Is it normal for a deployed soldier to push away his family?

Kimber - posted on 08/06/2011 ( 19 moms have responded )

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My husband and I have been Married for 8 years and have two children, our daughter is 6 years old and our son is 3 years old. This is my husband 3rd deployment. Every time we have had a experiece where he thinks he is unhappy with our marriage. The 1st deployment he wanted freedom to go out and party... When he came home from that one he went back to his noramal self... The 2nd deployment was VERY BAD. All of the sudden out of the blue he wanted a divorce. He became very mean and would not talk to me, took me off his facebook pictures and took me off as his wife. When he came home for R & R he came back to his normal self and appoligized for everything and we were fine for the rest of the deployment. Once he came home from that deployment we became so much closer than we have ever been... During his last 2 years home his parents went threw a nasty divorce and my husband saw how much his mother was hurt and promised me he would never hurt me like that again. Like I said the last 2 years i have never felt closer to him... He got my name tattoed on him and we got matching tattos of "FOREVER" his idea. He got his on his ring finger. He has been happy and never showed signs of being unhappy... I mean you know how men are the only thing he ever complained about was not enough sex, but it was never fights... Before he left I can tell you how many flowers he brought home to me, he would by me my favorite chocolates... Was very loving and considerate... The day he left for Afghanistan he was so sad, and cried for the first time infront of everyone... I really thought we were gonna get threw this deployment ok. We talked everyday for almost 2 hours and he was doing good. Then about 3 weeks ago out of the blue he started sayin he liked being alone.... for about a week he was dead set on this being alone and then came around and apologized.... And was back to himeself telling me how much he loved me and telling me FOREVER.. Then he left for a mission and I know things got pretty rough and he was different when he called me this last week... I knew something was wrong when he called from his voice and he wouldnt say FOREVER when we hung up on the phone.... At first i thought well maybe he was stressed and tried to blow it off... But each day got worse... its only been a week since that call and he is hell bent he wants a divorce. He says he has been unhappy for years and only stayed because of the kids, which i know is a lie. I asked him what has made him change and he says he realized life was short... I just dont understand wouldnt you want your family closer than pushing them away. I asked him if he was so unhappy why did he say things he said like these are two messages he wrote on my facebook ----I love you so much... I thought about you all day today.. I am so lucky to have met you and married you... what were you thinking? Thru all the bull shit we have been thru and what ever comes next in our lives together it doesnt mean anything because we will have each other.. you gave me 2 bad ass kids that i would do anything for.. You, Boogie, and the shit machine are my everything.. not to metion you brought shelby into my life.. all and all I love you Kimber Williams FoReVeR
and another example is this one-----Im gonna miss you more than life itself, because life is nothing without you in it.. FoReVeR
There are others, but why would he write this stuff if he was so unhappy with me like he is trying to say... I ask him why he is so unhappy and he says I dont let him be himself... Which is CRAZY..... We revolve our lives around him and what he wants to do.. He rides dirtbikes and we go with him all the time cause that is what he wants and he hangs with his friend across the street drinking and having fun... And I dont mind cause I am friends with his wife. Everyone that knows my husband is in total shock and says something has to be wrong with him cause he is like a totally different person. He has gotten so bad now that he will not tell me he loves me or really even talk to me. He said he wanted alot of space so I have been leaving him alone and not messaging him, letting him come to me.. But he is being really mean for someone who doesnt want to be with me and be alone he messaged me 3 times yesterday.. He will ask me how are the kids, how is his mother, or tell the kids I love them. And it breaks my heart when he does it cause he is worried about everyone but me.. When I tell him how I feel he says, what do you want me to say? And his number one answer for most questions is " I dont know". If this is how you feel and what you want how do you not know... I just dont know what to do and all of this is killing me... He is my heart I love him so much and I know he is my soulmate and he is my bestfriend. I just dont understand why he changes so drastically over there. I know he is hanging out with a guy who is 19 and my husband is 26. So maybe he sees him and wants to be single... Is this normal? Like I said we have been threw this twice and he came back around so I am hoping he comes back around when he comes home in October for R&R. I just dont know what I should do? Do I give him space till October, some friends tell me let him see what being alone is gonna be like ( my husband has never been alone, when he is home he calls me 100 times if he is at house alone), im just so lost on what to do.... Like I said not talking to him is killing me but it seems like everytime I talk to him he just comes up with something else hurtful to say... Any advice would be so appreciated!!!!

