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Does Being Overseas Complicate Divorcing an Unfaithful Spouse?

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I've been married to my husband a little over a year and a half. We decided to get married on a whim, and now I'm starting to understand why that's a really stupid decision for anyone.

I recently moved to Germany to be with him on post after spending all of this time apart. I've been here a little less than two months. My furniture hasn't even arrived yet.

It has been brought to my attention that my husband has been having an affair with his married staff sergeant. Her husband is also a soldier stationed here. This has apparently become the running joke in his troop, and I was the last to be made aware. There are text messages confirming their affair. I've read discussions about a pregnancy scare and a possible abortion.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time in our marriage that he's been unfaithful. This is why I've decided the best thing for us would be to get a divorce.

This is my first question: Where can I find legal counsel in Germany? Secondly, what would happen to my husband and his mistress if this was brought to their command? Do you think it is morally wrong for me to report them?

Sincerely,
Lost

Dear Lost,

Why are you questioning your morality? You're not the one who is cheating on your spouse. You have been a faithful, supportive wife who moved to another country to be with her husband. I don't understand why people say "I Do" when with their actions they say "with this ring I DON'T."

You've been married for a little over a year and already there's a cheating scandal. This is just too much, and I'm really sorry about all of this.

And why in the world would this be a running joke? People can be so callous. Surely you are experiencing a range of emotions: hurt, sadness, anger. I can totally understand all of them.

You should have a legal office on base in Germany. Usually, they have walk-in hours. If not, you can walk in or call and ask to make an appointment. Whatever you do, I don't think you should leave Germany without having some legal separation papers or some legal documentation of spousal support. If not, you will leave and it will be hard as woodpecker lips to get financial support from your husband. You'll be "out of sight-out of mind" while he's living it up with his girlfriend in Germany.

Now, you can tell his commanders about the affair -- just don't be surprised if nothing happens. Some commands choose to be punitive on these matters while others refuse to get involved. Many spouses have said they reported cheating scandals only to regret it later when the service member lost their career and income. Don't let this sway your decision, though.

I think you have to do what you think is beneficial and you have to look at everything globally. I think I would be more bothered by being married to someone who doesn't love me, who doesn't respect me and who doesn't want to be married to me. For this reason, my advice to you is to let him go and wish him luck.

I wish I could be more help to you. I hope you have other great people in your life who can be supportive during this stressful situation. Please keep in touch with me and let me know how you are doing.

-- Ms. Vicki

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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.

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