Why You Shouldn’t Date a Veteran

But If You Do, Here Are 7 Principles for Building a Relationship with Someone with PTSD

Matt Gangloff
5 min readNov 17, 2022


Photo by Tibor Pápai on Unsplash

Any time a friend tells me they’re dating a Veteran, I give them very simple advice: Don’t.

Why? Sky-high domestic violence rates. Alcoholism is rampant. Emotionally unavailable. Trouble forming healthy attachments…

I could go on.

The ugly truth is that many Veterans aren’t ready for relationships.

Why? Short answer: PTSD.

How to Tell If Someone with PTSD Is Ready for a Relationship

There’s a broader question here: should you date someone with unprocessed trauma? That’s a tricky question…

  • First, everyone has trauma, whether that’s from childhood, past relationships, or war.
  • Second, the impact of that trauma and how it manifests itself differs from person to person.
  • Third, it’s not like you’re either healed or not healed, you’re somewhere along a spectrum.

So, the blanket statement, “Don’t date someone with trauma,” is clearly insufficient.

But the fact remains, some people with PTSD aren’t ready to date. You have to find where that line is for you.

Here are a few ways you might decide:

  • Emotional Availability — Is this person capable of handling their emotions and yours? Can they commit?
  • Awareness of Triggers — Are they aware of the things that set them off? Do they blame the trigger them or do they “own their stuff” and work through it?
  • Healthy vs Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms — How do they cope with stress? Do they drink too much? Get angry? Shutdown? Or do they exercise, meditate, and go to therapy?
  • Are They Willing to Do the Work? If you think the answer is, “yes,” go ahead.

But keep these 7 principles to keep in mind…

1) Mental Illness Is Not an Excuse for Bad Behavior

There’s a pattern among people who aren’t coping well with a mental illness: behave badly, blame the…



Matt Gangloff

I teach the how-to’s of Post-Traumatic Growth: How to heal and grow, find a new mission, become your best self and build a meaningful life. www.mattgangloff.com