Most Popular Relationships Articles

He Walked Out After 23 Years of Marriage, 4 Kids

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I am desperate for someone to tell me I'm not crazy.

My husband has walked out on our life together, and I feel like I'm losing it. I have been with my husband for 23 years. He has been in the Army for 17 years. He is now an officer.

We have had our problems, just as all couples do from time to time. We have four children, ages 7, 11, 13 and 16. We have lived all over the place, and he has been deployed five times. 

He recently attended a career course elsewhere and while he was there he started living like a single man. One day he called me and said that he wanted a divorce -- no ifs, ands or buts. He said that he had been unhappy for about seven years and he was tired of it. Just like that, my entire world flipped upside down.

He is done with the course now and is home again, and it has been a nightmare. He swears he isn't cheating, but I don't believe him. I have pictures from Facebook where he is in these inappropriate situations with two women. He refuses to tell our kids that he wants a divorce; he will only  tell them that we are parting ways.

He recently came down on orders back to Hawaii where we once lived together, and he says he is going alone. I'm so sad and upset all the time because, according to him, he has said everything that he needs to and refuses to discuss this with me.

He is verbally abusive when he gets mad, and I am just breaking down more each day. We are currently moving out of our rental home, because he said we had to. He told me to figure it out and find a place of my own.

I have always worked, but I recently switched careers due to the arguing we did while I was a restaurant manager. He hated my job so we decided that I would go into the medical field. Now I make less money, so I don't have the funds to move, or to do anything really.

I have always been there for him. I've supported him while he was gone or attending schools and now he is walking out on me. The kicker is that he is telling me he's only going to give what he wants to give me a month to help take care of the kids.

I have no idea what to do or where to start. I never thought this would be my life, so I never looked into what I'm entitled to as a military spouse. Any information or advice you can give me would be very much appreciated.

I am literally at my wits end. I have sought out counseling for myself because my anxiety and depression is at an all-time high. I just need to know that what I am feeling is valid.

Sincerely,
MiMi

Dear MiMi,

What you are feeling is very valid. I can understand this is quite shocking to you, it's depressing and it's anxiety provoking. However, you can't sit by and do nothing, especially because you said your husband is PCSing back to Hawaii. He could move there and act like he never had a wife and children.

Without a court order, you will be up a creek without a paddle. You need a court order for child and spousal support. Then, if he doesn't pay, you can present the court order to his commander and they are more apt to make him pay. Otherwise, your husband will simply send you whatever he wants and whenever he wants.

He will take his time with a divorce or even make you think he just needs a break when he never intends to rectify the problems in the marriage. You need legal advice and a legal separation. Don't try to make any verbal agreements with your husband because it won't mean anything. I regret saying this, but for him to do this to you after 23 years of marriage shows that you cannot trust him.

In his defense -- and by no means am I saying his actions are right -- but if he's saying he's been unhappy for seven years, well, that's a long time to be unhappy. Do you really want him to be with you when he is saying he's not happy with you and that he doesn't want to be with you? I don't think you do.

I believe you when you say you have been very supportive of your husband and his career. You do not deserve to be verbally abused or abandoned. Get legal help, reach out to family and friends, and if he continues to escalate and continues with the verbal abuse, you can contact a victim's advocate on your base and they can help you with other resources and services.

I hope this helps. Please stay in touch and let me know how you are doing.

Sincerely,
Ms. Vicki

Related Topics

Ask Ms. Vicki

Military News App by Military.com

Download the new Military.com News App for Android on Google Play or for Apple devices on iTunes!

Contributor

Ms. Vicki is a native of Dallas, has been the Dear Abby for the military community since her column began in 2005. A licensed therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Vicki holds a Master of Science in social work and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology.

Ms. Vicki appears regularly on Military.com and in the Fort Campbell Courier. Her column has also appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Looking for advice about your military life? Email Ms. Vicki here. Find Ms. Vicki on Facebook here.  Find Ms. Vicki on Twitter here.

© 2016 Military Advantage