Posted on October 24, 2012 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 15 of 28 in the series Lori

Romance Difficulties after Traumatic Brain Injury: Lori Part Fifteen

The relationship you have with your now husband is really a quite remarkable story in overcoming the romance difficulties after traumatic brain injury in that you had a mature relationship, that was probably evolving into a marriage in a year or two, from the sounds of it.  Then you, in your own words, became very much a child and then came back and ultimately returned to becoming an adult.  But not without having romance difficulties after traumatic brain injury.


How did you, or how did he manage the change in you emotionally, cognitively, in your appearance and rebuild that over come the romance difficulties after traumatic brain injury? 

I can’t speak for him, but I can tell you what I saw.  And then I can tell you what he’s told me since.

Early on I didn’t really recognize him as a boyfriend.  I don’t know, maybe like my roommate, who was with me the whole time in all –

Is that Robin? 

Robin, yes, was with me the whole time and always my friend.  And it’s kind of where he was.  So I didn’t see him as a boyfriend for a long time, and then I don’t know when I started seeing him as a boyfriend again.  Maybe when I was in the crib at my parents’ house is when I recognized him as my boyfriend, and he just always treated me good.

He was a big force, a big source of strength for me.  I would want to do something and he would say – like maybe it was balance; standing or, or, side walking or – and I would express to him that I wanted to do that and he’d say try it.  And there were times when I’d say “oh no I can’t,” and he’d say “I’ll hold your hand.”

So that, he was very supportive there.  And I remember him more of support than romantic.

Then – and this is in my book – there was a time when I was an outpatient, and I was still living at my parents – and this is really tough – and it’s okay, and I know that it’s taped and it’s okay.  But, when I was at my parents’ and, and I had an affair with a married man who worked at the hospital.  And that was about the time that I recognized that I hadn’t had my, I hadn’t had, I hadn’t menstruated for months.

So I guess I was learning that I was a female.  And I had that affair and my boyfriend at the time, I remember – it gets so confusing – I remember when I was back at my apartment, living with my roommate Robin, and my boyfriend would come visit me, and he would go into another room and use the phone all the time, and I thought he was trying to find a normal girlfriend, not me.

And that also is about the time that I had that affair, because I was, I remember that I was just so confused.  And I just didn’t know anything and I just wanted to be loved for who I was, not who I was prior, and not who I was going to be but for who I was.

And so in that affair I; so in answer to your question, about the romantic involvement.  I misinterpreted him, misinterpreted him at the time that I was having that affair.  And I broke up with him for a little while and I told him I hated him and I was just really mean.

To the best of – I don’t know how accurate this is, but it felt like at least once a week he called me, even after I said get away.  And I know that I hung up on him and I didn’t talk to him and then eventually I’d say hi and that’s it.

But he kept calling me.  He just kept calling and he just kept calling, and this affair that I had, my mind, I think my mind started to think more correctly and I started to remember my personal views on that it’s wrong to have an affair.  And so I ended that situation, and my boyfriend just kept calling and kept being there for me and, and I started to realize, and through the help of Dr. Yanni, I was able to start writing.

And I started writing letters to my friends and my family.  Whenever I would think things and I couldn’t speak them, I could write them, because then I could erase or change.  So I wrote a letter to my boyfriend, at one point where my thoughts were correcting and I was having that affair, and I said, “I know that I kicked you out and I told you that I hate you but I’m realizing that I do love you.”

And I read that to, that letter to him over the phone, and we were still broken up at the time and I was living in my apartment, and he immediately hung up and drove over to my apartment.  And from that point forward we were definitely boyfriend and girlfriend.

A lot of Lori’s romance difficulties after traumatic brain injury came from insecurities about her boyfriend.  Not feeling adequate for him and thinking he was looking for someone else.  Another part of her romance difficulties after traumatic brain injury came from getting attention from someone in the hospital and having an unhealthy relationship with him.

Next in Part Sixteen – Misinterpreting Sexual Desire in Recovery from Severe Brain Injury


About the Author

Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice :: 800-992-9447