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She Didn't Follow Him to Japan. Is Their Marriage Over?

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I been married for eight years, and my husband has been in the service for a little over a year. We've been through a lot of struggles, and it has taken a lot of prayer to make our marriage work. But, at the end of every obstacle, I have always felt like our love grew stronger.

Now we're facing our worst obstacle yet.

The duty station he chose was Japan, and I decided to stay behind for college. I thought that if we trusted each other and our love was strong enough, we could endure two years of being apart.

In the beginning, it was effortless. Every accomplishment he had, I would be the first to know about. Whenever I needed a shoulder of support, he would always make time to talk to me.

Since October, everything has changed. Facebook knows about his life before I do. He ignores more than half of the texts I send to him. I understand servicemen have a job to do and they are 10 times busier than civilians, but I can't wrap my mind around how he has time for Facebook but not for me.

Even when he was in boot camp, I had a letter coming in every week. He made time for me, and I had no doubt that he loved me.

The biggest red flag for me was the time I asked for help and he said he didn't want to support me. My employer had warned me that I might get laid off. When I told my husband, he acted as if he didn't want to help me. Lately, he seems so angry and easily triggered. When I try to address this with him, he ignores what I've texted.

I'm lost. I don't know how eight years can change so quickly. I feel responsible since I didn't follow him to Japan. I always think, "What if I had moved with him, maybe all of this would have never happened."

The husband I had was everything I ever wanted. Now I feel like he's gone. I understand the military will change a person, but I didn't expect him to care less about me. I'm not sure if I should be patient or if this is a sign that our marriage over.

Thanks for listening.

-- Ignored and Abandoned

Dear Ignored and Abandoned,

Yes, this is a sign that something is definitely wrong. Eight years is a long marriage, but honestly two years is a long time to be separated from your spouse.

You can choose to join him in Japan to work on your marriage or you can stay where you are and complete your degree. If he doesn't want you to join him, then I would say something is definitely wrong and your marriage could very well be over.

At this time, your red flags should be waving: He's not responding to your messages, he's in a bad mood when he speaks to you and, most importantly, he doesn't want to be supportive for you. How interesting. It's like all of a sudden, he doesn't think you are his responsibility.

So here's the deal: You don't have to be in a rush to make any decisions. You have options.

First, as I mentioned earlier, you can go to Japan and join him.

Second, you can advise him again about your financial situation because you were laid off of your job. Let him know how much you need him to support you while you are in school. If he refuses to help, you can get his command involved. He has to provide you financial support because you are his wife. Be prepared for him to tell you to get another job. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Think about it: Since he is behaving in a way that makes you distrust him, you may want to find a way to financially support yourself.

Lastly, if he tells you that he wants a divorce or a separation, visit with the legal office at your nearest military installation for advice.

He may want to make a verbal agreement about his financial support, but I would advise you not to do that. Don't believe any verbal agreement. He could very well have another woman whispering in his ear. It's about close proximity, and you're the one who is far away.

I regret sounding like this is a lost cause, but I've seen this happen too many times when the service member, both men and women, move away from their spouses or significant others and hook up with other people and never look back.

Keep in touch and let me know what you decide to do.

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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