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Disabled Vet Wants Her Full-Time Attention

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I have been married for three years to a disabled veteran. He is bipolar and has PTSD

During the first year of our marriage, we purchased a home. Not only did I have to learn a whole new commute to my job, but I had to learn how to cook every day, clean a house, and tend to him, the dog and my daughter.  

My husband and I had drifted apart due to my commute and him not understanding that I couldn't sit with him for three hours to talk the minute I got home.

His major complaints now are that I leave him alone too much and I do not communicate with him.

I have tried several things, like giving him all my weekends, just doing what he wants to do, following him around the house, helping him with whatever he needs help with, and conversing with him for hours.

I did all the things he said I wasn't doing for him. At the end of the day, he wanted more.

My husband has stated that he needs around-the-clock care. I can't give him what he needs. He would prefer someone who could make him their full-time job.

He also wants the woman in his life to look and act a certain way. I was recently told that if I didn't buy a specific brand of handbag I couldn't get in his car because I represented him and he only gets the finest in life.

My husband has started looking online to meet a woman who can satisfy his need to communicate with him. He told me he was going to do it if I didn't change and he has also given me timelines and has been testing me on many different levels.

Ms. Vicki, I need assistance to determine if he is just a controlling man or a disabled veteran that I should try and understand?

Wife of Vet

Dear Wife,

Being a disabled veteran is tough (if this is, in fact, true about his disability). His life has changed tremendously. This can cause a person to lose their confidence, self-esteem and self-worth. He may feel safer when he is with someone rather than being alone.

That said, your husband could be both controlling and disabled, too. 

The part of your letter that grabs my attention is when you said your husband is searching online for other women who can meet his needs more than you. This suggests the end of your marriage could be near.

There are many things that could happen. You could encourage your husband to get treatment for his mental health diagnosis through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

You could seek marriage therapy to help negotiate roles, responsibilities and increase more positive communication..

You could communicate with your husband about how miserable you are and that things have to change.

You could continue to live in your marriage the way it is presently. I think you get my point: this is a tough situation. No matter what you do, it is going to take effort from you. I appreciate you taking the time from your schedule to write to me. Check in again when you can.

Ms. Vicki

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Ms. Vicki, 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. Her column has appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Ms. Vicki has retired from writing new columns for Although Ms. Vicki is no longer offering new advice on, you can still email military benefits questions to our Questions and Benefits team. Need military spouse career help? Email our Dear Career writers.