Wife Declares Military-Free Zone at Home

Ms. Vicki
Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I have come to the point where I don't want to hear about my sailor's work, invite military members over, or generally have anything to do with the military. I have implemented a strict Military-Free Zone in our house, where no one in a uniform or in the ranks can come in.

My husband enlisted in the Navy at a late age -- 28. Previously, I was supporting us financially, and he had no long-term career plans or education. 

In the last three years, he has moved up the ranks quickly. The whole purpose of the military was for him to gain work and school experience, the GI Bill and health care and housing for our two children. 

All of these have been accomplished. However, the totally unexpected and overlooked consequence is that my career options and marketability have plummeted.

I am very career-oriented. I'm now depressed, lonely and resentful that he gets to go out and be with co-workers on a ship doing exciting work, while I toil and stagnate with 100% of the child care and housework responsibilities.

I wasn't very patriotic to begin with and can't find similar age or career-oriented spouses who are also left-leaning or liberal to discuss my interests in science, math and technology. 

I don't like this lifestyle. My husband doesn't understand what I have given up in order to get him on the same page with me career- and education-wise. 

I want him to leave after his four-year commitment, but he disagrees with my opinion. How do I get over the resentment, and how can we make this work without me sacrificing everything I've worked for?

-- Older Liberal Career-Oriented Military Spouse

Dear Older Liberal,

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 field and supporting your family as the breadwinner. Now, you are home with the responsibilities of the children and housework.

Related: Spouse Employment Tips

I see this as a win-win for you. OK, so it may be somewhat boring being home without adult conversation, but you get to be present for your children and spend more time with them.

You may think this is a lot of blah blah blah, but you may look back and appreciate the additional time you had to be home and available with your children.

This is also good because you can have time to fine-tune your career and work toward other things that you are passionate about.

No matter what you do, you can't let yourself see this situation as if your husband is winning and you are losing.

You reported that he is making rank pretty quickly. Good for him. It's not like you changed your entire life for a husband who is not serious about his Navy career. He is serious and he is handling his business, so you shouldn't be disappointed that he likes the Navy and may want to make it a career.

Now, back to your resentment. 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 (as hard as that can be).

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 and develop their careers in many fields. If you don't want to stay home with your kids, start figuring out how you can find the opportunities and child care you need to get back into your career. Military.com and can help you with this.

Third, 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 and maybe giving up that military-free zone.

Thank you for writing to me.

-- Ms. Vicki

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