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Welcome to Tough Love. Every other week, we’re answering your questions about dating, breakups, and everything in between. Our advice giver is Blair Braverman, dogsled racer and author of Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube. Have a question of your own? Write to us at [email protected]

A few months ago, my girlfriend was the first person to come across a bad wilderness accident. I’ll spare the details, but the basic story is that she was solo backpacking, investigated the sound of yelling, and came across a situation where two people were extremely injured. She was there for hours trying to help and comfort them and taking messages for their families, but in the end, they both died. She doesn’t seem to blame herself—their injuries were already too severe to hike out and get help—but she still seems broken by the experience.

Since then, she’s been seeing a therapist to deal with PTSD and has made progress, but she’s still struggling to do things that used to be easy for her. She says she wants to go outdoors with me but then ends up getting really upset and lashing out, even though I’m just trying to do the thing she wanted to do in the first place. For instance, last weekend she suggested a day hike, and it seemed like things were fine, but when I wanted to stop at a waterfall to take some pictures, she started sobbing. It makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong, but when I try to talk to her about these patterns, she shuts down emotionally. I want to support her and enjoy the outdoors together again, and I am committed to this relationship, but I don’t know what to do.

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