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Billie - posted on 08/07/2011

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Kimber, you need to take care of yourself. I know what it's like being a military spouse, my life literally revolves around my husband and my children, but that's what I chose when we decided I'd be a stay at home mom until the babes hit school-age. But your husband is acting a fool, you need to show him what he's missing. Ignore him, if he can't respect you, don't give him the satisfaction of getting your attention! My husband and I have had tiffs, but nothing so serious as this since we've been married. When he's acting like a selfish jerk, don't give him the time of day. DO WHAT YOU NEED TO DO FOR YOURSELF AND YOUR KIDS. You need to start becoming dependent NOW. You do not need to rely on a guy like this, are you really gonna let him jerk you around for the rest of your life??

Katie - posted on 08/14/2011

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Kimber ~ My husband and I have been married for 8 years this January. We too are on our third deployment and he is due to return in October as well.. We're at Drum for the second time. Deployments are rough on any marriage, young and old. Marriage is a covenant between you and your husband before God. It's also a choice to stay married and to work it out. I have no idea what my husband goes through day in and day out while he is there, but I know there is a lot of stress and being in those stressful places can cause a person to do things they wouldn't normally do. My husband had a soldier over him that he and everyone else got along with while here in the states. As soon as they got to Afghanistan, he would yell at everyone about everything. Didn't matter if it was big or small, he was going to yell. people handle stress differently. Now, although you can't control what your husband says or does, you can be respectful. It's funny that our society and ourselves as women think that Well if we love our husbands, they will love us too. That isn't the case. The Bible tells us that husbands are to love their wives and wives are to respect their husbands. Imagine if our husbands said, "I don't respect you anymore" We'd say, OK, that's fine. No big deal. Now imagine if our husbands told us "I don't love you anymore". We would be hurt and offended and just really upset. It's the opposite for guys. If we told them, "I don't love you", It wouldn't be a big deal to them. But if we said, "I don't respect you", their ego would deflate and they no longer show us love. It's like our husbands telling us they don't love us. It's devistating. So, not saying that what he is saying is by any means right, but you can't control your husband. You can't force him to love you. You can however show in unconditional respect. You want to save your marriage, show him respect. Only you know what would be respectful to your husband. Whether it's supporting him on disciplining the kids or telling him he's doing a great job as a leader. And there is nothing wrong with letting your husband know how his actions hurt you, but be sure not to mother him. He already has a mother and doesn't need another. Be his wife. This is something my husband and I are just learning and I can't tell you how much it's changed out marriage. My husband has rededicated his life to Christ and we both have never felt more close in our marriage. I know that through praying and respecting your husband and by looking at him through God's eyes, your marriage will come out stronger than going in. I hope I was able to encourage you! I know deployments are hard on both ends. Going through 3 myself, well, we have our ups and our downs. Just focus on changing yourself and keep your focus on Christ. If you'd like to read more on Love and Respect, you can look up the book on Amazon. It's called "Love and Respect: The love she most desires, The respect he desperately needs" by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. Good luck and I'll be praying for you both!

Billie - posted on 08/08/2011

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It doesn't really sound like PTSD IMO, if he acts this way everytime he deploys and then when he's home he wants to act all lovey-dovey. Sounds to me like he wants to have his cake and eat it too. He wants his wife when he's home, but he wants to be free when he can't be with her. He needs to figure out if he wants to be true to this woman or not and quit stringing her along. I'd have to say he's being a butt hole Tah, LOL.

Carly - posted on 08/06/2011

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WOW... wow. First of all, kudos to you for putting up with that much bullsh.t. I know right before my husband deploys we tend to fight a lot more... but never to the point of divorce. It honestly sounds like your husband has PTSD. Im not a doctor, but I think anyone would agree. And also, hanging out with younger soldiers and seeing the "free life" doesnt help either. If I were in your situation, I would seek a counselor of some type... not for you, but more for him. Talking to someone that is not bias to your situation helps a lot! Well, atleast for me. You can get advice about how to handle your husband, and what to do when this happens. Also, when your husband comes back and is in his happy loving mood, talk to him about doing counseling together. My husband and I had an infidelity issue our first deployment, and we went to see a counselor when he got back, and it was amazing! Our second deployment went smoothly, and when he came home it was like he never left. We are closer now than ever. [We've been married 5 years].
I hope this help!! And GOOD LUCK! You are an extremely strong woman!

