Dating Someone With A Traumatic Brain Injury

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Are you dating someone with a traumatic brain injury? If yes, read this article to learn more about how to cause the stress, emotions, and pain that you might go through

1.5 mn Americans go through the pain of a traumatic brain injury each year. A TBI significantly alters the life of the victim, but it also impacts those who are close to him, especially to a person who was dating them prior to the injury.

After a traumatic brain injury, many couples notice that the relationship changes dramatically. The changes are very emotional and difficult for the couple. In this article, we will share some facts about the common changes in a relationship after a traumatic brain injury. 

Dating Someone With A Traumatic Brain Injury

A traumatic brain injury can cause a lot of pain and stress to the existing relationships of the patient. But, there are certain things that couples can do in the relationship to keep their relationship alive and happy. 

Traumatic Brain Injury And Couples Relationship

Dating someone with a traumatic brain injury can significantly affect the couple’s relationship. There are different levels of brain injury: severe and minor injuries. 

Milder injuries do not result in long-term relationship changes among the couples. However, after a severe brain injury, the survivor and their partner will be affected in various aspects of their lives. 

Some of these changes could be: 

  • A change in relationship roles
  • Challenges in communication 
  • Dealing with fear related to the incident due to which the injury occurred 
  • Changes in behavioral traits of the victim. 

Due to these challenges, you might suddenly feel that you are married to a complete stranger! Secondly, the burden of responsibility of the family certainly shifts towards the victim’s spouse at least for some time, since the victims themselves are dealing with their own issues.

After the injury, there are multiple changes in the survivor’s personality and life. The partner ends up in a situation where they simply don’t know what to expect and how to respond to situations. This uncertainty can further lead to anxiety and tension In the relationship. 

Relationship Changes: Responsibilities

After a traumatic brain injury, the survivor must incorporate time for learning new skills and working on improving their health in their daily routine. 

This means that there is a two-fold change in the partner’s workload: you are helping the victim to cope with the new changes, while at the same time taking a fair share of their workload in life, which now takes secondary precedence.

Dating Someone With A Traumatic Brain Injury

How do added responsibilities change the person? 

  • Survivors may not carry out all the responsibilities, including household chores and expectations while working to cope with their problems. They may not be able to carry out things like yard work or taking out the dog. 
  • The partners who have more responsibilities will have less time for themselves and others. On the other hand, the survivor will feel like they have a lot of time and won’t be occupied. This can result in different expectations between the partners of spending time together. 
  • Along with the stress of recovery of a person, handling multiple responsibilities can increase the tension between both partners.

What are the tips to improve relationship issues due to the changes in the responsibilities of couples: 

  • Talking to each other can reduce stress. Try to be more understanding about the responsibilities of each other, and this can lead to a positive growth impact in the relationship. It is ok to focus on oneself; however, one must take effort and responsibility to understand each other’s feelings and challenges. 
  • Say thank you and make a commitment about yourself. Try to understand that this situation shall pass, and you can overcome the problem of managing the commitments. 
  • Try to plan out things and opportunities to take a break from the responsibilities of a person. When couples and family members plan a day out, try to build understanding and a strong bond.


Communication is known to be the basic foundation of a relationship. Many people think of talking with the person when they hear the communication. 

But communicating is giving emotional reactions, gestures, facial expressions, and physical interactions. After a traumatic brain injury, the biggest thing people notice is the communication difference in the people. 

For spouses: 

  • Various responsibilities and uncertainty of recovery can cause you to be overwhelmed. When people are overwhelmed, their communication patterns and style change. Some common changes are talking less and communicating less intensely with the partner.
  • Sometimes the partner may not understand how to behave with the person, becoming unsure about it. This may lead to less communication among them. 
Dating Someone With A Traumatic Brain Injury

What are the changes which happen due to less communication in the couples?

  • Lack of communication between the partners may lead to isolation and loneliness between them. They may not understand the feelings of each other and what they want to convey.
  • Difficulty in communication can put them away from each other. Sometimes they do not share the challenges they are facing with anyone. They may share the pressure and anxiety with other family members who are friends.
  • Struggling with communication can affect all the responsibilities and roles. It may become difficult for them to adjust together.

Tips to improve communication problems: 

  • Both of them should commit to understanding each other and stay together. 
  • Try to listen patiently to what they want and what challenges they face.
  • Listen to the points you can agree with and don’t just disagree. Try to keep the situation calm.
  • Survivors may take more time to understand what they are trying to say and may take time to respond. So be patient with the person. 
  • When a topic ends in disagreement, try to avoid that topic and sometimes try to adjust things.
  • Make sure you are polite, as being rude can lead to problems in the relationship.
  • You can practice your facial expressions and gestures in front of the mirror.

Wrap Up!

After a traumatic brain injury, the survivor may change a bit. They may remember the good memories of the past and feel sad. The spouse can feel the pressure and maybe be stressed by noticing the changed behavior of the person. 

Dating Someone With A Traumatic Brain Injury

Due to the lack of communication, they may feel like being alone and lonely. In this article, you will come across all these aspects. Make sure you go through it and understand how to tackle the challenges in the relationship when you are dating.

We hope this article would give perspective to both victims as well as their partners on how the relationship might change after an injury, and what are the ways to cope with these changes. Do let us know if the content was useful in understanding how your partner may be feeling or behaving.