In addition to all of this, I am really lonely. I’m halfway across the country from my family and any friends. I’ve met the other wives in my husband’s company, but I always feel uneasy about becoming too close with any of them because either my husband is their husband’s commanding officer or vice-versa. There are days when he is the only person I speak to and he works 14-hour days. A couple of days ago, I broke down when he got home and and just cried and cried.
Yesterday, he told me about a job he found on a federal database that he mentioned months ago. I had seen that job but, honestly, it’s something I’m not qualified to do. And while I would try to branch out with a different employer, I don’t want my performance to reflect on him because I would be working for people he knows/is accountable to. He didn’t know that I knew about it and told me in a scolding manner that I should have looked at the site earlier because the position closes in two days. He also said that my feelings were premature and silly. I told him that if we’re going to be moving every 2-3 years until he’s retirement eligible (another eight years), there are days in the process that I’m going to be upset due to those major disruptions in life. I was really upset because what I needed was comfort and I walked away feeling like he was invalidating my feelings.
I knew that, when I married him, he would never be the most emotional or comforting person. But am I being unreasonable? I thought that I had a partner who understood and appreciated my situation. That he understands and that we’re in this together were the only things getting me through the really rough days when I think about the career and friends I’ll constantly give up. — Sad and Lonely Military Wife
Look, I’m sorry, but what did you expect when you married a man in the army? Didn’t you realize you’d have to give up your job and, most likely, your career? Didn’t you expect to leave your friends and family for a life of constant upheaval? Is any of this really a shock to you? And do you honestly expect your husband, who you say isn’t the “most emotional or comforting person” to begin with, to come home from 14-hour workdays and be your shoulder to cry on because you’re dealing with so many “major life disruptions”?
That’s what a military spouse does — he or she deals with major life disruptions. It’s sort of a huge part of the job. And, yes, being a military spouse is a job because, when you marry someone in the service, you don’t just marry the person, you marry the career, too. The career becomes your own. If this isn’t something you can deal with, you have two options. The first one is to TRY HARDER. Swallow your pride and apply for jobs that you think you don’t qualify for or that you’re worried you won’t be perfect at. Befriend other military wives, even if their husbands are your husband’s subordinates or vice-versa. (What’s the worst that will happen?). Go to the family support office and ask for … support (it sounds like you’d greatly benefit from this!). Join a military wives’ club. Stop spending your entire existence sitting at home waiting for your husband to get back from work so you have someone to talk to finally and get out there and make as much of a life for yourself as you can, knowing that you signed on for this when you married a military man and you’re going to commit to making it work. Find volunteer positions that will get you out of the house, help you make connections, and beef up your resume. Learn about the culture of wherever you’re living. Stationed in Louisiana? Take a southern cooking class. In Alaska? Learn how to fish. Living in Germany? Take a basic language course. At the very least, step off base and broaden your horizons a little. There are so many potential adventures as a military spouse that, if you took your blinders off and stepped out of your poor-woe-is-me box, you might find some paths to true fun.
Your other option is divorce. You can be like, “Oh, crap, I didn’t realize when I married you that life was going to be like THIS. I can’t do THIS. I love you, but I hate THIS. I gotta go.” And then you find a lawyer and file the papers.
Can’t do that? Aren’t ready to throw in the towel just yet? Then TRY HARDER. This is what you signed up for. You don’t get to bitch and moan about major life disruptions when you literally signed up for major life disruptions. You pull up your big girl panties and try harder. Be a better wife. Don’t be the woman your husband comes home to after working 14 hours who hasn’t left the house all damn day and hasn’t spoken to another person because who-knows-why and is all, “WAH! Major life disruptions!” You know who else has major life disruptions? People in the military! And you don’t hear them crying about it all the time. Why? Because it’s what they signed up for. It’s what they expect. It comes with the territory. And it comes with the territory of a military spouse, too. So, either step up and deal or MOA.
I’m sorry if you thought you were going to get some sympathy from me and got a stern lecture instead. I do have a lot of respect for military families and the sacrifices they make. But I get increasingly frustrated by people who touch a hot stovetop and then wail that they burned their hand and want sympathy because it hurts so bad. I’m sorry, but you’re an adult. Don’t touch a hot stovetop if you don’t want a burned hand. And don’t freaking marry a guy in the army if you don’t want to give up your job, leave your family and move every 2-3 years. And don’t marry someone you know isn’t very emotional or comforting and then complain when he doesn’t do a better job understanding your emotions and comforting you. It’s called looking ahead. If you don’t like the view, don’t go that route.
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