Dear Ms. Vicki,
My husband enlisted in the Navy at a late age, 28. Before that, I was supporting us financially, and he had no long-term career plans or education.
It has been three years, and he has moved up the ranks quickly. However, my career and self-esteem have been severely affected. I am very career-oriented and didn't realize that my career options and marketability would plummet like they have.
I'm depressed, lonely and resentful that he gets to go out and be with co-workers on a ship doing exciting work while I'm stuck at home with all the childcare and housework responsibilities.
It has come to the point where I don't want to hear about his work, invite service members over or generally have anything to do with the military. I'm not very patriotic to begin with, and can't find career-oriented spouses who are also left-leaning or who also are interested in math and science, like I am.
I don't like this lifestyle, and he doesn't understand what I have given up. I want him to leave after his four-year commitment, but he doesn't want to.
How do I get over the resentment, and how can we make this work without me sacrificing everything I've worked for?
-- Liberal Wife
Dear Liberal Wife,
This sounds like a tough transition for you. It's very normal given your situation. Think about it: Before your husband joined the Navy, you were working in your career and supporting your family as the breadwinner. Now, you are home with the responsibilities of the children and housework.
However, I see this as a win-win for you. OK, so maybe it is boring being home and without adult conversation, but you get to be present for your children and spend more time with them. You're probably saying, "Blah blah blah ... " but you will look back and appreciate the additional time you had to be available to your children.
This is also good because you can have time to tweak your career and work toward some other things you are passionate about.
You said that he is making rank pretty quickly. Good for him! That means you didn't change your entire life for a husband who is not serious about his Navy career.
I totally understand what you are experiencing, and many other military spouses will too. You feel like you have lost your footing. You don't have any friends; you are lonely and depressed. However, you have to start looking at this as a unique opportunity to grow as an individual.
First, you have to stay positive. If you don't, your resentment and depression will get worse. Second, there are many ways for military spouses to network. Maybe you could start a blog and write about math and science. Third, you could start a meet-up for people who are interested in math and science. Last, I think you should stay in close contact with your family and friends from home and try to visit them often. Before you know it, you will be meeting friends and making connections.
The difficult part may be due to the fact that you are not patriotic. Being unpatriotic could cause you some problems, especially living on base and in the military community. I'm not saying you have to pretend and hide who you really are, but I am saying that, since your husband loves his job and is excelling, you may as well support him.
Thank you for writing me and for reading the column.
-- Ms. Vicki