Nettia - posted on 08/11/2011

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Kimber. I am speaking as a wife with two young children myself and my husband and I have been married for 5 years. My husband is deployed now. Honestly, the first time this happened I would have forgave him and moved on, but after that I would have made some rules. It sounds like the biggest problem here is how you're reacting to these situations. You can't control him, but you can control how you react. I may be wrong, but it seems that you're just taking whatever he dishes-good or bad. You need to set some limits on how you want to be treated. I know it's hard, but it will never get better if you don't, and worse case scenario, what if he comes back and does want a divorce? What are you going to do? Do not sit around waiting to see what happens. If you can, get counseling for yourself. Make a list of things that need to change in order for you to be happy, and tell him them. Even if he blows you off, if and when he comes around, he'll still know where to start. Please, stand up for yourself. It's about self-respect, as well as being a role model for your children. They are hearing and seeing this, in the way you appear and sound, even if you don't think they are. You sound miserable and the only one who can make it better is you. Although there is strength in trying to work things out and stay together, it's weak to sit around and take repeated abuse and disrespect. Like someone else said, take care of yourself and your children. Make sure to prepare yourself for what may happen. It's easier said than done, but maybe you should make that step and separate for a time. You may find it's better for you, or maybe he will realize that he needs to do what it takes to get it together. If he really wants to be with you then counseling shouldn't be an issue. Good luck.

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Christy - posted on 08/18/2011

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im sure this happens more often than people realize! but remember, your kids are absorbing all of this. even if you think you are sheilding them. it is turmoil& unfair to the children that he behaves this way!!!! if you are staying for the sake of the kids- then he needs counseling but has to be willing. otherwise, it is a better example to not put up with that crap!!! my mom stayed with my dad & he is abusive, & abusive comes in my forms than psyhical....remember!

Ida - posted on 08/17/2011

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Hi Kim, I really feel your pain though my ex husband is no longer in the USMC. His enlistment put so much pressure on our relationship but more so his ability to feel and empathise. I really feel that war changes people. It changed my husband. He became dead set that life is short and thus should always be fun and he didnt want to feel pain anymore or saness or anyt kidn of feelings - all the thngs you feel when you are in a relationship. In the end I felt so alone that I decided to leave. I no longer mattered. We had 1.5 year old son. Its been over a year and its been hard and just as lonely process. I am a psychologist but right now I am a grieving mother and ex wife. All I know is that my son deserves to see a happy mummy and daddy, to know and see what a happy family looks life. I want him to have ahappy life and how could he, since he would have never experienced one. I miss my husband but I love my son more. Rescent study published by supreme family court compared 4 types of children and their emotioanl stability later on in live, children with intact family and happy mum and dad, children with parents that are not happy together, children with divorced parents that still get along and children with divorced parents that dont get along. Guess which two groups showed that children were well adjusted and happy individuals when they grew up.

Athena - posted on 08/16/2011

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My first husband was in the first Gulf War, I have several boys in this one. While they are over there, they go through hell and then some. This is not an excuse to treat you the way he is however!!!
when you see the ones you work and are close to dieing around you, the instinct is to isolate yourself and not feel anything. of course, he will most likely regret what he does. Counseling is the best answer for all of you.
I truly hope you make it through this. My first marriage didn't. (for the best of all involved) but i wish you all the best

