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Ms. Vicki: She's 47, I'm 22

Ask Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I met the woman of my dreams about six months ago. I’m 22 and she is 47. She has two children and has been married twice. One husband was very abusive to her. She still has vivid memories of the abuse and cries a lot.

I want to marry her and make it better. She needs to know that all men are not dogs, liars and abusers. I am a good man and off to a great Army career. I want to marry her before I deploy next month. This way I can make sure she and her children are taken care of and have benefits.

My parents have told me that this is a mistake and they will not attend my wedding. I cannot believe they feel like this. They should be happy for me and glad that I have found the person that I love. My fiancé says that true love is hard to understand. I’m wondering how can I get my parents to understand and give me their support.

Sincerely,
#20 And Ready

Dear Ready #20,

Perhaps you’ve made your decision and you will do what you want no matter what your parents think. Maybe you won’t take my advice either, but I agree with your parents. I think you need to cool your jets.

I believe your girlfriend used some of her other skills to reel you in like a pro fisherman in a bass tournament. She obviously found a good catch.

At any rate, use some common judgment and wait. If you marry her you will be biting off more than you can chew at the moment. You will have to worry about her and two children during this deployment when you should be focusing on other things. All of her problems will become your problems and you just don’t need to be obligated to her or her children right now.

If you send me her location I will look for some area resources to help her with her past abuse. I will also explore other social service resources that could be useful to her and the children.

I’m all for marriage but my answer is: NO, DON’T DO IT! During this deployment let her depend on her family and friends to help her. More importantly, it’s time for her to learn to stand on her own two feet.

Sincerely,
Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I’ve been a Navy wife for 15 years. I couldn’t wait for this day to come when all of my four children would be in school so I could finally get a paid job. Hooray for me, I can get PAID for all of my knowledge and skills -- or so I thought.

I was told to volunteer on base because it equates to real work experience that an employer will respect. Well, Ms. Vicki, I have had had every door closed in my face!

For the last seven years I have volunteered at my children’s school, in the Family Services Office and with the Red Cross. I have been looking for a job and I have been unsuccessful.

They say I’m not qualified and I can’t believe it. Even some of the same places that I have volunteered won’t hire me when they have an opening. They have been holding jobs for a friend or a spouse whose husband has a higher rank than mine.

I feel like all of these years of countless volunteer hours has not helped me. Ms. Vicki, maybe wives shouldn’t provide all of these free work hours to places on base. Volunteering has been a joke and I won’t do it anymore, not ever. Why would the Navy take advantage of spouses like this?

Sincerely,
An Unappreciated Navy Wife

Dear Navy Wife,

I think you are being too hard on yourself. Surely you have learned and acquired numerous skills from your volunteer work. I don’t think you have been taken advantage of. Conversely, when it comes to partiality and favoritism that you have experienced, this is not fair or equitable.

There is hope. Perhaps you need to get some help tailoring your resume to highlight certain skills and knowledge. You should seek some help at the Fleet and Family Services. They should have a family member employment section that will help with resume writing, practicing job interviews and even assistance with job search. They will also educate and assist you with a federal job search on USAJOBS as well as your local community.

Consider taking some classes at your local community college that will provide a certificate or diploma is a specialized area like computer IT, nursing, etc. Many programs in community colleges can be completed in a few months or one to two years at most.

I’m sorry to hear that your job search has been so negative, but things can turn around for you. Volunteering is great and honorable! Please don’t believe that you dedicated all of those hours for nothing. Allow me to say, "Thank you for your service!"

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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