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Vintage Vicki: No Interest in Another PCS Move

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

Over the last 17 years of being a military spouse, I have moved to a few of the duty stations my husband was assigned to. 

Our marriage began with him being stationed on a remote assignment for a year. Thereafter, I accompanied him to his next duty station overseas, where he was deployed after we had a baby. 

We have been stationed in a few other places together, but because he was going to be deployed or attend a long-term military school in conjunction with a deployment, the children and I stayed put. 

Our last duty station together is closer to family, and I have obtained my professional licensing within the last few months. I was able to complete school, and I am ready to pursue the dream I've put off for so long. 

His new duty assignment will be on the other side of the U.S. from where our current home is located. 

There are several other factors that make it difficult to live with him daily, but one of them is PTSD and the symptoms accompanying it.

I have a vision for my career, and it doesn't involve moving across the U.S. At this point in time, he can't give me a decision on whether this will be his last PCS or if he will stay in beyond 20 years.

I'm tired of living in limbo and really have no desire to PCS. What should I do?

Sincerely,
Mrs. Distraught

Dear Mrs. Distraught,

Military couples sometimes decide that the spouse will stay in one location for the benefit of their children. Or to complete an educational goal. Or because the spouse has a unique career opportunity that could develop into something great.

As a result, servicemembers will go to their next duty station as a geographical bachelor/bachelorette. This can work for families depending on their goals and current situation.

In your situation, something else seems to be going on. What’s below the tip of the iceberg that could be the main focus of attention?

I think this is more than just an issue with relocation or a geographic bachelor tour. If I could be very honest, I think this signals that your marriage is at a serious crossroads and it could be over.

I think his absences (albeit for his military career) and his PTSD symptoms are two important factors for you to consider.

Main point: I think something has happened to make you not trust your husband the way you once did.

I don’t mean there has been infidelity, but I think you have emotionally “checked out” of this marriage. I’m trying to help you figure out why.

You see, you don’t have to PCS with him. You have every right to exercise free will and choose to continue your education and further your career too.

There are no written rules that say military spouses give up opportunities for personal and individual growth. (Well, even if there was written rules on this issue, I wouldn’t follow them.)

I think you should consider marriage counseling with your husband. If he has been diagnosed with PTSD, his symptoms should be addressed so he can have insight about how this is affecting his marriage.

If he doesn’t agree to counseling, I would still recommend individual counseling for you so that you can continue to address this situation. Please keep in touch.

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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