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Don't Give Up Everything for Service Member

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

My husband and I were high school sweethearts. I finished my bachelor's degree as a pre-med major and planned to become a medical doctor.

My fiancé went to a military academy and became a commissioned officer. He begged me to leave my dreams behind to follow him.

Honestly, I wanted to be with him more than anything so it wasn't a hard sell.

Now, he has climbed the social ranks of the elite officers, with my life completely revolving around him. I totally understand this comes with his career, but he is very disrespectful toward me because I'm just a stay-at-home mother.

If we are watching the news and I make a valid point about a situation, he will immediately shut me down like I'm stupid. He always second-guesses me and disagrees with me on everything. I have to basically get approval from him before I spend a dime.

At the same time, my husband will give any of his female counterparts the ultimate respect. He praises them: She's so high speed. She's super athletic and fit. She's intelligent. She hung the moon.

I can't even get a thank you for running the household. His criticism is getting to be too much.

I have given up everything for this man to make him successful, but I haven't received anything in return. How do I get that respect back?

Sincerely,
Frustrated

Dear Frustrated,

Please allow me to compare your life to a puzzle. Right now, your puzzle is not finished or complete. Instead, the pieces of your puzzle are scattered all over the floor.

Let me try to help you put some of the important pieces together real quickly, but remember, you have to look at the finished picture and decide if it looks right.

My first advice is that none of us should ever give up  "everything" for another person. You will never be happy if you do that.

Second, we should never expect another person to meet our every need. They just can't do it.

Here's the deal and excuse my grammar: You gotta get you back to you. When you look at the pieces you have here -- education, marriage, children -- the piece that is missing is not what your husband's female co-workers do or your husband's lack of respect.

As I put a few pieces of your puzzle together, I find this is more about how you feel about yourself and less about your husband's actions. He is only doing what you allow him to do.

It sounds like the piece that is missing is your own career. I won't go on and on, but I think you want to complete your education, right? I think you should visit your education center on base/post and inquire about how to proceed with your professional goals.

You may have to do what my grandmother called "robbing Peter to pay Paul." In other words, you will never be in a perfect situation with money, relationships, or the right duty station, but somehow you take something from one area to make things work in a different area.

Maybe you manage on six hours of sleep instead of eight to complete your educational or career goals. Maybe you don't spend as much time revolving around him and you start revolving around what you need to do in order to be the worker, wife and mother you want to be. That's where self-respect starts.

Let me know how it goes.

Sincerely,
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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