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Thread: Seriously struggling....

  1. Old Newbie
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    #1

    Seriously struggling....

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    I barely know where to start. I've been married for ten years, husband has been in the army for the last 9. We have 3 children- 10, 8 and almost 2. We've been through two deployments, several TDY's, training exercises, etc...After a brief tour in Afghanistan (he met a unit downrange following our PCS), he came back...different. He quit caring about being involved in family things. He stopped participating in just about everything...he kind of became another piece of furniture in the living room. He wasn't mean or abusive or anything, just...checked out I guess would be the best way to describe it. Which sucked because I was just so glad he came home, so ready to start our new duty station life in a tropical setting. But instead we began arguing. Non-stop because I was trying to figure out what was going on and he was busy figuring out how to keep being this unreachable person. It went on like this for months- sometimes our fights would get loud and upsetting and he would leave for the night- grab his tent and one of our dogs. Then we would go a few weeks without incident- he still wasn't being normal by any means, but it felt like we had gotten over the hump and were heading towards "normal" again. But that never happened. It got worse until finally about a month ago I agreed to a separation- not anything legal or binding, just him staying somewhere else to give us each some breathing room. The problem with that is that we have three children- and I became quickly overwhelmed with emotions as I began to be angry that he was like practically down the street and I was left here to do EVERYTHING by myself. In hindsight, I know that I shouldn't have gotten mad- I agreed to it as a means to figure out what we needed to do to work on our marriage. He isn't ready to talk about things and all I have asked of him is to be reasonable- I feel that while he thinks maybe ending our marriage will suddenly improve everything, I feel that while we are still hurt and angry about some past issues, that's not the right direction for us at THIS moment. I love him, I want to work things out and I understand that sometimes things have to end, I'm not blind to that. I just feel like we have to reach a level playing field in order to be rational about what the BEST thing for us could be. I also feel like some people think ending a relationship is an easy out- I believe in fighting for what is right. I believe in commitment and making the best out of the life we were given to live- not disposing of things because it may be "easier."
    I'm not saying that if you've ended your marriage it's wrong- I know its what is best for some. But I know in my heart, underneath the pain this is causing, that this isn't right. I'm very big on following my feelings, on knowing instinctively when something is wrong...but I don't feel that about our situation. I am committed to this man and our family and I just want to make it better. I am hoping that by backing off, treating this separation like one of the many times he has been away from home...maybe it will work out. He's unhappy at work and about situations involving his parents and I just think he's confused about what he needs to work on. He's trying to push me away. I worry about his drinking, especially because alcoholism runs in his family. I worry about where he's at mentally.
    I'm not sure what I'm looking for by writing this. Maybe just someone to tell me that while things can get difficult, they can also get better I am an optimist, hopelessly in love with my soldier.
  2. "If you don't like my attitude, quit talking to me"
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    #2
    Has he been tested/evaluated for PTSD? or just plain depression?

    It sounds to me like something happened on his deployment and TDYs that has greatly affected him.

    If he hasn't been evaluated, he needs to. Counseling, both individual and family would be what I suggest at this point, in addition to his PTSD eval.

    There are 10 types of people in the world, those that understand binary and those that don't
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    #3
    I am so sorry you're having this issue. Have you or he considered the possibility this is a manifestation of PTSD? Is he open to counseling at all or willing to maybe talk with your pastor if you're churchgoing? I am sending you positive thoughts and hope this works out for you.
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    #4
    I'm so sorry you're going through this OP. Have you talked about going to marital counseling together??

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    #5
    Quote Originally Posted by mom2girlsx3 View Post
    I barely know where to start. I've been married for ten years, husband has been in the army for the last 9. We have 3 children- 10, 8 and almost 2. We've been through two deployments, several TDY's, training exercises, etc...After a brief tour in Afghanistan (he met a unit downrange following our PCS), he came back...different. He quit caring about being involved in family things. He stopped participating in just about everything...he kind of became another piece of furniture in the living room. He wasn't mean or abusive or anything, just...checked out I guess would be the best way to describe it. Which sucked because I was just so glad he came home, so ready to start our new duty station life in a tropical setting. But instead we began arguing. Non-stop because I was trying to figure out what was going on and he was busy figuring out how to keep being this unreachable person. It went on like this for months- sometimes our fights would get loud and upsetting and he would leave for the night- grab his tent and one of our dogs. Then we would go a few weeks without incident- he still wasn't being normal by any means, but it felt like we had gotten over the hump and were heading towards "normal" again. But that never happened. It got worse until finally about a month ago I agreed to a separation- not anything legal or binding, just him staying somewhere else to give us each some breathing room. The problem with that is that we have three children- and I became quickly overwhelmed with emotions as I began to be angry that he was like practically down the street and I was left here to do EVERYTHING by myself. In hindsight, I know that I shouldn't have gotten mad- I agreed to it as a means to figure out what we needed to do to work on our marriage. He isn't ready to talk about things and all I have asked of him is to be reasonable- I feel that while he thinks maybe ending our marriage will suddenly improve everything, I feel that while we are still hurt and angry about some past issues, that's not the right direction for us at THIS moment. I love him, I want to work things out and I understand that sometimes things have to end, I'm not blind to that. I just feel like we have to reach a level playing field in order to be rational about what the BEST thing for us could be. I also feel like some people think ending a relationship is an easy out- I believe in fighting for what is right. I believe in commitment and making the best out of the life we were given to live- not disposing of things because it may be "easier."
    I'm not saying that if you've ended your marriage it's wrong- I know its what is best for some. But I know in my heart, underneath the pain this is causing, that this isn't right. I'm very big on following my feelings, on knowing instinctively when something is wrong...but I don't feel that about our situation. I am committed to this man and our family and I just want to make it better. I am hoping that by backing off, treating this separation like one of the many times he has been away from home...maybe it will work out. He's unhappy at work and about situations involving his parents and I just think he's confused about what he needs to work on. He's trying to push me away. I worry about his drinking, especially because alcoholism runs in his family. I worry about where he's at mentally.
    I'm not sure what I'm looking for by writing this. Maybe just someone to tell me that while things can get difficult, they can also get better I am an optimist, hopelessly in love with my soldier.
    I would look into counseling (both individually and together). When it all comes down to it, it's important to go into this realistically and on the same page.