Summer - posted on 08/16/2011

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First of all, I have to say I have a HUGE respect for military wives. Its so hard on you guys and my husband is retired now and the marriage he had while he was active didn't last. I don't know that I could have survived it and I consider myself a pretty strong woman, so you guys deserve some mad respect! With that said, I also want to say what an amazing person you must be to be willing to hold your marriage together even if you have to do it alone. Most women wouldn't put up with that nowadays even without the deployment. Letting him miss you is a good thing. I do think that his 19 yr old friend is affecting him, but his friend won't be 19 forever. It almost sounds like he's going thru a midlife crisis. Also when he goes out on missions he's going to end up seeing some scary stuff and people do stupid s--t when they're scared. No doubt he's got some issues to work on, before the two of you can work on your relationship. You said it all started again after he went into the field. There could have been something that happened that scared him. It could be that he's reacting to the fear of losing you and might figure its easier if he just does it now. He might be pushing you away because you're the hardest to lose. OR maybe he's afraid of dying and not living his life. It could be entirely selfish. I know this might be hard to hear but you said he's kind of been like that from the beginning so even if it is a selfish reaction to fear (which is pretty normal for even the most selfless people) what does that mean to you and your relationship? Can you stick it out with him while he works on himself and then thru working on your relationship? Its hard but its either worth the work or it isn't. It sounds like you love him...to say the least and from what it sounds like I don't think you'd forgive yourself for not doing everything you can. I actually talked to my husband about this and he said that this sounds very similar to what his journey sounded like. Like I said the marriage he had didn't survive but they had other issues that couldnt get worked on. The result is his two kids are ok, still affected by the divorce but after 6 years now and (we've been together for 5) he has come a LONG way. He does have PTSD and he can be mean sometimes but that's true of any man. He is my world and sometimes I feel bad for his ex because she missed this because she didn't have the strength to hold on. Not that I really blame her its hard but its just sad that she wasn't able to reap the rewards. He will get better, this isn't permanent, its just a question of whether you can work thru this with him. Good luck.

Kara - posted on 08/14/2011

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Hi,
I hope things have gotten better for you. I'm a military wife myself. I've been through 3 deployments as well. I'm lucky to say that my husband goes out on a ship and not to the desert; however when he's on a ship we rarely get the chance to talk. As a military wife I've seen this behavior many times before. Men are strange people! This is what I see from your post. Your husband is scared. Which is something that most men experience and do not know how to deal with it. He has left you at home to deal with everything. If he only reacts this way when he is about to or has already deployed then it leads me to think that he is afraid he isn't going to return home to you. He is also afraid that you would be devastated to the point that you wouldn't be able to take care of the kids, or be strong for his mother (who has already been hurt terribly). So if he "doesn't love you" while he's still alive, then perhaps you won't hurt so much if he is taken away from you. I know this sounds stupid to many people - but think of it like a man in a desert with bullets flying by, or RPG's, or roadside bombs -- he doesn't know what the next day is going to be like. It probably hurts him to even think of what you might go through if he doesn't come home alive. It might seem better to him to be the 19 year old - who doesn't have to worry about leaving behind a wife and kids. I also have met men who think that their wives cheat the entire time they are deployed, while your husband might not think that, he may be hearing about a lot of wives who are. So think of what he may be going through. War is never easy, on the men and women fighting it, or the men and women keeping the home fires burning. I wish you luck and encouragement as you figure out what is best for your relationship with your husband.

Tah - posted on 08/11/2011

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I'm with Billie..lol...I have seen too many husbands act this way..don't deal with it

Tah - posted on 08/11/2011

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I'm with Billie..lol...I have seen too many husbands act this way..don't deal with it

Tah - posted on 08/08/2011

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Maybe he has PTSD or maybe he's just being a butt hole. Hard to tell the difference sometimes..here is what I know, you have to look out for you. Who knows when he will really want the divorce. I think it's a mixture of things. Getting over there and seeing bad things and also getting there and seeing the freedom the other people have to do the things they do...if you catch my drift. I say people only do what you allow them to do. When he emails about his family give him what he asks for and nothing more. You need to work on you and get counseling for you. Maybe he needs to know you aren't playing this game with him anymore. Tell him the next time he says it he better be prepared to do it....

Kimber - posted on 08/06/2011

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That is why I am trying to not talk to him completly so he can see what it is like all alone. I know in my heart its not what he really wants. This is just so hard, it is hard to leave the house cause i see families or couples and I cry... I am trying to be strong but I feel like I am hanging on to a rope waiting on him to come around. I am hoping in Oct on R&R he comes back to himself, but who knows... THank u for helping!

Carly - posted on 08/06/2011

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Thats how my husband was too, until I gave him an ultimatum. It was either go get help, or our son and I were leaving. I actually did have to leave for a week but he finally agreed.

Kimber - posted on 08/06/2011

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Thank you, I have tried with counceling and he refuses. He is one of those that says he dosent need to hear someone else tell him how to feel... I am just so lost... I love him more than anything in this world when he is his normal self.... I just dont know how much more I can take =(

Billie - posted on 08/06/2011

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Definitely sounds like you guys need to have some seriously counseling. Your husband sounds very gulible and I bet you anything it's the 19yr old pushing your husband to feel this way. My husband is serving his 4th deployment and we've never gone through this.

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