My boyfriend and I met in the winter of 2009 (he’s 40, I’m 25) and began dating by the end of that spring. He enlisted in the Army the month that we met with a 1-year contract. He went away for some training in June but apart from that we had a wonderful summer doing everything together. We began talking marriage in October. The day after we talked about marriage he got orders to leave in two weeks for some specialized training in Texas. I was excited for him and told him that I’d wait the 3-4 months and then we could start talking more seriously about when we’d like to plan for marriage. Two days later he received orders for an emergency deployment leaving in less than 90 days if he would extend his orders, which he did. The orders would now last until April of 2011.
While he was at training, we talked over the phone about getting married before he left for his 12-month deployment, but he failed to propose before he left in January. I am not proud to admit it, but a few months after he left, I went through his emails. I found hundreds and hundreds of posts, responses and conversations with hundreds of women from Craigslist’s sex ads from the last three years — from times when I knew we were together in the same room, and times from when we were apart. I asked him the next day via Skype if he had ever posted on Craigslist and he denied it. I then told him I had gone through all his emails and knew everything that was going on. He pleaded for forgiveness and said he was ashamed and really wanted to change. I broke it off with him but continued to talk to him. I told him that he needed counseling and that he could get over the addiction but he was really going to have to work hard at it, and if we were together he could not focus on that. I continued to talk to him because I still loved him, despite how hurt I was.
When he came back early in August we quickly fell back into the old routine. He spent every night at my place and we spent all our time together, talking and trying to work things out. I allowed myself to forgive him and we spent most of the next few months together, except for when he was away for a few weeks at a time. By now, it was getting close to his contract being up and he was considering re-enlisting. I let him know my oppositions to an army lifestyle — the long deployments and how depressed they made me, having to raise children on my own for periods of time, and my desire to have a career of my own. Despite my feelings, he decided to re-enlist anyway. I told him I didn’t think I could handle another deployment emotionally or mentally as it made me a complete wreck. I had gone into a really bad depression last time and did not have a support system to get me through another. My family is far away and the few friends I had during his last deployment had moved away. Fortunately, the unit he got assigned to was on a deployment freeze for a year so I thought we would be OK, but two weeks later, he actually volunteered for a deployment with another unit and would be leaving in less than a month.
I found this all out via a text message on his phone. One night, when we were on our way out, I happened to see his phone lighting up with text messages. I opened it to see what all the fuss was about and saw a message from his guy friend. It said: “Sorry to hear you’re leaving. We’ll catch up soon.” I read all the messages and learned he was leaving in three weeks for a 400-day tour.
Before he left, I told him how much I wanted to be engaged to him but he didn’t proposed. This past weekend, I was allowed a three-day pass to go visit him. It had been 1 1/2 months since I had seen him, so I was expecting intimacy, love-making, hand-holding, and gazing into each others eyes, but instead, most of our time was spent shopping for shoes for him, driving with the windows down and the music up loud, and him crashing for 12 hours at a time.
I love him so much, but I really wonder if he is ever going to propose. Why is it taking him so long to commit? He talks constantly about our future children and getting old together, yet he is not showing me at all with his actions that I am the woman he wants to marry. I am beyond depressed when he is gone. Most days I can’t even get out of bed. I just don’t know how much longer I can take it. I feel like he loves me but is so strong-willed and stubborn that he believes he will convince me to love the army. And I just can’t understand why he won’t propose. It seems like this is no major cause for the hesitation. Am I being impatient? Selfish? Stupid? Or completely blind? I’d really appreciate your advice. — Army Girlfriend
Why on earth do you want to marry this man?! He’s shown you so much disrespect and disregard for your feelings. And how can you be serious when you say there’s “no major cause for the hesitation” in you two getting married? Girl, there are hundreds of incidents of him engaging with other women he’s met on Craigslist. Did he ever get the counseling you asked him to get for his “addiction”? Did he ever do anything to prove to you that he was faithful? Obviously you don’t trust the guy or you wouldn’t be checking his phone and email whenever you have a chance. And he clearly doesn’t give a rat’s ass whether you support his decision to be in the Army. He re-enlisted with absolutely no regard to your feelings about it. Not only that, but he volunteered for deployment after you expressed how much you hated him being gone. He literally went out of his way to leave you for 400 days! And then! He didn’t even have the decency to tell you about his deployment. He told all his friends first and let you find out by snooping through his personal messages. Does this sound like a relationship without any cause for concern or hesitancy? Does he sound like a man who cares about you and is good husband material?
Why oh why do you want to marry this man? How can you possibly think you have a promising future together based on your history together? Do you want to spend the rest of your life feeling as unimportant as you have for the last three years, worrying and wondering whether he’s cheating on your when he’s away — whether he’s hooking up with other women he’s met online or in his unit? Do you want your life dictated by his career and his schedule with no regard for your needs and desires? Why would you even consider having children with a man who has shown no signs of being there for you, let alone whatever offspring he may be responsible for one day? Are you crazy??
Move on! Make some friends. Focus on your life. Create some distractions so you aren’t waiting for this guy who, frankly, sounds like a loser of a boyfriend, to make some grand romantic gesture to show you that you matter after all. It ain’t gonna happen. If you really mattered to him, he would have shown you by now. Get yourself to therapy if you think you need it to work through your depression and break the pattern that has kept you stuck for three years. Learn to create your own happiness rather than waiting for some guy to create it for you. To quote a DW reader, this dude has given you nothing but crumbs of a relationship, and you think that’s enough to build a future on? You should be grateful you haven’t gotten yourself locked into a marriage (or co-parenthood) with this guy. Truly, he’s done you a favor by putting off proposing. You can move on without the messiness of divorce, and my advice is to do just that. Now. Before it’s too late.
*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to follow me on Twitter.