Vintage Vicki: Marriage Woes

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I am a proud Army wife of almost 6 years. My husband and I met 7 years ago, we have been married almost 6 years and he has been in the Army 10 years. We have three great kids together --  one is special needs and requires nursing care which TRICARE pays for, I am not allowed to work outside the home, because TRICARE does not allow it. My husband and I have been though two deployments together, one while we were dating and the other while married. We have been fighting a lot lately -- so much that we cannot be in the same room with each other, I know most of it is because of finances. We purchased a van as is and it turns out that the van was a piece of junk, I didn't even want the van to began with. I tried to take it back to the dealer but they wouldn't take it back, I am in the process of seeking legal advice, but until then we had to go out and purchase another van so I can take our special needs child to doctor appointments.

I don't know what to do about my husband, we go through these huge blow outs every two maybe three months and when we do he talks about divorce. I have suggested many times that we go to marriage counseling and he has refused he says we have tried it and it doesn't work, we have been to two sessions and one marriage retreat in the past five years. The last session the therapist said he has PTSD but he refused to listen. His fuse is getting shorter and this last time we had a big blow-out I was so scared I thought he was going to hit me. He snaps at the little things and we cannot have a discussion without arguing. He tells me that marriage counseling is off the table, and the only reason I want him to go to marriage counseling is because I want him to get diagnosed, which I have to admit is partly true. I also want to work on our marriage and I want to see if I am doing something wrong too.

I really want to my marriage to work; he has gone as far as to tell me I am unsupportive of his career. I have always been supportive of him and his career, and I always make sure the household is taken care of. I don't drink, smoke or take drugs, I see so many other wives out partying and clubbing and cheating, I don't do any of those things. I am contemplating going back to Colorado but I love my husband.

Signed,
Confused

Dear Confused,

Your marriage is going through something that is very stressful. You have marriage stress, children and some financial concerns too, all of which are major reasons for divorce. Moreover, if the anger and resentment gets worse it could do irreparable damage to your marriage. I’m in your corner and I believe your marriage is salvageable. Your children need stability and the care of both parents, specifically your child with special needs. If your husband doesn’t want to go to marriage counseling you should still go and speak to a clinical social worker, or a professional counselor. It’s important for you to be healthy and continue to grow. I would avoid moving back to Colorado. This could be devastating for your children. On the other hand, if you were leaving because of abuse or if you feared for your personal safety then I would advise you to leave right now. Otherwise, I think it’s important for you to start seeing a therapist who can help provide support and insight. You mentioned that your son receives nursing assistance through TRICARE and because of this, you cannot work. Can you tell me more about that? Please stay in touch and let me know what you decide to do.

Sincerely,
Ms. Vicki

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Dear Ms. Vicki,

I am married but separated from a man who is a reservist in the Air Force. We have been separated for 3 years now. I left him due to infidelity and emotional abuse. I am writing because he has gotten married. Yes, married and we are not divorced. After doing some research I found out who his master sergeant is and wrote to him about this. That was more than 3 months ago and I have heard nothing. I have tried to follow up via telephone and no one will speak to me. Interestingly enough my husband filed for divorce 3 weeks ago. I have not gotten the papers yet (he decided to have me served at work and I will not allow that particular embarrassment to take place). I mention this fact because I believe he was told by someone (military) to handle this (divorcing one or the other of us).

Some additional things:
1. I have cancer and have limited funds for an attorney, thus my research and going to the military directly on this.
2. I am not over-wrought about a divorce, although I am bothered by his bigamy.
3. He married this other person April of this year (2011). I found out about it in June.
4. I called the JAG on base and was summarily rejected, really harshly with a “we don’t handle things like this” and “I cannot tell you who to contact”!

Any advice you could give me on how to proceed would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,
KAD

Dear KAD,

What is the world is going on? Bigamy? Has anything changed since you initially wrote to me? It sounds like you have done a great job of writing letters and getting others involved. Did you also contact IG or the legal department? If so, what did they say? Did you contact your local congressman/woman? If you contact them and report this either they will or a member of their staff will help you with this issue. I cannot believe the Air Force is not investigating this. I hope you are doing ok and getting the support and help you need from close family and friends. You really don’t need the additional stress especially with what is going on with your health. Please stay in touch with me and let me know how you are doing and how I can help you further.

Sincerely,
Ms. Vicki

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About

Ms. Vicki is a native of Dallas, is married to an active-duty Soldier and has three sons. She has a Master's of Science in Social Work from the University of Louisville, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and currently works as a therapist with military servicemembers and their families. She provides services for a wide array of concerns such as combat stress, PTSD, couples and marital problems, depression, grief and loss, stress and coping.

Ms. Vicki also writes an advice column "Dear Ms. Vicki" that appears in the Washington Times, the Fort Campbell Courier and the Heidelberg Herald Post. Ms. Vicki also hosts an internet radio show and blogs on her community site with the Washington Times. If you want to ask Ms. Vicki for advice about your military life, please email her at AskMsVicki@military-inc.com.

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