Actually, this is my second marriage. And I actually had what was called
sexual dysfunction after my brain injury. Part of my brain that was injured was
partly the reason for that. I actually led a pretty promiscuous lifestyle, and because
I looked okay to a lot of people, and I had enough sense to be able to hide
--you know--or compensate for things, then people may not have seen what
was wrong with me, particularly--you know--guys that maybe I had never met
in the past or didn't know me from the past. I was able to get away with--
I was--I mean, I never did have much of a problem dating guys.
I had a healthy dating life in the past, and so that was a problem for me.
That was a problem. It interfered with my studies, being--you know--because a guy
made me feel wanted. It made me feel normal. Being with a guy made me feel like
I was just the way I was before my injury. You know--I didn't have any problems then.
So that was a problem for me. Part of the way I resolved that was through
my faith, actually. Just focusing more on--you know--my spiritualness and knowing
that part of the things that I was doing wasn't necessarily what was in God's plan for me.
And starting to realize that--you know--everybody's not going to have your best
interests at heart. And seeing that from a--even a painful perspective, because I have had
some very, very painful relationships afterward. You know--things I might have picked up on
because of lack of awareness or lack of problem-solving or just wanting to be
needed and loved--you know--because of my insecurities now.
That--umm--was a problem. But as time went on, more through, even, just my
experience and being able to have my mother as some support, even though she
didn't like some of the things that I was doing or the men that I was dating or
who I was going out with--you know--she was supportive. She allowed me to
go out with some of these guys and see for myself--you know--how they were.
And that helped. My first marriage actually occurred after my graduate--after
graduate school. And it ended rather abruptly and, actually, rather nicely.
My ex-husband and I are still good friends. We just decided that we did it too quickly
and it's not what we really wanted. And so--and part of the problems was because of
my brain injury as well. Like, he complained about me being too tired and
sleeping too much and doing this and doing that, being too slow at certain things.
And I--you know--was attracted to him because he was a man of the faith and
--you know--that's what I thought I needed, to be with a man of the faith.
And so, umm, that ended. And my relationships started to--like, the type of people
that I went out with and the frequency of my dating pattern started to decrease.
I started to look inward, focus more on me. I started to learn how to go to the movies
on my own and enjoy being by myself. And then the more and more I started to focus
on me and doing stuff for others instead of taking my focus off of being with
another person to validate me. That's when I started to get better, and
actually that prepared me for my next marriage.
Show transcript | Print transcript
A brain injury can significantly affect a person's ability to make good choices and see clearly when it comes to relationships and intimacy. Kelli Gary talks shares her experience.
Produced by Vicky Youcha and Brian King, BrainLine.
Kelli Williams Gary, PhD, MPH, OTR/L is an assistant professor in the department of occupational therapy at Virginia Commonwealth University. She sustained a severe traumatic brain injury in 1991.
The contents of BrainLine Military (the “Web Site”), such as text, graphics, images, information obtained from the Web Site’s licensors and/or consultants, and other material contained on the Web Site (collectively, the “Content”) are for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for medical, legal, or other professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Specifically, with regards to medical issues, always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the Web Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. The Web Site does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the Web Site. Reliance on any information provided by the Web Site or by employees, volunteers or contractors or others associated with the Web Site and/or other visitors to the Web Site is solely at your own risk.