Life Advice



Annie's Mailbox: Forward Deployed

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar on

Dear Annie: Six months ago, I married "Jodi." We were both previously divorced. I assumed Jodi would take my name, but I was mistaken. So now, even though she is my wife, she goes by Mrs. Ex-Husband.

I admit I did not discuss this with her prior to getting married, but even so, I find it embarrassing and hurtful. If she had wanted to retain her maiden name, I would be fine with that. If she had young children, I could understand keeping the ex's name, but there are no children.

Jodi says she likes the sound of the name and it's a lot of trouble to change it. She insists it's no big deal. But I am starting to question her commitment to this marriage. She has commented more than once that she made a mistake leaving her previous marriage and has deep regrets.

Am I wrong to feel hurt? -- Mr. Nameless

Dear Mr. Nameless: We were ready to give your wife the benefit of the doubt until you said she regretted leaving her previous marriage. Hanging on to her ex-husband's name may be her way of keeping a candle burning in the window.

You and Jodi should have a heart-to-heart. Ask her to honestly examine her feelings about her previous marriage and the real reason she insists on keeping a name that no longer has any connection to her, except, perhaps, emotionally.

Dear Annie: I am writing in response to "Burned-Out Wife," who wanted time with her soldier husband before his parents and siblings visited. I am an Army officer with 13 years of military service and am currently serving my second year in Iraq. I truly understand what she is talking about.

All soldiers, upon redeploying, have to attend mandatory classes to help readjust to everyday life back home. This "reintegration process" lasts around seven days and is usually followed by a two-week leave, then a period of 45 days where the soldier isn't allowed to conduct training. This is so soldiers can continue to readjust.

Due to the increase in domestic violence and divorces, this is a very sensitive period for military families. I think if parents and siblings are given this information, most would back off and give the married couple some breathing room. After the soldier is reacquainted with his/her spouse and children, plans should then be made either to visit family or have them visit the soldier. This takes time.


As the father of a 9-year-old and a newborn, I know it's not going to be an easy road, but I am confident that I can make it a successful reintegration for us all.

Most Major Commands (MACOMS) provide soldiers and their families with reintegration booklets through their Rear-Detachment commands or chaplains, and they are free to military family members. I hope this helps. -- Forward Deployed

Dear Forward Deployed: It does indeed. Thank you for explaining the importance of patience and understanding during this time.

Dear Annie: Could you please recommend good informative reading material or videos for girls coming of age? I am a mother of three girls, and puberty is gaining on me. Thank you so much. -- Molly

Dear Molly: There are a number of books and videos available at your local library and bookstore, or you can contact the nearest chapter of Planned Parenthood (, the American Academy of Pediatrics ( or the website for information and a wealth of recommended reading material and videos, some geared for parents, others for adolescents.


"Annie's Mailbox" is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. This column was originally published in 2016. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at




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