Life After Military Service…The Military Changed My Husband?

 

Dear Adriana,

Any advice for spouses that have become more distant after military service? After my spouse got out of the military he was very “serious”. It felt like I had to walk on eggshells trying to figure out if I should pry to get him to talk about what he was going through, or let him work through it himself in hopes he would come around.

It was just a really tough time because when we first got married we were so carefree and everything was light. 

Sometimes I feel resentful that this experience changed my husband and there was nothing I could do to help him. 

Dear Anonymous,

These “military” topics are dear to my heart, and it hurts to hear you’re going through this…I know sometimes it feels like there isn’t one thing that this military lifestyle doesn’t affect, even once that contract is over.

Being in the military…that job can become your identity. Shit, it almost always does become your identity. It’s in everything you do and controls every aspect of your life. 

There are a lot of feelings that come with deciding to get out of the military… Excitement, confusion, stress and even guilt. 

Even if you didn’t like being in the military, you will feel guilty when you get out. 

He may have feelings of feeling like a quitter or maybe even some guilt? Even if he didn’t want to stay. What do you think?

Something I think a lot of people don’t realize is that there are a lot of (excuse my language), dickheads in the military.

And no matter why you tell them you’re choosing to get out, they will make you feel guilty or quite literally tell you, “You wont make it in the civilian world and will wish you didn’t get out.”

I would bet that at least 2 people told him that before his last day. 

I would imagine your husband enjoyed aspects of his time in the military. And now that it’s over, he probably doesn’t know who he is anymore. And that’s a lot to live with in your head.

Honestly. I feel like this has nothing to do with you and everything to do with him worrying about who he is, what he wants to do with his life, and did he make a decision he will regret for the rest of his life…

Every marriage goes through ebbs and flows. But it’s important to remember that you are not responsible for his happiness. If he is unhappy with himself, nothing you do will get him out of that.

So just continue to support him. 

Help him find a new hobby, a new career, some new (not shit bag) friends. Maybe take him on a romantic weekend date to loosen up!

But most of all I would talk to him. 

Even if you don’t know what to say, just fall back on exactly what you wrote me. 

Because when all of those thoughts start spinning in your head of “Did I do something” “Why is he being so quiet” “Why is he being so short with me” “Is our marriage falling apart”, thoughts like those will continue to fester, and you will start creating issues in your head that may not even be real

Even if that conversation ends with confirmation that it’s not you, that it’s the big life change that is causing the tension. At least then you can stop worrying about your relationship as a couple and start focusing on what the next step is to get him out of this funk. 

I say grab some wine, have a serious therapy session and have him tell you everything he is feeling.

Cry it out, whatever it takes. But the conversation needs to be had before it becomes more than what it really is. 

I have a feeling that the quicker he can,

  1. Say what’s on his mind out loud.
  2. Find something to get excited about again. 
  3. Find a new goal to work towards that’s “his”.

I think then you’ll then start to see the real man you married… 

PTSD?

If not. I don’t know, and I don’t know if you know, if he has PTSD or has been exposed to anything that would cause that. But if he does have it or you if even think he has it. After your conversation, if things don’t change, find someone for him to talk to.

Because at that point, you’ve done all you can and something on that level just isn’t in your wheelhouse and shouldn’t be ignored. So don’t let him blow it off.

If you feel like he may have PTSD, there is a program called “Coaching Into Care“. 

Coaching Into Care is a national telephone-based service that helps callers (you) who are seeking care or services for a veteran. They take calls from family members and friends who would like to help a Veteran struggling with mental health issues obtain care in a VA treatment facility or Vet Center.

They will help you figure out a good way to talk with him and get him to willingly seek help. Call 888-823-7458

I wish you the best of luck in the world. That guy you knew is still there. Don’t give up hope. 

If anyone has any advice for Anonymous or have gone through the same thing, please leave it in the comments below.

This won’t work like I want it to if I am the only one trying to offer advice.

I am not the all knowing. 🖤

If you need advice and want to contact me anonymously I talk about how in my previous post, Advice Column Coming To The Blog!

The Military Changed My Husband?

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