Military Vets and Intimacy

Military veterans are 60% more likely to separate or divorce than non-military couples and the percentages are even higher for combat veterans.  The reasons cited are PTSD, anger issues, an inability to talk about their experiences, and not surprisingly, a lack of intimacy in their relationships. 

Military personnel are taught to shut down their emotions from day one. They are to act according to protocol, rules of engagement and keep their feelings closed off. When required, they have to take other’s lives or destroy property, that in civilian life, they would never dream of doing. These are the things that many veterans cannot talk about with their partners and spouses. They keep their emotions bottled up for so long that when they do allow themselves to access them once again it can be turbulent, scary and overwhelming for both the veteran and their loved ones.

Add mental anguish and/or physical injury to the scenario where many partners find themselves doubling as caregivers for their spouses after they’re separated from active duty, and you have an even more complex dynamic between the partners. Intimacy doesn’t come easy to many of these veterans, and when emotions run high, it’s difficult to feel close and connected on a loving and romantic level. The person that returns from combat often bears little resemblance to the one that went away to serve. 

The VA has been attempting to address this issue through their Warrior to Soulmate program which helps veterans and military spouses to connect and communicate in way that helps them both feel safe, secure and loved. Rediscovering intimacy and emotional connection has helped these men and women to find love and relationship security with their partners and spouses. 

If you’re a military veteran or spouse that feels closed off and disconnected in your relationship, get help. There are relationship counselors out there that can assist you in rediscovering the loving connection that you crave. 

You may also want to look into the VA Warrior to Soul Mate Program at your local VA office. It’s never too late to find each other again.

Warrior to Soul Mate group classes by the VA teach intimacy and communication skills. 


About the Author:

Stuart Fensterheim, LCSW helps couples to overcome the disconnection in their relationships. As an author, blogger and podcaster, Stuart has helped couples around the world to experience a unique relationship in which they can feel special and important, confident in knowing they are loved deeply and that their presence matters. The Couples Expert Podcast consists of weekly provocative conversations offering the perspectives and insight of experts from a variety of relationship related fields. Stuart also offers daily relationship video tips on The Couples Expert YouTube channel and by subscription in Stuart's Daily Notes. Stuart is happily married and a devoted father of 2 daughters. His office practice serves the greater Phoenix, Arizona area including the cities of Scottsdale, Chandler, Tempe, and Mesa.