He Was Unfaithful While Stationed Overseas: What Next?

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I am going through a difficult time right now in my marriage. Upon arriving in Germany for our first duty station, I discovered that my husband had an affair during our seven months of separation. (It took the Army seven months to grant command sponsorship for me and my son.)

Naturally, I would be willing to forgive him because I made up my mind from the beginning to be a supportive military wife for my husband, no matter what. I have given up so much of myself this past year doing so thus far.

The reason I am having a hard time forgiving him is because of how I found out he cheated. Long story short, the clinic diagnosed me with a venereal infection. He finally confessed that he had cheated. He also confessed that he did not wear a condom and didn't get tested.

He also lied to me three times about how it happened and with whom before he finally "told me the truth."

Ms. Vicki, my husband has changed, and he disgusts me now. We tried counseling here on post, but the counselor was horrible! She even justified his actions by saying, "It's common for soldiers to socialize with other soldiers in the absence of their spouses."

I've tried to have sex with him when he has asked, but I feel overwhelmingly sick and filthy the entire time. I just can't anymore!

Am I overreacting? Is this something that I should easily get over? I am very depressed right now. We don't talk to each other, and I'm afraid that my son is starting to notice. He's making comments and even said one day that he does not want us to divorce.

I am in a strange country with no family or friends. I feel alone. Jobs and career advancement opportunities are very limited over here. I am barely making money for me to be financially independent and do things solo with my son.

I just don't know what to do. What do you suggest I do to best cope with this situation?

-- Dee

Dear Dee,

Nothing that anyone can say will make you feel better about this situation. Right now, your marriage is in real trouble.

I admire you for seeking marriage counseling. However, just because you don't like the first therapist doesn't mean you stop seeking treatment. You have to find another one who is a good fit.

Think about it: If you go to the doctor for an ailment and you don't like the doctor, would you give up on doctors and do nothing about the ailment? Heavens, no, you would find another doctor. If not, the ailment or condition will only get worse.

This is the plight of your marriage right now. Your marriage is barely breathing, and it needs life support. Here are four things you can do right now:

1. Find another therapist.

The first thing I would suggest is finding another therapist. Moreover, you could use an individual therapist too, because you are in a new environment without close family or friends. This is stressful and depressing. You need the support of a therapist.

2.Take a hard look at our culture.

Let me be honest and explain some things. We live in a very "hook-up" culture. I'm not saying it's right, but it's very common. I don't think you are overreacting. I know this must have been a big shock to you, but you have to know that marriages do survive cheating scandals.

3. Stop asking for "the truth."

It will be very difficult for your husband to open up and candidly express everything he did sexually with another woman. In my opinion, I think this knowledge would only make you angrier. However, you know what you need better than I do, so I can support you in everything you need to know. Just know you could get some resistance.

4. Keep working on your own life.

You are already taking good steps by making a little money and doing things on your own with your son. It may be difficult, but you have to build a network of friends and support where you are and continue to look for employment opportunities. Don't give up! It may take time, but everything will start to come together.

Please write me back and let me know if you decided to leave or stay and fight it out.

-- Ms. Vicki

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