an open mind when they do talk
  • Let them know you love them and want to support them
Remember that it takes time to become close again and re-build trust after the separation of deployment.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.