I haven’t posted here in forever, so I’m not completely sure if this is the right forum for this topic. I apologize if this belongs somewhere else. I’m just hoping that some one out there might have some advice or guidance to offer me.
So here’s what’s going on: my boyfriend and I have been together for about a year now and are very much in love. We started talking about marriage and family about six months into our relationship and I’ve never been happier than I have been since I’ve been with him. Everything about our relationship was perfect up until about two months ago. He is a police officer and in the past six years has been involved in three fatal shootings. I heard a little about the shootings from the mutual friend who introduced us before we ever went out, but he has only talked to me about them a few times. I could tell from those conversations that they did weigh heavily on him, but for the most part he seemed like he was handling it pretty well.
Then, a couple of months ago we learned that there are still some outstanding legal issues with the most recent shooting. I think it’s probably better that I not go into details about that here, but he was “cleared” of any wrongdoing and sent back to work shortly after the shooting. Now these other issues have come up, and I think it must have stirred up some memories because his personality has completely changed over the past couple of months. He used to be so open and loving towards me all the time, but suddenly he has drastic mood changes where one minute he’ll be telling me how much he loves me and the next he’ll start talking about how he’s not “being a good boyfriend” to me and thinks I’d be better off if we broke up. During the times that he thinks we should break up, he’s not hostile or abusive or anything, he’s just very cold and will go all day without calling or messaging me (when he used to communicate with me pretty much nonstop everyday) and then is really short with me when we do talk. It’s almost like he’s trying to push me to break up with him, but in the same breath he tells me how much he loves me and how much better I make his life.
About a week ago we had a long discussion where I confronted him about everything and he told me that he’s been having a great deal of trouble sleeping because he keeps thinking about the shootings. He has literally been going several days without sleeping until he basically crashes and sleeps for a long time and then the cycle starts again. I’ve also noticed that he’s not eating like he used to and is losing weight and muscle mass pretty quickly. I have begged him to see a counselor, a doctor, anyone because I really think he needs help that I’m not equipped to give him. He refuses to talk to anyone because he says that it could do a lot of damage to him at work if anyone found out. That’s when I suggested that he talk to one of the Priests at my parish because I think they could give him some good advice and I know they’d keep it confidential. He refuses to do that either. He isn’t Catholic - he was raised in a pretty strict Baptist home, but has been going to Mass and other parish events with me since we first started dating. I think he wants very much to have the same faith that he did when he was young, but after seeing all the horrible things that he has, he finds it very difficult to do so. He tells me frequently that he admires my faith, but he just can’t find it in himself to have faith for himself.
I’m so worried and completely at a loss as to what I should do. I pray for him every single day, but everything just seems to get worse and worse. He is so exhausted and clearly depressed, but I don’t know how to help him if he won’t seek help for himself. I’m really afraid that this is going to cause us to break up. He bears so much guilt and I honestly think he’s talked himself into believing that I’d be better off without him. I’ve tried to convince him that that isn’t true at all. I love him with all my heart and I want more than anything for him to be happy and healthy again. I just don’t know what to do for him.
Does anyone have any thoughts or advice or anything for me? This is one of those things that I can’t really talk to anyone I know about because for obvious reasons I don’t want my friends and family to know about the shootings. I’ve always been really good at solving problems, but this is one that I can’t figure out…