Dear Ms. Vicki,
My husband joined the Air Force less than a year ago. The plan was that the military was supposed to be a stepping stone for us. These six years were supposed to be time to start our family and time to get my husband the experience he needed to continue his career in law enforcement.
Then I was going to get my turn at following my dream of opening a pet store. It's more than just a store, really. I want my store and my family to be a part of the community that it is in. I want it to be mine forever.
I have been working toward this dream for a long time. I didn't mind putting it off a little longer for my husband, so that he could put some time in for his career. But he has been very lucky so far with the Air Force. He loves his job and the people he works with, and we even get to live in Europe for a while.
Now he is talking about staying in for 20 years. It is too long for me. I will be 50 years old before I get to open my store. My husband even suggested that we just live apart while I have my store. He treats it like it’s a temporary dream or like I’ll fail and come home with my tail between my legs.
How would our life even work if we did that? Would I take the kids and raise them by myself while running a business while he is God-knows-where in the world and we never see each other and he never sees our children?
I think he is caught up in the luck and stability he has had in the past few months and he doesn't have faith in us or in me to be successful. Now we can't even talk about it without fighting.
He won't budge and I am terrified. I feel like I have to give up half of my life -- either my husband or my dream. I don't know what to do. Ms. Vicki, do you have any advice for us on how to solve this issue?
Torn and Confused
Dear Torn and Confused,
Trust me, this is not the time to let your dreams and your husband’s dreams ruin your marriage. You have dreams, as you should. My advice to you is to keep your dreams.
However, you have to understand that you can accomplish amazing things at 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 and beyond. It doesn’t have to be "my dream has to happen right now."
I can visualize your pet store in your community right now. I can see myself inside the store buying a Himalayan cat. LOL.
Here’s the deal: It sounds like your husband has made a wise decision to join the Air Force. From your report, it’s been a great career move for him and you are proud of him, right? You even say you are enjoying the military life and the new opportunities to travel abroad, right?
Then what’s the arguing about? Your dream is not over. There are many opportunities for you to work in a pet store, learn more about operating a pet business, learn more about pets, learn to write your business plan, learn how to get business loans for your store etc.
Think of your quest for a store like a trip to California. Let’s say you are flying from Florida to California. Your destination is California, but you may have a layover in Texas. Stopping in Texas is OK because you know you are headed to California. Your job is to take advantage of every opportunity in Texas because it will help when you get to your destination.
Listen, your dream is not deferred or delayed. It will be right on time. I think you should support your husband because it sounds like he is trying to do the right thing for you and his family. In the meantime, set some short-term goals so you can have a sense of accomplishment. Keep in touch!
|Family and Spouse Ask Ms. Vicki|
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.