Back to Top Skip to main content

How to develop a new relationship path after a TBI

A pair of hands clasped together Air Force Capt. Spencer Crandall and his wife Kristen hold each other’s hands during a marriage retreat in Charlotte, North Carolina in 2012. (Photo by Human Performance Resources by CHAMP at USU.)

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury

When you or your partner suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI), changes to your relationship are likely. Both of you might experience a range of emotions as you adapt to new expectations in your relationship, but you can weather the changes. TBIs can occur without warning, and the path to recovery isn’t always clear, which can add strain to your romantic relationship.

Shifting roles and changing emotions

The uninjured partner is likely to shift into a caregiving role after a TBI. This can be fulfilling and frustrating for both of you. It’s likely neither of you expected one would have to intensely depend on the other as sometimes happens after a TBI. However, it’s also an opportunity to show commitment and gratitude toward each other on a regular basis.

Still, these new roles can leave you both feeling isolated at times. That’s why it’s important to garner external support. Caregivers need a break to take care of themselves every so often. Encouragement from other family members and friends can help as you or your loved one recover from a TBI together. You both can’t make it through this process alone, or by only depending on each other. Reap the benefits of getting comfortable asking others for help because it could provide some well-needed relief.

You might feel a sense of loss or grief about your relationship as a couple, which can be similar to the grief felt after the death of a loved one. You also might grieve future plans that now have to be canceled or adjusted. And you might mourn for the couple you once were.

Your view of future goals and dreams probably needs to be modified or abandoned, and that’s hard. These feelings are normal, and talking about them with your partner, other trusted confidants, or a professional therapist can help.

The “new” us

After a TBI, work toward establishing a new understanding of what it means to be a couple in your current circumstances. Strive to answer, “Who are we now?” together. Build new rituals as a team, find novel ways to manage frustrations, and redistribute responsibilities at home.

A TBI survivor might not be able to handle detailed, more tedious jobs such as paying bills or balancing your family budget. Get creative about how you can reassign roles, so you’re both still involved and feel engaged in your partnership.

Learn more

Lastly, educate yourselves about what recovery after a TBI looks like. Understanding the typical changes in behavior, mood, and personality of someone who has experienced a TBI can help. Reach out to the Defense Centers of Excellence Outreach Center with your TBI questions. It’s still possible to build strong family and relationship ties after a TBI—it just might look different than you initially planned.

You also may be interested in...

MACE 2 Provider Training: Instructor Guide

Publication
7/31/2020

The MACE 2 Instructor Guide provides the curriculum needed for medical providers to train peers on how to properly use the MACE 2.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Provider Resources | TBI Educators | Traumatic Brain Injury

Recurrent Concussion Evaluation

Publication
7/30/2020

The Recurrent Concussion Evaluation card is designed to guide providers in the management of patients with a history of three or more documented concussions within a 12-month span.

Recommended Content:

TBI Educators | Provider Resources | DoD TBI Worldwide Numbers | Traumatic Brain Injury | TBI Screening | TBI Resources

Assessment and Management of Dizziness Associated with Mild TBI Clinical Recommendation

Publication
7/30/2020

The Assessment and Management of Dizziness Associated with Mild TBI Clinical Recommendation and Clinical Support Tool provide primary care providers with an approach to evaluate dizziness following mild TBI and offers guidance on referral for further vestibular evaluation and care.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury | TBI Resources | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | TBI Educators | Provider Resources

Military Acute Concussion Evaluation 2 (MACE 2)

Publication
7/30/2020

The 2018 Military Acute Concussion Evaluation 2 (MACE 2) is an acute assessment tool for all medically trained personnel who treat service members involved in a potentially concussive event. The MACE 2 incorporates current state-of-the-science traumatic brain injury information, including vestibular-ocular-motor screening. The MACE 2 is an update to and replaces the original MACE.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury | Provider Resources | TBI Educators | TBI Screening

Cognitive Rehabilitation Following Mild to Moderate TBI Clinical Recommendation - Short

Publication
7/30/2020

This short version of the Cognitive Rehabilitation Following Mild to Moderate TBI Clinical Recommendation provides an at-a-glance overview of the full-length version for quick access and use on the job.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Provider Resources | TBI Educators | TBICoE Research | Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapy | Traumatic Brain Injury | TBI Resources

Cognitive Rehabilitation Following Mild to Moderate TBI - Referring Provider Resource

Publication
7/30/2020

This resource answers common questions that referring providers may have, such as how to determine if a patient is having cognitive difficulties or whether the patient is a good candidate for cognitive rehabilitation following a mild to moderate traumatic brain injury.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Provider Resources | TBI Educators | TBICoE Research | Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapy | Traumatic Brain Injury | TBI Resources

Cognitive Rehabilitation for Following Mild to Moderate TBI Clinical Recommendation - Full

Publication
7/30/2020

This TBI clinical recommendation is broken down into three primary categories: Modifications for Service Members and Veterans; Interventions and Strategies to Address Cognitive Dysfunction; and, Delivery of Rehabilitation for Patients with Cognitive Challenges. Each category contains clinical recommendations, the background and rationale behind them, evidence review references, and clinical resources.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Provider Resources | TBI Educators | Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapy | Traumatic Brain Injury | TBI Resources
<< < 1 2 3 4 5 > >> 
Showing results 61 - 67 Page 5 of 5

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.