    I wish you the best of luck!!
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    #6
    I'm so sorry you are struggling and hurting.

    Is he willing to go to counseling (both individual and couples)? Without that, I can't see why things would change, so that would be my primary focus. I'd get myself into therapy and insist that if he wanted to even try to keep our family in tact, he agree to therapy both on his own and with you.

    Keep in mind that right now, your children are learning what relationship are, how they work and how people are supposed to be treated. Of course it is admirable that you want to keep your marriage in tact, but if your kids are having unhealthy relationships modeled for them (and right now, they are), that can be far more damaging than a divorce. And having a dad with mental health issues (if he does have PTS, depression, or some other MI issue) and who comes and goes is leaving them in a very unstable, unreliable environment.

    Healthy parents with healthy boundaries is far better for kids than married parents in an unhealthy relationship and with unhealthy issues. So focus on getting yourself healthy and doing what you can to get DH and your marriage healthy as well. That is best for everyone, whether it ends up healing the relationship, or just you and (hopefully) DH.
    Science always wins over bullshit. ~Dick Rutkowski
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    #7
    **Update** of sorts. My husband and I stayed separated up until about mid-December. He agreed to seek counseling, starting with his chaplain, to see if it would help. He spent his whole Christmas leave at home and while things seemed to be a little tense, they were so much better than what we had been living like before. I had also gone to talk to someone and it helped me figure out a lot of my emotions. The holidays weren't stressful, the girls were so happy that he was home.
    And then like a light switch, two days ago I asked him a very simple question about something I had found laying on the floor. It was some sort of cartridge or something for an e-cigarette. I wasn't aware that he was smoking, so I asked him. And he immediately went right back into "I'm done" mode. I was shocked. Not because we were close to being on the road to reconciliation, we were just trying to see where we were headed, but because it was so all of a sudden.
    So at this point, I feel more convinced then ever that what we are dealing with really isn't any sort of marital issue because I can say with certainty that I hadn't done anything wrong. I am ready for him to file separation papers because we need the kind of break we won't get where we are living right now. But I am worried about his state of mind. I don't believe he is suicidal, but I am afraid he's suffering from something else. What is a gentle, kind way for me to ask him to consider getting evaluated for PTSD or even depression? Can it affect his job if he goes to do something like that? He is so afraid of what people might think. What about one of those military life consultants- are they helpful? Any advice is appreciated. Even if we don't stay married, I still don't want anything to happen to him and before I leave with our children, I want to know that he's okay. In my heart I still love him, I want to support him in any way I can. Thanks
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    #8
    Why does he have to file papers? If you want it and are ready you don't need to wait for him.
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    #9
    I've never heard of a "military life consultant", but it sounds like kind of BS.

    As for whether it can affect his career, does it really matter? If he's sick and needs help, that is the most important thing.

    I also think maybe instead of waiting for him to file papers, maybe it would be helpful for you in many ways to do it yourself. I'm not sure if you mean divorce when you say "separation papers". I would file (for divorce, since there's no good reason to think the next Last Chance will end any differently than this Last Chance did), and tell him basically what you told us--that you still care about him and want to support him, and that you are worried and hope he'll seek out help. But in the end, you can't make him get help. You can't know that he's okay. Sadly, that's not the way life works. You can know that you did what you could that you planted the seed, and then remind yourself that the rest is out of your hands. You can't save him or fix him or rescue him. Only he can do that, and he may not be ready yet, or ever. Work on accepting that, and knowing that all you can control is your own life.
    Science always wins over bullshit. ~Dick Rutkowski
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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by villanelle View Post
    I've never heard of a "military life consultant", but it sounds like kind of BS.

    As for whether it can affect his career, does it really matter? If he's sick and needs help, that is the most important thing.

    I also think maybe instead of waiting for him to file papers, maybe it would be helpful for you in many ways to do it yourself. I'm not sure if you mean divorce when you say "separation papers". I would file (for divorce, since there's no good reason to think the next Last Chance will end any differently than this Last Chance did), and tell him basically what you told us--that you still care about him and want to support him, and that you are worried and hope he'll seek out help. But in the end, you can't make him get help. You can't know that he's okay. Sadly, that's not the way life works. You can know that you did what you could that you planted the seed, and then remind yourself that the rest is out of your hands. You can't save him or fix him or rescue him. Only he can do that, and he may not be ready yet, or ever. Work on accepting that, and knowing that all you can control is your own life.
    The AF has MFLC (military family life consultant)... Licensed counselors.
    I'm not Lynn, but we ARE MSOS Best Friends and MSOS Twins.
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